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Looking to gain XP speed, which RAID array should I use? How do I it?

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July 31, 2007 9:22:46 AM

Looking to gain speed on XP which RAID should I use?? And How do I it? Ive been reading and it seems the best type of array is 0 because i dont care much for security. Maybe im wrong... what do u guys think? I game alot will this also help my performance there too? Also what is the best way of doing this??? Is there an easy way to do this??

More about : gain speed raid array

July 31, 2007 9:52:33 AM

There're many ways to gain speed in XP. I'll talk about software first.

Diskeeper 2007 Pro premier:
Automatic defragmentation, I-FAAST, Frag shield.

Change your pagefile directory to another physical disk, make sure you set the size yourself. It should preferably be around 1.5 times of your ram capacity.

Hardware:
I see your motherboard's a crosshair. You should be able to run a raid setup on it.
Raid 0 divides your redundancy into half. So unless you have img backups or don't have any important files on your OS disk, i won't recommend using raid 0.
If you have a little more money, you can get a specialised raid controller.
http://www.3ware.com/products/serial_ata2-9650.asp
and run raid 5. The cost/capacity ratio, speed and redundancy are all there. If you have more to splurge on harddrives, run a raid 1+0 or 0+1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID
July 31, 2007 10:14:39 AM

People are always badmouthing RAID0 :'( 

2x 160gb/250gb drives in RAID0 with the smallest stripe size possible SEEMS to be the best one to go for to me.

For some reason you also my want to lock out about 30 - 40% of your hrddrive so you cant use it. This will stop data getting put into the inner bit of the harddrive disk, which will greatly lower performance.
Related resources
July 31, 2007 10:19:43 AM

Don't bother with Raid 0.
The only noticeable difference you'll see is in benchmarking and that's about it.
I was at Raid 0 and saw no gains whatsoever in gaming and or any normal everyday tasks so went back to just the one drive. Better off using the 2nd one for storage.
July 31, 2007 10:42:35 AM

raid 0 has been great to me, i get the performnce for 2x 150gb raptors, in raid, i get 2tb of storage and it cost me a bit less, why not? i think since the author has considered raid 0 as an option he/she is aware of the risks, and the way i see it, when one harddrive dies and it isn't in raid you loose data and need to replace the drive, so the same still applies to raid 0...
a b G Storage
July 31, 2007 11:07:55 AM

I too noticed a difference between a single disk and RAID-0. I really notice a difference in game-loading, virus-scan, defragmenting, and anything else that will use the disks for anything longer than just a few seconds. I RAIDed two WD Enterprise disks and have a 320GB backup...my *** is covered ^.^
July 31, 2007 11:29:34 AM

I am another satisfied RAID 0 user, i have 2x 320 GB Western Digital RE2 enterprise drives and they are working great and much faster than a single drive.

I also keep my important stuff on another drive.
July 31, 2007 11:40:53 AM

Aslong as you keep the HD's quite cool with some fans they shouldnt just pack up anyway... Antec900 covers that pretty well. 1x 120mm fan for each hard drive!!

I only keep games and stuff on my computer nothing like Photos or anything important. Games can just be re-installed. No problem to me.
July 31, 2007 12:12:27 PM

Anyone know any programs that will do this for me??
July 31, 2007 1:05:24 PM

@arima - Windows already sets your upper cap on the page file to 1.5 times your RAM. It automatically selects the ideal size. Also, RAID0 does not halve redundancy compared to a single drive because a single drive has no redundancy to begin with - what it does is increase the risk of failure.

@hatman - In terms of performance, you would actually want your data on the inner-most cylinders closest to the spindle. By ignoring the outer cylinders when reading/writing data you actually decrease latency and seek times.

@rammedstein - Don't forget that data is striped in a RAID0. If a drive fails in a RAID0, then all data is lost in the array since data is split between drives. E.G. if you have a large movie file, then parts of it will be stored on each drive. One of the drive fails, and you only have parts of the movie on the good drive. You've effectively lost that data as well. However, in a single drive setup, a drive failure may only mean part of the drive is damaged. The sectors that contain your movie file may still be in good shape and can be recovered in their entirety. That is why we say there is higher risk in a RAID0, your individual files now have multiple points of failure (if you consider each drive as a single point of failure; in reality, a single drive can be subdivided further into separate points of failure...)
July 31, 2007 1:07:00 PM

RAID 0 kicks ***!! I have it on all of my desktops and will never go back. I actually had both of my drives die all of a sudden but all was cool because I had several images to back up from. I sent the drives in on warranty and put the image back on the new drives and kept on truck'in.
RAID 0 is NOT HARD to set up in your BIOS man. Just go in there and enable RAID for the channels you need. If you're not sure just check in your manual for your board as to how the channels are numbered on your SATA controller. If there is an option to enable RAID BIOS then enable that too. Usually this stuff is found in advanced mother board options or something similar sounding. Then save those changes of course and when your compy reboots you need to watch for which key to press to get into your RAID BIOS. From here its usually just a matter of choosing which disks you want to RAID,type of RAID, and stripe size if doing 0. Don't forget to make the array bootable before you save and exit. Thats about it man. I highly recommend that you have disks that are matched and already formatted and ready to go.

Enjoy that RAID 0 man....I know I notice a difference and I only have twin 80's in all of my rigs. I am always the first one loaded in CSS because of it and my rig is a couple of years old now. They're all sustaining 95MB/sec throughput....if I had faster drives like twin 500's or something... whoa hang on!!!
a b G Storage
July 31, 2007 1:24:37 PM

Programs? I am assuming you are asking what you need to build a RAID array.
You don't use a program. (Well you can build software RAID from within Windows, but there is no advantage at all to doing this, software RAID will actually slow you system down, and is not true RAID)
Your motherboard handles RAID with hardware via the onboard RAID controller, or you can buy an add-in card with a RAID controller to attach your drives to. I think your board does have a built in RAID controller already, so you have everything you need to build a RAID array already except a matching set of drives.

RAID 0 is setup by having 2 identical drives(doesn't have to be, but to get the most out of it, 2 identical drives is a must)
Quickly and simply.....
You hook them up to your motherboard's controller that support's RAID.
Go into the BIOS and enable RAID support, then you will have access during POST to go into the RAID BIOS (which is seperate than the regular BIOS) configuration and configure the 2 drives as a striped set. 2 -100 meg drives in RAID 0 will net you 1 drive of 200 meg. When you load Windows, it will see the 2 drives as 1 large drive. The advantage is that information or data is split in half equally across 2 drives by the controller. So you have 2 drives on 2 channels reading and writing 50% each of the information flowing, allowing for faster overall throughput. The disadvantage is obvious. If a drive or a controller fails, you lose everything, and recovery from a failed RAID 0 array is nearly impossible.

I have used RAID 0, and it does make some improvement. Booting is a little faster, game loading times are a little faster, and transfering large files is a lot faster. That is what RAID 0 will do for you.
I will say that RAID 0 is probably a last upgrade one would think of to squeeze the very most out of an already fast system.

Either way, do some Googleing and read up on RAID. From your questions, you should enlist the help of friend, or do more research. RAID can be a little tricky to set-up without a good understanding of what you are doing. But like everything else, once you do it 1 time, and get it right, it's really not hard to do.
July 31, 2007 1:48:53 PM

I'm another in favor on RAID 0. I use it as my main drive (OS and games). I also have a RAID 1 array for all my important data (I would recommend you implement some sort of redundancy for your system). Don't let nay-sayers keep you from trying it. As is the general consensus, know the risk, and plan accordingly.

Enjoy!

July 31, 2007 2:56:34 PM

Have a read of this and see if it's worthwhile for you.

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2101&p=...



I know some ppl say games load faster but in BF2 i found that with Raid 0 and non_Raid I was getting into the game first anyway and had about 20 secs at least on everyone else. Raid 0 maybe made a difference of about 2-3 secs but that doesn't justify it.
a c 172 G Storage
July 31, 2007 4:06:36 PM

Airblazer is right, don't bother with raid. The link is old, but still valid. I think qwertycopter(nice name) is wrong about the speed of inner/outer cylinders. The disk rotates with only one speed for the inner and outer cylinders; therefore the latency is the same for all accesses. The circumference of the outer rings is longer, and can hold more data. This means that more data can be read in one rotation from the outer rings than the inner, resulting in a higher data rate. Also, more data will reside under the read/write head at any one time on the outer cylinders, resulting in fewer arm repositioning(seeks) to read that data. This disparity causes a flaw in all of the single drive vs. raid-0 benchmarks that I have seen. The raid-0 tests will be using two drives vs. one, resulting in having more of the fast data on the outer cylinders of the raid-0 configuration. They do not test the alternative of splitting half the data on to a second drive which is what you would do if you had a second one available for raid.
If you want better hard drive performance, use the 150gb raptor for any data that needs speed. If you need more capacity than 150gb, then add a second slower drive that costs less per gb.

July 31, 2007 8:02:02 PM

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/s [...] i=2101&p=1

Geeeeze...These guyzzz do not like RAID-0

"If you haven't gotten the hint by now, we'll spell it out for you: there is no place, and no need for a RAID-0 array on a desktop computer. The real world performance increases are negligible at best and the reduction in reliability, thanks to a halving of the mean time between failure, makes RAID-0 far from worth it on the desktop."
July 31, 2007 9:01:16 PM

just go with a single fast hdd, youll get the same practical performance as you would with raid 0 (or just instead go with something that offers faster seek times, and youll see OS and application performance increase as a result, as its able to seek out and locate files faster; raptors, scsis and ssds are good, but relatively expensive examples, at least when compared to consumer 7200s). the reason for the lack of improvement being because higher STRs often do not provide much benefit for average/typical uses, gaming included nowadays usually (in fact, faster seek times seem to provide more improvement here than increased STRs do, as well, though depending greatly the design of the game too). only a few common uses see much benefit from higher STRs in general, and one of them is windows boot times, which sees a strong benefit from it, as it benefits highly from increased STRs in general. for most everything else though, the files simply arent large enough for it to be worthwhile, to even see much benefit (in fact, most files that are often dealt with are rather small, in the range of a few KB at most). which is why media editing and similar is known to derive the most improvement from raid 0, because the files are usually very large.

edit: as far as the above comment regarding raid 0 and battlefield 2, your speculation is absolutely right. having tested it with a hindered wd360gd (as it was over usb 2.0, so it was capped at ~30MB/s) a single wd740adfd (87MB/s), and even with 4 wd360gds in raid 0 (200+MB/s), the load times were all the same between different fps games (bf2 included), within a very small marginal difference if any, that i couldnt even tell (they were timed as well), this was all on the same system too, so the specs werent any different between testings.

which strongly leads me to believe that faster seek times do infact play a larger role than higher STRs do in most cases. a review at anandtech awhile ago of an ssd only reinforces that, that an ssd with lower STRs than any of the tested mechanical hdds, ended up loading a few games and even applications faster than they did.
August 1, 2007 3:27:09 PM

Well yeh in games faster seek times do make a lot of difference, unless you have an aweful lot of ram in which case they would not, since Vista pulls all important data onto your RAM when you're using something.

And yeh im pretty sure you get better performance using the outter ring and worse performance in the inner ring. The outter ring is actually traveling faster than the inner aswell.

If I could explain it, imagine a circle in the sky, and a much bigger one. If 2planes going 200mph have to go round one circle each, one would have far more distance to cover and take longer. If they both want to go round the circle in the same time, the outter one has to be going faster.

If you understand me lmao.
August 2, 2007 12:25:18 PM

Yep..Raid 0 sounds greater until you read further into it.
Unless you're running a database or something similiar you'll see no benefit to it on the normal desktop.
Although I was surprised at a USB drive getting the same load speed into BF2.
a b G Storage
August 2, 2007 12:45:04 PM

Okay, I sit here and told myself I wasn't going to get into the RAID 0 is better or not thing, again. Everytime RAID is brought up their is 10 people saying no and 10 people saying yes.
I use it on my desktops, I can tell a difference, it is real and it is very noticable.
I don't care what anandtech said, and no one else can can tell me different either.
If you want the very most you can get out your machine, go RAID 0.
With all the tech advances inside your PC over the years, the one thing that has not come very far compared to the rest of your hardware is the harddrive. It is still a mechanical device, with very limited speed compared to the rest of your PC. Anything you can do to improve it's performance is a good thing.
Ah... there.... I feel better now.
August 2, 2007 1:57:30 PM

choirbass: do you ever get tired of rehasing the same old story? it's getting old for me so I just keep reading these threads in amuzement. Particularly all the RAID0 kicks a$$ testimonials...

OP: what choirbass said.
August 2, 2007 5:13:06 PM

russki said:
choirbass: do you ever get tired of rehasing the same old story? it's getting old for me so I just keep reading these threads in amuzement. Particularly all the RAID0 kicks a$$ testimonials...

OP: what choirbass said.


i guess i do do that, dont i... lol. really, i just tend to focus on one area of hardware for awhile, even being repetetive as youre seeing, till i simply get tired of it. then its focusing on something else in more of the same way. i guess the main problem is that there are still so many people just misinformed, that it pays to pursue, sometimes to the point of annoyance i guess :p . and i guess a lot of the reason even moreso, is that i spent hundreds of $ on it myself before (its why i have those 4 older 36GB GD raptors to begin with even), and im just trying to save people the same misfortune, and even misunderstanding. oftentimes the only people bringing it up, are new to it, and dont yet own the hardware required.

for people whove already spent their money on the hardware, it would be relatively pointless to bring this up to (and oftentimes arguing and flaming happens somewhere along the lines as a result). sometimes its okay to mention, but more often than not it just causes problems.

in the end, its up to the end user, because its their money thats on the line, and what they choose to do with it is up to them. and if something is a needless, pointless, or simply not cost effective expense for their use even, they should at least know... because again, it is their own money thats being spent.
August 2, 2007 5:44:55 PM

choirbass, don't get me wrong - I actually think you are on quite a noble quest and agree perfectly with what you are saying, but I just got overwhelmed with all the hoopla and anecdotal evidence used for fact sometime ago...I do think that you're right above regarding saving people $$ and / or troubles (and often both). I, for one, am greatful we have ppl like you participating. Too bad Jack is gone...
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