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Slow RAID 0 performance

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November 12, 2008 11:02:26 PM

Hey all, I have finally built my dream machine over the past few months and I am beginning to wonder if something is wrong with my RAID setup.

I have two seagate 'cudas in raid 0. The exact HD can be found here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I am running on a gigabyte ga-x48T-dq6, using the GSATA ports for raid 0 (I believe it uses a JMicron controller?).

I have run HD Tack and the results are very disappointing! I get a burst read of 85 MB/s, an average of around 75 MB/s, and a low of around 65 MB/s. This is the same throughput as my roommate gets on a single hitachi 500 GB HD, Sandra confirms this as well.

The raid is setup with a 128 KB stripe.

Here is my system:
Vista Ultimate SP1 x86
2 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS
GA-X48T-DQ6, 1700 MHz FSB
intel Q9450 @ 3.4 GHz
OCZ Power stream 700 W PSU
crossfire Sapphire HD 3870's
4 GB OCZ 1333 MHz DDR3 @ ~ 1450 MHz
Arctic 7 Cooler
some SATA DVD Burners

So my questions are this; why is the RAID 0 setup so (relatively) slow? I expected at least 100+ MB/s average read with two drives.
Another is should I be using the GSATA raid instead of the intel ICH9R controller?
And most important of all, what can be done to remedy this solution say short of buying new drives?

Thanks for the advice!

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November 13, 2008 6:11:49 PM

I don't do RAID so take this with a grain of salt.

Could be a driver problem with the Jmicron, I do hate them.

I would absolutely save your data and reinstall the RAID on the ICH9R controller. Why would you want an outboard controller when you can use the native one?
November 13, 2008 6:13:51 PM

just while we're at it, you got a 32bit OS with 4gig ram...That's a problem right there ;) 

For the raid problem, have you tried different a different stripe size? It is also possible that the drive is stuck in sata-150 instead of sata-300. Check the jumpers, the bios settings and the vista settings.
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November 13, 2008 7:51:06 PM

32 bit is absolutely not the cause of his problem, nor is the SATA speed. It's unlikely it's the stripe size either, unless he really screwed the pooch setting it up.

If you have the SATA150 jumpers on the drives, then pull them anyway.
November 13, 2008 8:54:14 PM

Well I made sure to take the SATA150 jumpers off before I even took the other parts of the case out of the boxes :) . Maybe I'm expecting too much? What throughput do you guys with a similar setup in RAID 0 get?

edit: I think that i will eventually switch to the Intel ICH9R controller, but I had wierd thoughts about that. Doesn't that controller use PCIe bus? And what I mean is could that hurt my graphics performance since I have two video cards in crossfire?
November 13, 2008 10:03:07 PM

I can't use the THG hard drive charts anymore because they have rendered them useless with their changes. I hope to God that someone has the sense to change them back.

I think your drive gets ~65MB/sec average read [unconfirmed] so you should be getting more from your RAID than you are.

You might as well break them apart. If you aren't getting the performance, then why take the risk of RAID0.
November 14, 2008 1:52:01 PM

zorg: Since I'm not physically there to troubleshoot his raid array, I have to ask questions and wonder about all the possible fix ;) 

For a raid0 of those drives, you should be expecting something around 110mb/sec avg read. I'd break the raid and redo it, just in case. Also, have you ran the S.M.A.R.T. tests to see if the drives themselves are in good health?
November 14, 2008 6:29:04 PM

Agreed, the drives should be tested, but they are probably ok or it would be crashing/stalling.

He should break the RAID and get it off the Jmicron controller and on to the ICH9R. That is more than likely his problem.

He called out a stripe size of 128 and the SATA strap wouldn't have caused it unless the X48 couldn't handle the SATA150 properly, which I don't think is the case. Plus, you add the 32bit OS and 4GB of RAM as a problem and that's ludicrous.

I'm all for being a 64bit fanboi, but palease.

November 15, 2008 1:13:45 PM

Ok, so aver the last few days I broke the JMicron raid and nabbed a fresh copy of vista ultimate x64.
I setup a new raid on the intel ICH9R with two partitions, one for the OS (80 GB) and the rest for storage.

For the OS I used a 64 KB block size (too big or small anyone?) and for the data I used a 128 KB block.
Let me just say that the results are amazing :) . I now get an average read of about 170 MB/s with an access time
of about 10.o ms! That is about a 100 MB/s improvement from the initial setup, and needless to say - I am as happy as a pig in mud.

Some facts that should have clued me off i guess is the fact that the GSATA controls the IDE port, floppy drive
and other small items, so I put my 2 SATA dvd burners on that and they work like a charm.

It's like a completely different machine, The vista x64 install only took 14 minutes from DVD to desktop,
this saves my ideas of buying a SSD for the speed now!

Thanks for all the tips guys.
November 15, 2008 4:39:25 PM

Another thing I forgot to add is that the sound coming from my HD's has been dramatically reduced? I mean alot, I hope I have not secretly enable some acoustic management setting because I would much rather have speed than sound.
November 15, 2008 5:51:06 PM

It was all in the move off the Jmicron controller, I hate them [again]. The OS change did nothing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti 64bit.

Always stay on the native controller when you can.
November 15, 2008 8:41:11 PM

I know it wasn't the OS, but I am getting ready to receive another 4 GB of ddr3 for christmas i suspect..lol
!