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Buying 2 new drives for RAID 0 - advice?

Last response: in Storage
March 16, 2009 6:46:23 PM

I have some money to burn and want to replace my current drives in my main system. I don't need large capacity, I just want speed. Money is not making this decision for me. Which is going to give me the fastest performance. Whatever I go with will be in RAID 0 config.

1. 2 x SEAGATE 500GB Barracuda 7200.12 SATA II w/ 16MB Cache
2. 2 x Western Digital 640GB Caviar Black 7200rpm SATA II w/ 32MB Cache
3. 2 x Western Digital VelociRaptor 150GB 10,000 RPM SATA II w/ 16MB Cache

I get conflicting info when I try to find some solid reviews etc... so any advice/suggestions is welcomed.
a b G Storage
March 16, 2009 7:38:08 PM

The Velociraptor's. 10,000rpm, sustained throughput may not be much better/on par with the other drives, but the their seek times are exceptional. You'll notice this more in everyday use than than anything else.
March 16, 2009 7:47:58 PM

I have heard raid is 50% the controller and 50% the drives. What raid controller are you using? For the drives I would go option 2, velociraptors are expensive.
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March 16, 2009 7:53:18 PM

I'd go for option 2, much better price for performance.
March 16, 2009 8:27:57 PM

Basically if someone handed you 2 drives, which 2... don't factor price in. Regarding the controller its the P6T onboard.
March 16, 2009 8:57:39 PM

option #2

or for the price of the 2x raptors, get 4x #2 :) 
March 16, 2009 9:47:13 PM

Still haven't seen anything to sway me off the raptors... grabbing them in the next hour unless someone has a better suggestion for performance... not price/performance.
a c 143 G Storage
March 16, 2009 10:15:18 PM

Atomicvai... I would go for the Vraptors. I have one in my system and it is great. Running it in RAID0 will be even faster. I asked a similar question to RAID0 with two WD hard drives or one Vraptor and the overwelming feedback was go with the one Vraptor due to the risk of losing data with a RAID0.

If price isn't an option, I would go with option #3 with a WD 1TB Black in RAID1 for backup & security. Whatever you do just stay away from Seagate at this time. They are having way too much drive freezing issues with their hard drives.
March 16, 2009 10:26:59 PM


any GOOD 7200RPM 32mb cache HDD is really fast. WD 640 is really nice.

10k are useless. My opinion.
March 16, 2009 10:44:21 PM

I lied, I didnt have time to hit the store today on my way home. So still open to thoughts.

What are you basing 10k being useless? Just want more info.

As for data, all my important data is stored on an external mirrored drive, so not concerned about an internal data drive.

I wish I could find some direct benches between the raptors and the 640 blacks in Raid 0.
a b G Storage
March 16, 2009 10:57:43 PM

> What are you basing 10k being useless?

The VRs don't use perpendicular magnetic recording (yet).

Get 2 x RE3 WD 750GB HDDs for a smoking fast RAID 0:

If 1 drive in a 2-drive RAID 0 fails, you lose all the data.
If 1 drive NOT in a RAID array fails, you lose all the data.

Same difference!

a b G Storage
March 16, 2009 10:59:50 PM

p.s. and, format your RAID 0 array with one small partition (first drive letter)
and one or more larger partitions (second+ drive letters). This setup will
exploit the benefits of "short strokes" of the read/write heads,
resulting in shorter access times when accessing the first drive letter.


March 16, 2009 11:10:23 PM

Thanks for more info guys. I do already partition my current raid 0 setup that way, so I should be good there.... and completely don't care about data loss on the raid drives if something dies.

I thought the 750's weren't as fast as the 640's? The other side of this is I really only need a total size of maybe 200gb for my OS and software I run, so bigger for me is almost a hindrance... I think this is why I keep leaning towards the Raports.... I just won't use 1TB of space since all my data is stored externally.
March 17, 2009 12:07:00 AM

2x 7200rpm 32mb cache are cheaper VS a single 10ks.

Your choice ;) 


WD640gb 7200rpm 32mb 79.99$
WD500gb 7200rpm 32mb 74.99$

WD150gb 10000rpm 16mb 179.99$
WD300gb 10000rpm 16mb 229.99$

Fujitsu 147gb 15000rpm 16mb 189.99$
Fujitsu 300gb 15000rpm 16mb 339.99$

My choice ..... RAID 0 WD500 or 640. if you have the MONEY .. Raid 0 10k ...
March 17, 2009 12:38:14 AM

Yep, as I said, it's not about price.... so looks like I'm still leaning towards the raptors.
March 17, 2009 12:46:16 AM

SSD ? if money isnt an issue ... RAID-0 64gb SSD
March 17, 2009 12:56:01 AM

SRY dbl post ...

G.SKILL FM-25S2S-64GB 139.99$
OCZ Solid Series OCZSSD2-1SLD 60GB 140$
March 17, 2009 1:04:42 AM

I would agree on the SSD, but to get quality ones would put it beyond what I want to spend... otherwise, yeah.
a b G Storage
March 17, 2009 1:13:43 AM

FYI: Western Digital recommend their "RE" HDDs with
time-limited error recovery ("TLER"): HDDs without
that feature can cause some RAID controllers to "time-out"
particularly if the RAID array has little empty space.

"RE" = RAID Edition

Contact WD's Tech Support for further details:


March 17, 2009 1:31:54 AM

Aware of the RE's, but not in carried at the place I typically go, so not something I can get tomorrow... I am not patient. Think I've decided on 3x150gb raptors.
March 17, 2009 1:45:51 AM

MRFS thats the drive ive listed ;) 

Ive never read about the 15ks, anything to say about it MRFS ?
March 17, 2009 1:52:31 AM

when I say raptors, I am refering to the VR's, as I listed in my initial post.
a b G Storage
March 17, 2009 2:05:46 AM

Copy that: I'm in the habit of using the term "Raptor"
to refer to the older versions of WD's 10,000 rpm SATA HDD,
and I've been using the term "VelociRaptor" abbreviated "VR"
to refer to the newest version of WD's 10,000 rpm SATA HDD.

Old habits die hard, I guess. :) 

> Ive never read about the 15ks, anything to say about it MRFS ?

If you're considering 15,000 rpm HDDs, from my reading only
and not from direct experience, I would balance the storage
subsystem with full-blown SAS functionality i.e. wire the drives
to a SAS-capable RAID controller with hardware parity.

You may as well, because those are enterprise-class drives
that smoke tires e.g. see Seagate's 2 lines here
(Savvio and Cheetah):

I also read somewhere -- recently -- that Seagate have
pre-announced 15,000 rpm SAS drives with a SATA/6G
interface. That series is worth looking into, for the near future.

Aha, here it is:

Cheetah ® 15K.7 Drive Specifications

* Capacity 600, 450, 300GB
* Interface 6Gb/s SAS-2.0, 4Gb/s FC
* Spindle Speed 15,000 RPM
* Seek Time 3.4 ms
* Reliability 0.55% AFR / 1.6M hours MTBF
* Cache 16MB
* Form factor 3.5-inch

SATA/6G is being discussed on the Internet now.


a b G Storage
March 17, 2009 2:14:32 AM

p.s. for rotating disks with outstanding performance,
a 15,000 rpm SAS drive with perpendicular magnetic
recording ("PMR") is about THE BEST you can buy,
presently. These drives are now moving raw binary digits
under the read/write heads at about 150MB/second!

Your mileage may vary.

March 17, 2009 2:15:34 AM

Hmmmmmmmm.... interesting... hadn't even thought about SAS.
a b G Storage
March 17, 2009 2:49:51 AM

I'd look into the Highpoint RocketRAID 3520:

That is also the same RAID controller that OCZ
incorporated into their latest solid-state "Z-drive":


There is also a HUGE discount on the RocketRAID 4320 at Newegg today:

You may need to fuss around with the cable connections:
no big deal. Just phone Highpoint and tell them what you
want to do. We're running 2 of their PCI-E controllers,
and both have been superb.

With the 4320, you'll save money and have SAS functionality too.
Can't say how long the discounted price will last at Newegg.

Generally, the colleagues of mine who bounce RAID ideas back
and forth, all agree that hardware RAID controllers are far
superior to on-board controllers e.g. ICH10R.

Check out Areca, 3Ware and Adaptec also. Promise are in this
market too, but I don't hear as many good things about the
performance of their high-end RAID controllers (e.g. they run too hot).

March 17, 2009 12:42:07 PM


March 17, 2009 12:59:35 PM

Alright... I think I'm now leaning towards a single SSD for my OS and then Raid 0 WD black 640's for apps etc... more thoughts? Thanks for all the feedback so far guys... read these forums forever, but only recently started posting. Great people here.
March 17, 2009 1:18:38 PM

Read some tuto about SSD. There are some "trick" to prevent Hanging and help performance. RAID multiple SSD is AWESOME for speed ... I think RoadRunner have 4x30gb SSD raid-0 (OCZ) and he have pretty nice I/O and read/write speed.
a b G Storage
March 17, 2009 1:33:02 PM

> Alright... I think I'm now leaning towards a single SSD for my OS and then Raid 0 WD black 640's for apps etc... more thoughts?

This is a very good setup, with one caveat
(if you ultimately end up with rotating platters
hosting your OS instead of an SSD).

When writing drive image files of your OS partition,
it's best to output them to a different spindle --
this prevents "thrashing" of the read/write heads
on the primary spindle.

After that drive image file is written, just copy it back
to a data partition on the primary spindle --
again, this task will run smoothly because the
read/write armature will not "thrash" back and forth.

Also, drive image restore tasks will require an F6-type
option to be invoked, to load RAID device drivers
to access your RAID 0. Don't you know, you'll
misplace that floppy disk or thumb drive.

With a backup copy of your drive image on the
data partition of the primary spindle, you're covered.

A second copy of your drive image file on your SSD
is likewise a good idea, for some of the same reasons.

Summary: partition your SSD with 2 letter drives:
one for the OS and one for data files like drive images.
We find that 30GB is sufficient for XP/Pro SP3;
maybe 50GB for VISTA.

March 17, 2009 11:28:17 PM

Ended up going with a pair of Patriot 64gb V2 SSD's in Raid 0. Yes, there are faster drives out there for more money, but wow, these are fast... way faster than the other options I was looking in to. No other drives in my machine, just my external mirrored 1tb drive for data. As I said, I really didn't need a lot of disk space for what I do. Once higher capacity/faster SSD's come out I'll upgrade again. Thanks again for all the input guys, was a big help in making a decision.
a b G Storage
March 17, 2009 11:56:11 PM

Can you share any performance measurements with us?

Also, the RAID controller specs?

READs are the really important measurement for the system partition.

March 18, 2009 12:12:21 AM

I will a little later tonight, doing some installs while I play cards with the wife... if I ignore her after spending this money I'll be in the doghouse. What benchmark prog you want me to give you results from. As far the the controller, its the Intel on the P6T, nothing aftermarket.
March 18, 2009 12:16:08 AM


something like those. Maybe MRFS has one in particular he want you to try.
March 18, 2009 12:28:11 AM

I'm definately interested in the Patriot warp V2 or maybe even V3's if the price comes down. I haven't been able to find a decent review on them though. My concern would be the stuttering problem which plagues most of the low-mid end drives. The temptation of price is almost to great to ignore though. I have heard that any good controller card WITH cache ( preferablly battery backed of course ) goes a long way to eleminate this problem. As I understand it, the stuttering occures under heavy I/O loads. I wonder if this is a problem for workstation/desktop use. I've heard RAID 0 with on-board is hit or miss. I'm very interested in your impressions, as this seems to be my choice at the moment too. I too have no need for capcity, and it seems like such a waste to use giant size drives for just OS/programs. I miss the 36GB 15K SCSI's :) 
March 18, 2009 1:07:18 PM

I appologize for the wait on the benchmarks. I've included the basics all at their default settings. I haven't done any tweaking to the drives in Windows 7, and the only thing I really did was format them to 512 blocks before installing windows and turned of virtual memory (128k stripe size). I have the Raid partitioned to 40/80. In looking around online the Raid 0 VR's look like they're faster, but my system feels incredibly responsive and fast with these drives compared to my old Raid 0 setup. Installs take a little longer though. I may grab a pair of 150gb VR's and see how they feel in comparison. The drives for me are about the same price per unit. I'm also tempted to grab a 3rd Patriot to add to the array and see where that leaves me. The extra 60gb would probably put me right where I would like to be size-wise. I have not encountered any of the "stuttering" people report, but I do plan on tweaking things as per Patriots site to make sure I avoid this. My system components are as listed in my sig, except I was running at 3.8ghz.

This post moved me towards at least looking at the Patriot drives in Raid 0:

I realize as I look at the desktop image I had HD Tune on the wrong tab, I'll repost that later for you, since I'm at work now, but here's the info:

Windows 7 only gives my GTX295 a 6.4 Gaming Graphics score... so unfair.
March 18, 2009 4:56:31 PM

I picked up a 3rd drive to add to the array, so reinstalling windows etc. Should I align the drives etc like I read about? Never done it so would need some pretty good guidance. So much information out there and I just want to get the most out of these drives that I can. Any suggestions for stripe size etc would be welcomed.
March 18, 2009 7:19:44 PM

Here are the scores with the 3 drives... all default settings. Would love suggestions on aligning, stripe size etc.

March 18, 2009 7:25:05 PM

youll have really nice perf out of this. Going for a nice PCI RAID controller can improve perf really nicelly too.

SRy we posted at the same time ;) 

Nice perf BTW ! :D 
March 18, 2009 7:31:10 PM

Yeah I'm trying to resist the urge to go grab a PCI RAID controller and a 4th drive....

Must resist...
March 18, 2009 8:33:58 PM

loll yes ... im currently waiting my GTX285 .. and i try to resist going for a second one for a SLI !

Im aiming SSD to.
March 19, 2009 1:07:48 AM

Im going option 2 on Friday