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RAID 5 with 3 WD 500 GB HD?

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May 8, 2009 4:11:56 PM

What is the best possible RAID option to use with 3 exact same WD hard drives?

I also want to install on one of these hard drive by partitioning or leave entire drive for OS/Programs. What is the best possible scenario when using 3 harddrive with OS install?

I am looking into to use RAID 5. This computer is for gaming and video editing (home user).

Thanks for your help!

More about : raid 500

a b G Storage
May 8, 2009 6:40:09 PM

raid 5 has alot of overhead for processing the parity on write.. and you would lose 1 drive for the parity so it would be 1tb in size


you are prob better off running 2 drives and a raid 0 for speed
and using the 3rd drive seperately to backup your important data

store finished video editing etc.
May 8, 2009 7:24:13 PM

rand_79 said:
raid 5 has alot of overhead for processing the parity on write.. and you would lose 1 drive for the parity so it would be 1tb in size


you are prob better off running 2 drives and a raid 0 for speed
and using the 3rd drive seperately to backup your important data

store finished video editing etc.


Your right about overhead but, i don't think it would be worth the performance drop either.

I personally would just run a Raid 1 for data backup
Related resources
a b G Storage
May 8, 2009 7:53:08 PM

Except raid 1 isnt a backup.. its simply 2 copies of the data.. you accidently delete or alter something its not coming back.

and he has 3 drives

May 8, 2009 7:55:48 PM

rand_79 said:
Except raid 1 isnt a backup.. its simply 2 copies of the data.. you accidently delete or alter something its not coming back.

and he has 3 drives


It is a backup incase of hard drive failure, which is what I meant, and I think you knew that.
a b G Storage
May 8, 2009 8:19:24 PM

so you are suggesting a 3drive raid 1 ? lol

May 8, 2009 8:36:58 PM

uh no rand_79

I am saying a raid 1 would be nicer "personally" (if you noticed i said that first post) since a raid 0 provides no fault tolerance, if a hard drive fails well then your screwed with anything that was on there.

2 drives Raid 1
1 drive for whatever he deems fit.

The guy is actually asking for the forums opinion not just yours.
May 8, 2009 8:55:32 PM

sliksnale said:
What is the best possible RAID option to use with 3 exact same WD hard drives?

I also want to install on one of these hard drive by partitioning or leave entire drive for OS/Programs. What is the best possible scenario when using 3 harddrive with OS install?

I am looking into to use RAID 5. This computer is for gaming and video editing (home user).

Thanks for your help!


Well, I think that if you have a hardware raid controller than you'd just set up two raid partitions across the 3 drives......I don't recommend software raid at all (well mirror R1 software is ok). You won't need to do it, but you can do it.

FYI - if you do have a hardware controller than it won't be any faster or slower to have multiple partitions on the raid, it's all gotta get through the same controller channel anyway. Putting the OS onto a different disk subsystem only increases speed if a second channel to the data becomes involved.

May 9, 2009 2:26:41 PM

Thanks for your replies!

I have ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 (mb), i am sure you guys are familiar with this board. Last night, I tried to setup two RAID 5 drives one for OS/Programs and one for BACKUP. I have total of 3 drives, 500 GB each.

I want to know how can i increase the performance and still utlize those drives for backup so if one of them dies i can recover the data. How would you setup your computer with 3 drives with best possible RAID and OS/Programs installed on one partition and other media files data on other.

I heard if i install RAID 0, i would loose all the data when the drives dies so i wanna try to stay away from that. Once my computer is up and running, i can backup the image of the C: for future crashes.

thanks again!
a c 353 G Storage
May 9, 2009 3:49:02 PM

Sliksnale
Myself I would chose the Raid0 for two and use the 3rd drive as a back-up, and/or video files.

Understand your reservations, but keep in mind that although a failure is twice as likely the MTBF of hard drives is very high. WD drives are quite good.

I currently have 4 computes and ALL are using raid0
- Primary 4 HHDs (2 pairs of raid 0, one for XP and one for Vista soon to add 3rd pair for Win 7)
Two years, one failure - MY FAULT. Had the Drives outside the case and bumped during read/write.
- My back up P4 2.4 Maybe 5 years old. One Raid 0 - No failures
- My wifes, also p4 2.4 Older Not one problem with Raid0
-Closet Rig (dig out for Visiting Kids) Athlon 1.8 IDE Raid setup. Just Took this computer in to work to test and clone some VERY old SCI (8 gig) SCSI drives from a Win 3.11 Rack mounted computer. STILL Working great, not a single HDD failure.

Raid 1 will decrease preformance AND has the same liability as Raid 0 should your MB fail.
You would have to replace with MB with Same Raid controller - No upgrade. Also (unlikely) but same-same if PSU failure takes out system.

Alternative for three drives is raid 0+1.
Does not have the performance hit of Raid 0, almost same performance as Raid0 and protects against single drive failure.
May 9, 2009 9:11:44 PM

RetiredChief said:
Sliksnale
Myself I would chose the Raid0 for two and use the 3rd drive as a back-up, and/or video files.

Understand your reservations, but keep in mind that although a failure is twice as likely the MTBF of hard drives is very high. WD drives are quite good.

I currently have 4 computes and ALL are using raid0
- Primary 4 HHDs (2 pairs of raid 0, one for XP and one for Vista soon to add 3rd pair for Win 7)
Two years, one failure - MY FAULT. Had the Drives outside the case and bumped during read/write.
- My back up P4 2.4 Maybe 5 years old. One Raid 0 - No failures
- My wifes, also p4 2.4 Older Not one problem with Raid0
-Closet Rig (dig out for Visiting Kids) Athlon 1.8 IDE Raid setup. Just Took this computer in to work to test and clone some VERY old SCI (8 gig) SCSI drives from a Win 3.11 Rack mounted computer. STILL Working great, not a single HDD failure.

Raid 1 will decrease preformance AND has the same liability as Raid 0 should your MB fail.
You would have to replace with MB with Same Raid controller - No upgrade. Also (unlikely) but same-same if PSU failure takes out system.

Alternative for three drives is raid 0+1.
Does not have the performance hit of Raid 0, almost same performance as Raid0 and protects against single drive failure.


Thanks so much for your reply, i really like how you laid it all out.

I have questions about your setup. How did you install XP and Vista on two different harddrives but act as dual boot. How big are your drives and Where do you store your media files? Do you raid the stroage drive?

I already installed Vista x64 on one hard drive and using other 2 for storage. I think 500GB is enough for OS so i want to raid that harddrive to make my programs and OS run faster. Can i raid the harddrives after i install OS or i have to do it before? I try to raid before i installed but Vista installation stops me from installing on the raid partition. There might be something i was doing wrong. Can you guide me on how do i go about doing this? This is a brand new build but i have never raid before.

Can i raid one harddrive with OS/Programs? and Raid other two for storage but i do not want to loose data if one of them dies. How can i set it up? Also, Can i raid harddrives after windows installation?

I really appreciate your help!
a c 353 G Storage
May 9, 2009 9:52:50 PM

1- You can not raid your HDD after installing operation system, You can but you will loose everything. When you set up the raid stripe it wipes all files (Distroys the file allocation table and partitions and boot sector).

2 - Here is how I did mine:
1st I connected one pair of HDDs ( 2 x 320 gig drives - Drive 0) and created the Raid0. Then loaded the operating system. During XP installation XP (Vista) will allow you to partition the drive (640 Gigs). I selected to create a 60 gig partitition for the operating system Drive C. I then partitioned the remainder of the drive as an extended partition (From there depending on your desires you can make all of it a logical drive (Drive D.)
NOTE: go into Disk management and change your D drive to E: and DVD drive Letters, I changed mine to H and I. You need to do this to allow for next step.
2 - Disconnect these two HDDs and using the next two SATA connection connected the next pair of Drives (2 X 250 gig - Drive 1). and proceeded to load Vista.
Again during installation, I created a 60 gig primary partition for vista and the rest of the drive as an extended partition.
NOTE: Your vista will come up as C: (This is OK), then change the logical drive (D) to E: (one letter past what you did for XP Drive. And change your DVD drive(s) to the same as you assigned in XP.

Power down, and reconnect the XP drives - Start up, go into bios and set which operating system you want to boot to the majority of the time. Say you set to Vista (Drive 1). Vista will come up as drive C and The XP partition will come up as D:

To change, just restart the computer and select to "Boot from" and select drive 0 for XP. On mine I hit f12 during boot. NOTE XP will come up as drive C and Vista partition will come up as D. NOT as confussing as it sounds. - NO SOFTWARE boot manager to hose up system.

Mine- Drive 0 C: XP, E: 12 gig (for vista swap file) F: remainder of drive for my garbage
- Drive 1 D: Vista, G: for Back up of F (Drive 0): and for Video files
Drive H: LG Blu-Ray writer
Drive I: Plextor 755 DVD Writer.

Hope this helps (PS Spelling IS NOT MY strong point)
May 10, 2009 12:28:35 AM

For everyone that thinks Raid 0 is so great, there actually are people who care about their data AND today's drives are so fast that Raid 0 tends to slow everyday usage down due to higher random access. Laptop drives are now faster than desktop drives from just 2 yrs ago. Raid 0 was designed when 4 drives striped together were far less than what a single drive can do now. Today, Raid 1 actually INCREASES performance due to a nice little feature called "Split Seeks" where the OS can read from both drives at the same time. This increases Read throughput and decreases Random Access time.

Disclaimer: Raid is my area of expertise and Video Editing/Compositing is my job.


Let me answer your question about creating Raid after Vista install.

YES YES YES you can. I am being emphatic because there are others giving you bad information. Download "Intel Matrix Storage" program from Intel's site and install. Once installed, you can setup Raid 1 with another drive. Just make sure that other drive is empty because the data from your main drive will be copied to the other drive.

THIS BELOW IS IF YOU WERE TO START FROM SCRATCH:
Since you have the ASUS board with Intel's Matrix Raid, you can create 2 different Raid arrays using one set of drives. Unless your drives are old, you should get 1 more so you can do one of these options:

1) a 4 drive Raid 10(sometimes written as Raid 1+0). Raid 10 requires a minimum 4 drives, not 3. Use the Raid 10 array for the OS+Apps & Storage and then you can create a Raid 0 array for Media Cache & Scratch Disk. I can tell you from experience that Raid 10 is faster than a 4 drive Raid 0 for the OS+Apps. The OS, especially Vista, reads & writes small pieces of data all the time and having to "Stripe" an 8kb file across 4 drives hurts performance. Also, Raid 10 allows for up to 2 drives to fail without losing any data. I just had a Raptor die as part of a Raid 10 and lost no data and had no downtime.

2) With 3 drives: Another option would be to take 2 drives and create a Raid 1 array of 450GB for the OS+Apps+Storage and then create a Raid 0 array of 70GB for the Scratch disk. Then use the 3rd drive for Media Cache and Page File.

3) With 4 500GB drives: use the Raid 1 for OS+Apps and Raid 0 like above and then create a 2 drive Raid 1 array just for storage. This configuration moves things around: you now create a 150GB Raid 1 array for the OS+Apps and a 670GB Raid 0 array for the Page File, Scratch Disk and Media Cache. This option would probably be the fastest OVERALL. It certainly would be the fastest for Video Editing.
The last thing you want to do is use Raid 5. There are a couple of long on-going threads here about people having many problems using Raid 5 with the motherboard Raid controller. For one thing, it is extremely slow. I once tried a Raid 5 array with 4 Raptors and got about 50MB/s write speed and a bit higher read speeds. I also had it as the 2nd Raid array with a Raid 10 for the OS+Apps. Whenever the Raid 10 array was being used, the Raid 5 array moved, well actually it seemed like it wasn't moving because it was so slow. Probably one of the more important reasons not to use onboard Raid 5 is due to drives being "Dropped" randomly. Many times, a simple BSOD causes a drive to be Dropped out of the array and now the Raid controller thinks that drive has failed. If you were using a Raid 0 array in addition to the Raid 5 array, ALL of your Raid 0 data is gone. I learned the hard way and lost 200GB of data. With the large amount of data you have, a rebuild would take days and your system would be useless during that time.

Just FYI, Raid 1 is only 2 drives and Raid 0 is 2-6 drives and Raid 10 is only 4 drives.
May 10, 2009 12:39:03 AM

Just want to refute the "if you accidentally delete something or whatever". I can go and delete my entire 900GB partition full of data and I will lose NOTHING. When you delete something, the hard drive does NOTHING. The data is still there. This is why drives become fragmented easily. I once had some sort of error where my 900GB partition disappeared and I was able to get all my data back using simple data recovery software.

The chance of a drive failing is far higher than any other possible loss of data. Heck, a drive failing is Guaranteed. Its a matter of when.
a c 353 G Storage
May 10, 2009 12:50:01 AM

specialk90
Please provide a link backing up your claim "Raid 1 actually INCREASES performance ".
ie a head-to-head comparison of same drive in non-raid and raid 1. Who knows you might convert me.

No insult, but claiming "expert" does not sway me in the least. I have one son who produced a DVD for Michael D. Ward, and designs electronic dealing with streaming video. Have another son who is a IT Manager. I work with a lot of experts

Added.
I know that deleting a file does not delete the file, just the pointer and it can be recovered UNLESS the
sector/cluster has been reused.

NO ONE said you could not add a drive for raid 1 to an exsiting operating system - Read, I said Raid 0 would destroy the files when set up.

"a drive failing is Guaranteed. Its a matter of when. " So are taxes and death. Most HDD do pretty good with the exception of "defective" models (some ie seagate -11's)and drives that have been abused. With the exception of "defective" drives the most common cause of HDD failure is human induced ie plugging the power connector in backwards and PSU failure that wiped out the HDD.
May 10, 2009 1:17:47 AM

For one, go to Extremetech.com where I recently read an article testing Raid 1 vs Raid 0 vs single drive perf.

In these types of forums, people are always talking about gaming and other stuff but rarely about Raid and hard drives. I don't care about that other stuff. My workflow for video requires very high efficiency, and focusing on speeding up the slowest part helps the most. I can't have any downtime and I need very high speed while I work. Because of all this, I have spent countless hours testing different Raid setups using various Raid arrays and various Hardware Raid controllers over the last 2 or so yrs; therefore, this is why I say my area of "Expertise" is Raid. There are only a few other people that I've come across on TomsHardware who know more than I do about Raid: Shadowflash and Sub Mesa are two of those individuals.

And I wasn't trying to sway you at all. Its not your thread.
May 10, 2009 2:06:16 AM

"NO ONE said you could not add a drive for raid 1 to an exsiting operating system - Read, I said Raid 0 would destroy the files when set up."

Incorrect - With Intel's Matrix Storage, you can migrate from a single disk to Raid 1, 0, 10 and 5.

http://www.intel.com/Assets/PDF/appnote/310855.pdf

Go to the very end.

RetiredChief, the two of us bickering and arguing does not help the person who started this thread. I'm not here to waste my time arguing but I do want to help.
a c 353 G Storage
May 10, 2009 2:46:16 AM

Correct me, but is this the artical you are refering to

www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,364798,00.asp
“This process shouldn't detract from much from overall performance -- in some aoplication mixes, you may actually see performance increases on read operations”
“Next, RAID 0 striped arrays do provide some gains in performance. The gains vary with the block size and the type of applications used, however. In general, larger block sizes, as you would expect, favor applications that work with larger data files. Smaller block sizes proved to have the greatest performance improvement, but only in the raw throughput as measured by HD Tach. If your application must deal with many small files rapidly, these smaller block sizes may be the way to go.”

“You could argue that a better protection system might be to use a second drive as an online backup device. You could copy the files that don't change frequently……..you'd have a system that would provide more help in the case of an accidental deletion or virus infection that mirroring can offer. On the other hand, creating a rigorous backup regime requires daily effort and discipline, wheras RAID 0” Think this is a typo, I think the authur meant Raid 1

Based on that articale, I would still recommend either 3 seperate drives or Raid 0 with a dedicated back up drive

I agree, not arguing. Last post, the orignintor can decide
May 10, 2009 5:09:10 AM

RetiredChief, sorry if you spent a lot of time looking for the article. Now that I have some time, I went and found it. Its a rather recent article testing Raid 0, 1, 5 and 10 vs a single drive. Random Access went from 12ms to 10ms with Raid 1 and 10.

For everyone, their tests were only using a specific block size and don't equate fully to Real-World performance. There are many factors affecting performance when using an OS and programs such as: raid stripe size, Allocation unit size and size of file being written or read. If anyone is interested, I can post a link to some very in-depth testing of Raid and the various factors - I just have to find it.

Here is the article I was originally referring to:
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2334986,00.a...

Something I totally forgot to mention: Short Stroking.

This is something you can test now with a single drive. The OS+Apps doesn't need more than 65-80GB of space(I was able to fit Vista x64 plus SP1, Adobe Master Collection CS4(10GB by itself) with 14GB free onto a 52GB partition). TomsHardware recently released an article testing this.

In summary, it works by taking a 500GB drive and only using the first 10-20% of space. They took a 250GB Hitachi and used only the first 12GB and 34GB with an increase in IOP performance by 90% and 65% respectively. IOP performance measures how quickly a drive can access data. The higher the IOP, the more data it can access in a given period of time.

How it works: a hard drive begins on the outer edges of the disks which are the fastest. As it moves inwards, it gets slower. By limiting the drive to only the outer 10-20% of the disks, the drive doesn't need to move far to access data.

They also tested Raid 0 from 2 drives to 4 drives.

You can test this now by shrinking the partition of your OS(C:)  down to under 100GB, 80GB if you can. Just move data onto the other drives if you need space.

HERE is the article.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/short-stroking-hdd,...

I have implemented this in a quasi form. I deleted a Raid 5 array that I use for storage on my 3ware raid controller and rebuilt it with different parameters, and I made a 200GB partition for my photos and stock video footage. I did this because I usually look thru them very quickly looking for the right image or clip and being able to do so quicker certainly helps. I also created another 2 partitions filling the rest. I did this for another reason - defragmentation. I don't like the added stress of having to defrag several hundred GB's and by having smaller partitions, they tend to stay less fragmented longer.
a c 353 G Storage
May 11, 2009 2:38:01 AM

Thanks for the links, will look at them this coming week as I'm going to be tied up at work. Have 2 640 WD drives coming wenseday and plan on installing Win 7 RC.

Tring to resurrect a OLD computer system at work. It's been stored in a shed since 2003 - no enviormental controls. Pentium 90, 2 Gig SCSI drive 1 MEG memory and uses Win 3.11. It is used as a Satellite simulator, and because of the software and not be upgraded.
May 31, 2009 1:17:50 PM

specialk90 is 100% correct. I am currently building my 5 disc array from the MB(WD 750 gig 32mb black edition each)on my new system to do uncompressed HDMI video loading for editing. I've hopped, skipped and jumped some and found that 1+0 or 10 is the fastest, giving me just over 200 mb/s on 4 of the 5 drives. I started out with raid 0 on my OS and will have to turn this around as to get raid 10 on the OS with storage.
I've been using Black Magic Designs, Disk Speed test software for my Intensity Pro card from them. As I applied the Raid 10 to 4 drives I was able to get some higher settings of the Intensity Pro software to bring up higher def screens on their capturing software.
I really would like to not have to reload Vista to change the Raid settings correctly. I wonder if there's a way to make a USB drive back up bootable, then format the 5 drives and start over then applying the OS back on 4 of the drives. Anyone ever do that? Thanks for any suggestions.

Vista Ult 64
Biostar TForce 790GXB A2+
5600+ AMD
8Gig 800mhz
ATI crossfire
5 WD 750 gig 32 mb Black HD's


June 25, 2009 3:12:54 AM

Here is what I did with my system

C Drive : 2 x 146 GB 15K SAS Drives in Raid 0
D Drive : 1 TB SATA drive as my backup drive

All programs and the OS are installed to C

Every night Norton Ghost runs to backup the data on C to D

This gives me incremental backups, so I can go back and find a file from 3 weeks ago if I really needed to.

If you want to see full details on my setup you can see my SAS RAID setup here
!