I'm planning a build to be purchased sometime in September, and am looking into RAID possibilities. My two preferred drives are the WD Caviar Black & Green 1TB drives. My budget allows for 2 of them at first, possibly 3, but that's a stretch.
1. Is it a bad idea to have my OS on a mirrored drive?
a) can I install the OS on a smaller partition of the drive (let's say 60GB) and mirror the other 940GB with the second drive?
2. Will a motherboard's on-board RAID controller (Asus P6T SE) struggle with a RAID 1 between different-speed HDD's? (Green vs Black)
I'm not too interested in RAID 0 because of its vulnerability to data-loss -- RAID 1 sounds nice in that it automatically and instantaneously backs up everything I have, while increasing read speed. However, a RAID 0+1, 1+0, or 5 might be a future endeavor.
What are you trying to accomplish? RAID1 is great for keeping a server online if a drive fails, but for a home user a RAID1 costs just as much space as a backup.
Both a backup and RAID1 store a copy of your data. The difference is RAID1 is a "live backup", meaning any change to the raw contents of disk1 will be written to disk2. This means a RAID1 is still vulnerable to:
- any virusses that may be contaminating your data
- accidental deletions for your part or from program malfunctions
- filesystem corruption
- RAID-specific failures (usually driver-bugs)
A backup does exactly what a RAID1 can do: protect against (single) drive failure, but a backup protects against more dangers. The only thing a backup cannot do is taking over immediately if the primary drive fails; but that's only really important to servers not to home users. So think twice before picking RAID.
I would advice using a backup instead, with 2 x 1TB disks you have 1TB storage space; i advice WD Green series for its low power consumption and good performance when working with large data files. Its less suitable as system disk with relies on access time more than throughput, though the difference in actual performance isn't that big.
I wouldn't mix WD Green + WD Black drive, because one runs 5400rpm the other 7200rpm so it could hurt your performance. Instead, run without RAID so you get the speed of the 7200rpm "Black" version and use the 5400rpm "Green" for backup/data storage.
you mentioned 3 drives you could raid 0 2 drives in your comp and then use a third external drive to back up your data. This method would provide much higher performance and data safety than your current plan.
Don't mix different types of drives in a raid array.
WD makes drives specifically for raid usage they have RE in their names (raid edition).
Is there a good program that will sync the two drives? I just don't want to have to manually copy over any changes i've made to my operating drive every day/hour. RAID 1 sounded like a good automatic way to back-up my data while increasing read performance.
What changes are you making to your O/S drive hourly/daily? Usually the only thing that you change frequently is your data which you can back up at the end of each day to a remote drive. I setup a system using the Windows 7 back-up feature. 1st I did an image back-up to a USB hard drive and every evening it backs up to that USB hard drive any additions or changes made that day.