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RAID issues and Hard Drive testing programs

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August 2, 2009 4:55:27 AM

Here's the deal. I'm new to Toms Hardware and new to RAID including RAID5.

I have the following:

Motherboard = MS-7145 / RS480M

SATA Card = SYBA SD-SATA2-4IR PCI SATA II Controller Card RAID 0/1/5/10 JBOD - Retail

I currently have one Seagate 1.5TB harddrive on the on board SATA.

I have received 3x300GB Seagate SATA harddrives. One of them died on delivery. I replaced it with a 320GB Seagate SATA Harddive.

I turned around and put them on my SATA card and hooked them up with RAID5 though windows server 2k3.

Well when I copy anything over to this new RAID5, I get basically 3 different est remaining times and transfer speeds are really slow.

example. I tried coping a 6GB file that I had on the 1.5TB drive over to the 600GB RAID5.

Windows says est time (max 109Minutes, Min 75minutes) It jumps all around between roughly 75 > 81 > 83 > 91 > 95 > 97 > 101 > 85 > 87 > 81 > 75 > 85 ect.

I've also seen the time at about 50% drop down to 2 minutes then back up to 40/50 minutes.

Also it will take a good hour to transfer this file. This file is just going from one drive to the other inside of one computer.

Now if I copy files from the RAID to the 1.5TB this 6GB takes the amount of time I'm used to like maybe 10 minutes tops. For example a 2GB file took 45 seconds.

So my questions to you are....

What programs does Toms Hardware use to test hard drives?
Is there a program that can tell me why this RAID is so slow?
Is this NORMAL for this type of RAID?
August 2, 2009 6:31:05 PM

Your best option is to setup the two identical drives up as a raid0 C: drive. Then setup the remainig drives as seperate drives D:, E: etc. Raid 5 or JBOD will not be any advantage. It's nice you have a controller card and since you have it use it. But your MB has a raid option check? That would have worked fine and saved you a couple of bucks. By the way setup the raid 0 drive as a small partition say 30-40GB for the OS and the rest of the drive as a seperate partition for your applications this will be the D: drive, well maybe not if you have other optical drives they will get named first. Mine is F:. locate percious data in a couple of places in case of drive failure including a flash drive. I have two WD 640s and get around 200+mb to 140+mb transfer rate. According to HD tune 2.55.
August 2, 2009 7:33:07 PM

I have a 40GB IDE drive as OS right now.

C: = 40GB IDE > OS
D: = 600GB RAID5 SATA > Unfinished Downloads and Backup
E: = Nothing... Used to be a 320GB and D used to be a 160GB
F: = 1.5TB SATA > Storage

X: = Virtual DvDRom
Y: = Virtual DvDRom
Z: = DvD RW

I'm not worrying about losing the OS it can be replaced.

The Backup drive contains "My Documents" for all users and my personal pictures.

The storage drive contains...well lets just not discuss that here... but it's all replaceable.

What I'm worried about is losing the stuff on the Back up drive. What I'm getting from this is that I need to have it backed up either using RAID5 + RAID 1 or have it mirrored on another machine or removable drive. This I get....

I'm also trying to stay away from using the MB SATA chipset due to compatibility once I upgrade later on down the road. I would rather keep any RAID on the controller card which can be moved where the MB chipset cannot.

I'm just more wondering if the speed on my RAID5 is normal?
Also I'm looking for Hard drive testing programs.

Thank you for responding and your input. I'm not trying to be difficult I just don't understand your reason for wanting to put the OS on RAID0. Only thing I can think of is making the OS faster but, in my case it's fast enough because it's a server and stays running 24/7. It's last uptime was 50 days since I put it together 51 days ago. The OS runs great and unless there is something I'm missing I don't see the point of it sorry. Maybe I didn't explain it correctly.
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August 2, 2009 10:37:44 PM

Is the 40GB drive a physical drive? If so it is an older drive is that right? I would lose it. Raid0 for your OS and applications is for speed. Having a data drive is just that for data. What does HD tune say your transfer rate is? Start there. It is a free download.

Also the transfer rate is only as fast as the slowest drive. Where is the data stored? Where is it going? Say a slow drive to a fast drive. Say the slow drive is 75mb/s. The math 6GB = 6,000mb / 75 =80sec / 60 =1.33min. Soooo.. 90ish seconds. Most systems won't process 6gb in 90 sec but I would say that 10 minutes is way long. Run the HD tune to see what you get.

I just did a little experiment with my system. 10GB of game map files from the storage drive to the application drive. I believe that data to a clean space is faster than data to a used overwrite space since one file on top of another file and verification takes the system a couple of extra steps. Anyway I was able to transfer 10GB in about 3 minutes; about 55GB/s for 180sec since it was a little less probably closer to 65MB/s. So yes your system is very slow in it’s current setup.

Perhaps you are to the stage where you need a hot swappable JOBD enterprise type system. If so then look into a raid cabinet all at raid 1. If one goes out there is still redundancy.

Chief if you are out there pop in here and add your 2 cents please.
a b G Storage
August 3, 2009 7:51:38 AM

Erland your using a "software" raid5 card - they are poor performers at best as they do not have any dedicated processor to do the XOR calculations etc for the RAID5

As for the fast 2gb transfer but slow 6gb transfer - i bet you any money when the file "finishes" copying the hdd light still flickers away for even a few minutes - whats actually happening is your source hdd is able to read at say ~60mb/s but your raid5 can only sustain say ~5mb/s - windows tries overcoming that by caching - transferring the data to ram and from ram to the raid5 array to overcome the bottleneck so when you are transferring something it seems quicker but is really finishing off the operation in the background etc

more ram can sort of help the situation but as soon as the ram available (minus the memory required for apps and windows) is filled you will hit that limit again

take a look at task manager before and while doing a transfer - the available physical memory will drop to next to nothing and the transfer will slow down once you run out of memory to cache the transfer if the file is beyond the size of the available free memory

also beware of data loss from power cuts during transfers like this


this information is NEVER listed anywhere on the web and had me stumped for a while - i asked the same or similar question on a few forums a while back with no help from anyone, i hope this information may help you
August 4, 2009 2:59:28 AM

Here are my results from HD Tune..

40GB:


1.5TB


320GB


300GB - 1


300GB -2


I ran the tests twice. The first time I was running disk Keeper, so I turned it off and re-ran it and the results were a little better.

It looks like my main issue is with that first 300GB drive IDK but for some reason it really gets low speeds but, it's the same exact dive as the 2nd 300GB so IDK.

It looks like the 1st 300GB might be on it's way out...
August 4, 2009 3:04:04 PM

From what I'm seeing you have 1 40GB, 1 1.5TB, 1 320, 2ea 300GB drives all running separately, is this correct? It looks like the 40 and 300 (1) are having problems. I don't see where you have setup a raid. Raided drives would be listed as such. I only see that you have five separate drives. Since that is the case 5 single drives why are you asking and telling us about your raid 5 you do not have a raid 5? The bottom line is this. You want a raid to improve the speed of the I/O for your system. The best situation is to setup a 0+1 Raid. You cannot do that with the drives you currently have. The best situation for you is to as I stated previously is to set up the two matching drives as your raid0. Partition it into two drives. A smaller section for the OS and the second larger section for the apps. Data can reside there, however it should be backed up somewhere else. Use the remaining drives as storage. Hard drives are becoming very cheap. Dump this tossed salad of drives and start over with matching drives. Signup for Neweggs email program and they'll send you discounts by email. I see where the egg has WD 750GB drives for $70 ea free shipping. Here is a link to build a raid 5 if you want. Not that you have the card in the article do pay attention to this, "Next, we changed FastInit to On. If you neglect to do this with a RAID 5 on this card, your array will be very slow—slower than a single hard drive." Your card is likely to have a feature like that

http://www.smartcomputing.com/Editorial/article.asp?art...
August 4, 2009 4:45:57 PM

I don't have much time to address everything you said as I'm running out of the house to an appointment but,

The 320 + 2x300 are in a RAID5 through windows disk management. It's not done with the software that came with the card but through windows it's self.. it puzzled me that it showed up as different drives rather than one drive.
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