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SIL3132 Raid 0 Performance vs SSD

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October 1, 2009 2:43:06 AM

Hello,

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this. However, I had a question I couldn't find a definitive answer through extensive Google search queries.

I just recently bought a microATX system, and it looks like the onboard RAID controller is a Sil 3132. Since I will be running Crossfire Radeons, both PCIe slots will be taken. I was wondering which one would be faster for a dedicated gaming hard drive, given my inability to run a discrete RAID controller:

a.) 2x 300GB Velociraptors -- RAID0 controlled by Sil3132

b.) SSD Hard drive (leaning towards the Corsair P256)

It seems the SSD has some minor slowdown issues with rewriting over unfresh data, but this shouldn't be a big deal as gaming is more read-intensive. Longevity is up in the air as it seems the Velociraptors allegedly have an above average failure rate, although the Raptors would have over twice the capacity of the SSD. Being as both are relatively the same price level (SSD being about $150 more expensive), capacity notwithstanding, which one would offer the best gaming performance? Any information will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Not sure if it matters but the OS and non-intensive apps will be thrown onto a lone 300GB Velociraptor. The setup I'm looking for, at the moment, will solely be for throwing games onto. Although, if the performance is worth it, I may clone the OS over to the faster setup just for better boot time performance.

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a c 415 G Storage
October 1, 2009 4:14:17 AM

To a large extent the answer depends on how intensively your games access the disks and whether they do so in a random or sequential fashion.

SSDs are way, WAY faster for random I/O, so they'll be much better for booting and loading programs. Whether this will help once your games are loaded and running depends very heavily on the game as mentioned above.

Velociraptors (or any modern drive, in fact) may edge out the SSD in terms of sequential transfer rates - so if your games do large bulk loading of data into RAM then they might be faster for that purpose.
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October 1, 2009 6:07:03 AM

Hmm... after spending most of tonight researching SSD performance, I think I've decided to go with the Intel X25-m. This is the setup I have in mind right now:

First drive: X25-m 80GB for OS and apps
Second drive: 300GB Velociraptor for MP3's, etc. [My Documents will be migrated to this drive as well]
Third drive: X25-m 160GB dedicated to only games

Unless there are performance benefits unknown to me for keeping the OS/apps/games all on the 160gb drive, this is what I think I will go with. If there are games that do the large bulk loading as described, then it will go on the VRaptor.

Admittedly, I am quite a novice to performance hard drive setups, so forgive me if my questions seem rather inane. I just want to match my i7-975 and Crossfired 2x ATI 5870's with insane load times. :p 

EDIT: The reason for the 80GB/160GB separate X25-m drives is because I don't want to overfill one drive. I want to be able to run the OS and apps and keep the 80GB at less than 75% capacity, and likewise with games on the 160GB drive. With the amount of games I'm planning on getting, I'm worried I'd be filling the 160GB to capacity too soon, especially if 30-50GB is slated to both the OS and more intensive apps (i.e. Photoshop). Ideally I'd be running everything off of two 160GB X25-m's in RAID0, but their supplies are so limited that I am stuck with having to get only one. That plus being stuck with on onboard SATA controller with no room for discrete = uncertain if RAID0 has any performance benefits over running single SSD's.
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a c 127 G Storage
October 1, 2009 12:52:23 PM

SiI 3132 is a reasonably bug-free controller with PCIe interface, but if you can avoid having to use their RAID drivers as they are of lesser design than others. Connecting an SSD to the controller should work fine though.

I also recommend you get the Intel X25-M drive, its a great system disk for many years to come. Note that you would need at least Windows 7 to be able to use the TRIM feature as it is supported; which will keep the performance degradation to a minimum.
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a c 415 G Storage
October 1, 2009 5:35:22 PM

LagginTimes said:
I just want to match my i7-975 and Crossfired 2x ATI 5870's with insane load times. :p 
With that setup you're headed to the loony bin for sure! :D 
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October 8, 2009 3:41:09 PM

SiI 3132 is a reasonably bug-free controller with PCIe interface, but if you can avoid having to use their RAID drivers as they are of lesser design than others. Connecting an SSD to the controller should work fine though.

To : sub meas :

Any drivers can be used to replace SIL 3132 driver ? As I have a SIL 3132 Raid card planning to set up Raid 0. Thanks.


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a c 127 G Storage
October 8, 2009 5:08:02 PM

You can use any SATA controller, for example a card with the SiI-3132 (note that its not SiL but SiI) chipset, in a software RAID configuration. So if you use windows, you can use software RAID0 using windows drivers in the Disk Management screen. You have to convert the disks to Dynamic, after its possible to use Software RAID in Windows.

Other operating systems have superior RAID engines, Linux and BSD are probably the best in this task. But a RAID0 is simple and Windows can do a fine job. You'll see high MB/s values when benchmarking, i got about 500MB/s using windows software RAID0 using 8 disks with 120GB platters.

However, this software RAID cannot be used to boot from; for that you need to use onboard RAID drivers or hardware RAID. You can boot from a software RAID1 though, although technically speaking you're booting from one of the disk members of the RAID array, not booting from the RAID itself.
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October 9, 2009 10:04:56 PM

Having an Ssd for the OS, I wouldn't add a VRaptor, and certainly not for Mp3.

As access time isn't important for this disk, you'll get as good performance from a 7200rpm like Seagate's St3500418as with far less noise and much cheaper. Mine spews 134MB/s which is what you need at MB files. Hitachi's 7k1000b would have a more agile head with still about 120MB/s platters.

The VRaptor makes sense as a booting drive if you want more capacity than an Ssd - backing up a single drive is also more comfortable than an Ssd + a 7200rpm. It's also better than a 7200rpm (but not as good as an Ssd) for seeking a file among a huge folder, like among all your documents. But for loading big files like audio, video, games, modern 7200rpm as at least as good.
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a c 127 G Storage
October 9, 2009 11:01:16 PM

Indeed, it wouldn't make much sense to use the Velociraptor for large data storage like MP3, AVI, RAR and any large file. It might make sense to use it for Games if you want to install alot of them. You can install your most-used games on the SSD and some games you want to try out or don't use that often on the Velociraptor. Just an idea.

But ideally, a 5400rpm "Green" drive is best suited for this job. Why? Well its almost as fast as 7200rpm disks when looking at sequential throughput (or MB/s) but it uses alot less power, causing less heat problems and less noise/vibrations and that sort of thing. In most realistic benchmarks it doesn't really underperform in any way. I like performance, but you don't need 80MB/s to play an AVI, for example. So do what makes sense is my advice.

However the Velociraptor is a great drive; its just a shame SSDs are so much better in performance. Its often used as alternative to SSD because it can store a reasonable amount of data for a decent price. But if you're going for X25-M 160GB i don't know what you'll be using it for mostly.
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a b G Storage
October 19, 2009 1:03:24 PM

I was reading about this toppic;
according to
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
your question can be answered as following:
it depends wich SSD drive you pick, if you get a OCZ vertex you can't beat it with raptors in raid 0
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