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Intel x25-m G2 80gb in raid-0 or Single OCZ Vertex 120 gb

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November 5, 2009 9:30:40 PM

I am planing on putting together a new rig by the end of the month and will definitely use an SSD as a boot drive.

The question is:

1. Should I get a single OCZ Vertex 120GB drive

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2. Or get a single Intel X25-m 80gb drive now and get an additional one once prices drop in few
months for a raid 0 setup.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Moreover, do you recommend on purchasing now or waiting till Black Friday, Holiday Season or after Holidays for a purchase date?
Prices have gone through the roof within the last week or so. I guess we can blame the introduction of Windows 7 or pre-holiday season hike.

Thanks for all responses.
a b G Storage
November 5, 2009 9:33:54 PM

I'd advise waiting for holidays sales and getting the Intel X-25.
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a b G Storage
November 5, 2009 11:55:13 PM

IMO, the X25-M is a great value, but I doubt there is much to gain from using RAID0; you can see benchmarks here. The big gain of RAID0 is sequential read/write, but that has never been be BIG gain for SSD, the benefit of SSD are random read/write and, ad you can see from the benchmark on 4K random read/write, RAID0 worsen things because the RAID0 "processing" adds latency which is supposed to be the strength of SSDs. So basically you would be replacing a 2 lane 60mph highway by a 4 lane 40mph road ... in theory more people can travel, but for a single car it only means longer travel time.

So my question is: why RAID0?
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November 6, 2009 12:44:13 AM

OK, I will stick with one relatively larger SSD.


Should I get:

OCZ Vertex 120 GB

or

Crucial CT128M225 128GB

or

X25-M 160GB (when it gets to $400 range, is there a chance of that happening in December?)
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a b G Storage
November 6, 2009 12:57:09 AM

There is nothing preventing you from using two 80GB SSD, I just don't think RAID0 is THAT much a benefit as people seem to think. If you need the space for extra software or games and would like the SSD responsiveness, you can simply use the 2nd SSD as a "D:" drive and put the extra software on it. If you just need the space for storage, you can get regular drive and achieve very good sequential read/write speed ... even more if you put them in RAID. Yes I know I've been bashing RAID, but for me large file storage is one area where RAID actually makes sense. For less than the price of a single 80GB SSD, you can probably get 3 1TB drive, put them in RAID5 and end-up with 2TB of usable storage, good sequential read/write speeds AND data security.
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a c 127 G Storage
November 6, 2009 5:07:46 AM

The benchmarks performed on the site are reasonable; but onboard RAID does appear to scale far less well than software RAID0. Unfortunately if you need to boot from it that's all you can use.

For example, their STR's do not double when using RAID0; that's a wrong setup or bad efficiency RAID drivers. If one drive gets 250MB/s; two should get ~500MB/s; they get only ~400MB/s. The random read/write does scale as well though, so it stil has its usage the MB/s scores are irrelevant.

Don't go for any other SSD than the Intel though; its speed you want right? So pick the fastest SSD which is Intel by far. By determining which drive is fast, never look at MB/s as this score is irrelevant for system disks. Look at IOps or random read/write performance, and you can separate the boys from the men.
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a b G Storage
November 6, 2009 5:25:34 AM

Zenthar said:
There is nothing preventing you from using two 80GB SSD, I just don't think RAID0 is THAT much a benefit as people seem to think. If you need the space for extra software or games and would like the SSD responsiveness, you can simply use the 2nd SSD as a "D:" drive and put the extra software on it. If you just need the space for storage, you can get regular drive and achieve very good sequential read/write speed ... even more if you put them in RAID. Yes I know I've been bashing RAID, but for me large file storage is one area where RAID actually makes sense. For less than the price of a single 80GB SSD, you can probably get 3 1TB drive, put them in RAID5 and end-up with 2TB of usable storage, good sequential read/write speeds AND data security.

I do see one good reason to run RAID 0 Intel x25-M 80GB drives. Currently, they are cheaper than half the price of the 160GB model, so if you want a 160GB Intel SSD, and you want it as a single large volume, RAID 0 80GB drives is actually the cheaper way to go.
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a c 127 G Storage
November 6, 2009 5:37:13 AM

Indeed its more or less performance for free.

However it is a choice: using RAID drivers or not using RAID drivers. If you do not need to boot from it, software RAID (even in Windows itself) should be superior in performance and more reliable than those onboard RAID drivers; nVidia/ATi/VIA seem to be quite bad, same with Silicon Image/JMicron/Promise FastTrak.

With just one 160GB you can run it without any messy RAID drivers. However, i do feel the added performance of RAID0 makes sense and this would be the prefered choice for those who focus on performance.

The random I/O scores do improve with RAID0, not just sequential performance. You do need to setup the RAID properly to make it scale in random I/O:
  • Use Vista/Win7/Linux to avoid stripe misalignment issues
  • Use stripesizes of 128KiB or larger
  • Make only one partition, created with Vista or Win7.
  • Use proper RAID drivers
  • Increase VFS read ahead values to get max read performance; in Windows these are registry hacks

    However, RAIDs cannot use TRIM which is a big loss. I'm not sure about software RAID in Windows though; but i'd guess TRIM would work in that case.
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    a b G Storage
    November 6, 2009 1:25:51 PM

    sub mesa said:
    However, RAIDs cannot use TRIM which is a big loss. I'm not sure about software RAID in Windows though; but i'd guess TRIM would work in that case.
    I had just though about that and was coming to this thread to mention it. Not being able to TRIM the RAID drives could be a big downside, the drives will rock initially, but performance drop could be even steeper. I found this article I though people might find interesting.
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    a c 127 G Storage
    November 6, 2009 2:16:47 PM

    One more reason software RAID is superior to driver/hardware RAID. :p 

    But yes it's a big miss; though it should not be impossible to 'pass through' the TRIM commands if the RAID driver supported it. You don't need TRIM at the very beginning when you start to use your system; you need it as time flies by and the SSD is running out of HPA remap blocks. So if you enable it in half a year or so, with newer RAID drivers that support TRIM, you should be fine. Of course, there is no guarantee the RAID drivers would work.

    Another option would be to clone the drives, zero-write them, and restore the clone every half a year or so; that would have the same effect as the performance level would be reset. The zero-write part can be omitted with HPA erase utilities like "HDDErase" which work on SSDs like Intel X25-M.
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    a c 415 G Storage
    November 6, 2009 8:12:13 PM

    You could just buy two 80GB drives and install the OS on one of them and all or most of your applications on the other one.
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    November 6, 2009 9:46:50 PM

    Zenthar said:
    I had just though about that and was coming to this thread to mention it. Not being able to TRIM the RAID drives could be a big downside, the drives will rock initially, but performance drop could be even steeper. I found this article I though people might find interesting.

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    November 6, 2009 9:54:45 PM

    hey zenthar look at this before you open your UNINFORMED MOUTH! 2 x25m in raid 0 ich10r 503 mb/s
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    November 6, 2009 10:45:31 PM

    yup...
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    November 6, 2009 11:17:18 PM

    sub mesa said:
    One more reason software RAID is superior to driver/hardware RAID. :p 

    But yes it's a big miss; though it should not be impossible to 'pass through' the TRIM commands if the RAID driver supported it. You don't need TRIM at the very beginning when you start to use your system; you need it as time flies by and the SSD is running out of HPA remap blocks. So if you enable it in half a year or so, with newer RAID drivers that support TRIM, you should be fine. Of course, there is no guarantee the RAID drivers would work.

    Another option would be to clone the drives, zero-write them, and restore the clone every half a year or so; that would have the same effect as the performance level would be reset. The zero-write part can be omitted with HPA erase utilities like "HDDErase" which work on SSDs like Intel X25-M.

    sub mesa you sound like zenthar and obviously dont know what you are talking about " One more reason software RAID is superior to driver/hardware RAID." WHERE DID YOU READ THAT PC WORLD? :pt1cable: 
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    November 6, 2009 11:20:42 PM

    Is the sequential write/read improvement with RAID offsetting the slight loss in write/read access time?

    Also, i just read that there will be a firmware update in the future enabling users to use trim in RAID setup?
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    November 6, 2009 11:26:29 PM

    valsorim said:
    OK, I will stick with one relatively larger SSD.


    Should I get:

    OCZ Vertex 120 GB

    or

    Crucial CT128M225 128GB

    or

    X25-M 160GB (when it gets to $400 range, is there a chance of that happening in December?)

    DUDE DONT LISTEN TO SUB MESA OR ZENTHAR LOOK AT THIS http://hothardware.com/Articles/Fusionio-vs-Intel-X25M-... 503 MB/S WITH HARDWARE RAID ICH10R
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    November 6, 2009 11:30:02 PM

    valsorim said:
    Is the sequential write/read improvement with RAID offsetting the slight loss in write/read access time?

    Also, i just read that there will be a firmware update in the future enabling users to use trim in RAID setup?

    LOSS WHAT LOSS WHERE DID YOU HEAR THAT FROM ZENTHAR THE GENIUS?
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    a b G Storage
    November 6, 2009 11:36:12 PM

    obamaliar said:
    hey zenthar look at this before you open your UNINFORMED MOUTH! 2 x25m in raid 0 ich10r 503 mb/s
    Ok, I will assume you might not have understood my point of view.

    When I said that SSDs BIG gain wasn't sequential read/write, I didn't meant performance was bad, I meant the performance gain it offered over traditional HDD wasn't competitive pricewise. You can get probably similar throughput by using 5 HD502HJ GB is RAID5 (5*55$ = 275$), but you also get data security AND a shitload of storage space (~2TB) all that for less than the price of a single X25-M.

    I've seen figures of SSD in RAID at the end of the article I linked to it said "average 479.3MB/s reads" and "average 148MB/s for writes" so yes I knew. But the real shine of SSD is random write of small data because the "seek time" is 100-200 better than standard HDD, that is why even with very small transfer sizes (<4K), the X25 is able to do 30-40MB/s while standard HDD crawl to about 1-2MB/s. However, you will notice that for such transfer sized RAID gains much lower than for bigger transfer sizes, that is due to both little extra latency for RAID operations (when you have a seek time of 0.1ms, even an additional 0.1ms seems big :p ).

    Don't get me wrong, I don't bash the X25-M, I think it's a gread SSD and am looking forward to buy one myself. However my foremost concern is people satisfaction of their system over time. I also believe that unless you play with big multimedia or CAD files, the gain from having 600$ worth of SSD in RAID0 might not be worth it, then again, if you have the money, why not.

    My true and only performance-related argument about using SSDs in RAID is related to the support of the TRIM command. I'm sure it will soon, if not already, supported by some RAID controller, but one should make sure of it before embarking on this pricey road. As the article I linked to before mentioned, when the SSDs get "degraded", the performance can drop to ~258.2MB/s read. Still good, but not worth 600$.
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    November 7, 2009 12:06:36 AM

    ok sorry dude sorry to you and to sub mesa i didnt realize 1ch10r is considered software raid. i just think raid 0 is clearly the way to go for performance and thats the only thing that matters to me. i had an intel x25m g2 and it was clearly faster than the patriot torqx 128 i have now (thanks maximum pc for your best of the best or i would still have my faster x-25)
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    a c 127 G Storage
    November 7, 2009 5:25:27 AM

    @obamaliar: i performed advanced RAID testing for many years, and do feel i have a much deeper knowledge of many people even those writing reviews on reputable sites. I'd gladly explain what i mean with software RAID being superior to driver/hardware RAID, but not if you start being obnoxious.

    What i meant was, that Software RAID would or at least should still allow the usage of TRIM even while using RAID, something that does not appear to be possible right now if you use Onboard RAID/Driver RAID. ICH10R falls into the last category; its not (true) software RAID in the sense that the operating system provides for these drivers and that some firmware allows booting Onboard RAIDs; something that is not possible with Software RAID on Windows. (*)

    The reason RAID0 arrays are faster than a single disk is because during the time one drive is busy with one I/O request, the other is free to be used for another I/O request. So you have an array that can process two I/O's at the same time, instead of one by one in a serial order. In order for this to happen, the RAID needs to be properly setup and the operating system and application need to give enough tasks to the RAID array; expressed in queue depth. In the case of booting or launching an application these pretty much are single tasks: "finish this I/O request first because i cannot give you the second one until i know the contents of this I/O read request!". So the queue depth is 1 here, and only one drive in a RAID can be used leading to similar single-drive performance or even slightly lower due to added latency as Zenthar said. (**)

    Zenthar is also spot-on with his argument that the MB/s speeds do not matter that much for a system drive; true performance is expressed in IOps and i don't think you fully understand its concepts yet.

    (*) There is no reason Software RAIDs are not bootable if the boot loader supports this; for example FreeBSD can boot from software RAID-5 or RAID-6 arrays in ZFS configuration.

    (**) The added latency is not 0.1 but is barely measurable on modern systems. The added latency of PCI subsystems does decrease performance, and RAID5 operations may add signicant latency but generally RAID0 and RAID1 or combinations of those have near-zero added latencies. The CPU usage is also close to nil.
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    a c 353 G Storage
    November 7, 2009 5:26:47 PM

    Concur with sub mesa and Zenthar on their assesement. Another factor to consider for a boot drive using raid 0 is that the normally recommend strip size is 128K and the vast majority of files are under 16 K, with a fairly sizable number under 8 K. @ 8K - 16 files would be on one disk, in one strip and not benifit from being spread over two drives.

    Note: I have two SSDs, One 128 gig Torqx in Laptop, A 80 Gig Intel G2 waiting to go into Desktop - When ever Intel gets their act together. Also have two Pairs of Raid 0 in desktop. One is short stroked for Win 7 RC. Have Win 7 upgrade, but may put win 7 and SSD in new build with the pair of 640 WD Blacks, Raid 0 and short stroked..
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    November 7, 2009 6:59:05 PM

    sub mesa said:
    Indeed its more or less performance for free.

    However it is a choice: using RAID drivers or not using RAID drivers. If you do not need to boot from it, software RAID (even in Windows itself) should be superior in performance and more reliable than those onboard RAID drivers; nVidia/ATi/VIA seem to be quite bad, same with Silicon Image/JMicron/Promise FastTrak.

    With just one 160GB you can run it without any messy RAID drivers. However, i do feel the added performance of RAID0 makes sense and this would be the prefered choice for those who focus on performance.

    The random I/O scores do improve with RAID0, not just sequential performance. You do need to setup the RAID properly to make it scale in random I/O:
  • Use Vista/Win7/Linux to avoid stripe misalignment issues
  • Use stripesizes of 128KiB or larger
  • Make only one partition, created with Vista or Win7.
  • Use proper RAID drivers
  • Increase VFS read ahead values to get max read performance; in Windows these are registry hacks

    However, RAIDs cannot use TRIM which is a big loss. I'm not sure about software RAID in Windows though; but i'd guess TRIM would work in that case.

  • now this makes sense didnt see this before but this DOES CONTRADICT ZENTHARS REASONING THAT THERE IS NOT MUCH TO GAIN BY GOING RAID AND THAT HAS BEEN MY POINT ALL ALONG :D 
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    November 7, 2009 7:06:21 PM

    RetiredChief said:
    Concur with sub mesa and Zenthar on their assesement. Another factor to consider for a boot drive using raid 0 is that the normally recommend strip size is 128K and the vast majority of files are under 16 K, with a fairly sizable number under 8 K. @ 8K - 16 files would be on one disk, in one strip and not benifit from being spread over two drives.

    Note: I have two SSDs, One 128 gig Torqx in Laptop, A 80 Gig Intel G2 waiting to go into Desktop - When ever Intel gets their act together. Also have two Pairs of Raid 0 in desktop. One is short stroked for Win 7 RC. Have Win 7 upgrade, but may put win 7 and SSD in new build with the pair of 640 WD Blacks, Raid 0 and short stroked..

    START USING THAT INTEL I HAVE A TORQX 128 BAREFOOT FW 1571 AND ITS NOT AS FAST AS THE 80 GB X25M G2 I USED TO HAVE X25M=WIN EXPERIENCE 7.6 TORQX 128= WIN EXPERIENCE 7.3 PLUS THE INTEL JUST FELT FASTER
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    a c 127 G Storage
    November 7, 2009 7:18:28 PM

    Please fix your caps lock before we continue our pleasant chat. :) 
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    a b G Storage
    November 7, 2009 8:03:14 PM

    obamaliar said:
    now this makes sense didnt see this before but this DOES CONTRADICT ZENTHARS REASONING THAT THERE IS NOT MUCH TO GAIN BY GOING RAID AND THAT HAS BEEN MY POINT ALL ALONG :D 
    My point is that the gain might not be worth the money; the gain is there and tough to ignore, but so is the 300$ a pop for an X25-M 80GB :p . And, for an OS drive, raw throughput isn't the primary factor.
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    November 7, 2009 8:06:02 PM

    sub mesa said:
    Please fix your caps lock before we continue our pleasant chat. :) 

    sorry my friend :whistle: 
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    November 7, 2009 8:09:48 PM

    Zenthar said:
    IMO, the X25-M is a great value, but I doubt there is much to gain from using RAID0; you can see benchmarks here. The big gain of RAID0 is sequential read/write, but that has never been be BIG gain for SSD, the benefit of SSD are random read/write and, ad you can see from the benchmark on 4K random read/write, RAID0 worsen things because the RAID0 "processing" adds latency which is supposed to be the strength of SSDs. So basically you would be replacing a 2 lane 60mph highway by a 4 lane 40mph road ... in theory more people can travel, but for a single car it only means longer travel time.

    So my question is: why RAID0?

    this doesnt sound like you feel raid makes a difference at all :kaola: 
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    a c 353 G Storage
    November 7, 2009 9:01:11 PM

    obamaliar said:
    START USING THAT INTEL I HAVE A TORQX 128 BAREFOOT FW 1571 AND ITS NOT AS FAST AS THE 80 GB X25M G2 I USED TO HAVE X25M=WIN EXPERIENCE 7.6 TORQX 128= WIN EXPERIENCE 7.3 PLUS THE INTEL JUST FELT FASTER


    Sometimes raw performance is not the only condideration and may not be the best choise.
    The two SSd's I have are for Two systems, The Torqx is for a laptop (with single HDD bay) and I knew it was not as fast as the Intel, BUT it is 164% larger and at the time CHEAPER. The Intel SSD is for a desktop where I also have two pair of HDDs in raid 0, so I'm fine with the smaller size. And Bought it for $230 and they threw in a free Thermaltake ElementsS Case!!!

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    a b G Storage
    November 7, 2009 9:05:58 PM

    obamaliar said:
    this doesnt sound like you feel raid makes a difference at all :kaola: 
    To me it's a mixed feeling. It does make a difference, numbers don't lie, but my opinion is that it doesn't make a difference where it matters MOST (450-500MB/s throughput isn't what matters to me for an OS drive, the 20MB/s achieved at random <4K data read/write is). IMO, going from 250MB/s to 500MB/s is like going from 100FPS to 200FPS in a game ... great, but you will not really "feel" de difference.

    What I'd like to see instead of synthetic benchmark results is windows boot time and application start time between raid and non-raid.
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    a c 415 G Storage
    November 7, 2009 11:39:03 PM

    FWIW I tried a pair of 1TB WD Green drives in a RAID 0 configuration using the matrix RAID on my Core i7 920 / 12GB RAM system. A fresh install of Windows 7 RC booted about 10-15% faster (from the end of POST to presentation of the logon screen) than a single, non-RAID drive.

    So RAID 0 gives you a measurable performance increase, but in practice it's not really noticeable and anyone who thinks that it's going to go, say, twice as fast because it has two drives has very unrealistic expectations.
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    November 12, 2009 4:03:26 AM

    obamaliar said:
    sub mesa you sound like zenthar and obviously dont know what you are talking about " One more reason software RAID is superior to driver/hardware RAID." WHERE DID YOU READ THAT PC WORLD? :pt1cable: 

    In my experience Sub Mesa has been one of the most well-informed good-intentioned informative and well-respected voices on this forum. I think you and your snide remarks need to take a vacation.
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    November 12, 2009 1:35:38 PM

    jadawgis732 said:
    In my experience Sub Mesa has been one of the most well-informed good-intentioned informative and well-respected voices on this forum. I think you and your snide remarks need to take a vacation.

    if you read a little further you would see that i apologized to sub mesa and zenthar and i told sub mesa that he was right so you might read a little further before you start preaching
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    December 22, 2009 8:21:35 AM

    Okay Okay,

    i have 2x X25-M G2 80 GB in RAID 0, on my i7 920 build, EVGA X58 3X SLI CLassified Motherboard..

    Questions:

    1. the over all performance: Boot, application startup, Game Loadings, over all responsiveness of the macheine will be better in Software RAID ? or Hardware RAID ?

    2. Is the one i have on my Motherboard a Hardware RAID ?

    3. i've setup the RAID 0 using at boot time after bios by Pressing Ctrl + I (*uck samsung monitor, keeps switching signals of screen, took me 15 minute to figure it out) is Setup using Ctrl+ I is a hardware RAID ? if Yes, how to setup a Software RAID ?

    4. I installed Windows 7, but suppose am going to install XP 64, After Setup RAID in Ctrl + I, do i have to provide RAID Drivers using floppy those i download from Intel to get them Recognized ? or is That a Software RAID ?

    5. Is there a Difference between Installing Windows 7 at Install time for (AHCI/SATA/RAID) etc with Windows Drivers ? or the Intel Drivers ? any performance increase ?

    The reason i always install Intel's because i had a separate case where copying to USB Flash took alot time on windows drivers, Installing Intel Chipset Software elimenated the problem

    Thank you.
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    December 22, 2009 3:37:20 PM

    mohsh86 said:
    Okay Okay,

    i have 2x X25-M G2 80 GB in RAID 0, on my i7 920 build, EVGA X58 3X SLI CLassified Motherboard..

    Questions:

    1. the over all performance: Boot, application startup, Game Loadings, over all responsiveness of the macheine will be better in Software RAID ? or Hardware RAID ?

    2. Is the one i have on my Motherboard a Hardware RAID ?

    3. i've setup the RAID 0 using at boot time after bios by Pressing Ctrl + I (*uck samsung monitor, keeps switching signals of screen, took me 15 minute to figure it out) is Setup using Ctrl+ I is a hardware RAID ? if Yes, how to setup a Software RAID ?

    4. I installed Windows 7, but suppose am going to install XP 64, After Setup RAID in Ctrl + I, do i have to provide RAID Drivers using floppy those i download from Intel to get them Recognized ? or is That a Software RAID ?

    5. Is there a Difference between Installing Windows 7 at Install time for (AHCI/SATA/RAID) etc with Windows Drivers ? or the Intel Drivers ? any performance increase ?

    The reason i always install Intel's because i had a separate case where copying to USB Flash took alot time on windows drivers, Installing Intel Chipset Software elimenated the problem

    Thank you.

    i think ich10r is considered software raid. if you install xp 64 you do need the floppy. i believe if you dont install the intel matrix storage manager then the os can pass the trim command but if you do install the matrix storage manager windows 7 cannot pass the trim command as of yet. the chipset drivers dont have anything to do with raid.
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    December 22, 2009 7:57:32 PM

    obamaliar said:
    i think ich10r is considered software raid. if you install xp 64 you do need the floppy. i believe if you dont install the intel matrix storage manager then the os can pass the trim command but if you do install the matrix storage manager windows 7 cannot pass the trim command as of yet. the chipset drivers dont have anything to do with raid.



    then setting up RAID using Ctrl + I in bios is Software RAID too ?
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    a c 415 G Storage
    December 22, 2009 10:10:15 PM

    > the over all performance: Boot, application startup, Game Loadings ... will be better in Software RAID ? or Hardware RAID ?
    The work required to run a RAID 0 set is pretty negligible, so it really doesn't matter. The same may not be true for other RAID organizations like RAID 5, though.

    > Is the one i have on my Motherboard a Hardware RAID ?
    The ICHxxR-based RAID chips use software RAID. The chips themselves are little more than I/O ports for the disks. The chipset's BIOS has enough smarts to support configuration and booting from a RAID set, but the heavy lifting is done by the chipset driver that gets loaded into Windows.

    > I installed Windows 7, but suppose am going to install XP 64, After Setup RAID in Ctrl + I, do i have to provide RAID Drivers using floppy those i download from Intel to get them Recognized ? or is That a Software RAID ?
    The ICH10R drivers are included in Windows 7 but not in Windows XP, and therefore you'd have to supply them on a floppy or CD during the installation. And yes, that's why it's "software RAID".

    > Is there a Difference between Installing Windows 7 at Install time for (AHCI/SATA/RAID) etc with Windows Drivers ? or the Intel Drivers ? any performance increase ?
    I can't imagine you'd see any difference in performance, especially with RAID 0 which basically requires zero CPU work. If there was a noticeable performance difference it would have to be due to some pretty gross flaw in the driver.
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