I have a choice of choosing between the following drives when ordering a new system. Based on the price from Dell (I have to order a Dell if I want a system, so these are my only choices):
* SATA-II 10k rpm 300GB (I believe this is the Western Digital Raptor WD3000HLFS)
* 256GB SSD (I believe this is the Samsung PM800)
I care more about gaming performance over desktop and loading speed (though of course in a perfect world everything would be instant). According to my available budget and Dell's prices, I can get either 1x SSD or 2x 10k drivers in raid 0. I'm not sure if I would get better performance using software raid from Windows 7 x64, or sticking with the Intel ICH9R (I often see this described as "fake-raid").
My concern is price of course, but in general these SSDs slow down over time from what I read. I've seen some benchmarks with various results, but not much in the say of extended use for gaming.
I'm also not sure if the price is worth it just yet. In fact, if there isn't enough of an increase going from 1x 10k rpm drive to 2x in raid 0, it might make more sense for me to get something like 1x 10k drive for OS/Games, and 1x 1.5 TB for files.
Thanks, but since I'm ordering it on an Alienware, I can't see the specific model.
I think after much research and debate, I'm going to wait on the SSD. 1 single 10k 300GB drive is enough for OS/Games, and a 1 or even 1.5 TB 7200 rpm drive for files will work for now. Then I can add whatever SSD I need in a year or so.
I'm also going to shy away from any ICH raid for now. I've had several boot issues with them on two different systems. The more I look into it, I now know it really isn't true hardware raid, it's firmware raid that the OS takes over once it loads. I guess this is why I have had so many issues - of course I'm always booting into different OSes and re-writing the MBR, but I do that on dozens of other systems without ICH raid w/o issues. It always seems to be Windows that has the issues, an a repair boot fixes it. I have a promise controller on my home NAS that just provides connections, and I use software raid 5 in Linux. I've never had any boot issues with it.
I know this isn't entirely conclusive, and I wish I had more time to test, but here's a quick run of CrystalDiskMark first with ICH raid, next without on the same system and drives:
raid0 ICH 2x 7200 500 GB
CrystalDiskMark 2.2 (C) 2007-2008 hiyohiyo
Crystal Dew World : http://crystalmark.info/
Sequential Read : 208.085 MB/s
Sequential Write : 168.014 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 51.918 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 127.539 MB/s
Random Read 4KB : 1.024 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 2.885 MB/s
Sequential Read : 119.798 MB/s
Sequential Write : 114.670 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 57.763 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 88.075 MB/s
Random Read 4KB : 0.913 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 1.330 MB/s
Test Size : 100 MB
Date : 2009/12/09 1:58:47
Interesting that the random reads are better on a single drive (at least for 512KB, still close on 4KB). The sequential r/w are of course faster in raid, but does that matter for games? Seems like the random reads would be more important. Is this typical raid0 ICH performance?