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Advice needed on RAID 10 on a home PC

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January 15, 2010 9:28:53 AM



I have never used RAID on a home computer before, but have built servers at work many times. The configuration there is usually RAID 1 for the O/S partition and RAID5 (now RAID10) for any storage partitions.

I have 10 years worth of stuff on my PC, which is not redundant at all. I was thinking of a NAS, but as my current PC is 5 years old anyway, I thought I would build a home PC with RAID10 over 4 1GB SATA disks. I know that RAID10 or RAID 5 would be inferior to RAID 0 or RAID 1 in terms of speed for hardcore gamers, but as I am not in that category, I would like someone to clarify exactly how much of a performance hit I would take by have the RAID 10 / 4 1TB disk set up? From what I have read, the lag would chiefly be in load / start up times - is this correct. As I only play games occasionally, and everything else is of a reasonable spec (AMD Phenom 955/ 4GB DDR3), would this still be a decent performing home PC? I would rather not spend another £100 getting two decent 300GB disks for a RAID 1 O/S partition, and this would mean that I could not spare 4 disks for RAID10 storage (there are 6 sata connections on the motherboard, and I have a couple of dvdrw drives too). Many thanks in advance.
January 15, 2010 9:31:37 AM

One more thing. What large capacity SATA disks are good for RAID10? I have heard that Western Digital Caviar 1tb should be avoided.
a c 179 G Storage
January 15, 2010 4:27:07 PM

The value of raid-1 and it's variants like raid-5 or 10 for protecting data is that you can recover from a hard drive failure quickly.
It is for servers that can't afford any down time.
Recovery from a hard drive failure is just moments.
Fortunately hard drives do not fail often.
Mean time to failure is claimed to be on the order of 1,000,000 hours.(100 years)
Raid-1 does not protect you from other types of losses such as viruses,
software errors,raid controller failure, operator error, or fire...etc.
For that, you need EXTERNAL backup.
If you have external backup, and can afford some recovery time, then you don't need raid-1.

I would suggest that you address the external backup needs first.

Also, motherboard raid is not that good of a performer. A raid card with a hardware processor will cost you, but will perform better.

I see no problem wit WD caviar black. 1tb or otherwise. With the amount of data you have, the newer 1.5tb or 2tb drives might be better.
There should be no problem with the other major vendors either.
For good reliability, just make certain that the drives are well ventilated and kept cool. A good UPS is a good investment also.
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January 18, 2010 1:03:34 PM

Thanks for that. I was hoping though someone could advise me on how much (if any) noticeable difference would there be if I had the O/S C drive on a 200GB logical volume that sits on a 4 x 1tb disk RAID 10 array, than if the boot volume was on its own disk without RAID.

Thanks again.
a c 179 G Storage
January 18, 2010 2:02:52 PM

feeble said:
Thanks for that. I was hoping though someone could advise me on how much (if any) noticeable difference would there be if I had the O/S C drive on a 200GB logical volume that sits on a 4 x 1tb disk RAID 10 array, than if the boot volume was on its own disk without RAID.

Thanks again.

I don't think you would see any noticeable decrease in performance.
a b G Storage
January 19, 2010 11:14:36 AM

RAID 10, barring a really bad RAID processor, should be the single best performing RAID level available. I'm not sure why you think it would be any worse performing.
a c 179 G Storage
January 19, 2010 2:04:58 PM

gtvr said:
RAID 10, barring a really bad RAID processor, should be the single best performing RAID level available. I'm not sure why you think it would be any worse performing.


An OS does lots of small reads and writes. Protective raids, like 1,5,10 must do some additional I/o for every original write. That takes extra time. But, since they are small, it will not be noticeable.

On the other hand, striped raids, like raid-0 get their benefit from being able to access two or more drives simultaneously. This benefit is not so great for an OS because many of the reads are small, needing to access data on only one of the drives in the array.

Net: Much ado about nothing as far as an OS is concerned.
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