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WD Velociraptor or WD Black? RAID?

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January 15, 2010 8:04:59 PM

Hi. I got some great feedback in this thread (especially from Paperdoc) about my system config and setting up RAID: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/254800-32-help-comple... . Then I read about the new WD 2Tb Caviar Black. Although pretty expensive, they are over six times the size of Velociraptors and are supposed to have similar or slightly better performance. After considering RAID 0 Read/Write performance, I wondered if there was a better performance/storage option.

Below are three configs that I can think of...

Which option do you think will provide the best overall performance? Would 3x WD Black 2Tb RAID 0 (Option 2) be better for small file data transactions than the Velociraptor (Option 1)? Would the 1x WD Black 2Tb (Option 3) be a better OS disk than the Velociraptor (Option 1 & 2)? Other configurations that I should consider?

Thanks in advance for any advice,

Dan.

p.s. "Backup Disk" is for recurring backups. "Removable Offline Archive Disk" archives data from "Backup Disk" when necessary.

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Option 1 - OS on Velociraptor; working data on Velociraptor and 2-disk RAID:

Marvell PCIe Controller (set to non-RAID):
- System & App Disk: 1x WD 300Gb Velociraptor
- Stock Data/Scratch Disk: 1x 300Gb WD Velociraptor

Intel ICH10R Controller (set to RAID):
- Photo/Video RAID: 2x WD 2Tb Caviar Black (RAID 0)
- Backup Disk: 1x WD 2Tb Caviar Green (non-RAID)
- Removable Offline Archive Disk: 1x Seagate 500Gb (non-RAID)
- DVD: 1x SATA DVD (non-RAID)

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Option 2 - OS on Velociraptor; working data on 3-disk RAID:

Marvell PCIe Controller (set to non-RAID):
- System & App Disk: 1x WD 300Gb Velociraptor
- Backup Disk: 1x WD 2Tb Caviar Green (non-RAID)

Intel ICH10R Controller (set to RAID):
- Photo/Video & Stock Data/Scratch RAID: 3x WD 2Tb Caviar Black (RAID 0)
- Removable Offline Archive Disk: 1x Seagate 500Gb (non-RAID)
- DVD: 1x SATA DVD (non-RAID)

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Option 3 - OS on 2Tb Caviar Black and working data on 3-disk RAID:

Marvell PCIe Controller (set to non-RAID):
- System & App Disk: 1x WD 2Tb Caviar Black (non-RAID)
- Backup Disk: 1x WD 2Tb Caviar Green (non-RAID)

Intel ICH10R Controller (set to RAID):
- Photo/Video & Stock Data/Scratch RAID: 3x WD 2Tb Caviar Black (RAID 0)
- Removable Offline Archive Disk: 1x Seagate 500Gb (non-RAID)
- DVD: 1x SATA DVD (non-RAID)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Processing profile is two-fold:
- Processing daily stock data - a large number of small file transactions.
- Photo/video editing - a small number of large file transactions.
a b G Storage
January 15, 2010 9:04:32 PM

If was for me, i could use the option 1 BUT with a RAID 5 with the 3 WD 2TB and maybe the 2 velociraptors in RAID 1
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Best solution

a b G Storage
January 15, 2010 10:14:47 PM

If you're going to go with a RAID array, I suggest you purchase the RE version WD drives for the array... Yes, they're more expensive but they're designed for mission critical business appplications.

Here are some links for WD raid edition drives along with specs, a PDF showing the difference between raid and non-raid drives and an article about time limited error recovery (which is the primary reason for using a RE edition drive):

http://products.wdc.com/library/specsheet/eng/2879-7011...
(description and specs of WD Raid Edition drives).

http://download.intel.com/support/motherboards/server/s...
(Intel PDF describing the primary differences between desktop and Raid Edition HDD’s).

http://www.wdc.com/en/library/sata/2579-001098.pdf
(Brief description, time limited error recovery (WD).

I hope this info will be beneficial and help you in your decision process.


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January 15, 2010 10:54:14 PM

saint19 said:
If was for me, i could use the option 1 BUT with a RAID 5 with the 3 WD 2TB and maybe the 2 velociraptors in RAID 1

Saint,

Raid 5 is an interesting option. I would certainly reduce the downside of a drive failure.

Regarding using the Velociraptors in RAID 1, most folks recommend against using RAID for the system drive. So I didn't think of that. OTOH, RAID 1 is safer than RAID 0. Raiding this would improve OS drive read performance, but I'm a bit concerned about write performance. Hmmm...

Thanks,

Dan.
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a b G Storage
January 15, 2010 11:40:16 PM

If you have enough budget or you can buy another velociraptor, you can create 2 RAID 5 array.

1- RAID 5 with 3 velociraptor. Fault tolerance, parity and performance improve read/write.

2- RAID 5 with 3 2TB disk, same advantages that i said up.

But i don't think that you need a solution like that. The RAID 1 only improve the read performance not the write performance.
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January 15, 2010 11:47:23 PM

mikey5802 said:
If you're going to go with a RAID array, I suggest you purchase the RE version WD drives for the array... Yes, they're more expensive but they're designed for mission critical business appplications.

Here are some links for WD raid edition drives along with specs, a PDF showing the difference between raid and non-raid drives and an article about time limited error recovery (which is the primary reason for using a RE edition drive):

http://products.wdc.com/library/specsheet/eng/2879-7011...
(description and specs of WD Raid Edition drives).

http://download.intel.com/support/motherboards/server/s...
(Intel PDF describing the primary differences between desktop and Raid Edition HDD’s).

http://www.wdc.com/en/library/sata/2579-001098.pdf
(Brief description, time limited error recovery (WD).

I hope this info will be beneficial and help you in your decision process.

Mikey,

Thanks for the heads up. This is excellent info.

In looking at this, I first thought that the RE4-GP was the top end. Then I found some info that said that it was a 5400 RPM drive! When I went to the WD site, I noticed that they "conveniently" neglected to post the RPMs of RE4-GP but they DID post the RPMs of the RE4!

From what I can gather there is a lot of confusion out there. There are companies advertising the RE4-GP as an 7200 RPM drive and other companies advertising the RE4 at $300. When you look closely, you'll see that the part numbers don't line up! The RE4-GP is "WD2002FYPS" while the RE4 is "WD2003FYYS". Why WD would give two drives very similar names even though they have very different hardware is beyond me!

Regarding the RE4 (WD2003FYYS) drive, the best price I could find is $392 (incl shipping) from these guys: http://www.excaliberpc.com/594407/western-digital-re4-w... .

I like the idea of the RAID features on the RE4, but it's a bit pricey.

Thanks,

Dan.
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a b G Storage
January 16, 2010 7:02:26 PM

If you double-check WD's site, you'll find that the RE4-GP series drives are the "Green" energy saving drives, not the higher performance drives that you're probably interested in... The higher end drives are listed under the Business Critical heading. If you look at the various drives on Newegg (don't know ROH where you're going to purchase from), you see the drives listed as Black, Blue or Green. All the green drives are 5400 RPM to reduce power usage. Great for backups and such but not so great for other purposes. Obviously, the best performance will come from the Black series...

Good luck!
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January 16, 2010 7:31:19 PM

mikey5802 said:
If you double-check WD's site, you'll find that the RE4-GP series drives are the "Green" energy saving drives, not the higher performance drives that you're probably interested in... The higher end drives are listed under the Business Critical heading. If you look at the various drives on Newegg (don't know ROH where you're going to purchase from), you see the drives listed as Black, Blue or Green. All the green drives are 5400 RPM to reduce power usage. Great for backups and such but not so great for other purposes. Obviously, the best performance will come from the Black series...

Good luck!

Mikey,

Thanks. I checked the WD site. I think it's the drive naming and site format that's the issue. With the Caviar series, they come in Green, Blue, and Black. So it's pretty simple to categorize the drives. With the Enterprise drive, their naming is a bit strange - now I understand that "GP" stands for "Green Power" or something similar.

Oh well, at least now I understand their categorization.

Again thanks,

Dan.
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a c 117 G Storage
January 16, 2010 8:13:46 PM

Unless you are very concerned about boot times, running huge database apps or other specialized applications, it's real hard to find a justification for RAID from a performance standpoint. The WD 2TB stand out in the WD line because it's been the only 500 GB per platter drive in their line. Just about all of Seagate's 7200.12's and Samsung's F3 are also 500 GB per platter drives....they've even taken the odd step of not using the entire platter for data in the "in between" sizes".

With the cost of 4-5 drives in the equation, RAID gets harder to justify as a stand alone box. SSD's provide much more of an impavt on every day performance than does RAID tho again, the most notable of that is in boot times.
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January 16, 2010 9:28:52 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
Unless you are very concerned about boot times, running huge database apps or other specialized applications, it's real hard to find a justification for RAID from a performance standpoint. The WD 2TB stand out in the WD line because it's been the only 500 GB per platter drive in their line. Just about all of Seagate's 7200.12's and Samsung's F3 are also 500 GB per platter drives....they've even taken the odd step of not using the entire platter for data in the "in between" sizes".

With the cost of 4-5 drives in the equation, RAID gets harder to justify as a stand alone box. SSD's provide much more of an impavt on every day performance than does RAID tho again, the most notable of that is in boot times.

Jack,

Hi. The workstation workload will be:
- Routine Email/Web browsing, etc.
- Some software development - code writing, compiles, blah, blah...
- Daily batch processing of stock data (the job currently runs in about 45 min).
- Photo - Photoshop editing RAW formatted files.
- Video editing - Currently HD in Mini-DV format; AVCHD in the future.

The first two items are not really disk-constrained. However the last three are. The daily stock data processing job is an array processing job that has a lot of small file I/O. With Photo and especially Video, a RAID array can have a noticeable impact on performance. I'm using Adobe CS3 right now (CS5 when it comes out.) Adobe recommends:
Quote:
Dedicated 7200 RPM hard drive for DV and HDV editing; striped disk array storage (RAID 0) for HD; SCSI disk subsystem preferred.

Regarding SSDs, since this is a workstation, boot times really shouldn't be an issue. Any Win7 boots pretty quickly. OTOH, it may be reasonable to get a relatively small one (<64 Gb) for page file and caching.

Unfortunately for me, this is a multi-workflow system. So the config may be a bit complex.

Thanks,

Dan.

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a c 176 G Storage
January 16, 2010 11:44:45 PM

I don't know how much capacity you need for the OS/work drive, but consider a SSD such as the intel X25-M gen2 160gb drive. It is outstanding for small reads and writes.

As for raid on the other drives,
The value of raid-1 and it's variants like raid-5 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.

As to work drive performance, I have to agree with jacknaylorpe that the performance of raid-0 is overhyped when real application performance(vs. synthetic benchmark) is concerned. This is particularly true if you are using motherboard raid. A raid card with a hardware processor can do some real good, but they are expensive. I think it is simplest to arrange your input on one drive and your output on the other when dealing with large sequential files.
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January 24, 2010 4:25:29 AM

geofelt,

Raid 1 is not being considered. I'm going to set up a software Raid 0. And yes, I have plans for layered backup - local, network, and offline. I agree that a hardware raid would be faster, but they are more expensive. If I decide that hardware raid is a useful upgrade, an Areca 1210 or 1220 at $300-$450 is certainly doable.

One of my first tasks will be to perform some real-world, application-specific testing to determine the impact of different configurations to define final, best option for me. With the exception of office-apps, my workflow is highly data centric. Things like games (of major interest to many computer users) will never be on my system. (By profession, I'm a Data Warehouse developer. Games pale in comparison to the challenge of loading and crunching several hundred million rows of data every day.)

Regards,

Dan.
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February 3, 2010 1:34:45 AM

Best answer selected by dan_public.
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January 27, 2013 11:11:00 PM

I am a little surprised at the conversation here. Obviously the system seems to be used for video/photo editing. If you are looking for performance; an SSD would be nice, but SSDs also are limited to the number of writes they are capable of If you are going to use it in the system it should be for the OS with any swap file being located off the SSD, as it will soon be dead if used for swap or "virtual RAM" in windows. The RAID 5 suggestions using WD velociraptors will give you speed for the working system, I have another suggestion though. I did not see it listed. Ensure you have another RAID card, use raid 5 with 3 Velociraptors on one then have another of 3 black edition the same size as the WD VRs Use this two RAID 5 arrays in a RAID 0, config and boom you have speed, redundancy and an SSD for the main OS drive. As a backup use a WD green drive. There are also other options such as RAMdrives using left over system RAM for your swap or video renderer drive. Utilizing a Highend Motherboard that will accept 32- 64GB of RAm will enable you to allocate 32+ GB of RAM as a drive and far surpass drive read and write speeds.
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