How would you do this?

On a new computer I am planning on building this summer I was thinking of raid 0 for the OS W7. Is this wise or not? The main thing about this is that I am not going SSD as they are way too expensive at this point. I want to do it with WD Caviar black but the smallest is 500GB. So that would give me 1TB o space. How would you partition this setup. I will have other hdd that I will use for video, pictures and music. Video I have will use almost a TB alone as much is Avi format from capture. It will keep getting bigger over time. Anyway back on to my question. Can I do a raid 0 on a 140GB partition for the OS. I know 140GB sounds big but Vista and 7 just keep adding things in and it takes up space a if you got it use it. Anyone care to iterate.
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  1. I would use 2 WD RE (not Black) HDDs in RAID 1; 140 GB partition for OS and programs should be sufficient - remainder for storage.
  2. Are the REs faster than the Blacks? Raid 1 I know is not as fast a 0 but it is faster than just 1 hdd from what I have read, right?
  3. From a quick search it looks like the REs have less cache but some extra specialized raid features as compared to a black. As I understand, 1 has no write speed improvement but some read speed improvements.
  4. What about the new 6GB/s 1TB hdd from WD.
  5. IMHO if you can afford to buy 2 WD RE drives then you're a lot better off just spending the money on an SSD. Locally here you can buy an 40GB Intel "V"-series drive for under Cdn$150 compared to over Cdn$200 for two 500GB WD RE drives. It doesn't hold as much, but it has a LOT faster access time.
  6. What OS are you running? I am running vista right now and W7 is just it's clone with a few adjustments but not many. I will be putting 7 on my new computer and they are hdd hogs. I have not added hardly anything to my C drive but it has used up nearly 80GB of it. I don't run apps on it if I can help it unless it won't allow it but it is still hungry. I could not get by without at least a 120GB drive. Tell me those SSD are cheap?
  7. I'm running 64-bit Windows 7. It has Office, Adobe Web Premium CS4, Visio, Visual Studio 2008 Pro, a couple of SDK (software development kits) and a bunch of smaller miscellaneous stuff on it. I have a hibernation file of about 10GB and no pagefile, and the total amount of space used is 51GB. That's a lot of software, but it would fit comfortably on an 80GB SSD.

    The thing is, if you're thinking about RAID then I assume you're interested in performance. You'll get better all-round performance by installing the OS and your most critical app or two on the SSD than you would on hard drives in any RAID combination.
  8. I'm running 3X 750GB Caviar Black drives on my machine. No errors from the raid controller yet. Although, the price difference on the 500GB models of the Black and the RE3 is only about $10, so go RE3 if you really want to RAID them. It would be worth the peace of mind.

    Newegg even has sold out of the 500GB Caviar Black drives.

    As for partitioning, using the first 15% of the drive for the OS and programs and the rest for storage would mildly improve performance. It would limit the head movement while loading the OS and the programs. In this case, it would be about 140GB for the OS/programs and the rest for storage.

    I would also advise getting a 3rd drive, probably a caviar green, for automated nightly backups. the RE3 drives are reliable, but even the best have problems once in a while.
  9. I have decided against raid after doing a lot of reading and talking to others. I wonder why mine is filling up. It has not gotten any larger for the last year or so but it seemed like every week I would look and it was getting bigger.
  10. that's probably Windows System restore. it grows as you go along, saving configuration data on a daily basis. Under Vista and 7, it can get rather big, but as you fill up other storage, it will adjust the saved data down.

    It works kind of like Superfetch, using as much as it can get, up to a certain point, but reduces as the user saves data to make sure you have space as you need it.
  11. Have a look here for more information about Restore Points that dgingeri referred to:,review-1179-2.html

    The Recycle Bin can also get pretty full of stuff if you don't clean it out.
  12. Check out this thread - I was thinking the same thing for my new set-up. If you read through, you can see how I ended up going SSD. If I could've changed anything now - I would've gotten the 60GB version, but I didn't have the cash then. Still, I have W7 64-bit, MS Office Enterprise Edition (full install), Photoshop CS4, Firefox, Norton 2010 and some very small misc programs with room. But then I have other less used programs on my Seagate 1TB drive.

    On an off topic side note; I think every thread like this, sminlal takes the time to post great info / replies and I link to my past thread because everyone was so helpful! In the past few threads like this, I think everyone considering RAID0, went SSD instead...
  13. I wouldn't. Unless you have a specific program for which the vendor advises that RAID will actually do something for you, I wouldn't do it.

    Movie editing / conversion it
    Large databases it
    Gaming....skip it
  14. I thought about doing the SSD thing before I got my current drives, but decided certain performance characteristics and the limited write capability would be a hindrance for an OS installation. So, I kept to a RAID 0. Later, I moved my WoW installation to the RAID from my existing SSD (60GB OCZ Vertex) because it loaded faster from the RAID.

    I'm not yet convinced that SSD is suitable for a fully general purpose OS install when considering the limited write capacity and the excessive cost. I'll stick with RAID until the pricing comes down and write capacity goes up.
  15. dgingeri said:
    I thought about doing the SSD thing before I got my current drives, but decided certain performance characteristics and the limited write capability would be a hindrance for an OS installation.
    I found that Windows 7 and all my software (see list in my post above) installed much faster on my SSD. SSDs aren't about transfer rates, they're about access times - their access times are about 100X faster than a hard drive (and RAID doesn't improve access times). That means very fast random read and write speeds for smallish files - that really speeds up installations, booting, and application startup.
  16. I know the access times are faster on SSDs, on the order of 1000 times faster, ns instead of ms. However, WoW loads faster with the RAID of 3 750GB drives than it does with the SSD I have. There is no doubt there.

    While the OS might load faster, it is just not worth it when the drive, costing double to quadruple the cost of a RAID, is limited to a couple million writes at most. a swap file would overwhelm the write capability in a year or two, where a RAID would still be useful in 5-7 years.
  17. dgingeri said: is just not worth it when the drive, costing double to quadruple the cost of a RAID, is limited to a couple million writes at most.
    I can't speak for the other drives, but Intel claims it's SSDs are good for at least 5 years even if you write 20GB to them every day.
  18. How would that work. It would be for an OS strictly. Nothing else will be added or very infrequently after the initial setup.
  19. Sorry if this repeats another post.

    From my research the RE versions of WD drives are more rigorously tested for use in a RAID environment. I believe they have a longer warranty as well.

    IMHO people into serious gaming put too much emphasis on specs instead of performance in practical applications. I will admit I am not into gaming in any sense of the word so I don't know if a .1 second difference in performance makes a difference in gaming. It does in the Olympics but what about gaming?

    Is .1 sec worth $10, $100 or $1,000?

    Can that money be better spent elsewhere? Maybe a donation to a charity for gaming addicts? (Trying to be funny, not insulting. Sorry if it sounds like an insult. Not my intention.)

    In reality how prevalent are drive failures? In 30 years of computing I probably haven't seen 30 failures in any of the systems around me and that includes being a computer operator in a 10,000 employee factory, a 100 person sales office and my home computers. Sure, I've had drives fail, but they were years old and it was time to upgrade anyway.

    Bottom line, go out to WD's site and read carefully the difference between the drives. I'd say Black is good enough for most. I get the impression that Green seems to have more failures than Black. But when you really research the failures you usually find one part number that has greater than average failure, and that average standard is possibly less than 1%, 2% max.
  20. BlueCat57 said:
    From my research the RE versions of WD drives are more rigorously tested for use in a RAID environment. I believe they have a longer warranty as well.

    The difference between the RE3 and the Black drives are pretty tiny, but important:
    1. they are tested longer and have a higher MTBF values (not a big deal, and not a big difference between the two)
    2. TLER is enabled on RE3 drives, but locked disabled in Black drives (This is very important)

    I had underestimated the importance of TLER on my raid, until last night.

    Last night, my 3X750GB RAID 0 failed. After a reboot, it was giving a "error (0)" status on one of the three drives. The raid still functions, but it delays booting, and might fail during operation again.

    TLER is Time Limited Error Recovery. It tells the drive to only take a limited time to recover from read errors, so that the raid controller doesn't drop the drive and give an error. (That's what happened to my raid last night. My fault for not getting TLER enabled drives. I knew the risk, but I didn't listen to the advice.) Some people have had luck working with nonTLER drives, but the danger is there.

    I advise, if you are going to go with a RAID, get a TLER enabled drive like Seagate's ES.X or WD's RE. It's worth it not to have the raid fail every day.
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