SSDs and RAID: Which and what to do.

I realize that this information may be posted elsewhere in the forums, but here I go: :bounce:

First, I AM going to purchase a (couple) SSD drives (today). My local dealer (Micro Center) has both the Intel X25-V 40GB ($129.99) and OCZ Vertex 30GB ($119.99 - $20 rebate). When comparing the “numbers” of these two, I am leaning toward the OCZ. I know about Intel domination on the SSD market, but this is a “V” (Value?) model, with the “numbers” no where near the X25-M models, and the OCZ Vertex beats it

:) 1.) Am I correct in getting the OCZ Vertex’s over Intel X25-V?

Secondly, I say a “couple” of SSD, because I want to put them in a RAID-0 configuration, as my OS (Windows 7 Home Premium) and application (Office, Quicken, etc.) drive. I will then put the current OS drives (2-Seagate 7200.11 500GB 32MB cache) into another RAID-0, as my data/media drive. I’m not worried about data loss, as I already have a backup drive (Seagate 7200.12 1TB 32 MB cache), and back up frequently.

:) 2.) Is RAID-0 a valid set up with SSD?

I have read information going either way: yes and no. I know the benefits will be humanly unnoticeable, but 30 or 40GB is not enough for a single OS drive. I have read that TRIM will not work in RAID. Also, that you MUST use the Microsoft drivers for RAID support in the OS. Additionally, there is an issue about ACHI not working in RAID. Yet another items about “firmware upgrades” before the OS install. (Sidebar: Is this done like flashing your BIOS? It’s a software upgrade to the hardware?)

Checking the latest all over the web:
 I will use the Microsoft drivers included in OS.
 OCZ Vertex series needs no firmware update.
 TRIM has been updated to work in RAID. (?)

For some strange reason, I really want to go with RAID-0.

After all, in the “System Builder Marathon, March 2010, $3,000 Extreme PC” article, they used 2 SSD drives in RAID-0 for OS. Same in the “System Builder Marathon, February 2009, The $5,000 Extreme PC” article. In either of these two articles, I read nothing about a special set up or install. Nothing about firmware, TRIM, etc.

:o After further review/Follow Up:

Looking into this further, the prices seem reasonable for 1 larger SSD drive vs. 2 smaller SSD’s (i.e. Intel 80GB X25-M $269.99, OCZ 60GB Vertex $189.99-$20 rebate). In this case, should I go with a single larger drive? Which one would you recommend? Note, the Intel is a X25-M, whereas before it is a X25-V. The “M” posts much faster numbers than the “V.” (The Intel 80GB it would be only $30.00 more than 2-OCZ 30GB, but is $80 more than the OCZ 60GB)

Third and finally, they used a “mobile rack” in both the $3000 and $5000 builds. But will a “bracket kit” do? (Bytecc Internal 2.5" HDD/SSD Mounting Kit For 3.5" Drive Bay or Enclosure $6.99, holds 2 drives.) I really like being able to mount two SSD drives into one 3.5” bay! This will keep my drives bays open for the cooling fans on my case. I understand that SSD drives don’t need cooling? (BTW: My Antec 300 case has 6-3.5” bays, with 2-120mm fans blowing over them. I currently have 4 drives installed, and if and when I do this, I will have 5 drives, only using 4 slots.) Anyway, I want a rack that holds two drives, even if I only have one in it.

:) 3.) What should I use to mount these 2.5" drives into a 3.5" bay?

Thank You in advance for your information. :hello:

Post Script:

Thanks to the reply from sub mesa, I did some further research into the matter, and came across this article:

Then I had a reply from sminlal, ALMOST saying the same thing as the article.

Now for the final question before purchase:

:pt1cable: How important is TRIM, if I leave some space unallocated/unpartioned/open in a RAID-0 set up?
9 answers Last reply
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  1. from what iv read ssd's are built like a raid 0 natively. so youd only need 1 as a boot drive.
  2. TRIM does NOT WORK in RAID arrays; either hardware or software. Not even the new Intel driver can (9.6 if i remember correctly) - but it now can passthrough TRIM commands to SSDs not part of a RAID array; previously the controller had to be set to IDE or AHCI - not to RAID mode. But again: TRIM does NOT work if you have your SSD in a RAID configuration; only when using them as stand-alone disks without RAID.

    By the way, what makes you think the Intel X25-V is less good than a Vertex? Perhaps if you look at sequential write benchmarks, but random I/O benchmarks should show a different story. Besides sequential write is really not that important for a system disk. The Intel X25-V is very fast in random writes though; features the same controller as X25-M but uses 5 instead of 10 NAND channels.
  3. foscooter said:
    ...the prices seem reasonable for 1 larger SSD drive vs. 2 smaller SSD’s ... In this case, should I go with a single larger drive? Which one would you recommend? Note, the Intel is a X25-M, whereas before it is a X25-V. The “M” posts much faster numbers than the “V.”

    The reason for this is that under the covers the 80GB X-25M is essentially two 40GB X-25V's in RAID 0. I really don't see much benefit to putting two 40GB X-25V's into RAID-0 when you can buy a single 80GB X-25M that performs as well or better and which works properly with TRIM as it's supposed to (unlike drives in an actual RAID array).
  4. Well random read should be higher; the Intel X25-V is already 200MB/s+ also random read with a high queue depth. So the advantage here is having two controllers. With the sequential write speeds doubled tp the X25-V; the X25-M should be able to push towards 400MB/s read speeds; but is limited by 3Gbps SATA interface. By using RAID and X25-V you might get more performance.

    I'm personally considering 4 x Intel X25-V as well, with my target being 500MB/s random 4k read. Sequential read would be ~1GB/s. I'll be using them in my ZFS server.

    However, for windows users having TRIM support is nice too; though i think you can still manually TRIM SSDs in a RAID using the Intel Toolbox utility; writing zeroes to unused blocks should work via any disk interface.
  5. Sorry fellas. I edited my original message, instead of posting a reply to a reply.

    Anyway, thanks sub mesa! The artlcle says 2x V's are faster than 1x M.

    I think I read somewhere that the TRIM now works in RAID thru the Microsoft Driver. I guess I'll do even further research!

    BTW: I'm now leaning to 2 x iX25-V's in RAID 0. Regardelss of what all the non-Intel bashers say out there (Not pointing any fingers here, just noticing it on other posts.)
  6. foscooter said:
    I think I read somewhere that the TRIM now works in RAID thru the Microsoft Driver.

    The deal with the Intel ICH chipset RAID drivers is that you have to put the controller into "RAID" mode if you want ANY disks to participate in a RAID array. With previous drivers, if the controller was in RAID mode then TRIM wouldn't be passed through to an SSD even if it was configured as a single, non RAID drive (the controller would presumably be in RAID mode to allow other drives to be placed into a RAID volume).

    The latest update allows TRIM to be passed through to the SSD even if the controller is running in RAID mode, but only if the SSD is not itself part of a RAID volume.

    See this page:
  7. Just fully read the article, and it's link:

    As of 03/19/2010, TRIM is NOT supported in a RAID setup, only in a single ACHI (which is support for SATA) set up.

    But, he does say that 2 x iX25-V in RAID is faster, even than a single iX25-M, and Intel could handle the lock of TRIM, and I quote:

    "2) Giving up TRIM support means that you need a fairly resilient SSD, one whose performance will not degrade tremendously over time. On the bright side, with the exception of the newer SandForce controllers, I'm not sure we've seen a controller as resilient as Intel's."
  8. Just went to the link sminial provided. READ CAREFULLY! TRIM is supported in RAID, if the SSD in NOT part of the array. I do understand that.

    But, it lets us know that Intel (or Microsft) MAY update the driver to support TRIM across all drive platforms, albeit only in Windows 7. Can't wait for it!

    That's still not going to sway me away from buying 2 Intel X25-V 40GB drives, and putting them in RAID 0! I'll let you know!
  9. Well, I went ahead and bought the 2 Intel X25-V 40GB SSDs! :D I also got a SIIG 2.5” to 3.5” Dual Drive Mobile Rack Enclosure ($29.99). Drives fit nicely inside, has it’s own LEDs for activity (which I can’t see in my case), and best of all, it only needs 1 SATA power connection, though 2 SATA drive cables (included).

    I installed them, updated the firmware (even though they were build after the newest firmware date [the update when from version xxxxxxB to xxxxxxxC] ), even updated my BIOS, set up RAID 0 for the 2 SSDs for OS, and RAID 0 for 2 500GB HDD for data/media. I left the 1TB HDD for back ups.

    Then I installed Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM to the SSDs from the DVD without incident! It only took 14 minutes to install and get through the last restart (of 3), before I could do anything, like "Windows Updates." I let Windows format the SSD drives on install, and I had to format my data/media drive after install through Disk Manager.

    I did not (need to) install any chipset drivers, as Windows has all the latest (and won’t let me install some anyway). Is there a specific driver I need to download for TRIM? Is it included in Windows, and auto-installs? Do you know what its’ name is, so I can check in System Properties/Device Manager? It seems that TRIM is actually a part of the system registry, enabling “DisableDeleteNotify, an add-on to the ATA specification.” Now I remember what TRIM does! It’s al about delete and rewrites.

    BTW: I partitioned the SSD thought Windows install as 100MB System Reserved, 60 GB for Windows, and left 14+GB unallocated (which is 20%+/-). I hope this will be used by the SSD for “file clean up.”

    BTW, Part 2: When I copied my data/media files from my back up drive to my document drive in RAID 0, the files copied at about 100MB/sec. This is faster than it used to be, but still not 3.0Gb/s. I understand it’s about read/write and random/sequential speeds. I haven’t check any file move to/from the SSDs yet.

    Finally, should I or shouldn’t I move the “Temporary Internet File” cache to a HDD?

     I already “moved” the paging file. Should I hide it, like it is in Windows 7?
     The address is way too complicated now vs. Windows XP: C:\User\%UserName%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files.
     Any suggestions on what I should name it (i.e. D:\User\%UserName%\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files)?
     Are there any other files/folders I should move off the SSD to HHD? I know I want to try to keep as much as possible on the SSD to use it access speeds, but not “fragment” the drive with files written and rewritten over and over again.

    I go now, to read up on how to improve Windows 7 with a SSD performance. I think I saw an article on a “Windows 7 Forum” web site.

    Follow Up:

    I just read that the Intel SSD Tool Box Utility won’t work in a RAID configuration. (IMHO: Boy, do they need to get (into) RAID support! More and more mobo’s are supporting it, and more and more people are using it. Even if the benefit may not be humanly noticeable (I notice it!). I hope I don’t trash these little gems using RAID, but 40GB is just not enough as an OS drive.

    I just read Tom’s article “Windows 7 and Optimization for Solid State Drives:”,7717.html

    Also found this web site about Windows 7 and SSD tweaks, but don’t like it. There is conflicting info/post on it:

    This one looks good, and has a link to a TRIM driver download from Intel:

    However, I’m a little scared, as I’ve read “use the Microsoft driver for TRIM.” However, this update is from 03/29/2010, so it might be the latest and greatest. BUT, TRIM doesn’t work in RAID, so I don’t need it. And this driver is for “Intel Rapid Storage Technology” for “F6 Install” of OS. Isn’t this for RAID, and used to be called “Intel Matrix Storage Manager?” And the download link says:

    “The file below contains the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology files for 64-bit operating systems. They can be used to create a floppy in order to pre-install the Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver during the F6 portion of Windows* setup. The F6 installation method is not required for Microsoft Windows Vista* or Microsoft Windows 7*.

    Later in the article:

    “At this time there are some issues with drivers. Assuming you are running an Intel chipset…(sic)… you do not want to install the Intel SATA drivers or Matrix Storage Manager. Microsoft has the only driver that can pass TRIM commands through the SATA ports to the drive.

    The Microsoft driver does not work with all SATA controllers, but the Intel ICH SATA driver from Microsoft does. This driver is built into Windows 7 so you are already running the right driver. In time Intel will update their drivers, but we really have no idea when.

    At this point you are clear to install the rest of your drivers. Don’t forget the Intel Chipset driver; it doesn’t overwrite the SATA drivers.”

    But was this written before the update listed above? I think I’ll shy away form this one. If the driver needs updating from within Windows 7, it’ll download it itself. As I am not on my own computer right now, I can’t check the current driver version.

    Anyway, read the feedback, as there is conflicting information once again (i.e. one against moving the paging file to a HHD, Prefeth and Super Fetch, etc.) But there is a link to a download called “SSD Tweak Utility.” I might try it, sparingly.

    Any further information is always welcome. TY! :hello:
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