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One large drive or two smaller drives in RAID0???

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April 27, 2010 7:29:48 PM

I know this question probably gets thrown out there a lot, but I was hoping someone could give me a little background on the performance benefits of RAID0. I have already read the sticky, and I understand what RAID0 does even if I am still confused on the process of setting it up.

So I am building a new computer this summer and wanted to know whether to buy one large drive (such as a 750GB WD Black or Seagate) or two smaller drives (such as 320GB WD or Seagate)? The two smaller drives would be put into a RAID0 array.

Also, if you do suggest going with the RAID0 array, can you better describe the process I would need to go through to get it set up? When reading the sticky I got a little lost when it started talking about using a floppy to install the RAID drivers. I won't have a floppy drive on my computer, so is there a simpler way to get this done? I'm very computer savvy, but my knowledge of storage and storage controllers is very minute. Up until this point I didn't even know that you had to manually install RAID drivers.

I'm also not very sure what the stripe width and cluster size means.

I know there are a lot of questions thrown in there, but I would appreciate any help anyone has to offer.

Thanks.

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April 27, 2010 10:30:14 PM
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RAID0 creates 1 large drive from 2 or more drives. Advantage is that you have one drive instead of several and the one drive has faster transfer speeds. The downside is that if any of the drives die, you have to start over.

I have used them in the past and at about the 2-3 year mark had both hard drives fail at seperate times causing me to lose all the data on those drives 2x. A little annoying but the files were just recorded TV for my media center so it wasn't a huge deal.

To setup a raid array you generally do it in the RAID's BIOS. Basically you will have a BIOS for your regular system and a BIOS for your RAID (in that order at boot time)

When installing windows xp it will not be able to recognize the raid array (this is because it is 10 years old) so you need to provide the drivers for it. In winXP you have to use a floppy disk, in Vista or 7 you can use a CD for the drivers. Once windows detects it then you pretty much home free.

Some other problems people have mentioned are the fact that people inadvertantly mess up the RAID array or windows glitches it out. This is a concern but i have never had an array break in windows when setup from the hardware BIOS. If you setup a raid array in windows then your on your own, as they all failed after a few months for me.

In the end its a cost and data thing. Is 1 750GB hard drive better than 2 350GB, no, but it is easier to setup and the speed loss for daily *performance* is almost unnoticeable.

My recommendation, skip the 750 and get a 1.5TB for $110 or 2TB for $150.


*now* if your concerned about data then you may want to get a second hard drive and either have it setup as RAID1 or use a tool like RSYNC for Unix or SYNC Toy for Windows to copy over important data
April 27, 2010 11:32:28 PM

I guess I was just looking for a way to make significant improvements on boot times/loading times without making the jump to an SSD.

I'll put some more thought into, look at some performance benches of RAID0. As of right now I am leaning a bit towards a single drive, though 1 TB of storage is not in my budget right now. If down the road (around Christmas) SSD's have come down in price, then I will pick one up.

Thanks for the quick response. Like I said, storage is definitely the weak spot in my computer knowledge (along with networking).

If anyone else wants to chime in with their thoughts that would be great.
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May 5, 2010 12:00:05 AM

Best answer selected by touchdowntexas13.
a b G Storage
May 5, 2010 1:34:59 PM

To muddy the waters I just bought a 30GB SSD for $70. It's not a monster and is recommended for a 'boot disc' as the write performance is average at best. But, it reads at 180 Mbytes/s and therefore brings up win7 like a dream.

Spinning disks are dropping prices daily. I think the price/GB level is best at the 1.5Tb level right now.
May 5, 2010 3:10:16 PM

adampower said:
To muddy the waters I just bought a 30GB SSD for $70. It's not a monster and is recommended for a 'boot disc' as the write performance is average at best. But, it reads at 180 Mbytes/s and therefore brings up win7 like a dream.

Spinning disks are dropping prices daily. I think the price/GB level is best at the 1.5Tb level right now.



What ssd was it that you bought?


I agree that the best value is at the higher storage capacities. Frankly I was trying to save a bit of cash by going with the smaller capacities, but I will definitely take that into consideration when I make my final build list. It just might be worth it.
a b G Storage
May 6, 2010 10:32:47 PM

I bought the Kingston SSD now V. It writes at only 50 MB/s but reads at 180. As they go this one is crap but... it doesn't spin and it cost $70 at NCIX during one of their weekend sales. Perfect for a boot disc.
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