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New Build: 3ware controller for RAID 5 vs. other options

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May 14, 2010 3:42:11 PM

Hello,

I am building a new system and at this time I have planned to include a :

3ware 9650SE-4LPML SGL PCI Express x4 Low Profile Ready SATA II Hardware RAID Controller Card, Integrator 1-Pack

with 4x

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

I was planning on putting these in a RAID 5 array (possibly with one hot spare). This array will only be used at the system level (eg. not shared on a network) and my primary focus is securing against data loss.

Through the forum I have learned it is probably not a good idea to depend on RAID features through the motherboard, which is why I have chosen this card.

My question: is this a good setup? Should I be thinking about getting different drives/ different controller / setting up the drives in a different RAID level? If I went to raid mirroring, would it be safe to use motherboard raid? Mobo:
GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

a c 127 G Storage
May 14, 2010 3:58:34 PM

Securing against data loss is best done with a backup, not with RAID.

Also, i would argue RAID5 is a more complex and thus less reliable RAID level, with things that can go wrong and limited recovery options. It is not uncommon a split/broken array suffers permanent data loss after the user tries to rebuild the array in a different configuration; the subsequent rebuild will destroy valid data that was otherwise recoverable.

If you don't need alot of space, consider a RAID0 of two 2TB disks; thats 4TB of space. Now make sure you have 4TB elsewhere too and use that as a backup; much superior protection against dataloss than a single RAID5 volume on windows.
May 18, 2010 3:19:01 AM

What about doing a raid 10 array? I'm guessing the only disadvantage there would be if you had 2 drives failing that were part of different mirrors.

If you just put 2 disks in raid 1 (or even 4), wouldn't that give you a reliable backup? Even if something went wrong with the controller and you had drive failure, wouldn't you be able to run them from the motherboard as usual?
-If that is the case, do I really need a RAID card / would it be reliable to do it with motherboard raid?
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May 18, 2010 12:54:20 PM

To be honest you are much better off getting an enterprise level drive instead of those barracudas before you consider which drive you want.

RAID 5 would suffice but I would definitely recommend WD RAID Edition drives. Normal drives are just not up to the task for RAID enviroments.

RAID 0 and RAID 1 or 1+0 are quite simple raid volumes. You can do those on a onboard controller without much to worry.

Im using RAID 0 + external backup. External backup is more reliable since the drive is rarely used. But I do need to manually back up stuff which isn't too bad. I really just didn't want to deal with the noise and vibrations of an extra set of drives for RAID 1+0.

I wouldn't worry about RAID 1+0. Having simutaneous failure is extremely extremely low. Having simutaneous failure of two drives of the same mirror is practically impossible.
a b G Storage
May 18, 2010 7:57:55 PM

That's a great setup. The best setup is the one that works for you. These guys are ALL right.

To me, the weak point is the RAID card. If it goes down your RAID 5 is at risk. Raid 5 also has some potential issues with data corruption that may be avoided with the use of RAID 1. ECC ram can help (if your board supports it).

What about a striped Raid 0 with 2 drives and a Mirrored RAID 1 with the other 2. That way you have a fast boot/gaming/video encoding disk with a 'safe' backup.

Having dabbled in RAID 0s and 1s I'm not overly impressed. Save the money on the card and get an SSD. Use a couple of faster disks independently (they rarely fail and are quite fast on their own). Use NAS or external backups for safety. But that's my opinion... Do what's right for you. The system you plan will probably provide you with easy, fast, happy computing for a couple of years. Then you'll upgrade everything anyway.
May 18, 2010 9:25:30 PM

OK thanks everyone for the feedback. I ordered my rig this evening. I had already planned on getting a small SSD drive for operating system / several apps.

I've decided to ditch the 3ware RAID card and use the saved money to upgrade the drives I was going to get. I've settled on the WD RE-3 , 1TB drives x 4.

I haven't yet decide on which RAID configuration I will run with my motherboard, but I am thinking that most likely I will choose simply mirroring 2 drives and just having 1 large 2TB array. I figure that way if anything goes wrong with a drive, I could use the mirrored drive normally in the mean time and then purchase a new drive to restore the raid. Furthermore, the enterprise level RAID drives should take much longer to fail.

I'm sure I'll be back to the forums soon once it is built to get help with overclocking / do any troubleshooting. Everyone has been most helpful.
a b G Storage
May 18, 2010 9:47:24 PM

Great! You'll have the best of all worlds it seems.

See you around.
!