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Please, help with understanding RAID controlers

Last response: in Storage
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May 17, 2010 6:59:56 PM

I have this mobo with an onboard Intel ICH9R RAID controller that can be used by Intel Matrix Storage Technology to set and used disks as RAID configuration.
I'm not very experienced with RAID and don't know much about it. On the wikipedia page it says:
Quote:
RAID can involve significant computation when reading and writing information. With traditional "real" RAID hardware, a separate controller does this computation. In other cases the operating system or simpler and less expensive controllers require the host computer's processor to do the computing, which reduces the computer's performance on processor-intensive tasks


I guess ICH9R RAID controller is a hardware contoller and Intel Matrix Storage Technology is a software working from the mobo. But I'm not sure if it uses my processor or not.

Any ideas?

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May 17, 2010 7:45:08 PM

The Intel ICHxx-R controllers essentially just provide SATA ports. They don't do any of the RAID work by themselves, they rely on drivers which are loaded into the OS when you install it. So yes, they do use your CPU.

The biggest feature of the ICH controllers over a pure software RAID solution is that the controllers include a BIOS which is smart enough to be able to boot from a redundant RAID volume even if one of the discs is dead. So if you have a mirrored system drive and the one designated as the "boot" drive is dead, the RAID controller can boot from the other drive. This is something that a pure software RAID solution can't do.

In terms of the load on the processor, the amount of work that is done for RAID-0 and RAID-1 is basically negligible and can safely be ignored. Even RAID-5 is not a heavy task for modern CPUs, and you only have to do the heavy stuff when writing which is a small percentage of the time in most systems.
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May 17, 2010 8:42:37 PM

Thanks sminlal, very useful!
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May 27, 2010 2:52:39 PM

Best answer selected by Emil3D.
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