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New to RAID--Is RAIDing everything a good idea?

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May 18, 2010 3:09:40 AM

Hey all, want to learn more about RAID...

My main goal is to improve throughput performance for gaming...but not if it destroys seek time.

1. I've read that software RAID is a bad idea b/c drivers can crap etc. I want to install win7 on a RAID 0 array w/ two 320gb hds. this would be a drive where everything (OS, music, games etc) would go. I would have an external backup of course.

2. my board, MSI P6N Platinum has RAID in the BIOS, i believe. is this software RAID? In other words do I have to worry about this failing and needing to redo the whole thing?

3. should I buy a RAID controller instead? Any recommendations? thanks a lot!

More about : raid raiding good idea

May 18, 2010 1:08:30 PM

If you are doing simple RAID volumes, the onboard controller would be good. That is RAID 0, 1, and 1+0. Complex RAID like 5 is best on dedicated cards.

I would worry about the type of RAID and what drives you are putting in the RAID 0 since data is completely destroyed when a drive fails. So make sure you don't have cheap drives. I recommend anything on the enterprise level, probably a Western Digital RAID edition drive. I have two Raid Edition 3s in my computer any they haven't failed or dropped out of RAID ever.

RAID would not destroy seek time but won't improve it either. All types of RAID would improve read performance. You must have identical drives for RAID.

If you get a controller card you can probably do more complex raid volumes like RAID 5. Which requires a minimum of 5 disks but it doesn't require as much redundancy as RAID 1. Each drive have portions of data from other drives so in the case of a single drive failure. The other drives can rebuild the failed drive. This type of RAID has higher write performance and read performance but not that of RAID 0.


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a b G Storage
May 18, 2010 8:57:56 PM

You will notice windows 'cold' startup is better on the RAID 0. But you won't notice much for game load times, etc. It's simply not worth it imho. An SSD will boot windows faster again AND help with any OS issues relating to the games (which are probably on a separate disk).

As Rofl said the onboard controller and intel matrix drivers work well for basic raid. This is 'software' RAID. Theoretically hardware raid cards take the workload from your cpu. I can't see the difference, however. And your modern cpu probably can't either.

Basically it's not a bad idea to try it out. The thing is to try it and see how it 'feels'. Always protect your data with multiple backups no matter what you are running. As I said, in my opinion the gain was not so great that I was willing to risk the hassle of reloading everything should one drive fail in my RAID 0. Not that I've ever seen one fail. Now, with the SSD boot up, not to mention wake from sleep time!, and my games/data/wife's emails, etc. on a single caviar black, life is good.

Try it. See what you think.
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May 18, 2010 9:09:46 PM

adampower said:
You will notice windows 'cold' startup is better on the RAID 0. But you won't notice much for game load times, etc. It's simply not worth it imho. An SSD will boot windows faster again AND help with any OS issues relating to the games (which are probably on a separate disk).

As Rofl said the onboard controller and intel matrix drivers work well for basic raid. This is 'software' RAID. Theoretically hardware raid cards take the workload from your cpu. I can't see the difference, however. And your modern cpu probably can't either.

Basically it's not a bad idea to try it out. The thing is to try it and see how it 'feels'. Always protect your data with multiple backups no matter what you are running. As I said, in my opinion the gain was not so great that I was willing to risk the hassle of reloading everything should one drive fail in my RAID 0. Not that I've ever seen one fail. Now, with the SSD boot up, not to mention wake from sleep time!, and my games/data/wife's emails, etc. on a single caviar black, life is good.

Try it. See what you think.



I've looked at SSD prices, and I have not seen one in my price range. I need to store windows 7 plus apps & a game or two for less than $100

If you have any suggestions, let me know
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a b G Storage
May 18, 2010 9:57:20 PM

This is what I'm using

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It was on sale for $70 at my favourite local dealer one day. Depends what game you want to put on there and how you build your OS. But, the thing reads at up to 180MB/s. Great for win7 boot up. If you use the 30GB wisely and use TRIM it should do the trick.
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May 18, 2010 11:30:11 PM

Hmmm. I'm still skeptical about SSD. I've read that performance goes down over time. Is this still an issue? I don't think that 30gigs is enough at all anyways.
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