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Standard HD's in Raid 0 or SSD

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  • NAS / RAID
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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June 8, 2010 2:41:47 PM

I currently have a 1 year old Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS. They are on sale at a reputable online etailer today so that got me thinking that maybe I should grab another one and put it in a RAID 0 format with my existing drive. Considering this drive is only 60 bucks, it could be a pretty good cost/performance upgrade for my pc. I mainly play World of Warcraft but I also do a lot of music recording. I don't do video editing or anything else where I constantly work on LARGE files so this question is mainly from a gaming perspective. My question is...

Should I -

A: Buy another 6401AALS drive and toss it in Raid 0
B: Just bite the bullet and buy an SSD
C: Press F10 for phat lootz

More about : standard raid ssd

a c 143 G Storage
June 8, 2010 3:53:05 PM

I would go option A...

It will be a speed boost with load times running the two of them in RAID0 but won't match the SSD speeds but at 1/2 the price of a good 50GB SSD, it is worth it to me. You'll be looking at 1.2TB of storage (roughly) with increased speeds, so it will be a nice upgrade... IMO
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June 8, 2010 4:00:41 PM

Thanks for the reply there tecmo - I am a little confused though. If I put it in RAID 0, don't I in effect still have 640GB drive worth of storage instead of the 1.2 TB?
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June 8, 2010 4:08:37 PM

dynasonic said:
Thanks for the reply there tecmo - I am a little confused though. If I put it in RAID 0, don't I in effect still have 640GB drive worth of storage instead of the 1.2 TB?


Raid 0 splits the data between two drives-

IE: if you're storing a 10mb file, effectively 5 mb of it will go on Drive A, 5mb will go on Drive B.

This means that load/write times will decrease significantly (improve) because both drives are working simultaneously to read/write the data. If either drive fails, you lose all data. (less than 1% chance over the lifetime of the HDDs)

I believe Raid 1 is what you are referring to, where the second drive is used as a backup disk.
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June 8, 2010 4:17:24 PM

Also,

I bought a 60gb SSD for my new pc last week. I play games 95% of the time, mess around on AcidLoops the other 5%- an SSD is convenient, decreases load times quite a bit on Windows and AcidLoops (and the one game I have installed on it), but doesn't improve FPS at all.

For a gamer, I wouldn't recommend buying it if you are looking for increased gaming performance. If you want the convenience of the faster load times, then go for it (but you pay a hefty price per GB for it). Considering that you are playing WoW, an SSD wouldn't help much, other than quicker load times on instances, but what good is that when the rest of your party/raid is still loading?
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June 8, 2010 4:30:38 PM

Thx for the advice and the info on RAID) omni. I know I won't get better performance in games but I would be interested in cutting down loading times.
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a c 127 G Storage
June 8, 2010 4:36:45 PM

WoW is one of the few games which benefits a lot from being on an SSD. It can mean the below-1.0FPS hickups disappear. This is because WoW is a MMORPG; it cannot cache all textures in advance and will read from the disk as textures are needed. Until the HDD responds, your FPS will be 0. So you can have all kinds of hickups and see disk access during gaming.

Also, switching realms etc. is much faster with SSDs. So if there is a game that benefits from being on SSD, it is WoW.
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June 8, 2010 4:43:44 PM

sub mesa said:
WoW is one of the few games which benefits a lot from being on an SSD. It can mean the below-1.0FPS hickups disappear. This is because WoW is a MMORPG; it cannot cache all textures in advance and will read from the disk as textures are needed. Until the HDD responds, your FPS will be 0. So you can have all kinds of hickups and see disk access during gaming.

Also, switching realms etc. is much faster with SSDs. So if there is a game that benefits from being on SSD, it is WoW.



Do you think I would notice a drastic change in load times with 2 Caviar black drives in Raid 0?

The benchmarks I have seen put the data transfer rate of 2 Caviar blacks in the same neighborhood with the Intel X-25M 80G SSD.
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a c 127 G Storage
June 8, 2010 8:34:07 PM

Yes but throughput (reading or writing large files) is not all that counts; WoW does read chunks sequentially when you change zones. There RAID0 will give a modest benefit. But all the random accesses, also during the game, will still create hickups as RAID0 would not lower your access times nor would it come any close to an SSD even if it could.

For that reason, any online game that can't avoid having to load stuff from disk during gameplay, such as online MMORPGs like WoW, would have a benefit from SSD to prevent hickups whenever a new guy walks into your playfield and textures need to be loaded; your RAM is not big enough to store everything; and 32-bit apps are still limited to 2GiB of addressable memory; the game itself can't use any more.

So SSD might make sense for WoW; i could fit Win7 + WoW on a 30GB cheap SSD and already had lots of benefits. But Intel would be great; you would notice it certainly. One word of caution: you would quickly be accustomed to the higher speeds; and might only really start to notice it when going back to HDD again. ;-)
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June 11, 2010 5:42:40 AM

Hey.. dynasonic about two weeks ago i had the same dilemma and the bottom line is;
If you dont want to wait 60 sec. for system to boot and nakoff 30 second and possibly run to some stability issues then go for raid
Heres' my suggestion-before you do that spend your money on external hdd+cloning software (casper 6 or acronis ) for your backup,you can use the software later to copy raid0
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June 11, 2010 5:23:29 PM

What if you buy 2 SSD cards in raid 0 for the OS and Wow. But can you put SSD card in a raid system?
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June 11, 2010 6:57:15 PM

Yes you can...very common
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June 11, 2010 9:09:47 PM

The amount of data that you are referring to that WoW must load while you are actually playing is insignificant, maybe a few MB here and there. With 2 HDDs in Raid 0 you will not notice any difference in game as opposed to using a SSD (or even 2 SSDs in Raid 0).

In WoW, the only difference you will be able to notice are instance/zone load times, as that is when most of the data is being loaded. Again, if you want to cut off a few seconds of load time, go for the SSD. If 2-5 seconds are not worth $200 for an SSD, then go with 2 HDDs in Raid 0- you won't notice too much of a difference.
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a c 127 G Storage
June 11, 2010 9:51:47 PM

Omniblivion: i beg to differ. WoW is one of the few games i play, and as soon as you turn lvl80 and start doing interesting stuff, like Wintergrasp, you will notice the hickups as new players enter your playfield. Due to the larger textures in Wrath of the Lich King expansion, you will notice your HDD lits up now and then during gameplay with alot of players, dropping minimum framerate to 1.0 or below. The average framerates won't be affected much, but it is still very noticeable, at least to me.

As soon as i jumped on SSDs, well before my current Intel RAID0 with NFS/iSCSI, these lags disappeared. They also got less severe after playing for awhile, as the RAM filecache should keep it stored in memory. But 4GB RAM in my gaming system was not enough to cache everything. Perhaps with 8GB yes, though WoW with all expansions now totals for just below 20GB.

So you probably won't notice this with early gameplay below level 80, as you would be soloing stuff and the classic WoW areas have less detailed and thus smaller sized textures, so it remains playable on older systems.

But if you're serious with WoW, and you are in my opinion if you leveled to 80, you may want to invest in an SSD to get a smooth gaming experience and not let this hickups get you killed or frustrated/confused in the heat of battle.

As for other games; well offline games know everything they need when you play a certain level; these wouldn't need to load things as you play the game. But MMORPGs like WoW are different, and their total dataset (~20GB) is too large to fit in RAM for most gaming systems. So an SSD, even a small but good one like Intel X25-V 40GB, should give a boost to your gaming experience.
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June 11, 2010 10:37:45 PM

The only example I can think of that would cause any drop of fps would in fact be wintergrasp, and only when you entered the zone. You might barely notice it for a second or two right when you begin fighting in WG, but as soon as you get close enough to begin fighting the first Horde/Alliance everything is loaded and running smoothly.

Again, if the ~2 seconds of "potential" spiking is worth $200 for an SSD, go for it.

Things in WoW that an SSD won't help with while not on the loading screen:
1) Arenas
2) Battlegrounds
3) Instances
4) Raids
5) Dalaran is debatable- bad coding leads to lag regardless of storage device.

An SSD will help with zone load times- again, it will save you a few seconds. Zone Loads don't matter except for WG- what good are you by yourself without the rest of your party/raid?

(I've done everything from Arena, BGs, HM ICC, etc- all on an older 5400 rpm harddrive and hardly noticed- except for the load screens).
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