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Which raid to use?

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June 20, 2010 6:17:33 PM

This is my first build, and I've been reading a lot of info on raid, but I have no first hand experience with it.

It all seems a little too confusing to me, so I was wondering if someone could help me out a bit.
I'm mainly interested in increased "performance". I'll mainly be gaming on the computer, possibly set up a ventrilo server or maybe use the computer to host a cs:s or starcraft2 server sometime in the future.

So I guess I'm not really too concerned with losing data (what do I have to lose that I can't just reinstall?). So what raid configuration will offer the best read/write performance for me?

From what I've read, I'm not sure if raid 0 increases read times, everything about raid 0 seems to just focus on write times.
I'll be using the onboard raid; "P55 Chipset: support for RAID 0/1/5/10"
So I guess 0/1/5/10 are the options I have.

my system is:
46'' samsung tv for monitor
i5-750
GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3
.5 gb/256 bit MSI 250GTS
cm692 cool master case // 700w psu // cpu cooler
4x 1333mhz 2gb ddr3 sticks

x4 500gb WD scorpio black hdds45

btw any recommendations on the system will be appreciated as well. I haven't even booted it up yet, still waiting on some sata cables in the mail.

More about : raid

a b G Storage
June 20, 2010 10:50:09 PM

Raid 0 should give you the best read/write times out of all the RAID levels. You could also just get an SSD and exceed that performance with a single disk.
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June 21, 2010 12:36:00 AM

I figured 4 500gb hdds would be better than 1 ssd and a cheap 1tb hdd. I'd only be able to afford a small ssd that could fit the OS and maybe a program. With the raid array, I'd notice load times for all my programs, games, and the os. Right? And the 500gb wd blacks were on sale at new egg for $50 each shipped, which I thought was a pretty good deal.
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a c 99 G Storage
June 22, 2010 6:42:03 PM

You are thinking along the right lines!

There is actually an article somewhere on how 4xHDD in a RAID 0 array actually beat a single SSD in benchmarks.

What you are thinking of is called "drive stripping."

What you want to do is:

1.) Set up your 4 drives into a RAID 0 array (in BIOS + RAID setting, see your manual).
2.) Upon OS install, where Windows 7 sees the single large drive (array), partition it into a 400GB partition
- 100GB for each drive, this is the fastest part of each drive.
- Let install use all the rest of space for another partion.
- Windows 7 will create a 100MB partition for "System Reserved" files. Leave it alone!
3.) Windows 7 will have the drivers needed for a RAID array (i.e. Intel X58 + ICH10R chipset). If you're not installing WIndows 7, you'll need to get the RAID drivers for your mobo pre-install.
4.) Format the drive(s) and install OS on the 400GB partition.
5.) After OS install, you may need to format the other partition (start/computer/right-click/manage/choose disk management/right click on the other partion in the drive graph/format or creat a simple volume, then format).

Hope this isn't too confusing.

You don't have to "stripe the drives" if you don't want to.

This will give you better performance, as it will keep the OS files on the outer/fastest part of the drives. But, you can also choose a smaller size than 400GB (100MB each drive), like 100GB (25GB each drive).

But make sure you use the remainder of the drive. Hate to loose ~2TB of drive space! What I'd do is you the extra partition for data/media (e.g My Document, Download, Music, Pictures, Videos, Gaming data, etc.).

Good Luck.
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June 22, 2010 7:33:47 PM

Thanks foscooter! That was incredibly helpful!

I will be installing windows 7.

Can I ask why the 1st partition should be 400gb?
If I made it 200gb would the programs/os on it perform any faster than if they were on a 400gb partition? The reason I ask this is because the w7 os is only about 20gb, and 380gb is a lot of space to fill for just programs :) 
What do you recommend putting on the 1st partition? do you think games would perform better if they were put on the 1st partition with the os? The main game I'll be playing is starcraft2
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a c 99 G Storage
June 22, 2010 8:40:46 PM

Quote:
But, you can also choose a smaller size than 400GB (100MB each drive), like 100GB (25GB each drive).


200GB vs. 400Gb would only be slightly faster (probably humanly unnoticable), due to concentrating the OS files to the fastest (outer) parts of the drive platters.

Games too? Same as OS. Probably.

You are thinking along the right lines!

But I won't go any smaller than say 60GB (15GB each drive), just in case.

And remember, you have 4 500GB drives, that's 2TB. That is a whole lot! Say you use 100GB for OS, that leaves 1948GB for storage.

If you go this route, please back up. I'm not saying RAID 0 is prone to failure, but if it does, you'll loose everything! I haven't had any issues, but I've only been in RAID 0 or 2 months.

You could go 3 RAID 0 drives for OS, Programs, and storage, and 1 500Gb drive for backups. Windows or Norton backups. Or manually. Or external.
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a b G Storage
June 23, 2010 12:39:32 AM

Programs and Games will *in theory* run faster on the first partition. What I'd do personally is install Windows, any Games, and any Programs on said partition, and then use the remaining space for file storage.
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