Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Single SSD + Mechanical RAID 5 *** Possible??

Last response: in Storage
Share
June 27, 2010 10:22:21 PM

My system is this:

Q6600 @ 3.3Ghz
Gigabyte EP35C-DS3R
4 Gigs DDR2 5-5-5-15 Corsair Dominator
EVGA GTX260 Factory OverClock
Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro
3x 250GB WD Caviar
2x 320GB WD Caviar
**80GB Intel X-25M (Not Installed Yet)

What I want to do is use the X-25M for Windows 7 HP 64 and any applications / games. I thought I would stick the 3x 250GB Caviars in a RAID 5 for all my media. Then I started looking at advice on a fresh Windows 7 install on the X-25M and came up with the idea that I may not be able to run a seperate RAID and have TRIM on the SSD.

Please offer any advice on setting up my rig, I expect to have my new SSD in a few days.

Thanks!

EDIT: I found another post stating that the TRIM will work in RAID mode as long as the SSD is not part of the RAID. My mobo has two controllers, maybe I should run the raid on one and put the SSD on the other.
a c 171 G Storage
June 28, 2010 12:08:49 AM

Let me presume that your X25-M is the gen 2 variety which supports trim. The G1 version does not have trim, but has self cleanup microcode.

Today, the only way trim can be natively passed is by using the windows-7 drivers and a AHCI controller. If you specify raid, you also get AHCI which is a subset. The problem is, that you will also get the intel raid drivers which currently do not pass on the trim command. No doubt this will change sometime.

I think your plan to separate the raid controller from the SSD controller is a good one, and will probably work.

Intel does have a utility that will free up space. If you ran that once a day, you should have no problem with performance.

With a 80gb drive that is not full, I think you would not have a performance problem even without trim.
m
0
l
June 28, 2010 1:24:10 AM

Thanks geofelt. Yes, the X25-M is the G2 version. I ordered it from newegg and I did look at the part number to make sure. I will try setting up the GSATA (Jmicron) controller to AHCI and the ICH9R controller to RAID. I'll attach the X-25M to the GSATA and then my 3 HDD RAID 5 to the ICH9R.

I was thinking I would set up the RAID after I get Windows 7 installed on the SSD.

Let me know if this sounds correct and thanks again for the quick reply.
m
0
l
Related resources
a c 171 G Storage
June 28, 2010 4:08:21 AM

merk66 said:
Thanks geofelt. Yes, the X25-M is the G2 version. I ordered it from newegg and I did look at the part number to make sure. I will try setting up the GSATA (Jmicron) controller to AHCI and the ICH9R controller to RAID. I'll attach the X-25M to the GSATA and then my 3 HDD RAID 5 to the ICH9R.

I was thinking I would set up the RAID after I get Windows 7 installed on the SSD.

Let me know if this sounds correct and thanks again for the quick reply.


That sounds correct. You must set your ssd drive controller to AHCI before you install the OS to get the proper drivers. It is very difficult to change it later. I don't think it matters when you set the raid on the second controller.
m
0
l

Best solution

a c 99 G Storage
June 30, 2010 2:48:22 AM

You're thinking about using the "second" controller is sound, but unneeded.

TRIM is supported in a RAID array, as long as the drive in not part of the array.

So what this means, is when you set up your array, you simply won't choose the SSD drive as part of any array.

Take for instance my setup, 5 drives: 2 SSD in RAID 0, 2 HDD in RAID 0, and 1 HDD alone. Bad example, because I don't have TRIM support for my SSDs, but you see that not all drives have to be part of an array. The lone drive does have ACHI support.

I don't like the JMicron controllers (previous experience), so all my drives are on my ICH10R controller, with 6 SATA II drive ports.

You know how to set up a RAID array in BIOS and then upon BIOS post?

Make sure you check for an update for the firmware of the SSD before Windows install. Here is the link.
Check to make sure this is for the drive you get, I think I got the right one! This will be done in DOS, and can be from a USB flash drive. Read the instruction very carefully in the download.

You should download the latest Intel driver for ICH9R, to make sure you get TRIM. Here is the link.
Check to make sure your chipset is listed, I think I got the right one! You can install this driver as part of the Windows 7 install, using it as a "third party driver" for your RAID controller, or after the install, as a driver update.
Share
June 30, 2010 3:10:15 AM

Hey, thanks for the reply.

I may give that a try. The way I imagine setting this up is to install Win7 on the new SSD first. Then after I get it tweaked, I will add my 3HDD RAID.

So, you think I could set my BIOS for RAID and then connect only the SSD (which will run in AHCI, even though I am set for RAID), install Windows, tweak it, and then connect my 3 HDD and set up the RAID.

I agree with you on the JMicron. I would feel better about it if I didn't have to manually load the drivers off a floppy I think. Also, I am running on an ICH9R controller if you think that makes any difference. The ICH9R has 6 SATA II ports on my board as well, the JMicron has 2 SATA II.

I have set up a couple RAIDs before. I am always down for tips or advice though. I said in an earlier post that I would do RAID5, but I am leaning more toward RAID0 right now. I have a Windows Home Server that I backup too every night, so the redundancy is not needed. The RAID0 should be faster.

Any advice on strip sizes or anything else?
m
0
l
a c 171 G Storage
June 30, 2010 5:01:12 AM

I think if you set sata to raid, windows will install the intel raid/ahci drivers which do not pass through the trim command.
If you set sata to ahci, then windows will use windows sata drivers which do pass on the trim command.

I think the sata = ide/ahci/raid bios setting applies to the controller, not the individual sata devices.

I do not think stripe size matters much. It specifies how many bytes of data will be written to each drive before writing starts on the alternate drive. For sequential operations I think larger might be better.

Since there is some doubt about this, perhaps you could do some testing for the trim issue, and your own performance with and without raid-0 and some stripe sizes.
m
0
l
a c 127 G Storage
June 30, 2010 12:03:40 PM

Single disks (like an SSD) connected to a RAID controller (i.e. Intel onboard controller set to RAID in the BIOS) would configure non-RAID devices as AHCI devices. Assuming you install Intel driver, make sure this is a new driver (version 9.6 or later) and you should be able to use TRIM on the SSD.

Other controllers will not support this, and when set to RAID mode will not allow TRIM - since you have to use their drivers. The only drivers supporting TRIM on Microsoft Windows are from Microsoft itself and the Intel 9.6 RAID drivers; which only enable TRIM for SSDs as non-RAID disk connected to Intel controller in RAID mode; thus not part of any RAID array themselves.
m
0
l
a c 171 G Storage
June 30, 2010 2:06:52 PM

sub mesa said:
Single disks (like an SSD) connected to a RAID controller (i.e. Intel onboard controller set to RAID in the BIOS) would configure non-RAID devices as AHCI devices. Assuming you install Intel driver, make sure this is a new driver (version 9.6 or later) and you should be able to use TRIM on the SSD.

Other controllers will not support this, and when set to RAID mode will not allow TRIM - since you have to use their drivers. The only drivers supporting TRIM on Microsoft Windows are from Microsoft itself and the Intel 9.6 RAID drivers; which only enable TRIM for SSDs as non-RAID disk connected to Intel controller in RAID mode; thus not part of any RAID array themselves.


Good info on the 9.6 intel drivers.
m
0
l
a c 99 G Storage
June 30, 2010 6:48:39 PM

So:

a) The link I gave you is for the 9.6 Intel driver.

b) Yes, set up your RAID (0 or 5, I too would go with 0), and then install Windows 7. This could resolve any issues with installing OS in ACHI, then switching to RAID. Plus, Windows will load all the correct drivers (it has) from the start. I would use the Intel 9.6 driver from the start of install.

c) Use the recommended stripe size, 128K. Best overall.

d) Changing stripe size requires reinstalling Windows each time. I once read in here somewhere that some did that, but Microsft gets "testy" when you keep reactivating the product key for the OS, with or without calling support. Sub mesa may have more info on stripe sizes, more than me.

Sounds like you are ready to go. One thing I can add is the acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid). Don't get to carried way, but do enjoy it.

P.S. Are you going to RAID 0 the 3 x 250GB AND the 2 x 320GB? I'd do 'em seperate, meaning 2 RAID arrays. See my signature, it can be done.
m
0
l
June 30, 2010 9:08:20 PM

Thanks all for the input.

I have a Home Server that I plan on throwing the 2x320GB drives into. So, my new setup will be the 80GB X-25M as my boot drive and then the 3x250 HDD as my storage.

About a year ago, I set up a raid like you mention. I used the ICH9R for the 3x250 and put the 2x320 on the JMicron. Both were raid 0. After the newness wore off (took about 6 months), I started to get a little nervous about having all my data on a raid 0. I flip flopped my files between the two and broke apart one raid, copied everything and broke apart the second. Over the winter last year, I built a home server, so now I feel like I can confidently set up the raid 0 again.

I'll do what you recommend, foscooter. I'll get the 9.6 Intel driver and load it when starting the windows install.

In part d) of your post, foscooter, you say that changing stripe size requires reinstall. I will have my OS on the SSD, not raided. That means I can readjust the raid all day, right? I think you simply forgot that my OS will be on the SSD.

And YES I am ready to GO, if the SSD will just get here via UPS already!! I guess waiting is part of the fun though. Plus it gives me time to talk to you guys about it, and iron out the details. Seriously, it should arrive tomorrow. I'll drop back in once I get it up and running to let you know how it all works out.

If you have any other thoughts, let me know, and thanks again everyone.
m
0
l
a c 99 G Storage
June 30, 2010 10:54:42 PM

Ah yes, you may be able to change stripe sizes without re-installing Windows, since it's your "other" disks. Sorry, I did overlook that part.

Enjoy!
m
0
l
July 1, 2010 10:46:24 PM

Best answer selected by merk66.
m
0
l
July 2, 2010 2:51:52 AM

I have my X-25M up and running now! It is impressive and has a good snappy feel. I ran HD Tune on it and got these numbers for read:
Minimum 124.0 MB/s
Maximum 232.4 MB/s
Average 216.9 MB/s
Access time 0.1 ms
Burst rate 193.2 MB/s
CPU usage 4.7%

HD Tune Pro: INTEL SSDSA2M080G2GC Random Access

Test capacity: full

Read test

Transfer size operations / sec avg. access time avg. speed
512 bytes 23361 IOPS 0.04 ms 11.407 MB/s
4 KB 15173 IOPS 0.07 ms 59.271 MB/s
64 KB 3348 IOPS 0.30 ms 209.274 MB/s
1 MB 251 IOPS 4.0 ms 251.298 MB/s
Random 489 IOPS 2.0 ms 248.218 MB/s


My 3xHDD RAID 0 benchmarks like this:
Minimum 82.7 MB/s
Maximum 169.1 MB/s
Average 138.8 MB/s
Access time 13.3 ms
Burst rate 1806.4 MB/s
CPU usage 41.6%

HD Tune Pro: Intel Raid 0 Volume Random Access

Test capacity: full

Read test

Transfer size operations / sec avg. access time avg. speed
512 bytes 73 IOPS 13 ms 0.036 MB/s
4 KB 74 IOPS 13 ms 0.291 MB/s
64 KB 64 IOPS 15 ms 4.019 MB/s
1 MB 26 IOPS 38 ms 26.122 MB/s
Random 37 IOPS 26 ms 18.921 MB/s


I made a RamDrive for my IE8 cache and made a couple of other tweaks. I love how my Home Server has all my files on it from before. All I have to do is copy them back to my computer now. Everything is working out well so far. Thanks again for all the advice.

Do these numbers look right? Especially the raid numbers. The random access speeds seem super low.
m
0
l
July 3, 2010 3:41:04 AM

foscooter said:
They seem ok.

Here are my benchmarks: Intel SSds in RAID0 - Long term use

I'm about in the middle of the post...


Yeah, I guess you are right. All that matters is that my machine is running damn fast now. The disks were definitely my bottleneck. It's cool too that I have the Home Server set up. All of my files were backed up on it and now I can just pull them all back over to my fresh drives. It is ever so convenient.
m
0
l
!