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Raid 0 - quick questions

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  • NAS / RAID
  • Storage
  • Product
Last response: in Storage
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July 5, 2010 5:17:16 AM

I've done a lot of reading on the subject and have spoken to some friends with Raid experience, but I have a few questions.

1) Will a Raid 0 setup enhance game performance?

2) Can I use two different brands of hdd (Maxtor and Seagate) as long as they are the same size, cache and speed?

3) Is it beneficial to install Windows on my Raid 0, or better to keep it on a third, non-raid drive?

4) If I install Windows on my Raid drive, should I make a separate partition for windows? If so how much memory should I allocate?

5) What stripe size is ideal for a gaming system? I've heard different opinions on this

Thanks!

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July 7, 2010 6:59:01 PM

Wow, people really dont like to answer questions on the NAS/Raid forums.

Anyway, I'm trying to sell one of my guitars that I never play. I'm considering using the money to buy two new harddrives. Considering this....

I'm still looking for answers or shared experience/input with questions 1, 3, 4, and 5.

And...

6) What is better price/performance for Raid 0 - WD Caviar Black or WD RE3?

7) Is it worth it to double down the money and get 2tb hdds instead of 1tb?


Please respond if you have thoughts and thanks for the input
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July 7, 2010 7:35:32 PM

stonedzen, I just set up raid 0 with 2 samsung F3 500 gig spinpoints in rig 2 in my information area. I am brand new to raid but my diagnostic speeds are great and it really runs well with gaming. It's not as fast as an SSD drive but it IS fast. I'm using it in a gaming rig for BF2BC, CODMW2, and the new beta for MOH. Works well on raid.
As to where to install Windows, do it on the raid setup. Just be sure to backup data since it is raid 0.

Since I have 2 500 gig dives in raid 0 with overall space nearly double, in the raid bios setup I used 125 gigs of each drive for the first partition and the balance of each drive for the second. Some call this short stroking the drive. Anyway i installed the OS in the first partition which is 250 gigs.
My BIOS had 64k as the default striping and I kept that.
Please understand, I'm new at this also so my input must be weighed against my experience ( or lack of) with raid.

BTW, I bought both Samsung F3 spinpoints new for @$90.
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July 7, 2010 7:47:58 PM

Great feedback guskline, thanks man!

Doesnt matter that you are new to Raid, you still confirmed that raid sped up your gaming rig...that answered my most important question.

Still open to more input from others of course.
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July 8, 2010 1:51:05 AM

stonedzen said:
I've done a lot of reading on the subject and have spoken to some friends with Raid experience, but I have a few questions.


If you've done a lot of reading on the subject then this may not contain any new info.


1) With RAID 0 you will be able to read from both drives and write to both drives at the same time increasing throughput, however there will be slightly increased latency. That being said, I think you will get a slight performance increase at the cost of reliability. I did a RAID 0 with my last computer and I will not do it again because you double (or more) the chance of disk failure (which just happened to me :-/) and it's not worth it IMO. If you don't care about the data on the drive then there is no reason to not do RAID.


2) Technically i think you can use 2 hd no matter what size/type they are since its just striping data across all of them. The raid controller may also have a more difficult time handling different type disks. Not sure on this one.

3) If you are doing RAID there is no reason not to put windows on it (other than of course data failure) since it will give windows the same performance boost as you would get for gaming.

4) The only reason I can think of to do this doesn't have to do with RAID specifically, and i'm not actually sure if this would work - however... There is the concept of "short stroking" a hard drive where you don't use the entire drive space and use only the outside of the platters. An article on short stroking: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/short-stroking-hdd,...
If you made a partition, i think it would start at the outside of the platter and the more you stick to using only that partition the more efficent your drive would be.

5) If your games have a lot of "large" files, go with a large (64k or 128k) stripe. If they are smaller files, it won't matter.

7) That question is really vauge. How do you define worth it? If money is no object, of course upgrade. If it is an object, you have to specify what you are looking for.
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July 8, 2010 2:45:50 AM

thanks for the response alphanode. What you said pretty much confirms the majority of information out there so I think I now know how to go about this and what the risks are.

I have decided to get two Western Digital Caviar Blacks 1tb 64mb cache for the raid. I will then use my current maxtor 500gb 16mb cache hdd for stashing backup files.

One last question: I have read alot about how Raid 0 increases the chance of drive failure...however this simply refers to data loss and not physical damage to the drive correct? Basically I'm wondering that if the Raid fails at some point, I can just reformat both drives and start over?

Thanks again for the great info!
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July 10, 2010 9:57:38 PM

Basically speaking, if you have Z drives you have in RAID 0 configuration, you are Z times more likely to loose your data because if any single drive fails, the overall RAID fails. However, if a drive fails (RAID or not) it becomes unusable and you must throw it away.

Once you replace the dead hard drive, you can format and use the other "healthy" ones again.
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July 11, 2010 3:36:34 AM

So raid 0 "failure" results in a drive being completely unusable?

This conflicts with info I got from a different thread which said the raid failure leads top the data becoming corrupted and therefore unusable, but that reformat will allow you to use the failed drive again.

Anyone want to further support either of these claims?

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July 15, 2010 7:00:07 AM

There are a lot of ways a drive can "fail".

It can fail mechanically, in which case you can no longer use the drive regardless of if it is raid or not (what i was referring to).

If you are taking about your RAID array becoming somehow corrupted (bad sector, magnet scrambled the data, other corrupt data problems, whatever) then yes, you loose all your data and you can re-build your array from scratch. Personally i wouldn't want to continue using a drive that has something wrong with it - so i toss it.

The end result is... it doesn't matter if you have RAID or not... a failure is a failure and the steps to recover from it are the same - whether it be throwing the drive away or re-formatting.
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July 16, 2010 5:25:33 PM

stonedzen said:
So raid 0 "failure" results in a drive being completely unusable?

This conflicts with info I got from a different thread which said the raid failure leads top the data becoming corrupted and therefore unusable, but that reformat will allow you to use the failed drive again.

Anyone want to further support either of these claims?


Yes you can re-use any functioning drives when you re-build the array. There is no reason you couldn't they are still working drives. To be clear that you understand when it fails, I'll give a quick explanation of it.
The whole array will be lost if only one drive fails in a raid 0 array. None of the data is redundant with raid 0, so if you lose one little bit, the whole thing falls apart. You cannot recover the data. Other raid setups allow some redundancy. For instance, raid 5 is like raid 0 but with one bit of redundancy for every piece of data. If any one drive is lost in a raid 5 array, then all is not lost. If two drives go, the array goes with it.
This article breaks down how different raid setups work, and their advantages/disadvantages: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID#Standard_levels

As alphanode said, there are multiple kinds of failure. I am in agreement with his statements: I would not keep a drive that went bad, regardless of what the problem was. If there was a bad sector, odds are it will happen again. If there was a mechanical failure, it probably wouldn't even be possible to try it again. I'd either replace the drive, or just use rebuild array with one less drive (depending on the setup and uses)
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