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Raid/SSD's/Mechanical 10k drives.

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November 3, 2010 11:22:20 PM

Hello fine people out there in Tom's Hardware World. I'm new here and need some of your expert advice and opinions.

I will soon be building a new and first computer system. My system will consist of:

Asus Rampage III Extreme
Intel I7-980X
LSI 9260-8i Kit R.A.I.D.
LG WH10LS30K 10X Blu-ray Burner
Creative X-Fi Titanium
Logitech G510
Cyborg/Saitek R.A.T. 9
CORSAIR XMS3 12GB HX3X12G1333C9
CORSAIR CMXAF1 Fans (Ram cooler)
Corsair AX1200 Fully Modular PSU
Nvidia - EVGA GTX 480 (2) on a SLI
Lian Li PC-X900
Possibly a three monitor setup
Rosewill RTK-ASM Anti-Static Mat
AccoustikPack 7mm
Norton Ghost 15
Microsoft Office 2010 Home Business
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Full

I am building; kind of a gaming rig, but even though my mobo is for gaming, I will be using my system for other tasks such as coding, modeling, video editing and game development. I will be using two GTX 480's for the Cuda Support.

But my question is what storage options will be good for my needs?

Here are the options I was thinking of. I need to know if they are over-kill or just right and what benefits will I receive from them.

Option 1:

Either (1 or 2) 64 gb SSD's on a Raid 0 for my primary boot drive and office productivity.
(4) 128 gb SSD's on a Raid 0 as a secondary drive for my games and other utilities/software.

(Note): I will be using an external backup on a daily basis for all my storage configurations.

Option 2:

(1 or 2) 64 gb SSD's on a Raid 0 as my primary boot drive.
(2) WD VelociRaptor 600 gb 6gbs 10k drives on a Raid 0.

Option 3:

(1 or 2) 64 gb SSD's on a Raid 0 as my primary boot drive.
(4) WD VelociRaptor 600 gb 6gbs 10k drives on a Raid 5.

Option 4:

(4) WD VelociRaptor 600 gb 6gbs 10k drives on a Raid 5 loaded with everything.


I will be using a seperate Raid controller card.

Any advice and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. It is very important to me and the storage situation is the only thing that is holding me back in my system build.

Also, I will be adding a liquid cooling system for my processor, (2) video cards and Northbridge.

Peace!
November 4, 2010 11:54:54 PM

Well, purely from a storage opinion it seems that if you want to make sure that you don't lose anything that's precious or whatever, you'll want RAID 5 in there somewhere. But it's not usually a good idea to be using the Raid 5 as your end all be all containing everything. That's not what it's meant for... so option 4 is out. If you go with option 1 or 2 you will certainly have a lot of speed throughout the whole system but you're up the creek if one of the drives fails or falls out of the RAID on your non OS drive. If you trust a lot in you're external backup then or you have another server that you're backing up to, and you're looking for that great boost of speed, then I would do either of the first two. But like I said, option 3 will be of great use to you if you want redunancy at all.
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November 5, 2010 3:43:43 AM

Thank you so much for clarifying things up for me. You were very useful.

Peace and I hope you have a safe holiday. ;) 
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November 5, 2010 3:55:22 AM

I wonder if there is a noticeable difference in speed between a VelociRaptor 10k drive running at 6gbs compared to a SSD on a Sata II or III? And if there is a difference, how much.

Then again, maybe too much speed will cause problems and may cause crashes.

Peace!
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November 7, 2010 8:57:12 PM

Weither its 6Gbps or 3Gbps won't make a difference. Neither drive can exceed 300MB/s (3Gbps) per channel.

Also if I had that much money, I'd just buy a 256Gb SSD (that provided over 230Mb/s), and a 1TB WD Green or similar for videos and backups etc. That will boot windows and start your games at rocket speed. The single SSD also means features like TRIM will work correctly and the 0ms access time will get your computer and games started faster than you can say "buttsecks".


Edit: I'm saying this because my shortstroked RAID does 500MB/s and its not that much faster than a normal drive for windows startup. The faster access times of an SSD will dominate when it comes to Windows/Game startup (even if the data transfer speed is lower).
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November 7, 2010 9:24:00 PM

Get 2 or 3 60GB OCZ Vertex 2 drives, run them in RAID 0. They are fairly inexpensive and horrifically fast. I'm running two and I get 500+ MB/sec reads and 400+ writes. Space is getting tight with my ever growing Steam directory, so I'm probably going to get two more.

It has been my experience that the benefits of running two or more SSD's in RAID 0 far outweigh any performance hit from the lack of TRIM support. If you need to clean the drives at some point, simply backup the volume, break the RAID volume and do a SECURE_ERASE.

I wrote a fairly lengthy post about this concept over at NBR. The Sony Z1 I have uses 4x 128GB SSDs in RAID 0 and I've been nothing but happy.

More than likely, this will be faster and cheaper than a single, larger SSD. This an issue hotly debated, so read what you can and make up your own mind.

As for bulk storage, like for iTunes or, er, "personal video" storage, go big and RAID them. I just picked up 6 of the Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB drives. These are silly-slow with an odd 5900 RPM rotational speed, but they work well in RAID 10 and RAID 5 configs. I got them for $99 each at Fry's. Effectively, you mitigate the speed problem with sheer spindle counts.
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a b G Storage
November 10, 2010 1:19:31 AM

Wow, a super rig and no thought to pci-e drives? What about OCZ's hsdl interface? I realize you're using 32 pcie lanes for video but there are 4 more available.

To wade into the raid 0 ssd race. The numbers (pushing 300mB/s read/write) for a single SSD are so great and iops DO NOT improve with raid 0 implementations. I'd say save your money on the raid card. Put in a super cool OCZ REVO or better yet HSDL type drive and sink the other $500? into a reasonable network storage device. Then, your mobo never needs to wait for a spinner to spin up. Your storage is 'safer'. And, your computer is faster and quieter. just my humble opinion
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a c 127 G Storage
November 10, 2010 1:57:58 AM

adampower said:
Wow, a super rig and no thought to pci-e drives?

There are no affordable desktop-class PCI-express SSDs with native PCI-e to NAND controller chips available yet. So these products will be scarce and uses less ideal controller chips for this purpose. FusionIO has some sleek native PCIe NAND controllers, but being enterprise products they fall outside the price range of many consumers.

Quote:
What about OCZ's hsdl interface?

Just a proprietary multi-SATA extension, nothing interesting. The problem is absence of native PCIe NAND controllers.

Quote:
To wade into the raid 0 ssd race. The numbers (pushing 300mB/s read/write) for a single SSD are so great and iops DO NOT improve with raid 0 implementations.

IOps do scale with RAID0, in fact it should scale linearly. Some for HDDs, but sub-optimal configurations that let the disks seek to the same sector (such as when using a too small stripesize and/or using unaligned partition) will ruin your IOps scaling with RAID0. Also, random read IOps with single queue depth does not scale in RAID0; but anything else should and will.

It is also interesting to add that all SSDs are RAID0ed by design already. They use multiple channels and interleave those for 'striped' performance; with performance characteristics the same as a RAID0. Intel uses 10 channels (10-disk RAID0), Sandforce/Micron use 8 channels (8-disk RAID0), Indilinx/JMicron use 4. Even most USB sticks are dual channel, meaning essentially a 2-disk RAID0.

RAID0/striping/interleaving is all the same basically and is used in many technologies:
PCIe multi-lanes
CPU multi-core (SMP)
DRAM dual/triple channel
SLI videocards
link-aggregated gigabit networking

As for data security, i highly recommend to invest in a good backup solution, and not consider any RAID to ultimately protect your data. A combination of both is generally the most preferred solution.
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