Spinning on a new build storage solution - need advice

Hello all; need your much valued advice.

Going to build a new system (ASUS P8P67 PRO) and been thinking/research a lot regarding my storage needs/plan. I play some games but do not consider myself a hard-core gamer (need to find the time...). I also do some video editing. Also will be using the new system as a NAS for a while.

OS drive will be a SSD (aiming for the C400).

For some reason, I would like to build a RAID (have not done one before). This is where I spin.

RAID 5: bit better performance (assuming a drive has not failed) and less number of drives
RAID 10: more expensive and a bit slower (however, was more attracted to that solution)

How many HDD and which kind would you recommend?

FYI - I have been reading a fair amount about the apparent WD HDD TLER issue (newer non-RE drives you can not turn TLER on) and thus forcing folks to purchase the more expensive RE versions; really wondering if RAID is worth it. Or can someone recommend another manufacture who has a TLER like function (as I understand it is important for a RAID to have)?

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More about spinning build storage solution advice
  1. Unless you also buy a dedicated RAID controller, you should go for RAID10. RAID5 is CPU heavy when you use the onboard RAID controller. Any drive should do it, generally the 1 - 1.5TB SATA2 models offer the best performance-capacity for their price, and you need 4 for RAID10.

    You won't see any noticeable performance difference from a RE or Barracuda-XT or Caviar Black, just choose a 7200 rpm drive. A more expensive drive usually improves the access time, but as this will be your storage drive (not your system drive) you don't have much use for it.

    TLER (for WD) or Error Recovery Control (Seagate) or Command Completion Time Limit (Hitachi/Samsung) is a technology that wil prevent the RAID to shut down if a drive has a bad sector (every disk can handle a few bad sectors but will fail if they exceed a certain number). It is generally present on certain models, mostly the "high-end" disks (although with Hitachi it seems to be present and on random mainstream models).

    Unless you want to store critical data on your temporary NAS (and I guess you don't since you don't use a dedicated machine) you shouldn't worry much about it. You may also want to read this:
  2. 1) For performance, use the SSD.
    2) If the capacity requirements are such that a SSD won't hold your data, then you will be looking at conventional hard drives. My suggestion for tasks such as editing is to get two largish(1tb) drives and put your source data on one, and your output on the other. That will reduce the arm stealing on such applications as editing.
    3) Raid 1, and it's variants are intended for servers, or users who can not tolerate even a moment of down time in the event that a drive should fail. Hard drives will advertise 1,000,000 hours MTBF, that is 100 years; not a common occurence. More common reasons to lose data is operator error, viruses, fire... etc. For those issues, you need external backup. If you can tolerate the time to recover from a problem then raid-1 or it's variants is probably not worth it.
    4) The value of raid-0 for performance is overhyped. Synthetic benchmarks look impressive, but real application performance benefits are iffy. There may be some benefit for large sequential operations, but separating input vs. output will accomplish much of the same benefit.
    5) A strong discrete raid card can provide some real performance benefits, but they are expensive.

    -------------- bottom line------------------------
    Forget raid until you KNOW why you need it.
  3. Thanks for your kind replies.

    Like your insight; curious on two items mention. One is that raid-0 performance is over-hyped. In system build forums, raids are mentioned all the time, more for performance it seems to me than redundancy (especially for the home). If you have any links/articles regarding true performance impacts (or not), love to read more. I was assuming that along with SSD, raid is required for a speedy system.

    Second item brought up was around controllers. In an article I read about Windows, they stated you will get better performance (don't think a great deal but some) if you spread out your drives across controllers (if possible). So, assuming you place the C400 SSD on the Intel SATA-III link, would it make sense to place a HDD on another SATA-III (although from what I gather a HDD placed on a SATA-III link is not a performance improvement) and the other HDD on another controller (thinking to the suggestion for video editing you have the source on one and the output to another HDD)?

    Example, for the motherboard I am looking at (ASUS P8P67 PRO):

    2 xSATA 6.0 Gb/s ports (gray) by P67
    2 xSATA 6.0 Gb/s ports (navy blue) by Marvell 9120
    4 xSATA 3.0

    Place SSD on P67 SATA-III, one HDD on Marvell 9120 SATA-III, and other HDD on the 'normal' Intel SATA-II?
  4. Best answer
    Raid-0 looks like a great performance winner, according to benchmarks. But... what benchmarks? Mainly synthetic benchmarks which DO show great performance, but only for what the benchmark is doing, and that is nowhere near what YOUR access pattern will be. By the way, this also applies to SSD benchmarks. Sequential performance is the big number that is advertised. But, we mostly do small reads and writes 90% or so of the time. It is the small random iops that is the best indicator of what YOU will experience. Look for 50K or greater iops.

    Read the following article, an look at some of the reference links. It is an older link, but the conclusion is :

    "If you haven't gotten the hint by now, we'll spell it out for you: there is no place, and no need for a RAID-0 array on a desktop computer."

    Let me add, that I tried two Intel X25-M 80gb ssd's in raid-0. I noticed no better performance than a single X25-M 160gb drive.

    New Gen3 drives may be able to saturate a sata 2 bus, so it makes sense to me to put one on a 6gb port.
    More definitive info on this will emerge as faster drived are released.

    I think the integrated P67 ports are a bit better than the separate marvell ports, so you might favor the P67 ports.

    It does not matter much where the conventional hard drives are put. Their performance is almost entirely determined by their mechanical capabilities. Very little by the HDD cache to sata transmission rates. My inclination would be to keep it simple and save boot time by not activating the Marvell controller and put everything on the P67 controller ports.
  5. Best answer selected by shaneme123.
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