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Raid software/hardware?

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March 8, 2011 6:59:42 PM

I have a GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R Core i7 Intel X58 ATX LGA1366 Rev. 2. It supports Raid 0, 1,10 and 5, does that mean I don't need to purchase hardware/software? If I do need hardware/software what would be best. I'm using a i7 990x, 6 gigs ram, I have 1 Samsung Spinpoint F3R 1TB , will be getting 2 to 3 more depending on feedback. I'll manly be using the computer for gaming while watching movies but will be getting some type of CAD program in the future. I here running raid 5 config. is hard on the system, but that's what I'm leaning towards.

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March 10, 2011 10:25:05 PM

64 reads, no replies... is this a stupid question? Any reply would be appreciated. Thanks
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a c 289 G Storage
March 11, 2011 12:10:10 AM

Not a stupid question, but lacking some information.

You already bought the hardware; that board can RAID up to six drives as long as they are attached to the SATA ports driven by the Southbridge.

The software is whatever version of Windows you have.

Read the FAQ / pinned posts at the top of the forum for information on building a RAID array and installing Windows so that it can see and, if you so choose, boot off a RAID array. If you haven't already read this thread, do so now: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/267080-32-what-raid

RAID5 isn't hard on the system in terms of wear, but it will offload parity calculation onto the CPU and put a base load on the CPU. Community, correct me if it does parity in hardware?

Now comes the hard part. The answer to most fun questions is "it depends," and indeed it does. Which RAID configuration is best for you? Should you boot off the RAID array, keep your data on it, or both? These decisions depend heavily on what you want from said array.

RAID0 is fastest, but most likely to lose your data in such a way that you can never recover it.

RAID1 will survive the death of one of your two disks, but writes no faster than one drive and may or may not read faster. It gives you the capacity of one disk for the price of two, but your system will stay up if one drive fails.

RAID 0+1, or 1+0, gives you both of the above. The capacity of two disks for the price of four, about 150% to 180% the speed of a single drive, and if one drive fails you just swap in a new one (and wait hours for a rebuild, but you didn't lose anything).

The other RAID levels achieve the ability to survive the loss of one disk without the cost of buying twice as many. Five drives in RAID5 will give you the capacity of four but the same reliability (survive one failure) that you would get by RAIDing each of four separately. It does this at the cost of write speed - writes are slowed down by the need to compute parity, but sped up partly by being spread over more disks. Read speed may be better than one drive, because the reads are spread over more than one disk.

Which RAID level, and whether or not to boot from RAID, depend in part on
1) Whether or not you can afford downtime
2) How blazingly fast you need program loading to be
3) How blazingly fast you need large data sets like video transcoding, or CAD, to process
4) How much you are willing to invest
5) Half-a-dozen other things that I forgot to mention.

And building a RAID array is always more complicated and time-consuming and frustrating than buying an SSD for the OS and a decent hard drive for your data. If it's mission-critical, or you like to play with this stuff, go for RAID.

Awaiting more details on your priorities
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March 11, 2011 4:46:52 PM

My priorities are as follows,
1)Gaming without any lag on the highest graphics settings,
2)recovery/safety of data,
3)I don't want to be faster than my computer, lol
4)Downtime... hate it but wont kill me, if I have to rebuild a hard drive in a raid setup, depends how long it would take? I could start it before I go to work. That would give me 10 hours if I don't have to be there to do anything.
5)CAD is secondary for now and is just a hobby for the most part, I have Turbo CAD but found out after I bought it I am one of the few that use it, I want to get Auto CAD in the future to help with my work by using a hot swap SSD saving paper by handing it over to our engineering department for review and printing. I'm a welder/fabricator that has to design most of what I build. Drafting on paper takes too long and a mistake could cost me hours of work.

I play Everquest 2 and is very graphics intensive while in a raid (24 people all adding to the graphics load, 80% of the screen will be moving with several layers of movement behind the first). I know it has a lot to do with the graphics card which will be 2, EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) in SLI. Even so it can't hurt to have the any supporting hardware as fast as possible...I would think.

A 1 terabyte hard drive will be enough storage I would ever need, (I would guess) can't really see me needing more.

As for the redundancy I have all my life's pictures on my computer, yes I have an external hard drive backup but I would like a fail proof system on my computer also.

As for the cost, I am buying the components piece by piece. I'm not rich but I have $2489 into it and still need another + - $1000 to have a working computer 2 graphics cards and windows 7 ultimate. So the initial setup isn't too much of an issue. Another $1000 wont set me back too much just hold up the build for a month or so.

I have been using the same Dell 8400 for the last 6 years, it can't be upgraded any more than I have which prompted me to school myself with help from those that are willing to provide it. I have gotten a lot of advice from the IT guys I play with but, they are there to play the game and quite simply don't have the time to give me the complete answers I need. Which is how I heard of this sight.

This will be my first build so I am learning as I go. SO far I have went from knowing nothing to being comfortable in assembling one by reading. Wiki instructed me in the different raid platforms, just need real people, with real life experience to keep me from destroying my computer or making costly mistakes. i.e. ask before I spend another $500 in hard drives to see if it will improve my needs.
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a c 289 G Storage
March 11, 2011 7:50:47 PM

Some random thougths follow; I can't pull together a single coherent answer.

"Gaming without any lag" is more of a CPU/Graphics/memory issue. Game loading speed is better addressed by installing the OS and the games on an SSD.

Hard drive speed is commonly accepted (speaking not from experience but from reading the boards) to have no affect on games past the loading phase. Programs load faster off SSDs.

My heavens, what do you have in that rig that's $3,500 worth of kip?

There is NO SUCH THING as a fail-proof system. You choose how much effort to put into preventing loss, and can cut the risk down very low, but never to zero. RAIDs protect against the loss of one disk, but a controller failure can kill the data. Backups are excellent practice, but unless you take them off-site (or to the cloud, a subject of much controversy) they are vulnerable to fires and other disasters.
I worked for a company with off-site backups once. They thought that they were well-covered, but when we pulled tapes back we found that they were unreadable.
(end of rant. Climbs down off of soap box.)

A very common compromise is an SSD big enough to hold your OS and program files, plus overhead, plus data storage. I personally keep image backups of my OS drive; if that drive fails, I restore the image backup and I'm on my way.

If you separate your OS drive and data drive, unless you need guaranteed 24x7 uptime, most people do not put in RAID1 to increase the reliability of the OS drive. In fact, I was chatting here recently with someone who was considering it for production servers. When I suggested simply keeping a spare drive with a bootable copy of the OS, he dropped RAID - ten minutes of downtime was acceptable.

Data drives are another story. I don't care if I have to roll back to a 3-week-old copy of my OS (I do it often, to clear crapware out) but wouldn't want to go back to 3-week-old data. Also, unless you can afford 1 TB of SSD for your data, this is where the speed advantages of RAID come into play.

There are multiple ways to approach this. One, do a lot of reasearch or hire someone experienced. Two, have fun with it and spend a few months building and benchmarking RAID arrays; everyone needs a hobby. Three, do something basic like buying 4 500 GiB disks and building a RAID 1+0.

Then, for safety, do backups anyway, and have a spare motherboard or RAID controller of the same model of the one you are using. Rebuilding a RAID array on a different brand, or even model, of controller is frequently impossible. It's not like an SATA drive that you can pull out of one machine and put into another.

Unless you fiddle with hardware for fun, build the machine simple and see if it's fast enough for you. If the processing of data is too slow, look at RAID for speed. If program loading is too slow, buy an SSD. If everything is fast enough, why bother?

Edit
I've just noticed that these are amazingly long posts. More like a chat than the usual technical answer, because I can't pin down what's "best" for you without a lot of input.
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March 12, 2011 2:27:25 PM

I admit to being learning dummy, the community will understand the length of the answers, lol. You have given me a lot to think about.

From what I understand SSD's have a finite amount of processes they will perform then boom, dead drive... If I put my game on it (according to forums about the game) in an average gaming session the SSD will preform 100-200 processes, and that an SSD (past the load time) doesn't improve the speed of the game play. Some say it's worse because there is nothing set in the game, everything you do in it is random and that the SSD isn't designed for that. Is that wrong? When it comes to raid I will just finish the build and go from there. Maybe add a water/fire proof safe for my ext. hard drive, guess it would make since and couldn't hurt.

THE RIG:

ITEM Price
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1)Antec LanBoy Air Blue ATX Full Tower Case 185.
2)GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R Core i7 Intel X58 ATX LGA1366 220.
3)PROLIMATECH PK-1 THERMAL COMPOUND 14.
4)Sony BD-5300S 12X Internal Blu-Ray BD DVD Drive Burner 140.
5)Ultra 3.5 Internal Enclosure - 2-Bay 2.5 SATA/SSD 37.
6)990X i7 CPU 1063.
7)PSU ROSEWILL|1000W LIGHTNING-1000 R 225.
8)MEM 2Gx3|G.SKILL F3-16000CL9T-6GBT 175.
9)ACC HDD SILVERSTONE| FP55B RT (converts drive bay to 3.5) 20.
10)SSD 128G|CRUCIAL CTFDDAA128MAG-1G1 265.
11)HD 1T|SAMSUNG HE103SJ 7K % - OEM 100.
12)2 EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1563-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 270+270=540.
13)Windows 7 Ultimate 275.
14)Zalman ZM-MFC1 6-Channel Multi Fan Speed Controller 41.
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$3,300
Plus extra hard drives at $100 each if I go raid . Tack on another 1,000 if I decide to go with water cooling the entire system if the fans aren't enough. (5-6 hours of gaming produces a ton of heat)

Thank you for all your input , it is inestimably valuable.
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a c 289 G Storage
March 13, 2011 4:47:10 PM

SSDs have limited write cycles and unlimited read cycles.

So they are great for installed software: Install it once, read it many times.
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March 20, 2011 7:45:02 AM

Best answer selected by aries1aa.
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