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3 Samsung Spinpoint F1s, 1 Spinpoint F3, best RAID 0 setup?

Last response: in Storage
a b G Storage
March 11, 2011 4:24:50 PM

I've got these 4 drives (each 1TB size), and currently they each have different OSes installed in them, but I very rarely use anything but Windows 7, which I may reinstall soon, so I was thinking of putting them in RAID 0 for the reinstall. I don't make heavy enough use of the hard drive to justify buying more F3s, let alone SSDs, but I'd like to get as much performance as I can from the drives I already have. Unfortunately, I'm not sure which of the following options is best:
1. All four drives in a single RAID0 (I've read that this is possible, but that the F3's performance would be pulled down to match that of the F1s; are there other problems with this idea?)
2. The three F1s in RAID0, with the F3 stowed away to be brought out in case a family member needs a new HDD
3. The F3 by itself (no RAID), with the F1s stowed away
I did a bit of searching, but I couldn't find a review that actually compared the F3 to two F1s in RAID0, let alone three.
a b G Storage
March 11, 2011 7:38:41 PM

You can try two F1 in RAID 0 for the OS and that's all.
a b G Storage
March 11, 2011 7:52:02 PM

Please explain yourself, mosox. I'm pretty sure RAID 0 isn't limited to two drives, and I see little reason to stop at 2 of the F1s, since I already have three of them.
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a b G Storage
March 11, 2011 8:23:40 PM

In raid 0 if a HDD fails you lose all the date, with 3 of them the risk is quite big. Also on 3HDDs it will be faster in some areas but the seek times go up. It's not worth it IMO.

Best solution

a b G Storage
March 11, 2011 8:25:59 PM

I wouldn't RAID dissimilar drives. Some controllers won't let you do it anyway, and some will, but it's flaky when you do. And personally, I wouldn't trust Samsung drives in a stripe anyway, unless you just absolutely don't care about your data. If you're just set on setting up an array of some sort, at best, i'd raid two of the F1's in a stripe, and leave the other two as standalone drives. You can raid 3 of the f1's, but you increase your chance of array failure with every drive you add to a stripe. It only takes one to fail to lose everything on the array. If your controller will let you put dissimilar drives in an array, you might do a RAID 10. That would give you 2tb of redundant storage, with the speed of a RAID 0.
a b G Storage
March 11, 2011 9:03:22 PM

I checked my Asus P6T Deluxe manual, and it looks like it indeed requires identical drives for raid 0 and raid 5. Raid 10, however, is less clear about whether dissimilar drives are allowed (the manual says "Use four new hard disk drives or use an existing drive and three new drives for this setup").

I suppose when the time comes, I can try the Raid 10 array, and if it doesn't allow that, I can put a couple of them in Raid 1 to get some increase in the read speed, saving the others to swap into the array when one of the drives fails.

Of course, if SSDs come down enough in price that I can get one with 1TB capacity for under $200, I may buy one as a replacement even if my current drives haven't failed by then.
a b G Storage
March 11, 2011 10:38:15 PM

Best answer selected by mauvecloud.
a b G Storage
March 12, 2011 10:49:17 PM

It had no trouble letting me create a RAID 10 array, and I noticed that when I selected RAID 5 briefly before actually creating the array, I noticed that it enabled the drive selection (it disabled it for RAID 10, since obviously I'd need all 4 drives), making me wonder if the controller even noticed the difference between an F1 and an F3 at the same capacity.