Now I'm trying to figure out the best way to configure them for data protection and performance. I understand the whole raid 10 vs raid 5 debate but how much is the SATA 6Gb/s going to play into the performance in a raid?
Out of these configurations options what would you think would be best?
- Four drives on raid 10 on the SATA 6Gb/s ports. One Drive on a SATA 3Gb/s for Games etc.
- Five drives on raid 5 on a mix of ports SATA 6Gb/s + 1 SATA 3Gb/s Or the other way around (Is this even possible? /shrug)
I've used Google extensively and the search button here but haven't found a topic that really nails down my questions here.
You won't find any difference in performance between SATA 6Gbit/sec and 3Gbit/sec ports. The hard drives themselves don't spin fast enough to get anywhere near 3Gbit/sec, and plugging them into a 6Gbit/sec port isn't going to make them go any faster.
It's like riding a bicycle on the highway - it really doesn't matter if the speed limit is 30mph or 60mph, its the cyclist that's the limiting factor, not the highway.
As any page on RAID configurations will or won't tell you, the RAID 0 config sets you for one thing: certain failure. It's not a matter of IF drives fail (SSD or platter) BUT WHEN. If I were in your shoes with that many 'raptors, I would look at a RAID 5 or a RAID 10. You do lose some storage space with RAID 10, but having used it for 7 years, I have run the arrays with a a single AND dual drive failure (thankfully it was the alternate stripe drives...) and not lost a single byte. While RAID 0 is a speedy solution, the most important thing to remember is not IF but WHEN a drive will fail. Could be never, could be when you least want it.
Also countering foscooter's point, IT IS a good idea to backup, but running with a redundant set (NOT RAID 0), you're data is relatively safe until you do backup. And I'd even recommend a RAID backup as well: what's the point of backing up if you're in the realm of possibility of losing your single drive backup as well; there are several alternatives and if you're running Win 7 (Ultimate or Enterprise, maybe Pro) you could even create a software RAID 1 using 2 USB externals.
One further caveat: there is a HUGE difference in using TRUE RAID drives such as the REx (WD Raid Edition) or a Seagate alternative. 1: Drives cause A LOT of vibration. RAID specific drives are designed with this in mind. 2, and probably the most important fact: RAID drives have a feature called TLER (time lapse error recovery). IE: they drop out of a RAID system when they die, go to the loo, whathaveyou, whereas consumer drives are meant to look ad infinitum to fix the problem. You CAN use consumer drives in a RAID 0 (GASP) or a RAID 1 (unless it's in a case with 4 or more drives), but with anything such as a 5 or 10, vibration becomes an issue. I'd bet most people would go for the reset switch with consumer drives, potentially trashing the WHOLE array.
BTW: WD does make a RAID 'raptor. It should be on their page. And it's the one NOT in the 3.5" cooling tray. These are called nearline drives which means they are meant to be run nearly ALL the time; the disadvantage is you've already purchased them and they are 2.5" form factor drives... WD6000BLHX is a model number. Seagate's versions are called Constellation.