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SSD Caching and Raid 0

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August 28, 2011 3:23:06 PM

So I'm putting a build together and was going to go the p67 mobo and decided to go with the z68 mobo. The mobo is the ASUS Maximus Extreme IV-Z. For storage I'm getting 2-1 TB WD Caviar Black 7200rpm sata 6.0 and I've decided on going on with ssd caching instead of using it as my boot drive. The ssd is the Patriot Pyro 60gb Sata III. It's very quick for it's price.

What I am wondering is whether or not I should go with the reliability of the Intel 311 series and sacrifice the read/write speed or does it matter? And the main thing I'm confused on is whether or not having the ssd as sata III or sata II matter as well as the whole set up of having 2 hdd and a 1 ssd in raid 0 on isr.

I know it's a bit long, but thanks for the help!

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a c 277 G Storage
August 29, 2011 1:01:51 PM

Not long, but it's a bit unclear. If I understand you correctly,

1) While you do have to set the BIOS to RAID mode to use the cacheing feature, that doesn't mean that you are actually using any RAID volumes. I strongly recommend against building a RAID0 volume; just let the two 1 GB drives be two 1 GB drives.

2) SATA III vs. SATA II will probably matter for the SSD. For the HDDs it will not; no current HDD can transfer above SATA II speeds. Even if the HDD has an SATA III controller, connecting it to an SATA II port will be fine.

3) For your main question, I have no opinion on the choice of the SSD. You can always look at what Tom's thinks on this issue: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-solid-state-nan...

4) Unasked-for advice: If you are going to have 60 GB of SSD, you will get a bigger bang for your buck if you use it as an OS drive. 60 GB is big enough in most cases.
August 29, 2011 8:44:55 PM

Thanks for you reply and let me answer and possibly follow up with a question (I'm on my phone lol)

1. so your are saying it's definitely possible to run 2 1gb hdd in a rado 0 array for a total of 2 gb. I wanna stick with 1gb drives b/c from what i've seen and heard 2 and 3 gb cost bout the same amount but less reliable. Continuing, so with the hdd on raid 0, I will still be able to add the ssd to the raid array for ssd caching?

2-3. hm I'm going to be using an asus z68 mobo (it has sata 6 ports) and the hdd are sata 6.0. as for the ssd you said it will matter it being a sata 2 or 3. the two ssds are 10 dollars difference. the intel is 20gb sata 2 and said to be much more reliable and built for ssd caching. the patriot pyro is 60gb sata 3. does the space and read and write speeds matter for ssd caching?

4. will i understand that bit it will probably be only used as a boot drive. ive heard you should never fill up an ssd and with ssd caching I heard it will have an overall better impact on the entire build. and looked at benchmarks, the times times werent as good as the ssd along but defniitely a significant boost over just a hdd on it own.

thanks man

(sorry for the typos and grammar fail, like I said I'm on my phone haha)
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a c 256 G Storage
August 30, 2011 12:31:47 AM

There is a lot of misunderstanding about caching. Intel developed caching for clients and businesses that could not afford a large capacity ssd. Back when the concept was on the drawing board, Intel hoped clients and businesses would purchase a small 10Gb or 20GB for about $100.00. Microsoft Windows 7 and all software applications would remain on hard disk drives. The cache only produced a minor boost in performance. Intel hoped that once clients saw the slight performance boost they might be inclined to purchase a larger ssd.

Intel also researched the size of the cache. Intel determined that a 60GB ssd was the point where it made no sense to use the ssd as a cache for a hard drive. Instead if you have a 60GB ssd, then Windows 7 and software applications should be installed on the ssd to take full advantage of the ssd capabilities.

Since you are thinking of purchasing a 60GB ssd, it makes more sense to install Windows 7 and your software applications on the ssd. The ssd performance boost is much higher than the hard disk drive performance increase.

Windows 7 will use up a just a little over 21GB leaving some room for software applications.

I do not know if you are a gamer but I hope you know that an ssd will not improve actual game play and it will not improve FPS. The only thing that happens is that the game will launch faster and levels, maps, or charts will load faster. If you participate in online gaming, then the ssd will not improve anything. You'll still be at the mercy of your Internet Service Provider.

A few days days ago Tom's Hardware published "SSD Performance In Crysis 2, World Of Warcraft, And Civilization V". It is an analysis of ssd's and gameplay. Here is the link:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-gaming-performa...
August 30, 2011 3:33:07 AM

I understand. Thanks to both of you, I think I might just go ahead and have the ssd as a boot drive and the have the two hdd at raid 0. I had a buddy of mine tell me raid 4 is the way to go.

I am currently at school, do play games, and I understand that it will not effect actual gameplay. I technically own a business and will be doing quite a lot of engineering work.

I think I'll skip ssd caching, but what do you think bout dropping the ssd and going along with a raid 4 set up?

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a c 277 G Storage
August 30, 2011 1:09:18 PM
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RAID5 gets better throughput than RAID4. From Wikipedia: "RAID 4 (block-level striping with dedicated parity) is identical to RAID 5 (see below), but confines all parity data to a single disk, which can create a performance bottleneck."

You can't build a RAID4 or RAID5 with the two drives that you have. The minimum number of drives is three; some people recommend a minimum of five for performance reasons.

There is no perfect answer, just a best one for each specific situation. Were I you, I would start by taking advantage of the experience of all the people here and building a "standard" enthusiast rig: boot SSD, two independent drives for games, data, and whatever. Plus at least one external drive for backups, so that if something fails you don't lose valuable files. No level of RAID is a substitute for backups.

Later, when you want to fiddle with different configurations to see what they can do, RAID and benchmark as much as you want, but don't depend on a new setup to take care of your important data. Heck, I like to play with things so much that I bought a datacenter-grade 8-disk RAID array with an UltraSCSI 320 interface (back when that was considered fast). But I never kept my Email on it.

If you want to look at an extreme setup, poke around for threads by Firewire2. He built a storage rig with I-forget-how-many RAIDed drives, at a reasonable price. Here we go: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/265641-32-40tb-server...
August 30, 2011 11:20:50 PM

Best answer selected by KJ67o.
August 30, 2011 11:21:53 PM

Alright I'll probably go ahead and do that.

Run the ssd as a boot drive, as well as office, and maybe a game or two. (but definitely not fill it up)

Run the two drives at raid 0

And get a 2 or 3 TB Backup External.

Thanks guys!
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