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SATA III HDDs on SATA II interface?

Tags:
  • Hard Drives
  • SATA
  • Caviar
  • Western Digital
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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September 8, 2011 11:01:38 PM

Hello,

I have 2x WD Caviar Black 1TB drives on SATA III (6Gb/s) and 2x WD Caviar Black 1TB drives on SATA II (3Gb/s) running on my ASUS Rampage III Extreme mobo. At the moment, the 2 SATA III drives are in RAID0 on their Marvell controller and the two SATA II drives in RAID0 on their controller. The SATA III array is my main storage drive, with things like my alternate OSs on my SATA II array.

I'm running out of storage space, so I'm thinking of moving my SATA III drives to the SATA II interface and putting them into one big RAID0 array with the SATA II drives.

So I have two questions.

1.) Would the SATA III drives experience any performance degradation? They come nowhere near saturating the full bandwidth of the SATA III interface, nor even the SATA II interface...

2.) Would I be able to put all four of these drives into a RAID0 array even though they're different models? They have exactly the same amount of space on them, so I'm not sure if this will be an issue.

Thanks in advance!

PudgyChicken

More about : sata iii hdds sata interface

a b G Storage
September 8, 2011 11:17:23 PM

PudgyChicken said:
Hello,

I have 2x WD Caviar Black 1TB drives on SATA III (6Gb/s) and 2x WD Caviar Black 1TB drives on SATA II (3Gb/s) running on my ASUS Rampage III Extreme mobo. At the moment, the 2 SATA III drives are in RAID0 on their Marvell controller and the two SATA II drives in RAID0 on their controller. The SATA III array is my main storage drive, with things like my alternate OSs on my SATA II array.

I'm running out of storage space, so I'm thinking of moving my SATA III drives to the SATA II interface and putting them into one big RAID0 array with the SATA II drives.

So I have two questions.

1.) Would the SATA III drives experience any performance degradation? They come nowhere near saturating the full bandwidth of the SATA III interface, nor even the SATA II interface...

2.) Would I be able to put all four of these drives into a RAID0 array even though they're different models? They have exactly the same amount of space on them, so I'm not sure if this will be an issue.

Thanks in advance!

PudgyChicken


Hi PudgyChicken,

1.) The drives themselves do not experience performance degradation, as if you moved to a SATA II interface it would be limited to that. Furthermore, the actual transfer rates are dependent on the hard drives you use. Say if you had a hard drive that is rated to only get 120MB/s sequential read, then it shouldn't matter whether it's SATA II or III unless perhaps it's in a RAID configuration. The best way to explain this is if you're in a old 1985 corolla and there is absolutely no traffic, you can go as fast as you want but would the car be able to go faster than it's able to?

2.) This will be dependent on the controller card port that's on your motherboard. Since you mentioned Marvell, it would be best to refer to your motherboard's manual and or find out on Marvell's website. You will probably have to find the chipset model on the controller and go from there. In general, it is better to use the same exact size and brand hard drives for any RAID configuration. This makes sure that there won't be any conflicts with different hard drives since every manufacturer makes their drives differently.

Hope this answers your questions!

ICY DOCK
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September 8, 2011 11:21:31 PM

1. You answered your own question. No, no performance degradation.

2. You want to stick to the same drive in raid 0, as they have similar stats
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a c 324 G Storage
September 9, 2011 4:04:46 PM

Obligatory warning: RAID0 is very vulnerable to data loss. Please make backups on an external device.
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a b G Storage
September 9, 2011 5:46:47 PM

Standard HDDs can't come close to saturating SATA II much less SATA III so there won't be any change in performance. Your performance might actually increase because the Marvell controllers are slow.

In theory you can put n drives of any sizes in RAID0 and the drive will be n times the size of the smallest drives. However, in practice drives of different sizes, stats, and brands do not perform well when RAIDed together due to differences in platter sizes and other things. Usually it will work out but you might experience extra wear on the HDDs. This is especially true if the drives are different RPM. RAID works best with identical drives, but in most cases it's okay with small discrepancies.

However, as Wyoming Knott mentioned, RAID0 is very vulnerable to failure and four drives in RAID0 is generally a pretty bad idea. If *any* of the four drives fail you lose *all* your data. This is worth the risk sometimes with two drives for applications that need performance, but the odds that four out of four of your HDDs last long term are not very good. Additionally there are few applications that see a reasonable benefit from putting four drives in RAID0.

A better solution might be to keep two of the drives in RAID0 for decreased boot time and increased performance and to use the others as standard drives.
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September 19, 2011 8:50:31 PM

Best answer selected by PudgyChicken.
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