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New GA-X58A-UD5 build RAID questions

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April 23, 2010 6:15:33 PM

New GA-X58A-UD5 build RAID questions

OPTION 1 - I was originally going to do this:

Intel controller (SATA II) on ports 0/1/2/3/4/5:
SATA 0/1/2/3 - RAID 5 array for data
SATA 4/5 empty

Marvell controller (SATA III) on ports 6/7
RAID 0 array for OS and programs

Gigabyte controller (SATA II) on ports 8/9
2 optical drives



OPTION 1 - But when I read up on doing RAID 0 on SATA 6Gb/s everyone says it's a waste and is slower than SATA 3Gb/s on the Intel controller. So I bailed on that idea and opted for this instead:

Intel controller (SATA II) on ports 0/1/2/3/4/5:
SATA 0/1 - RAID 0 array for OS and programs
SATA 2/3/4/5 - RAID 5 array for data

Marvell controller (SATA III) on ports 6/7
SATA 6/7 empty (maybe use for front panel eSATA)

Gigabyte controller (SATA II) on ports 8/9
2 optical drives



OPTION 3 - Then I talked to someone at Gigabyte with a couple of questions and when I mentioned what I was going to do above they told me not to mix RAID on the same controller. I was pretty sure I could do that but they said it's not a good idea. But I do that now on my older current DFI board. I have RAID 1 array with 2 drives for my OS and another RAID 1 array for data as my D drive. So I'm lost now as to what's the best idea here. So in my conversation with Gigabyte they suggested this instead:

Intel controller (SATA II) on ports 0/1/2/3/4/5:
SATA 0/1/2/3 - RAID 5 array for data
SATA 4/5 empty (maybe use for front panel eSATA)

Marvell controller (SATA III) on ports 6/7
2 optical drives

Gigabyte controller (SATA II) on ports 8/9
SATA 0/1 - RAID 0 array for OS and programs


So I'm not sure what to do now. I had this all planned out when I started ordering parts but things are getting a little less clear as to what's the best layout here. Hoping for some good feedback from you all.

In addition the tech support people at Gigabyte are telling me that if I update the BIOS to the most recent version, the speed issues with the Marvell controller have been taken care of and RAID 0 on the SATA III should be wonderful. Any opinions on this?

Thanks,

A.
a c 177 V Motherboard
April 23, 2010 10:49:33 PM

You can 'mix' RAID on the ICH - I have two pairs of 0's and a 1 - and it is faster than the Marvell... You will never be happy with 'FakeRAID' RAID5 on any port - write speed just goes into the toilet! 'Lose' another drive and use RAID10... Read the Sorting Out SATA and RAID & 'FakeRAID': Speed vs Data Security sections of the 'sticky'...
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a c 177 V Motherboard
April 24, 2010 8:47:54 AM

'Pointer' gives me:

Quote:
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Some other way I can get there?
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April 24, 2010 3:10:50 PM

I fixed the link. It was the end of a sentence so after I pasted the URL in I typed a period. I've never had a problem with that. I took off the period now and the link works. Sorry about that.
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April 24, 2010 4:28:23 PM

Well, losing 1T by going from RAID 5 to RAID 10 is a real drag right now. I wish I didn't have to do that. And I cannot use 6 drives in the RAID 10 because there's no room for them on the board. I'm using all 6 SATA II intel ports for the RAID 0 and the RAID 10. I'm using the Marvell SATA III for my opticals and nothing's in the 2 Gigabyte SATA II ports (just a front panel eSATA which isn't a big deal). I could move the OS RAID 0 array to the Gigabyte SATA II ports and use all 6 of the Intel ports for a 6 drive RAID 10 array but I'm nervous about speed on the Gigabyte SATA II controller. Not sure if I should be or not. I wouldn't have any trouble getting 2 more 1T drives.
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a c 177 V Motherboard
April 24, 2010 5:33:57 PM

I'll see if I can find a 'hard' comparison between the jMicron and Marvell ports in RAID0, but, I don't have a lot of confidence. If your hardware is still 'malleable', and you still expect another install, would only likely take half a day to install 'em either way & compare 'em; I've never timed it, but my general impression is a seven u64 install takes about forty minutes or so to my RAID0's...
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April 24, 2010 5:36:22 PM

Yeah, I don't mind reinstalling at this point. I've already done it 2 times. It's not a critical machine yet. Still doing all my dev work on my XP system. Planning on taking my time to get this machine just right.

Right now with long HD Tach long test I get:

On the RAID 0 (Intel) array:

Average read = 176.7 MB/s. Random access = 11.9 ms. CPU utilization = 3%. The red graph at the top goes from 220 MB/s down to about 120 and the red bar graph at the bottom shows 2281 burst (am I reading this right?).

On the RAID 10 (Intel) array:

Average read = 220.9 MB/s. Random access = 15.3 ms. CPU utilization = 4%. The red graph at the top goes from 270 MB/s down to about 130 and the red bar graph at the bottom shows 2285 burst.

I'll set up the other in a bit and report back.

I have a question though first. jMicron in the manual refers to the rear panel eSATA ports. The manual says that the 2 internal ports that are not Intel and not Marvell are Gigabyte. It doesn't mention jMicron for those. Is the manual wrong?
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April 25, 2010 12:20:16 AM

The data above almost makes it look like I might as well just do 6 1T drives in RAID 10. Doing RAID 0 on 2 640GB drives results in 1280GB for my OS and programs. I'll never come close to using all of that. If I use 200GB I'll be surprised. On my XP machine I'm only using 70GB for the OS and programs. If I set one big RAID 10 I could partition 200GB for the OS and programs and the other 2.8 GB for data. That would be nice.
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a c 177 V Motherboard
April 25, 2010 12:51:32 AM

Lost a post here - GB has, for quite some time, referred to the jMicron ports (jMicron JMB36x controllers - listed here...) as 'GSATA's - which has now led to even more confusion, as they are also refering to the Marvels as GSATA, in this case, GSATA3 to differentiate...

I think you'll be happy with the 10 speeds you've listed - I use a couple pair of WD VR's in RAID0, and get averages just a tad below 200M/S...
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April 25, 2010 3:53:11 AM

i had RAID 10 several years ago. I just remembered why I've avoided it since [and RAID5 too]. Portability. With RAID1 this is not an issue. With 'fake' RAID 10 or 5, if the mobo goes bad ur kinda screwed withot regular backups. Is there a good solution? I looked into RAID cards and almost went that route but from what I found I would have needed a Tyan or Supermicro server momo and just could not find any combination of parts that also made sense for a development workstation. What do others do?
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April 25, 2010 6:49:30 AM

Okay, here's my results from hours of changing drives around and reinstalling Win7. Tested using HD Tach v 3.0.4.0. Drives are all WD. The RAID 5/10 drives are WD1001FALS SATA II drives and the RAID 0 drives are WD6402AAEX SATA III drives (jumpered to SATA II when on the Intel controller)


RAID 0 on Intel controller:

Random access: 12 ms
CPU utilization: 3%
Average Read: usually in the 177MB/s range
Burst: usually in the 2280MB/s range

RAID 0 on the Marvell controller using SATA III (I installed all the drivers after Windows install and it did not help any of these speeds):

Random access: 12 to 14 ms
CPU utilization: 2%
Average Read: usually in the 170MB/s range
Burst: usually in the 250MB/s range


The Marvel seems a little slower except for the burst speed which is much slower.



RAID 10 on Intel controller:

Random access: 15 ms
CPU utilization: 4%
Average Read: usually in the 220MB/s range
Burst: usually in the 2280MB/s range

RAID 5 on Intel controller (is this a big surprise?):

Random access: 12 to 14 ms
CPU utilization: 2 to 6%
Average Read: usually in the 375MB/s range
Burst: usually in the 3600MB/s range

So it appears that RAID 5 is far faster than 10 in this case. Am I missing something?

All of the Intel numbers are only true with the Intel SATA driver installed after Windows is all installed. Whatever is built into Windows7 doesn't do well. All of the above numbers are MUCH lower if the Intel driver is not installed. Should it make that much of a difference? The difference is actually quite huge. For example, Average read on RAID 5 without installing the Intel driver is around 160MB/s and the Burst is around 250MB/s. And the graph is very erratic.


I'm thinking of getting 2 80GB Intel SSDs for the RAID 0. I completely forgot before I set all this up that RAID 0 adds the drive capacities. I'm so used to RAID 1. So 2 at 80GB would be 160GB and be plenty. I was thinking before that I needed a couple of 128GB SSD drives and that would be too much to spend right now but the Intel 80GB drives are just over $200USD for a total of around $450 with tax and/or shipping. I can deal with that. Seems like a good idea.

I also noticed that the RAID 5 which should have given me 3TB turned out to only allow 2TB in Windows. The extra 746GB was lost in some strange Microsoft world. It shows up in the Disk Management screen but as unallocated. I can't even make it a separate partition. I understand that NTFS only allows 2TB but I figured I could partition it out to create 3 drives. I read that in order to do this you need to use GPT. But still, what I read implies that I should still be able to partition a large physical drive into sub 2TB partitions. Maybe I'm missing something. If I have to go GPT, are there any problems with that?

Last question for the night: Why doesn't Win7 give you the option to full format drives? I see now that it just quick formats them. Kind of weird that they'd take that option away. I'm tired of MS dumbing things down. Is there any way to full format the OS during windows installation? I know it's not completely necessary but it does find bad sectors. I can't remember if it blocks them from being used though. I used to have a program in the DOS days that blocked bad sectors from use. Can't remember what it was. Optune or something like that.
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Best solution

a c 177 V Motherboard
April 25, 2010 4:00:09 PM

Quote:
So it appears that RAID 5 is far faster than 10 in this case. Am I missing something?

Indeed - you're looking at reads - it's writes where RAID5 goes into the toilet! EVERY single byte of data has to be 'parity calced', and the load falls exclusively onto your CPU! Reads are pretty much as fast as a zero...
Quote:
I also noticed that the RAID 5 which should have given me 3TB turned out to only allow 2TB in Windows

That is the 'GPT thing' - Areca has an excellent write-up on the techniques available; while obviously 'aimed' at their cards/drivers, it is easily done anywhere... I've used a couple (Areca, in fact!) huge arrays with this - you just can't boot from one...
Quote:
Why doesn't Win7 give you the option to full format drives?

My guess - drives these days are pretty well all set up to 'mark and sequester' their own bad sectors, through their firmware, transparently to the OS - probably MS saw it as a 'null issue'; figured "you ain't gonna install seven to that old Seagate ST-225 20 meg drive anyhow!"
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April 25, 2010 6:00:28 PM

Okay. I did see info on some testing sites where RAID 5 reads were pretty bad and that the onboard RAID uses the CPU to do that.

But I have such fond memories of my Seagate 20MB drive! :)  It was nice and rounded and sort of golden. So much classier than the ones now! My nephew just bought a 1T drive and I told him it would take enough of the Seagate 20MB drives I used to have to fill his entire living room wall to wall and floor to celing in order to get the capacity of his little 1T drive. And when I was teaching AutoCAD 15 years ago RAM was around $40/MB. My 12 GB of RAM in those prices would come to around 1/2 million USD. Pretty funny. :pt1cable: 
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a c 177 V Motherboard
April 25, 2010 6:38:45 PM

Ahh - what I miss is the odd little 'grinding noise' it made, every time it powered up - wish I'd have kept one just for that! Had a meg of RAMdisk in my first ('87 ??) KayPro - don't even want to think what that cost me - thirty-two individual sixteen or twenty pin chips, if I remember correctly...
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April 25, 2010 7:57:03 PM

I found out a few days ago that my brother-in-law's uncle used to work for Burroughs a long time ago. He likes to tell stories about vacuum tube computers. :o 
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a c 177 V Motherboard
April 25, 2010 10:04:44 PM

I'm an ooold fart, too - cut my teeth on tubes [:bilbat:6] Remember having to include a seperate 100v 'heater' supply in everything to run filaments; also remember marveling at my first 4004, early seventies - something like 500 kHz, eight clocks/instruction, and only ninety-some instructions to remember [:lectrocrew:7]
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May 9, 2010 11:39:28 AM


I am running this mobo with new icore 7 cpu having 6 cores, and overclocked it to 4Ghz, no problem, as long as fan can keep it cool.

Only problem I had so far, monotoring the new pc before moving over to it, is the raid 10. Apparently it has performance benefits, and also your data is more safe.

However, ever few weeks, the raid 10 had 1 drive failure. I restored that sucessfully.
By the way, the 4 drives for the raid is 4 brand new Seagate Baracuda 7200.12 1TB drives.

I never had problems with Seagate Baracuda drives befor.

After another week, the system showed 2 drives failed.
I replaced one and is bussy rebuilding the raid, while Windows is running.

I think there might be some issues with the RAID 10 thing.

I also think if Raid 10 is not being used, the mobo will have no ather issues to my knowledge.

I need Raid 10 for performance, as well as the day that a drive might fail, but not fail after 1 week!

.............................................................

1891776,13,618498 said:
Okay, here's my results from hours of changing drives around and reinstalling Win7. Tested using HD Tach v 3.0.4.0. Drives are all WD. The RAID 5/10 drives are WD1001FALS SATA II drives and the RAID 0 drives are WD6402AAEX SATA III drives (jumpered to SATA II when on the Intel controller)


RAID 0 on Intel controller:

Random access: 12 ms
CPU utilization: 3%
Average Read: usually in the 177MB/s range
Burst: usually in the 2280MB/s range

RAID 0 on the Marvell controller using SATA III (I installed all the drivers after Windows install and it did not help any of these speeds):

Random access: 12 to 14 ms
CPU utilization: 2%
Average Read: usually in the 170MB/s range
Burst: usually in the 250MB/s range


The Marvel seems a little slower except .........................................
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a c 177 V Motherboard
May 9, 2010 4:08:40 PM

Thanks for the data! Are you running the ICH RAID with the driver/manager package that came on your MOBO disk - MartrixStorageManager 8.9.4.1004? Buggy, drops & kills drives at random. Latest RapidStorageTechnology 9.6.0.1014 is here at Intel. More reliable, larger feature set!
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May 9, 2010 10:31:13 PM

Best answer selected by avianrand.
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