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Single SSD moving to RAID0 SSD

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October 5, 2011 12:16:59 PM

I am extremely happy with my purchase of the Crucial M4 128G drive. Now I want to double the drive size and reap the speed increase of adding a second. If I had known how much I would enjoy it I would have bit the bullet and bought the 256G model.
Since I previously had XP 64-bit running on my HDD, I spent a lot of time getting the fresh install of Win 7, upgrading and all my applications reinstalled and running.
I would like to just clone this existing single SDD setup to the new SSD RAID0 using Acronis or similar.
I am saving images every couple of days using Acronis already to my storage HDD.
Should I be concerned when doing this with the 4K boundary alignment issue or anything else?
Is there a method/tool to check whether the alignment is correct?
I assume I should leave the BIOS setting for AHCI?
I understand TRIM will no longer apply to the RAID0 but I should be able to depend on GC for clean up.
October 5, 2011 1:55:05 PM

I'm not into the hassle of swapping and selling hardware. Not when it triples my initial investment before I could consider trying to sell the first one at a loss.
Any takers on my original questions?
a b G Storage
October 5, 2011 2:11:35 PM

Quote:
the bigger the SSD the better the performance.
my opinion.




Have you ever used SSD's or RAID? That doesn't hold true at all in lots of cases.
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a c 154 G Storage
October 5, 2011 3:47:27 PM
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First, to answer some of your questions.

AHCI is a subset of raid. To get raid, you must specify raid in the bios. You will also get ahci, but trim will not be passed to the raid participants.

You can check the boundary alignment by downloading and running the as ssd benchmark. If the alignment offset is correct it will show up in green.

Some time back I had a 80gb Intel X25-M which I loved.
I also wanted more space on my "C" drive, and I wanted it as a single image so I bought another X25-M 80 gb drive.
I cloned the original image to a temporary hard drive using acronis .
I then set up the two ssd's in raid-0. This was before trim was really available.
I restored the cloned image, and all went well. At the time, I did not know about offset, so I can't say how that would have worked.
The sequential benchmarks looked marvelous, but I really could detect no performance difference.

Eventually, I replaced the two 80gb drives with a single X25-M 160gb drive using ahci. I gave one to my son, and solt the other on e-bay.
My perception was that it was a bit faster. I think this was due to the added nand chips available for simultaneous transfer. Sort of an internal raid-0 if you will.

In your case, do not expect any noticeable performance benefit with real world operations.
There will be enough unused space that lack of trim will not be noticeable.

If you need the space, why not just add a second drive?

If you need a single image, I would replace it with a 240gb unit. Use the 120gb drive in another pc if possible. It would transform a laptop.
A used 120gb drive is very marketable on e-bay if you have to sell it.
October 5, 2011 5:01:48 PM

Like you I prefer a larger "C" drive than having numerous added drive letters. The workstation I own has the memory card reader built in and adds a drive letter for each slot. I have only 3 actual "drives" running now and the second and third are labeled "G" and "H". If I plug in a memory stick it bumps even higher. Not an issue for most, but I'm anal like that I suppose :) 
Sounds like your setup experience was vanilla enough.
So far, it appears the drives double the size I own are more than double the price. I'll research that some more.
October 5, 2011 5:26:38 PM

Quote:
Who gives a *** about trim anyway, it only affects writes. Unless you're video editing, you won't be writing a lot of data. You will however be reading lots of data regardless of what you do with your pc, and it WILL be twice as fast with RAID 0 regardless of trim.

Some newer drives do internal garbage collection independent of the OS/TRIM. Look for that, it should be in the list of features.

PEACE!


Playing games writes data, so no its not just video editing
October 5, 2011 5:39:53 PM

Quote:
Playing games writes kilobytes of data, and reads gigabytes of data.


No it doesn't it writes megabytes of data, hundreds of megabytes depending on how much you play
October 5, 2011 5:40:34 PM

No games. Got too old and slow for that. Need to get paid!
All electronic design and simulation work, with mutiple tools open simultaneously that take a lot of space and time to load and configure.
a c 351 G Storage
October 5, 2011 5:50:56 PM

EXCELLENT Post by Geofelt!!!

Background – Big supporter of Raid0 as ALL of my rigs since late 90’s used Raid0 (even before SATA) UNTILL SSDs came along. I no longer use raid0, some advantage for HDDs. Currently have 3 systems using dual SSDs, an I5-750, an I5-2500k, and a SB notebook (Dual HDD bays). No Raid and 2nd SSD is used as a work / scratch disk.

Raid0.
... Improves Sequential Read /writes, The LEAST important metric for an OS + program drive. Does VERY little (if any) to improve access time or the more important 4k Small file Random read /writes.
Raid0 for a SSD employed as a Data drive where working with (to included encoding) and/ editing Large files Make sense. DVD dot vob files are typically 1 Gig per file, blue ray are up to 40 Gig for a single file. Included in this category are large spreadsheet that are frequently backed up while working with them, CAD/CAM drawing files, also if you frequently work with large Jpeg photos. Casual work does not justify raid0.
.. You lose trim. Unless the SSD is NOT a member drive of a raid array, trim will not be passed. Trim being enabled does NOT qualify as working. The cmd must go thu the Raid controller and is blocked for member drives. When the SSD is configured as raid, but NOT a member of raid setup, then the SSD uses ahci (iaSTor) and trim is passed to SSD. @ malmental HOW did they verify that it infact worked! I know you can verify that it is enabled easily, But verifing that the SSD used it- Big question. Intel says No for member drive.
.. Another consideration is Firmware Updates and secure erase. Most of these tools ONLY work if controller is AHCI Mode – means resetting bios from Raid to ahci (OCZ is upto 13 firmware updates for tha SATA III SSDs - LOL.

As to amd-fanboy’s comment - ignore. Garbage collection (CG) depends on a lot on implementation and is inferior to CG + trim!!!. Currently my SSD of choice is the Crucial M4, However it implements CG poorly and in extreme cases must be left in idle mode over night.
October 5, 2011 7:56:54 PM

Quote:
there are a few scenarios where TRIM is to be supported across RAID0,
I had to Google it.


we already know, twit.... :whistle: 


From what I read, TRIM is not supported on RAID. The TRIM feature is not much of a problem this days as newer SSDs have GC (Garbage Collection) feature. Though GC is not as efficient as TRIM, it can do the job much like TRIM.
a c 257 G Storage
October 5, 2011 9:11:17 PM

geofelt wrote, "The sequential benchmarks looked marvelous, but I really could detect no performance difference."

Retired Chief wrote, "I no longer use raid0..."

My thoughts exactly!!! However, we do have to acknowledge hardcore enthusiasts way out there on the outer fringes who like to push their rigs to the limit just because they can.

bwhiten - I noticed you mentioned a workstation, electronic design and simulation, and getting paid for your work. That would indicate that you are not a typical home user, gamer, or enthusiast. Have you considered an enterprise solution?

Retired Chief - off topic but I bought a Samsung 470 series 256GB SSD. That should hold me over until the PCI-e 3.0 standard establishes a track record.
October 5, 2011 9:16:26 PM

What would you consider an enterprise solution? I'm independent most of the time, own my on HW and SW, and make just enough above my "spousely needs" to support my "fringe rig" habit ;) 
a c 351 G Storage
October 5, 2011 10:37:28 PM

JohnnyLucky - Nice, on the 256 Gig 470!! and yes should tide you over till the next latest/greatest come along.
On the Raid0, YES it still has a place. It does provide a benifit to working with Large files where Sequencial performance is important.

malmental - THANKS for the compilment, wish I really was that knowlegable.

Cheaptrick - "TRIM is not supported on RAID", you did mean to add - When a member of a raid array, correct?
Prior to Intel RST ver 9.6, If the SSD was on a port set to Raid then trim was not passed even if the SSD was not a member drive. When version 9.6 came out there was a lot of talk that trim would be passed even if the SSD was part of a raid set up. Intel came out with a clarification - NO, but if the bios was set to raid and the SSD was NOT a member drive then trim would be passed.
I con NOT state if this is true for Marvel controllers or for AMD chipset drivers - Last I knew, it was not - But have not checked recently.

a c 257 G Storage
October 5, 2011 10:54:10 PM

Hmmm.....considering revenue vs. "spousely needs" it would probably be best to drop the subject of business enterprise class solutions. They have a tendency to be expensive. :( 



October 5, 2011 11:51:55 PM

That's what I thought. Oh well, maybe that winning lottery ticket I didn't buy will show up in the mail soon......;) Thanks for all the advice. I hate it when people talk me out of doing something I'm dead set to do!!!
October 5, 2011 11:55:26 PM

Best answer selected by bwhiten.
!