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Raid 10 w/ controller OR Raid 1 with OS SSD?

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October 20, 2011 7:30:04 PM

Hi, I'm trying to build a $1000 machine designed for Video Editing as a priority followed by gaming.

These are the two storage options I've been looking at lately:

OPTION 1: $240
HDD Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 RPM (2x in RAID 1) - $130.00
SSD Crucial M4 64GB - $110.00

OPTION 2: $320
HDD Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 RPM (4x in RAID 10) - $260.00
RAID Controller SYBA SY-PEX40008 PCI Express SATA II - $60

Essentially what I am interested in learning is if the more expensive RAID 10 option is worth it. My gut says...no. But I don't really know much about RAID other than the basics, so I wanted to ask the experts.

If either of these options can be improved, I'm definitely open to suggestions since I haven't built this machine yet and want to do it the right way.



EDIT: Oops, I just realized that I probably posted this in the wrong category. I didn't see the NAS/RAID option.
a c 379 G Storage
October 20, 2011 7:51:20 PM

If you are considering moving to another computer down the road, the raid controller is the way to go. Just move the card to the new system and install drivers and you're done. If you use the motherboards raid controller, chances that the controller being compatible on your next computer won't be good.
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October 20, 2011 7:56:04 PM

So the only reason for a RAID controller is future portability for the drives? I thought that they also relieved strain on the motherboard so that it would perform better....somehow.
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a c 379 G Storage
October 20, 2011 7:58:12 PM

That's true, they can free up resources, but today's computers are so powerful that unless you have a lot of I/O going on it won't be much of an impact.

Edit:Also, cheaper raid controllers don't have all the hardware of more expensive raid controllers so end up offloading stuff like parity calculations any how.
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October 20, 2011 8:09:05 PM

Yeah, I figured that since most RAID cards on Newegg were $400, the $50 card was a bit odd. I'm not surprised that it's probably junk.

In any case, even if I DON'T get a RAID controller, Option 2 is still more expensive, and I lose the benefit of an OS SSD. Is there anything amazing about RAID 10 that would make me want to get that instead of a RAID 1 setup?
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October 20, 2011 8:21:11 PM

Why are you doing RAID 1 in the first place? Is it supposed to be your backup solution or are you looking for a speed boost? I've never used RAID 1, but from what I've read it probably won't benefit you for speed. From what I understand it can theoretically be twice as fast for reading as a single drive, but most RAID 1 controllers don't implement the functionality needed (reading from both disks in various locations at the same time).

RAID 10 should provide a speed boost due to the RAID 0 aspect and also provide data redundancy, but the question is if it is worth it. I almost think you'd be better off going RAID 1 with a 128GB SSD for the same price as the RAID 10 setup. Considering you were only going to use 64GB before, you'd have 64GB of scratch space to move your video files for really fast access.

Also, maybe even drop the RAID 1 entirely. If you are using it only for backup, then you could do automatic incremental nightly backups. That way if you screw up a file you have backups from previous days to recover from.
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a c 82 G Storage
October 20, 2011 8:25:41 PM

zippycorners said:
Yeah, I figured that since most RAID cards on Newegg were $400, the $50 card was a bit odd. I'm not surprised that it's probably junk.

In any case, even if I DON'T get a RAID controller, Option 2 is still more expensive, and I lose the benefit of an OS SSD. Is there anything amazing about RAID 10 that would make me want to get that instead of a RAID 1 setup?
The only reason for a RAID 10 is the added storage capacity on the same array. Unless you have a very slow system, RAID 10 is as fast or faster on the motherboard (particularly when using an Intel controller) than it would be with a cheap RAID controller.
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October 20, 2011 8:38:08 PM

nordlead said:
Why are you doing RAID 1 in the first place?...

I almost think you'd be better off going RAID 1 with a 128GB SSD for the same price as the RAID 10 setup. Considering you were only going to use 64GB before, you'd have 64GB of scratch space to move your video files for really fast access.

Also, maybe even drop the RAID 1 entirely. If you are using it only for backup, then you could do automatic incremental nightly backups. That way if you screw up a file you have backups from previous days to recover from.


Yes, I chose RAID 1 over RAID 0 because I thought it'd be a good backup solution. The read speed wasn't really important to me, because...they're still HDDs.

Basically, you suggest just going RAID 0, getting some free backup software, and buying a 128 GB SSD? The extra 64GB of space to put videos and Adobe CS5 is pretty tempting, but I figured the cost might be too much. The price for that SSD is double (yeah, I know, double the storage too). It's definitely appealing, though.

I suppose going RAID 1 merely for the backup solution is a bit silly. The only reason I'd ever wish for RAID 1 was if one of the drives failed, which...you never know. But if I go RAID 0 and get a nightly backup onto an external hard drive, is that the smarter option?

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Best solution

October 20, 2011 9:08:18 PM

No, I'm not suggesting RAID 0. Generally I never suggest RAID unless there is a really really good reason.

I'm suggesting
2xHDD using backup software to make daily backups from one to the other.
1x128GB SSD.

That would be the same price as your 4xHDD plus controller.
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a c 82 G Storage
October 20, 2011 9:39:16 PM

nordlead said:
No, I'm not suggesting RAID 0. Generally I never suggest RAID unless there is a really really good reason.

I'm suggesting
2xHDD using backup software to make daily backups from one to the other.
1x128GB SSD.

That would be the same price as your 4xHDD plus controller.

Backing up from one disk to the other is fine as long as the backup disk is external and stored elsewhere. If the system gets stolen or destroyed, an external backup could prove very useful.
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October 20, 2011 9:50:17 PM

Thanks for both of y'all's help.
I already own a Seagate 2TB external hard drive, which will be perfect for daily backups. I'll probably end up just getting 2xHDDs with either the 64GB or the 128GB SSD depending on my overall budget. Haven't yet decided if I'll RAID the HDDs, but I've learned a bit more about the concepts.
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a c 82 G Storage
October 20, 2011 9:53:19 PM

I agree with nordlead's recommendation to not RAID the hard disks. You should create a RAID 0 only if you need the faster transfer rate.
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October 21, 2011 12:27:53 PM

Best answer selected by zippycorners.
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October 21, 2011 1:05:52 PM

GhislainG said:
Backing up from one disk to the other is fine as long as the backup disk is external and stored elsewhere. If the system gets stolen or destroyed, an external backup could prove very useful.


True. However, internal backups are still superior to RAID 1 in my opinion. They prevent accidental deletion/modification, and single disk failure. RAID 1 only prevents single disk failure. My personal backup system has an internal backup (my server), and offsite backup (parents server), and an external HDD stored in my fire safe.
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