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Best possible combination for RAID with SSD and HDD

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February 20, 2012 4:18:24 AM

After researching for a while, I came to the conclusion that I will be including 1 SSD with a small HDD in RAID 0 for my next build. It seems that RAID 0 has the biggest performance gain out of all the other RAID options.
My build will include an Ivy Bridge CPU on either a Z77 or H77 chipset. What confuses me is if I should enable SRT with a small 64GB SSD or a larger 120GB+ without SRT and instead use the SSD as a boot/ app drive.

Should I save money with a cache SSD or go big with a boot SSD?
Is there any way to use SRT and install the OS/ apps on the same SSD with a larger capacity (since SRT's limit is 64GB)?
Which option is the smarter/ beneficial way?

I heard there is a small performance difference with installing the OS and all that stuff on the SSD but if I use it as a cache, will it affect the whole HDD since the boot/ app drive would be limited to just the programs installed on the SSD?
I've seen ways to install the OS on the cache drive but it seems a bit risky.
Will it be smarter just to buy 2 SSDs (1 large/ 1 cache) and an HDD with RAID 0?

Thanks.

February 20, 2012 4:28:02 PM

rolli59 said:
SSD in raid0 with a mechanical HDD would slow the SSD down to the speed of the HDD. Just get a 120-128GB OS SSD enable trim and a storage HDD!
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/270102-14-useful-ar...

Wow seriously? I thought RAID would increase performance. BTW, that's a lot of reading...
What about caching? Won't caching speed up the HDD in general?
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February 20, 2012 5:08:06 PM

I'm using SRT and wished that I didn't.

I have a 60 GB Corsair SSD that I used for the Intel SRT and a mechanical 500GB as my HDD with operating system and main storage.

It still takes 16 seconds to POST, and 36 seconds for Windows to show me the password screen. I was excited to use Intel SRT after reading about 15 second boots, but no cigar.

Since the things I mainly do are interwebz and SWTOR, using SRT is probably just letting me log on to SWTOR a few seconds quicker. If I had to do it over again, I would have spent another $100 on a larger SSD and loaded my OS and games all on the SSD and used my mechanical for storing a bunch of junk I probably only access once a month anyway.

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February 20, 2012 5:13:41 PM

catatafish said:
I'm using SRT and wished that I didn't.

I have a 60 GB Corsair SSD that I used for the Intel SRT and a mechanical 500GB as my HDD with operating system and main storage.

It still takes 16 seconds to POST, and 36 seconds for Windows to show me the password screen. I was excited to use Intel SRT after reading about 15 second boots, but no cigar.

Since the things I mainly do are interwebz and SWTOR, using SRT is probably just letting me log on to SWTOR a few seconds quicker. If I had to do it over again, I would have spent another $100 on a larger SSD and loaded my OS and games all on the SSD and used my mechanical for storing a bunch of junk I probably only access once a month anyway.

Would you do a RAID configuration if you were to start over? I'm stuck if I should do a no RAID set up or RAID 0 with a large SSD and HDD without SRT.
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a b G Storage
February 20, 2012 5:22:04 PM

No form of raid is going to be beneficial using an ssd and hd together. As rolli59 mentioned above, get the largest ssd you can afford, install Win/Programs to it, and store all your larger files on a mechanical drive.

Don't bother messing with SRT if you can afford a 120g+ ssd (some would say 60g, but that's a bit small imo).
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February 20, 2012 5:28:13 PM

tomatthe said:
No form of raid is going to be beneficial using an ssd and hd together. As rolli59 mentioned above, get the largest ssd you can afford, install Win/Programs to it, and store all your larger files on a mechanical drive.

Don't bother messing with SRT if you can afford a 120g+ ssd (some would say 60g, but that's a bit small imo).

So to clarify, RAID won't bring any benefits with a SSD/ HDD.
Just for curiosity, if you a RAID 0 set up with ONLY SSDs, will the SSDs get any performance benefits or will it still slow the SSDs down?
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February 20, 2012 5:35:09 PM

RAID is required to run Intel's SRT. There are benefits to SRT (which uses a mechanical HDD and an SSD as a cache in a RAID), just not enough for me.

I read lots of articles about real world testing but I just don't notice the speed in the things I'm doing I guess. I was mainly hoping for the 15 second boot, but when your mobo won't even POST in 15 seconds, I don't know how I will ever see that using SRT.

YMMV.

I would just buy a 120GB SSD and put everything on that in an AHCI. Throw an old mechanical in your secondary slot to store all your photos/vids.

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a b G Storage
February 20, 2012 5:39:02 PM

Yes, do not use Raid 0 with ssd/hd. "SSD in raid0 with a mechanical HDD would slow the SSD down to the speed of the HDD" rolli59

Some on here run 2 x ssds in raid 0, but usually its with 2 x 60gb drives and its simply to get a 120g usable space, and not really for any noticeable speed increase. You lose some function on ssd's when you run them in a raid set, such as trim which is basically supposed to keep the drive running at its full speed rather then slowing down over time.

Likely someone will post saying raid 0 with 2 ssds is faster then just one ssd, but that would only show up in benchmarks and not be noticeable from a user perspective. You also double the possibility of losing all of the data when you use raid 0.
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Best solution

a c 99 G Storage
February 20, 2012 5:43:50 PM

What they all said about RAIDing an SSD with a HDD is true: DON'T DO IT.

But if you are going with a new build, get a Z68 chipset (or higher) motherboard, and you can use a small (64GB or less) SSD as a cache drive for a large HDD. This is different than RAID 0, but youy still have to enable RAID to get Intel Smart Responce Technology to active the cache drive in the iRST program.

They say that you get the speed of a SSD (for boot up and frequency program launches), but the size of a HDD.

If you don't get a Z68 mobo, get a OCZ Snapse SSD. It comes with software to enable he SSD as a cache drive. But these are expensive!

Look at my signature for what I have in my rig: 2 SSDs in RAID 0 for OS, 1 SSD as cache for my data & media HDD, and 1 HDD for backups.
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a b G Storage
February 20, 2012 5:48:11 PM

I have been using raid 0 for nearly 20 years. I have ssd raid now.
If you have a mechanical hd for OS your PC will act like a 60 year old fellow.
If you have a single ssd your pc will act like a 35 year old fellow.
If you have a raid 0 ssd os disk your pc will act like an 18 year old.

The choice is yours. If I'd do it again I would go raid 0 again and again and again...
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February 20, 2012 5:56:37 PM

Now I understand. I almost forgot TRIM gets disabled from RAID...
I heard a few things about AHCI but I have no idea what it is. Wiki says something about controlling the adapter or something. Explain AHCI please?

I will NOT be using RAID at ALL and instead just have 2 drives, SSD/ HDD. I will install all my programs/ OS on the SSD and I will be using the HDD for useless junk.

Thank you for all these great replies!
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a c 265 G Storage
February 21, 2012 3:52:51 AM

Hard to explain better than Wikipedia but simplified ACHI is basically for the SATA interface to enable to take full advantage (hardware limited) of it, SATA drive will be slower when running in IDE mode.
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February 21, 2012 9:50:52 PM

rolli59 said:
Hard to explain better than Wikipedia but simplified ACHI is basically for the SATA interface to enable to take full advantage (hardware limited) of it, SATA drive will be slower when running in IDE mode.

How do you use AHCI? I heard there are 2 types of SATA, IDE and AHCI. Does that mean AHCI is automatic? What are the benefits for using ACHI and what are the disadvantages?
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a c 99 G Storage
February 22, 2012 1:39:39 AM

In your BIOS setting for SATA drives: IDE, Enhanced, ACHI, RAID are the common options.

Use ACHI if you have a "modern" drive, especially a SSD!

IDE is snail like slow!
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February 22, 2012 3:37:45 AM

foscooter said:
In your BIOS setting for SATA drives: IDE, Enhanced, ACHI, RAID are the common options.

Use ACHI if you have a "modern" drive, especially a SSD!

IDE is snail like slow!

That's it? Sounds easy enough.

Is there anything else I should know? I saw a few things called striping but that might be just for RAID.

Thanks.
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a c 99 G Storage
February 23, 2012 1:48:50 AM

Stripe size IS for RAID only.

Check out other threads in here about "moving Libraries (Documents, Music, etc.) from SSD to HDD." That way you won't pollute up the SSD with those folders data.
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February 23, 2012 1:51:31 AM

Well I think I'm just about set for a new SSD. Thank you everyone fore your informing replies!
Now choosing a best answer will be a hard one...
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February 23, 2012 1:52:59 AM

Best answer selected by e56imfg.
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June 15, 2012 2:35:37 PM

OK, so I've been following this thread for a bit and have a question:

My PC has two drive slots, one of which is currently occupied by a HD and the other is empty.

My plan is to swap out the HD with a SSD (I've got my eye on a 256gb model that's reasonably priced) and to put the HD in the second slot.

Then, once installed, put the OS and programs on the SSD while using the HD for all of the files (pics, music, videos, etc) and use the SSD as the bootup drive.

So, which RAID, if any, would work best with this configuration?
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a c 353 G Storage
June 15, 2012 3:41:28 PM

^ Really should open up your own thread. Question is this a Laptop, and what is your chipset controller??
But to answer your question:
With a two disk setup- SSD + a HDD you would NEVER select raid. If only option in BIOS is Raid and IDE (AND you have the Intel Chipset) you can select raid, JUST DO NOT create a raid0 or 1 array, You would need to Download the Intel F6 driver (iaSTor) and select custom instal.
Best option is to Select ahci and if a intel based system, download and install intels RST driver. Intel's iaSTOR works better than MS default msahci.

Correct a misconseption.
.. With intel chipset, you can select either Raid, or AHCI. As long as the SSD is NOT a member of a raid0 or 1 setup - TRIM WILL BE PASSED if driver is iaSTor.
.. Raid0 ( a single SSD and a pair of HDDs in raid0) will NOT slow a system down.
.. Raid0 still has a place (excluding where two small SSDs are combined to form a needed larger space). That is when you Often work with very large Data files. Raid0 primarilly increases Sequencial performance. Sequencial performance is the least important parameter for an OS + Program drive - Hense NOT recommended. But for a DATA Drive, and considerable time spent working with Very large file structures, YES RAIDO will increase performance.
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