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Suggested drive to RAID0 with my current drive?

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March 17, 2012 9:01:17 PM

Can someone suggest a good drive to buy (leaving in about 2 hours to shop) to put in RAID0 with my current drive. It is a WD 500GB Black SATAIII drive. I know, the best is the same drive, but this drive isn't available ANYWHERE in Houston, and hard to come by at a fair price these days online.

I know I might take a performance hit, but I'm willing to accept it for the time being. I bought this drive for 60 bucks last year, but now I know prices are different so I'll spend a little more.

Anyone know of a drive with similar performance to use?

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a c 261 G Storage
March 18, 2012 12:41:24 AM

I would do it with the same drive but if you are not spending the money on the Black why not go with the Blue!
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March 18, 2012 3:30:13 AM

rolli59 said:
I would do it with the same drive but if you are not spending the money on the Black why not go with the Blue!


I may see if I can find the black drive online, I was trying to find something local so I didn't have to wait. The Black drive is simply not available right now for anything reasonable. I paid 60 bucks a year ago, now it's around 160 I think. Too much to spend on something that isn't really needed.

I'm also trying to buy a new keyboard, mouse, and video card so I'm trying to budget it all in.

You think the Blue drive is preferable over a Seagate drive?
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a c 261 G Storage
March 18, 2012 3:39:17 AM

I actually do not like one better than the other.
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a c 289 G Storage
March 19, 2012 7:50:19 PM

My advice, which you did not ask for.

Do not do this. Do not put another drive in RAID0 with your existing drive.
1) Are you aware that building the RAID set will erase your current drive?
2) Are you aware that if you backup your current drive, build a RAID set, and restore to that RAID set, your system still will not boot?
3) RAID0 is highly vulnerable to permanent data loss.

Unless you are trying to address a specific problem for which RAID0 is the answer, or you just want to muck around with RAID levels, do not use RAID0.

"RAID zero not your system drives; great risk will you be exposed to. If a 120 GB system drive you need, a 120 GB system drive you should purchase. Or see what Xbitlabs has to say: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storage/display/kigsto... "
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March 20, 2012 2:19:24 PM

WyomingKnott said:
My advice, which you did not ask for.

Do not do this. Do not put another drive in RAID0 with your existing drive.
1) Are you aware that building the RAID set will erase your current drive?
2) Are you aware that if you backup your current drive, build a RAID set, and restore to that RAID set, your system still will not boot?
3) RAID0 is highly vulnerable to permanent data loss.

Unless you are trying to address a specific problem for which RAID0 is the answer, or you just want to muck around with RAID levels, do not use RAID0.

"RAID zero not your system drives; great risk will you be exposed to. If a 120 GB system drive you need, a 120 GB system drive you should purchase. Or see what Xbitlabs has to say: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storage/display/kigsto... "


Thanks for the advice. This is for a gaming and pleasure system. I'm looking for increased throughput without having to spend money on SSDs. Data loss is not a concern, nor is needed to reformat the drives. I reformat my drives all the time. I'm looking for faster load times for games and such, and the bottleneck is most definitely the hard drive read and write times. That being the case, do you hold firm that RAID0 isn't a reccommended option?
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a c 289 G Storage
March 20, 2012 4:51:21 PM

More like it won't make that much of a difference, as it won't help your seek times much. As long as you are in a position to recover from a loss, which it sounds like you are, it can't hurt to try it! Then you can educate me.
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March 20, 2012 5:47:30 PM

WyomingKnott said:
More like it won't make that much of a difference, as it won't help your seek times much. As long as you are in a position to recover from a loss, which it sounds like you are, it can't hurt to try it! Then you can educate me.


Maybe should have specified load times as in loading games and levels. The seek times aren't nearly as important as the read and write speeds when the data is alinged, but may come into play more when loading contents of a folder and what have you.

You're making it sound like there is NO USE for striping data, and I can't figure out exactly why. Would you be opposed to a RAID5 array or a RAID10 array as well?
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a b G Storage
March 20, 2012 11:28:04 PM

I generally would never recommend RAID5 if you're interested in performance, your write speeds will be terrible in comparison to RAID 0 or 10. RAID 0 actually doubles your chances of data loss. Where I think WyomingKnott was going is that generally speaking, RAID 0's speed advantage is fair outweighed by the increased chance of data loss. A lot of people want to run RAID 0 simply because they think it's "better" and do not recognize the trade-off you make when it comes to data integrity.
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a c 289 G Storage
March 21, 2012 12:34:49 PM

Wyered1 said:
You're making it sound like there is NO USE for striping data, and I can't figure out exactly why. Would you be opposed to a RAID5 array or a RAID10 array as well?

My take on using RAID is a little more conservative than most people's. I will only choose a RAID level if 1) There is a specific problem that needs that RAID level to address it, or 2) I want to fiddle around with benchmarking and learn things. I once bought an 8-bay rackmount RAID server just for point 2. My wife was very happy when I threw it out.

That said

RAID 0 (begin rant) is not truly RAID. The "R" in RAID stands for Redundant; RAID0 loses all of its data if one spindle is lost (end rant). It has a small improvement in seek times using mechanical disks, as one disk can be transferring data while another is seeking, but not for SSDs. I would use RAID0 for data that will not be highly fragmented, must be transferred very fast, and is expendable. For example, Photoshop scratch files or a copy of a video project that I am currently working on. Note that I wrote "a copy;" I would not keep data that I want around for a long time on a RAID 0 array.

Now that the SSD has been invented, I would always use a scratch SSD instead of RAID 0. If I could afford an SSD that large, that is. If I needed 500 GB of such space, I might RAID 0 three short-stroked drives. Short-stroking is only using a fraction of the capacity, keeping seek times low by only using the outer portion of the drive.

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Prefix to the rest: No RAID level is a substitute for backups. All of the true RAID levels let your machine keep going without losing any data if one (or more) drives fail, but you are still vulnerable to data loss due to malware, cats, rain, or a three-year-old banging your computer against the wall (an actual example, but not from me).

I would use RAID 1 to protect volatile data where I don't want to lose even a day's worth. I would still do backups, but the RAID 1 would protect me from a disk failure. I actually have one folder on my machine that is mirrored with a software driver - it's my Email. RAID 1 is rumored to speed up reads by distributing them between the two drives.

RAID 5 or raid 0+1 would come in if I needed to build a system with a shitload of data. It lets you build up capacity from smaller drives. RAID 0+1 would give me a total usable capacity of half of my physical disk space. RAID 5 with N drives gives you the capacity of (N-1) of them.

Two things to know about RAID 5. First, it is slower than a single disk until you get to a certain number of drives. I don't know what that number is, but it is greater than three, the minimum number of drives you can put in 5. Second, RAID 5 should be done with a more expensive hardware controller. Unlike 0, 1, and 0+1, the other RAID levels require parity calculations. In the olden days, this could put an enormous strain on your CPU unless you had the more expensive kind of controller that had an onboard parity processor. These days the CPUs are fast enough, but the controller to CPU to controller loop takes a toll.

If I were building a serious storage server for making a living, I might use RAID 6. It's like 5, only there are two extra drives instead of one, and different parity calcs for each stripe are written to to separate drives. Put that in a box that has a "hot spare" and you are protected against drive failures. Of course, the RAID controller could fail, the power supply could blow up, a dozen other things could still take out your data.

EDIT: This is a personal opinion. There are some members out there who are much more competent than I am who use RAID all the time, and I may or may not agree with their reasons.
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March 21, 2012 8:19:05 PM

I'm not incometent at all. I understand that the data can and will be lost if ONE drive fails. I have ZERO interest in data integrity on this machine. All the data I actually want to keep (videos, music, pictures, etc.) Is backed up twice over, however in today's streaming based society I could probably get rid of all of this and still not care. I don't remember the last time I played an mp3 stored on my computer.

So... I don't care about data loss. If the drives fail, I'll simply get a new one, load the OS, and load the game I want to play again, nothing is lost.

What I DO WANT, is lower load times. The bottleneck is my hard drive. I don't wish to pay for a large SSD, so I am going to put some drives in RAID0. I may not have much experience using RAID0, but I do know there will be better performance than one drive. FACT.

WyomingKnott: It's clear you are aware of the different RAID configurations, as am I. I understand you like your data to be redundant, but that is not a concern of mine... obviously. We are talking a home gaming rig, not a server in a data center.

"My take on using RAID is a little more conservative than most people's. I will only choose a RAID level if 1) There is a specific problem that needs that RAID level to address it, or 2) I want to fiddle around with benchmarking and learn things."

Response: No, I don't think your take is any different that anyone else considering this statement translates to "I only use RAID if I have a reason or if I want to." Who goes out and buys extra drives for a RAID array if they have no reason at all to do so AND doesn't want to for any reason?

"I would use RAID0 for data that will not be highly fragmented, must be transferred very fast, and is expendable."

Response: Exactly.

To stay on topic, I've decided to bite the bullet and buy the same drive online. The only drives available in this city are the SATAII blue drives or Hitachi and I don't like either of those options, so I'll just pay for the best I guess.
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April 2, 2012 4:03:56 PM

Best answer selected by Wyered1.
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