Ive never bought a raid controller so i am seeing a bunch of brands im not familiar with and i have found one that is what i need but im not sure if its a good buy or not. So i am looking for some info on good raid controllers that can do what i need and dont cost 500$+.
If you need more size than you can afford in a single drive, I strongly suggest that you use them as three separate drives, or mount two of them as "junction points" in directories on the third. There is also a feature in Windows Disk Management to just spread files over three drives and present them as one volume. Any of these suggestions will be more solid in the long run.
"And what makes some RAID controllers better than others?" The key differentiator is whether they have a hardware processor on-board or send the processing to your CPU. The latter are cheaper, but slower. It used to be that they put a load on the CPU that was noticeable; modern CPUs are so fast it doesn't matter. But the data has to move over the bus multiple times: to the controller, then given to the CPU to process, then back to the controller to write. They especially suck for RAID levels above 1, where XOR processing has to be done.
Another key feature is battery backup, so any pending writes will be completed when power comes back on.
First off - I used Raid0 in ALL my systems until SSDs became afforable. And that goes back to the OLD IDE system, befor Sata was implimented.
Need to weigh the pros and cons.
.. Raid0 greatly improves Sequencial read and writes. This does very little for OS load and program load times as this is most influenced by small file read/writes. What is improved is loading LARGE files that you work on such as Video files (DVD files typically 1 gig and Blu-ray files .10 gigs and are sequencial files, Very large data bases/spreadsheets, large CAD/Cam drawings, and if you often edit large jpeg/bitmap photos.
.. Raid0 DOES NOT improve access time, and only a small improvement on 4k random performance.
.. You LOOSE Trim support, while not as important as it use to be (Improved internal Garbage Collecting - CG) it still is important.
.. With Raid0 Failure of a single drive = Everything Gone.
.. This is an Unknown - Each drive has it's own wear leveling and CG algorthium and will work independent of the raid0 conf. This may, or may not be a problem.
Tip, If you do go with raid0, DO NOT select the full space for the array, subtract 10->20 percent of available space. For example 3 x 240 gig drive (really only about 220 gigs) so available 3 drive = 3 x 220 or 660 Gigs - Only select about 600 gigs for the array and leave the remainder unused. Simular to using short stroke, but for a different reason.
Myself,as I said I loved raid0, but in all my systems with daul SSDs I do NOT use raid0.
You might want to consider this:
.. Buy a 120/128 Gig SSD soley for OS + Programs. Typical windows Plus programs (excluding games) uses about 35->40 gigs so a 128 gig SSD would still have room for more programs than I use.
.. Buy the two larger SSD and if your usage includes OFTEN working with the Large File structures that I indicated you can raid0 the pair. Myself, I would not raid0 and use as indepent drives- but that is your choice.
Best option one 128 gig drive for OS + Progams and a 500+ single drive (as size goes up with in a given family so does performance).