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SSD paired with RAID 0 or 1 HDDs

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April 30, 2012 1:22:52 PM

I am putting together a new gaming rig on which I plan on doing some photo editing and I'm trying to solve my storage situation. I have a 256 gig SSD serving as the boot drive and I have 2 Western Digital 7200rpm 1TB drives, not identical - one at 6Gb/s with 64 mb cache and the other 3GB/s with 32 MB cache. I have a 1TB time capsule that I could use for external backup. My ideas:

All option have the SSD as the boot drive but

1. Both HDDs in RAID 0 (or RAID 1 - overkill?) and backup the SSD and array to a partitioned time capsule.
2. Faster HDD for storage and the other HDD for partitioned backup for the SSD and HDD.

I am water cooling my CPU with a Corsair H100 so there is a small chance the drives can get damaged if there is a leak so I am leaning towards using the time capsule for external backup.

More about : ssd paired raid hdds

April 30, 2012 2:32:56 PM

Shitty thing about Apple Time Capsule is that you cannot create a system image with Windows backup to the time capsule because its not NTFS. I own a 2TB time capsule. It works great for backing up my Mac, but for backing up my Windows PC it doesn't work that well. It works great on either Mac or Windows for a network storage device.

I wish I had just bought a router with usb port and external HDD or a non-apple NAS solution instead of the Apple Time Capsule.

The Time Capsule is also extremely difficult if not impossible to partition. It uses a propietary Apple Filesystem which is somehow a combination of HFS and FAT32. You could pull the slower HDD out of the system throw it into an enclosure and use it as either a regular external HDD or a NAS attached to your time capsule.
a b G Storage
April 30, 2012 2:44:17 PM

While RAID does not require identical drive to work, it does require identical drives to work effectively and at top speeds. I have a RAID1 of 2 different 1TB drives and the performance is less than stellar (both are Seagate, but one is ~4-5 years old, while the other is only 1-2 years old, but I wanted redundancy while I save up for larger drives). Having identical drives will help a lot with throughput, as well as the almighty seek time, where as with a heterogenus drive setup your performance will vary a bit.
Never store anything important on RAID0. RAID0 should only be for short term storage like rendering or temp files, or for your system drive where you can easily reimmage or reinstall it. RAID1 is the far better choice for most setups, and RAID5 is an excellent compromise between performance and redundancy if you have the space and drives to do it.

As far as caching a RAID, it absolutely can be done through Intel RST, but I am not sure about other ways of doing it (like using a caching drive). With RST you are limited to 60GB, so if you have a large SSD you can make a partition and assign that as the cache for the RAID (getting ready to play with this myself on my rig next weekend, so I may have more exact advice then). Just know that if it is a drive that you write to a lot then you may want to turn off the write caching in RST as it will absolutely hammer the SSD, and most consumer grade SSDs are simply not made for that kind of use. Having it as a read cache alone will still get you excellent read performance, while not killing the drive prematurely. The other option is to get an SLC or high end MLC drive that can take the beating.

Best of luck, and keep me posted on your progress as I will be doing something similar shortly.
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a b G Storage
April 30, 2012 2:57:48 PM

This is what my rig will look like soon:
Physical drives:
240GB SSD
500GB HDD SATA2
1TB HDD SATA2, ~18mo old
1TB HDD SATA2, ~4-5 years old (got it when they first came out, still works like a champ, but slow by today's standards)

Logical Drive setup one:
c: 180GB SSD for OS, programs, small documents, and music (uses ~130GB)
d: 500GB HDD+60GB SSD cache through RST, this is for Pictures, movies, large files, and my rendering drive for adobe and other production software
e: 1TB HDDs in RAID1, this is my 'cold storage' and project drive. All raw project footage goes here, as well as system images and a backup of all my important documents

the workflow is that I have my RAID1 for serving AV footage to Premiere, premiere then uses the 500GB drive as a cache space so that I am not reading and writing to the media drive at the same time, and then I have the SSD for my system drive where some media is found, but also so that I can freely open and close programs without the pain of waiting a full minute or more for them to open and close.
So far everything works perfectly, but I am going to play with the SSD caching on the RAID to see if that is a better use of the cache. I am also going to play with cache sizes to see how that works out.
May 7, 2012 12:05:51 AM

CaedenV said:
This is what my rig will look like soon:
Physical drives:
240GB SSD
500GB HDD SATA2
1TB HDD SATA2, ~18mo old
1TB HDD SATA2, ~4-5 years old (got it when they first came out, still works like a champ, but slow by today's standards)

Logical Drive setup one:
c: 180GB SSD for OS, programs, small documents, and music (uses ~130GB)
d: 500GB HDD+60GB SSD cache through RST, this is for Pictures, movies, large files, and my rendering drive for adobe and other production software
e: 1TB HDDs in RAID1, this is my 'cold storage' and project drive. All raw project footage goes here, as well as system images and a backup of all my important documents

the workflow is that I have my RAID1 for serving AV footage to Premiere, premiere then uses the 500GB drive as a cache space so that I am not reading and writing to the media drive at the same time, and then I have the SSD for my system drive where some media is found, but also so that I can freely open and close programs without the pain of waiting a full minute or more for them to open and close.
So far everything works perfectly, but I am going to play with the SSD caching on the RAID to see if that is a better use of the cache. I am also going to play with cache sizes to see how that works out.


Here's my rig:
Cooler Master 932 Blue edition
i7-3820/Asus Sabertooth x79/Corsair H100
Corsair vengeance DDR3 1600 Ram 32GB
Corsair HX1050 PSU
Evga GeForce GTX 570 x2
Crucial M4 260GB SSD
2 Western Digital 1TB HHD

I decided to have one of the HHDs as a storage drive and another partitioned as a backup drive for the other two drives. I know I could go with an external drive for backup but I hate extra clutter around my case but I can always go for a USB drive later on.
!