Backing up files for setting up RAID on a 1TB system necessary?

I have a 1000GB hard drive and want to set up RAID 0. This is primarily for increasing the memory on my computer, but I wouldn't mind a speed update as well. Since most of the space is coming from Steam games, I also need the computer to 'recognise' the two hard drives as one partition (unless Steam would work on two different partitions somehow.)

Firstly, does RAID work best with two hard drives of the same make and model and the same level of usage (i.e. used & used/used & new)?

Secondly, do I need to back up the data on my hard drive before using RAID, or will it somehow bleed into the other hard drive when RAID is active?
This is the most important question since all the hard drives and backup material in my home don't add up to 1000GB and the hard drive is about 95% used up.

Is RAID 0 the best option? What are the risks (I mean drive failure chance is doubled, but isn't it just the same level risk only with two drives)? Would JBOD help with this?

Finally, could I get 2 500GB hard drives, run them in RAID then run that in RAID with my 1000GB hard drive?

Thanks for looking.
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More about backing files setting raid system necessary
  1. RAID-0 is better used for more performance, not as a means of adding space. It is risky particularly if you are storing ALL your data on it without any backup. If only one drive fails, all data is lost. Yes it works best with same capacity, same model disks but isn't totally necessary. I don't think RAID-0 is the best option for you - particularly because all your data will be on the volume with no backup. And in RAID-0 your size is limited by the smallest disk. So in your proposed 2 x 500gb + 1 x 1000gb setup, you would only have 1500mb (since 500gb on the 1000gb would be wasted).

    If you simply need more storage space, you can just add another HDD as a separate volume. Steam can be moved from one volume to another but I don't believe it can span multiple volumes. So install a new HDD of any capacity and move Steam (search their forums for how to move it) OR move data or whatever to the new volume and leave Steam there. You can move all kinds of things to the second volume to free up space on your C drive.
  2. attacus said:
    Firstly, does RAID work best with two hard drives of the same make and model and the same level of usage (i.e. used & used/used & new)?


    A RAID array works best when all drives are identical.

    The maximum Read/Write speeds of a RAID array is based upon the drive in the array with the slowest Read/Write speeds.

    Also, the total capacity of a RAID array is based upon the drive with the smallest capacity. So if you RAID-0 a 60GB drive and a 500GB drive the total capacity of your RAID array will be 120GB (60GB x 2).


    Quote:
    Secondly, do I need to back up the data on my hard drive before using RAID, or will it somehow bleed into the other hard drive when RAID is active?


    When you first create a RAID array all data is deleted from all the drives in the array during the process, so yes, you need to backup any necessary data before you begin.

    Quote:
    Is RAID 0 the best option? What are the risks (I mean drive failure chance is doubled, but isn't it just the same level risk only with two drives)? Would JBOD help with this?


    There’s no fault tolerance with RAID-0; so if one of your drives die then you lose all of your data.

    Personally, I would forget about RAID. Just use 1 drive for O/S and programs, 1 drive for data/storage, and 1 drive for backup.
  3. Dereck47 said:
    A RAID array works best when all drives are identical.

    The maximum Read/Write speeds of a RAID array is based upon the drive in the array with the slowest Read/Write speeds.

    Also, the total capacity of a RAID array is based upon the drive with the smallest capacity. So if you RAID-0 a 60GB drive and a 500GB drive the total capacity of your RAID array will be 120GB (60GB x 2).


    When you first create a RAID array all data is deleted from all the drives in the array during the process, so yes, you need to backup any necessary data before you begin.


    There’s no fault tolerance with RAID-0; so if one of your drives die then you lose all of your data.

    Personally, I would forget about RAID. Just use 1 drive for O/S and programs, 1 drive for data/storage, and 1 drive for backup.

    What about a 160gb hard drive with my 160gb SSD? Would that be good setup for RAID 1 mirroring or is there a limitation?
  4. attacus said:
    What about a 160gb hard drive with my 160gb SSD? Would that be good setup for RAID 1 mirroring or is there a limitation?


    No, you never want to mix HDDs & SSDs in a RAID array. The RAID should be either all HDDs or all SSDs.
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