I'm building a computer and was looking into raid 5. In class my professor mentioned that Raid 5 is "kick ass" and he suggested building a raid 5 computer. My question is, would it be worth it to use raid 5?
If so, which hard drive would you recommend?
what cache size?
or any other information you suggest?
On a home pc, raid isn't really needed unless you have a home server that requires 24/7 uptime. RAID is meant for redundancy so that if one drive fails, the system can continue to run. RAID 0 is does not offer redundancy and a single drive failure will usually mean total data loss.
If you are interested in raid5, you will need a minimum of 3 drives and you'll get
N-1 storage capacity, so if you have three 1TB drives you'll have an effective storage of 2TB as the remaining TB will be used for parity information. Anyhow, if one drive fails, the computer will complain that your raid is degraded. Simply remove the bad drive and replace with a new one and the data is automatically rebuilt onto the new drive.
With RAID 5, you might gain some read performance, but your write performance will decrease as it has to stripe data and parity across all drives.
I don't recommend RAID for a gaming PC except perhaps with RAID 0, which as I stated isn't a real raid since it provides no redundancy at all, just read/write performance. Even then, I think today's SATA2 and SATA3 drives handle just as well as RAID, especially a SATA3 SSD.
RAID5 will only increase the amount of time it takes to load the game, compared to a single HDD - gaming in general does not benefit from any RAID configuration. It's primarily a server storage solution that has trickled its way down to enthusiasts. I do not suggest setting up a RAID5 with less than 5 drives - 3 for the Array, 1 hot swap and 1 dead spare.
I have a RAID0 setup only because of the video editing I do with Adobe Premier Pro - which benefits tremendously from it.
If you really want the performance of a RAID Array, get a 240GB SSD drive and set it up as your boot drive, install your game on it and it's roughly what it's like. (really stretched out that analogy )