Advice on RAID: using old 2.5" laptop drives

Ok, I have a feeling some of you are maybe shaking your heads, already, but bear with me, please!

I'm pretty low on the tech aptitude list, but I was able to build my own i7 and overclock it, recently. I did this to build a video machine, for the small classical music radio station I work for (so it's for a good cause, etc. :)). I don't love going down the tech rabbit hole, but sometimes, it can get things done on a budget.

I would really like to set up my machine for RAID to get disk reading faster. I have this motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel

Which I believe has a couple of different RAID options built into it.

I need to sit down and beat my head against the wall to learn about how to set this up. But my main question is:

Is it ridiculous to try to use 2.5" laptop drives, mixed sizes and manufacturers, to make a raid set up?

I don't like the idea of losing work, but I can (and do) run backups every night on my work. Losing a day's work sucks majorly, but not he end of the work, esp. if I can get some extra performance out of sunk costs.

Am I going to kick myself later for trying to do this? I have all these 2.5" drives lying around, and I hate seeing wasted tech...
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More about advice raid laptop drives
  1. when setting up raid you should do it with hard drives of the same capacity. if you pick a smaller and a bigger drive the difference between the two will be substracted from the bigger hard drive
    as for how to set it up first you have to go to bios and change your sata mode to RAID (make sure to back up everything before creating the raid volume because your hard drives will be formated)
    from that you have to have two preferably same hard drives, you will press ctrl+f or ctrl+i for raid setup (it will tell you the key combination on the screen once you turn the RAID sata mode on)
    from there you set up your raid drive
    there are different types of raid so ill just copy and paste my notes onto here

    Section 5.3 RAID

    RAID Redundant Array of Independent Disks
    JBOD Just a Bunch Of Disks

    How does a RAID 0 configuration improve disk read and write performance?
    RAID 0 breaks data into units and stores the units across a series of disks by reading and writing to all disks simultaneously.

    With a RAID 0 configuration, what happens to your data if a drive in the set fails?
    A failure of one disk in the set means all data is lost.
    What is the minimum number of disks required for a RAID 5 configuration?
    Requires a minimum of three disks.

    What advantages does RAID 5 have over RAID 1?
    Provides an increase in performance for read operations. Write operations are slower with RAID 5 than with other RAID configurations because of the time required to compute and write the parity information.

    What is JBOD? How does it differ from RAID?
    JBOD (just a bunch of disks) is not a RAID configuration; it creates a single volume using space from two or more disks.

    Spanning is for JBOD because the volume spans multiple physical disks.

    RAID 0 Striping means we take data that’s being written to the hard disk drive and split it in two such that it’s written to two different hard drives at the same time. Speed, no redundancy

    RAID 1 Mirroring means there are two hard disk drives, one hard drive keeps a constant backup of another in case of a failure. Redundancy, no speed increase

    Duplexing have two hard disk drives. As striping and mirroring BUT there are two RAID controllers instead of ONE RAID controller like in Striping and Mirroring.

    RAID 5 Parity uses a third drive on top of the two hard drives holding the parity data, or the data that can reconstruct is one of the two striped hard drives fails, 3 or more drives striped together with parity information for redundancy

    Exam Questions Section 5.5

    Which of the following drive configurations use striping without fault tolerance?
    RAID 0

    What is the minimum number of hard disks that can be used to configure RAID 5?

    A RAID 0 volume uses space on Disk 1 and Disk 2
    A RAID 1 volume uses space on Disk 1 and Disk 3
    Data on the RAID 1 volume is accessible, data on the RAID 0 volume is not.

    What is an advantage of RAID 5 over RAID 1?
    RAID 5 improves performance over RAID 1
  2. First of all, laptop drives are poor desktop performers. They are optimized for low power usage, not performance.

    Next, raid is primarily for redundancy and recovery from hard drive failures, not performance.
    You may see benchmarks showing amazing sequential performance using raid-0.
    That comes from using synthetic benchmarks that drive the array using large blocks and overlapped I/o.
    Most work will not have those characteristics. In the real world you will notice no difference.

    If on a budget, I suggest you sell the laptop drives on ebay where they go for a premium, and buy your needed capacity in the form of 3.5" conventional drives.
  3. In the video world, plenty of people have used and continue to use raid 0, and 10 for sure! Especially when you are dealing with multiple streams of less-compressed video it's almost a necessity.

    I certainly understand how the weakest link would affect the efficiency of the entire system, though. Wouldn't want them to be plagued with issues like auto spindown, etc.

    The laptop drives go for peanuts on Ebay. I suppose I can just use them as transfer drives...

    Thank you for weighing in.
  4. sevitzky said:

    The laptop drives go for peanuts on Ebay. I suppose I can just use them as transfer drives...

    Thank you for weighing in.

    Yes.... lappy drives may not be 'optimised for performance' as someone said above.. but if for example... everytime you save a picture in 'my pictures' or a video in 'my video' it saves it to a different drive.. ie one of your lappy drives your still increasing performance yea? You can get 3.5 inch hard drive 'bays' (called twin mounter) from ebay that accomodate 2 x2.5 inch hard drives. Very usefull.
    Im just playing with an old machine that i love... and putting a cheap 60 gig s.state drive into it... and removing the 120 gig ide drive, that has about 90 gigs of stuff on it. Its a small form factor pc... with a limited none standard power supply that restricts my graphics card choice also.
    However... if i place all the stuff i want to keep... about 60 gigs... onto a sata laptop drive. And the remaining 30 gig c drive stuff.. operating system.... software etc stuff that wont be deleted/edited so much onto the new s. state drive... and put them both in this caddy from ebay.. they are taking up the same amount of space..yet both drives are FASTER than my IDE drive... and BOTH drives together will use LESS electricity than my clumpy old diamondmax or whatever it is! Your looking at 3 to 6 watts instead of 11 to 16 watts.. so im thinking thats got to take some strain off the old set up and also should run a little cooler too?!!!
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