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RAID 0 w/4 SSDs

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August 19, 2010 5:57:10 AM

Hey all, I'm building a computer for a friend with a budget of 2500 USD. I have picked out an EVGA E758-A1 3-Way SLI MB. It has good reviews, but I was wondering if it can take 4 G.SKILL Phoenix Pro Series FM-25S2S-60GBP2 2.5" 60GB solid state drives on the integrated Intel controller... or should I add a dedicated RAID controller card? The it HAS TO BE Windows 7 x64 compatible if I must get a RAID card. I'm approaching the max budget with this system, so keep that in mind.

Thanks for reading,
TGG.

More about : raid ssds

August 19, 2010 2:54:37 PM

It looks like all of the 60 GB Sandforce 1200 drives are about the same price right now, though the Mushkin Callisto is about $5 less.

I'm a little curious about why you're looking at that motherboard, especially at this budget. You could get a Gigabyte UD3R for less, and you'd get USB 3.0 & SATA 6.0 Gb/s support as well.

Theoretically, there's no reason you can't RAID 4 SSDs on there. It says it can do multiple RAID levels. What RAID level are you planning on running? EDIT: Never mind, it's in the subject.

The primary reason to get a RAID card is to remove the processing load on the CPU (should be fairly minimal, with modern processors) and to ensure portability if the motherboard dies. If you're not too concerned about either of those, then you don't need a RAID card.
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August 19, 2010 3:28:51 PM

Thanks for your response. I was thinking about the Gigabyte board, but the reviews seems better for the EVGA. I'm still open to changing to Gigabyte (I have a P45-UD3P and it's great). I'll look up more reviews on each MB.

Is there any advantages with the Mushkin SSDs?

Yes, in theory it will work with 4 SSDs. I've had issues before trying to stripe 4 drives in one array with an integrated controller. Granted, it was a P35 chipset... but an Intel controller none-the-less.

Here's a list of all the parts-
Antec 1200
EVGA E758 X58 MB (?)
EVGA GTX 460 768MB
SeaSonic X750 Gold (750 watt)
Intel Core i7 930
Rosewill 40-in-1 card reader
G.Skill Ripjaws 12GB DDR3 1333
G.Skill Phoenix Pro 60GB SSD x4
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 64 MB cache x2
LG 10x BD burner
Windows 7 HP x64

My friend hates to wait for loading, if you're wondering why I picked 4 SSDs to run in a disk stripe.
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August 19, 2010 3:43:25 PM

The Greater Good said:

My friend hates to wait for loading, if you're wondering why I picked 4 SSDs to run in a disk stripe.


Clearly. :) 

No real advantage to the Mushkin SSD, except that it's slightly cheaper. There seem to be a lot of SF-1200 SSDs coming out now, hard to keep track of them all. I didn't even know G.Skill was selling one.

Is this a gaming machine? Or something else? And if so, what resolution? A single 768 MB 460 is generally considered a little weak for 1920x1080. You'd probably be better off just going with 2x SSD RAID & spending more on the graphics solution.

You should be able to get 2x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB drives for less than the 2 WD Caviar Blacks.

And if you don't really need to burn Blu-rays, you can save some money by just getting a reader or a combo drive.
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August 19, 2010 4:05:56 PM

I was on the phone with him last night and asked what his primary use is going to be. He does a crap-load of Photoshop, some video editing/encoding, gaming mostly RTS and TPS and he needs lots of storage. He has a 22" Samsung that I believe is 1900x1200 or 1920x1080. He'd rather have less loading time than a small jump in video power. Right now he's on a 8800 GTX and it's fine for his games now... the jump to a GTX460 should be good enough, if not... buy another and SLI the bastards!

I'm a WD fanboy. The only manufacturer to which I'm loyal. (Even though I have a Galaxy S phone) :-)

I asked him about Blu-ray; he wants to be able to burn 25-50 GB on one disk. He said, "For the price... why not?" Honestly though, he wants braggin' rights. He HAS TO HAVE the fastest computer out of everyone we know. Which is fine since he has the money and only upgrades every 4-6 years. I don't really help the situation; I tell him every time I upgrade and explain why my computer is faster. (insert Nelson's HA HA! pic)

How do the other parts look? Any suggestions on changes or anything I should add?

Thanks again!
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August 19, 2010 4:13:33 PM

What are the full specs on the RAM? If it's CL8 or 9, you may be able to find CL7 for about the same price. Won't make a huge difference, but if he does a lot of Photoshop, then it could be worthwhile, even for a 1-2% improvement. If you (or he) is going to overclock, you might spend a few dollars more to get either 1600 MHz CL7 RAM or 2000 MHz CL9 RAM.

If you're a WD loyalist, that's fine, just pointing out that the WD1002FAEX is probably the worst deal for a 1 TB hard drive right now. :)  Mechanical hard drives in no way reach SATA 6.0 Gb/s speeds, so you might want to just go with the WD1001FALS and save a little bit of money (if you're approaching the budget cap). Though they are good for bragging rights, I guess.

Other than that, no concerns, it all looks good. If he doesn't need 240 GB on the SSDs, you could consider going RAID 10 (or 0+1 or whatever the mobo says it supports).
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August 19, 2010 4:42:23 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM. It is CL9. I will look at RAM options. The only problem now is keeping the budget.

About the hard drives... I picked that model because of the speed and the 5 year warranty. I'm almost thinking about going to an enterprise-level drive for reliability.

He does need that much space as a boot drive for all his programs and games. What good is buying into SSD tech when you have to load your games from a magnetic disk? ;-)
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August 19, 2010 4:49:10 PM

If you don't mind fully populating the RAM slots, I'd go with this G.Skill PI series kit. If you're committed to 4 GB sticks, everything is going to be CL9, I believe.

Agreed on getting more SSD space, I have a 128 GB myself. Just sayin' 240 GB is a lot. :) 
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August 19, 2010 4:49:29 PM

2tb is a lot I'd get 2 cheap 1tb drives and put then in a raid1 it's very very reliable. Otherwise if he really needs 2tb I'd just put the important stuff on the SSD aswell as they are unlikely to fail.
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August 19, 2010 5:03:57 PM

@CS, I don't want to use all the slots. Bad experiences with doing that in the past.
It also gives the option to add another 12 gigs to the mix down the road.

SB007, I'm not sure if the controller will support 4 drives in a RAID 0 with two others in a RAID 1 array. I'd really have to consider a dedicated controller.

The word "cheap" can not apply to this build. I truly feel if you spend a little more money on a quality part, it's worth the reliability and performance. Usually...



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August 19, 2010 5:20:16 PM

Well I didn't mean cheap as in crap quality but less performace oriented as that's not so neccesary as a storage drives. The cheaper F3s are actually much more suited to be storage drives because they are quieter, cooler and have better substained reads and writes.
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August 19, 2010 6:05:43 PM

The Greater Good said:
@CS, I don't want to use all the slots. Bad experiences with doing that in the past.
It also gives the option to add another 12 gigs to the mix down the road.


Fair enough. Looks like the RAM you chose is the best deal, assuming no overclocking.
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August 19, 2010 6:15:39 PM

007, I'm planning on using one of the TB drives for the swap file. Also, I'm only going with WD for the mechanical drives as I've had great luck with them over the past 15 years.

CS, I'm still not sure about how far I want to overclock. I think the i7 @ 3.0 GHz would be a very nice bump over his Q6600 @2.8GHz. Is the RAM I picked able to support the CPU @ 3.0 GHz (or higher)?
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August 19, 2010 6:17:31 PM

It should support it, but I'll admit I'm not an overclocking expert. Just wanted to point out that RAM rated at higher clock speeds and/or tighter timings, as well as lower voltage all help while overclocking; as you can loosen up the timings, increase the voltage, etc.

For a relatively mild overclock like that, it shouldn't be a big deal.

You might see what the folks in the overclocking forum have to say about what's ideal, though.
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August 19, 2010 6:29:31 PM

The Greater Good said:
007, I'm planning on using one of the TB drives for the swap file. Also, I'm only going with WD for the mechanical drives as I've had great luck with them over the past 15 years.

CS, I'm still not sure about how far I want to overclock. I think the i7 @ 3.0 GHz would be a very nice bump over his Q6600 @2.8GHz. Is the RAM I picked able to support the CPU @ 3.0 GHz (or higher)?


I'm also more of a WD digital fanboy I only have WD drives and I'd happy to support you ;) .

As for the overclock I wouldn't reccomend any overclocks on the stock cooler. And if you're talking mild overclocks like that ram choice should make little difference.
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