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RAID Array v. SSD

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December 31, 2012 2:59:26 AM

I'm trying to be cost effective - I'm also extremely cheap. My friend recently suggested that rather than purchasing an SSD, I could get [quoting] 'similar' performance to an SSD by utilizing RAID arrays. Now, this is news to me - I [sadly] always thought RAID was just a backup method, with little other utility.

Anyhow, a couple items of discussion:
1. Is my friend just BS-ing? If so, how many disks in RAID and what RAID design would it take to properly make this happen?
2. Can someone perhaps quantify the speed difference from one disc v. 2 or 3 in a RAID?

I was thinking of getting a second 7200RPM 1TB, and maybe even a third Caviar drive if it can give me meaningful performance increases.

I can understand what I'm talking about, but as it stands I know very little about it. Any suggestions would be helpful.
Also, how would this affect boot performance? This is the main reason I was thinking of and SSD, though I wouldn't mind it for games either.

More about : raid array ssd

December 31, 2012 3:09:20 AM

You could get fast sequential reads and write speed with a lot of drives in a RAID 0 array but SSDs will still be faster because of the lower latency.

Oh, and you should really avoid RAID 0 if you're using hard drives (In fact, I try to avoid RAID 0 altogether). It's not reliable. Higher levels of RAID are much more reliable
a b G Storage
December 31, 2012 3:29:09 AM

RAID 0 increases performance by writing/reading two or more hard drives at one time

But if one drive fails then all the data is lost since half of each file is on each drive

Buy an SSD Its faster and safer
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December 31, 2012 3:33:16 AM

Most traditional hard drives, most HDDs have the read and write speeds of about 100 - 120 MB/s, that is about 1/5 the read and write speeds of a SATA III SSD. If you RAID 0 two HDDs, you will probably get about 200 MB/s reads and writes. If you want to get the speed of a SSD from multiple HDDs, you would probably get atleast 5 HDDs (around 500MB/s in read and write speeds or less), RAID 0 all of those five drives. It's pretty stupid to get 5 HDDs to RAID 0 them, that produces higher chance for the RAID 0 array to fail, if one of the five drives fail, your entire RAID 0 array's data is ALL GONE. If you have the money to buy 5 HDDs, why not just get like a 240GB SSD? Even though you can match to a SSD's read and write speeds by RAID 0 five HDDs, but a SSD's IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) is much faster than a single HDD (think more than 100 times faster), that really benefits for applications open faster. If you plan to get a 1TB HDD, you can save a bit more and get a 120/128 GB SSD, and put windows OS, and some applications or games. SSDs are getting cheaper, and getting faster and more reliable. You should consider a SSD as well. I just recently got a Corsair Force GS 240GB (it's on my signature) like a month or two ago, and I just love it. Boots windows 7 in 10 - 15 seconds (depends on SSD and other factors), opens applications much faster. It's up to you, but I really suggest a SSD.
December 31, 2012 3:44:18 AM

Alright, so my friend is spouting BS. I figured as much. Now I just have to find an SSD that'd be worth it.... I'm looking at 256GB, which is games + system files (and programs) with user files on a 1TB 7200RPM.
December 31, 2012 3:47:25 AM

Buy an SSD they are not that expensive. Like you I spent time trying ways to improve performance without buying an SSD, I tried RAID 0 and could not "see" any real difference, perhaps booting up a couple of seconds faster. Finally I bit the bullet. I can tell you it is money well spent, you will be amazed how fast you can load Windows. Booting up will take 10 seconds. Yes, IMO your friend is BS-ing. You do of course need to be selective once you install your SSD, programs will want to install in C: so redirect them to the HDD. I have owned OCZ and Intel so far, have a look at the latest review : Best SSD for your money December 2012, take your pick. :) 
December 31, 2012 4:16:12 AM

canadianvice said:
Alright, so my friend is spouting BS. I figured as much. Now I just have to find an SSD that'd be worth it.... I'm looking at 256GB, which is games + system files (and programs) with user files on a 1TB 7200RPM.


Good choice. That's what I did too. Happy face drive (C: for SSD) and sad face drive (D: for HDD), lol. I would pick between Samsung, Intel, Corsair, and Kingston. Not OCZ though, because I heard so many people saying about their SSD are bad.
December 31, 2012 3:28:19 PM

Edmonton, Alberta, North Canuckistan.

I'd pick some of this up at the memex, but there's no stock after it got ravaged during Boxing week. Ideally, I want the best performance on a 256GB drive for up to $1.00/GB. I'm not so concerned about the life of the drive - I rarely have many files to care about and if I can have it fail during a replacement plan, that'd be just peachy.

I'd also need a mounting bay. I have no idea how to find these though - I know companies sell them, but I can't seem to find the right search terms.
December 31, 2012 3:57:48 PM

canadianvice said:
Edmonton, Alberta, North Canuckistan.

I'd pick some of this up at the memex, but there's no stock after it got ravaged during Boxing week. Ideally, I want the best performance on a 256GB drive for up to $1.00/GB. I'm not so concerned about the life of the drive - I rarely have many files to care about and if I can have it fail during a replacement plan, that'd be just peachy.

I'd also need a mounting bay. I have no idea how to find these though - I know companies sell them, but I can't seem to find the right search terms.



Oh, you live in canada. Maybe those two are good as well:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=73646&vpn=CSSD-F240GB... (I own)

Was about to suggest The Samsung 840 pro and the Intel 520 SSDs, but they are probably $30+ more expensive. About the mounting bay problem you have, I would't really worry that much, most SSD bundles or kits will come with a mounting adapter. You can search something like "2.5 to 3.5 hard drive bracket", "SSD mounting bracket", etc.
December 31, 2012 4:19:27 PM

Hmmmm..... those might well be what I'm looking for. Also, curse you - I don't think I'll ever see my C and D partitions the same way again.

I think I'll order the GS. The stats look great and the price is certainly something I can stomach. It also comes with a bay mount, so I just need to see if I have a SIII cable lying around.
December 31, 2012 4:33:28 PM

canadianvice said:
Hmmmm..... those might well be what I'm looking for. Also, curse you - I don't think I'll ever see my C and D partitions the same way again.

I think I'll order the GS. The stats look great and the price is certainly something I can stomach. It also comes with a bay mount, so I just need to see if I have a SIII cable lying around.


It's a pretty good SSD overall, and I own it. It might be a little slow than the fastest SSDs out there, but you won't really going to see a difference. I know there's benchmarks saying that which ever SSD is faster by like a few or several MB/s read and write SSDs, but you won't see a difference in real usage. Good luck on your new SSD!
December 31, 2012 4:34:33 PM

What about a hybrid? I can get the 750GB momentus for $99.99.
December 31, 2012 4:41:01 PM

canadianvice said:
What about a hybrid? I can get the 750GB momentus for $99.99.


Hybrid drives? They are a bit faster than a HDD, but a hybrid drive is just a HDD, but it comes with some flash memory (like in a SSD) for cache. It's still a huge difference in speed and latency than a SSD. Just get a SSD, and you won't even regret it at all than getting a hybrid drive.
December 31, 2012 4:42:10 PM

I guess I'll bite the bullet. Irks me that Memex is out though - they're way easier to get replacements on. Should I get the replacement from NCIX?
a c 317 G Storage
December 31, 2012 4:43:00 PM

Stick with an SSD, the hybrid doesn't come close to SSD performance.
a b G Storage
December 31, 2012 4:47:50 PM

Keep your eyes open for an M$ 256 or a Samsung 830 256 - they were going for $CDN 159.
-Bruce
December 31, 2012 4:50:01 PM

Yea, those all sold out unfortunately. The sales aren't coming back in time :( 
December 31, 2012 4:51:15 PM

canadianvice said:
I guess I'll bite the bullet. Irks me that Memex is out though - they're way easier to get replacements on. Should I get the replacement from NCIX?


What do you mean replacement? I thought you are buying a SSD?
December 31, 2012 4:52:32 PM

Plan, sorry. Replacement plan. If something breaks or w/e else. Or is corsair generally pretty good on warranty?
December 31, 2012 4:54:47 PM

canadianvice said:
Plan, sorry. Replacement plan. If something breaks or w/e else. Or is corsair generally pretty good on warranty?


I never tried replacing a Corsair SSD, all I know is that they have a 3 year warranty on their SSDs.
December 31, 2012 4:58:05 PM

canadianvice said:
What about a hybrid? I can get the 750GB momentus for $99.99.


Hybrid drives are more designed for spaces where you wouldn't have rooms for an SSD and a HDD at the same time. Most notably that's laptops that only have 1 drive bay.

If you have physical room you either want a full on SSD drive, and a spinning disk for data, or if you want to use a cache based solution then something like a 60GB SSD to use as a cache for your spinning disk (I use SRT on my Z77 based MB, and it works well for what I use it for).
December 31, 2012 5:13:04 PM

raid arrays are better left to servers. hybrid drives are okay, but if it's your first time with solid state, look into intel rapid storage technology. that way, you don't need to micromanage programs if you use a smaller ssd.
December 31, 2012 5:43:44 PM

I've setup a few systems using Intel SSD drives in RAID 0 and had spectacular results. Unfortunately unless you have the newer chipset and drivers, Intel SSD toolbox won't do the TRIM maintenance. Not a huge concern if you can accept the potential losses. And of course you do double your risk of data loss if a drive fails, but I do a daily Acronis image of my drive, so worse comes to worse I can fix it. So far I haven't had any failure on the 3 systems I've built this way.

I also have an LSI 8 port SATA controller card with 6 1.5TB drives on it in RAID 5. Pretty nice performance all around. Unfortunately all my sata ports are still SATA II @ 300MB/sec. Most of the new drives are 600MB/sec SATA III, so quite a bottleneck there. I'd like to get a new pair of Intel 520's when the price comes down and RAID 0 config them.
December 31, 2012 5:53:47 PM

mvrx said:
I've setup a few systems using Intel SSD drives in RAID 0 and had spectacular results. Unfortunately unless you have the newer chipset and drivers, Intel SSD toolbox won't do the TRIM maintenance. Not a huge concern if you can accept the potential losses. And of course you do double your risk of data loss if a drive fails, but I do a daily Acronis image of my drive, so worse comes to worse I can fix it. So far I haven't had any failure on the 3 systems I've built this way.

I also have an LSI 8 port SATA controller card with 6 1.5TB drives on it in RAID 5. Pretty nice performance all around. Unfortunately all my sata ports are still SATA II @ 300MB/sec. Most of the new drives are 600MB/sec SATA III, so quite a bottleneck there. I'd like to get a new pair of Intel 520's when the price comes down and RAID 0 config them.


+1
December 31, 2012 6:47:19 PM

I appreciate the suggestion, but I'm not quite as wealthy as Bill Gates. One drive is plenty sufficient xD
December 31, 2012 6:54:34 PM

canadianvice said:
I appreciate the suggestion, but I'm not quite as wealthy as Bill Gates. One drive is plenty sufficient xD


2 drives is the cheapest way to get performance and capacity. cheaper than raid 0 and faster.
a c 317 G Storage
December 31, 2012 7:19:01 PM

canadianvice said:
Alright, so my friend is spouting BS. I figured as much. Now I just have to find an SSD that'd be worth it.... I'm looking at 256GB, which is games + system files (and programs) with user files on a 1TB 7200RPM.
Stick with your very sensible opening position.

I have piles of SSDs on my desk and I would not waste the time to RAID 0 them other than to kill some time and just run some benchmarks, not afraid of RAID here (I use an 8 x 3Tb RAID 6 NAS streaming BluRay images and another 5 x 3Tb RAID 5 general storage array); just saying unless you have very specific needs RAIDing SSDs does not make sense on a desktop.
January 1, 2013 3:52:59 AM

I would point out, just in case there's misunderstanding here:
When he was referring to RAID, as am I, I meant normal hard disks. The old platter, 7200RPM type.

If I get an SSD, I don't have the money or means to RAID it, but of course, SSD is plenty fast for me. Until I have one. It's probably a bit like heroin - you get adjusted and then you want more, no matter how much you're actually using.

I haven't done heroin, just conjecture.

I ended up opting for the Corsair GS 256GB for $204.00. Hopefully it arrives before University is back in - I don't really want to be moving my OS over at that point.
January 1, 2013 3:58:04 AM

canadianvice said:
I would point out, just in case there's misunderstanding here:
When he was referring to RAID, as am I, I meant normal hard disks. The old platter, 7200RPM type.

If I get an SSD, I don't have the money or means to RAID it, but of course, SSD is plenty fast for me. Until I have one. It's probably a bit like heroin - you get adjusted and then you want more, no matter how much you're actually using.

I haven't done heroin, just conjecture.

I ended up opting for the Corsair GS 256GB for $204.00. Hopefully it arrives before University is back in - I don't really want to be moving my OS over at that point.


True. I wasn't referring to RAID 0 SSD's, just the traditional HDD's in RAID 0 vs. a SSD. Good luck with your new SSD and as well in your University life!
January 1, 2013 3:59:40 AM

I'm sure I'll wonder how I did without once I get it and install it. Naturally my lack of confidence in the choice is just wondering if it's all it's cracked up to be.

We'll find out, but I'm sure they aren't acclaimed for nothing!
January 1, 2013 4:09:29 AM

canadianvice said:
I'm sure I'll wonder how I did without once I get it and install it. Naturally my lack of confidence in the choice is just wondering if it's all it's cracked up to be.

We'll find out, but I'm sure they aren't acclaimed for nothing!


It's just the same of how you install windows with a HDD. Just make sure that its on AHCI mode instead of IDE or RAID from your BIOS. I would recommend a clean install of windows on the SSD, instead of mirroring from your HDD to the SSD.

Btw, nice PC you have there.
January 1, 2013 4:10:12 AM

Glad you finally choose the better option
January 1, 2013 4:13:11 AM

Yea, it'd be a clean install. Now, one more question: Since I'm moving all my stuff over anyway, W7 or W8?

I got a copy from MS for some training I did, and I currently have it on a partition, but I might make it my main OS if I'm reloading.

I'm torn between switching to W8 and sticking with my beloved W7....
January 1, 2013 4:22:02 AM

canadianvice said:
Yea, it'd be a clean install. Now, one more question: Since I'm moving all my stuff over anyway, W7 or W8?

I got a copy from MS for some training I did, and I currently have it on a partition, but I might make it my main OS if I'm reloading.

I'm torn between switching to W8 and sticking with my beloved W7....


That really depends on you. But i will be sticking with windows 7 for a while, i dont like the metro UI design personally, and plus the fact of no start button. I think you should stick with windows 7 for now. Since windows 8 is still quite new, not every application will work well on windows 8 (just my assumption). But, as i said, its up to you, some people will say windows 7, some will say windows 8.
January 6, 2013 4:36:44 PM

After a little work in the hardware shop (the 3.5" adapter is for tooled drives) I can insert it properly into my system. Right now it's just kind of lying around on the bottom of the case. That's a lie. I can't use tools worth squat, but my father drilled the holes in the tool-less drive clips that came with my case. Issue being, they're too small for the default screws, so now I have to wait for him to get back and tell me where he keeps his screws xD

That said, holy guacamole Batman! That thing is FAST. I haven't really loaded much yet, but for someone used to booting in 1.5 minutes, less than 10 seconds until useable is crazy.
January 6, 2013 7:20:14 PM

canadianvice said:
After a little work in the hardware shop (the 3.5" adapter is for tooled drives) I can insert it properly into my system. Right now it's just kind of lying around on the bottom of the case. That's a lie. I can't use tools worth squat, but my father drilled the holes in the tool-less drive clips that came with my case. Issue being, they're too small for the default screws, so now I have to wait for him to get back and tell me where he keeps his screws xD

That said, holy guacamole Batman! That thing is FAST. I haven't really loaded much yet, but for someone used to booting in 1.5 minutes, less than 10 seconds until useable is crazy.


Now would you rather choose RAID 2 HDDs instead? See how much faster this SSD can boot?
January 6, 2013 7:33:02 PM

Well, I have no scientific point of reference, but I think it's safe to say RAID would become ungainly before getting close to SSD performance.

A little bit of work and I got the Antec 302 tool-less rails to mount fine with the 3.5" plate. Protip: Most of those kits are made with tooled bays in mind. If you don't have those, you probably shouldn't buy the kit version.
a b G Storage
January 7, 2013 9:59:54 AM

You'd need 18 HDD's in RAID-6 to give similar performance to a modern SSD.
October 28, 2013 4:39:38 PM

So, as far as that goes, I now have two SSDs, a 240GB solely for games (my older GS 240GB) and a 128gb M4 Crucial for the OS. Blazing fast. Though, I mostly play LoL now, so it's moot.

Thanks for the help! For those uninitiated, find a solid SSD and get it, but just remember to account for overprovisioning. Those things are fast, and I don't think I'll be going back any time soon.
October 28, 2013 4:50:08 PM

canadianvice said:
So, as far as that goes, I now have two SSDs, a 240GB solely for games (my older GS 240GB) and a 128gb M4 Crucial for the OS. Blazing fast. Though, I mostly play LoL now, so it's moot.

Thanks for the help! For those uninitiated, find a solid SSD and get it, but just remember to account for overprovisioning. Those things are fast, and I don't think I'll be going back any time soon.


Glad to hear. My Corsair force GS is about 2 years old now, still fast and reliable. Have been writing more than 3.5TB and more than 6.2TB reads on the SSD now... I hope it can last for another two years before I buy my laptop for college.
!