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RAID advice needed for High-End Workstation

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  • New Build
  • Workstations
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
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November 8, 2010 7:56:08 PM

So I'm building a workstation for my mechanical engineering group at work (Mainly to handle ANSYS, FloTHERM, and NX), and it probably would've been better to post this before the parts were ordered this morning, but here's the list of components (all from Newegg except the monitors, total w/shipping was around $5600):

Processor: 2 x Intel Xeon E5630 Westmere 2.53GHz
Motherboard: Intel S5520SCR Dual LGA 1366
RAM: 2 x Patriot Signature 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) ECC Registered Server Memory Model
Graphics Card: ATI 100-505604 FirePro V7800 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 CrossFire Supported
Hard Drives: 4 x OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD2-2VTXE60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
2 x Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
Case: SILVERSTONE TJ07-BW Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Power Supply: COOLER MASTER Silent Pro Gold Series RSA00-80GAD3-US 1000W
DVD Burner: LG Black 10X Blu-ray Burner - Bulk SATA WH10LS30 LightScribe Support
RAID Controller: areca ARC-1220 PCI-Express x8 SATA II (3.0Gb/s) Controller Card
Heat Sink: 2 x Intel BXSTS100A Active heat sink with fixed fan
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders
KVM: LINKSKEY LDV-DM202AUSK 2-port Dual Monitor DVI Audio & Mic KVM Switch w/ Cables
Monitors: 2 x Dell U2311h Ultrasharp
Other: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
StarTech BRACKET Metal 3.5" to 5.25" Drive Adapter Bracket

The idea would be to use the 4 SSDs in one RAID for the OS and to run analysis and CAD, and the 2 2TB HDs in another RAID for storage purposes (Thus the need for the extra RAID controller). The way I plan on going is to run the 4 SSDs in a RAID0 using the areca ARC-1220 as the controller and then running the 2 2TB HDs in a RAID1 using the controller on the mobo. I'm worried that running a RAID0+1 or RAID5 on the SSDs would greatly decrease the performance of running the programs listed above.

I should be getting all the parts in by this Thursday, so I probably won't need to make a final decision on the RAIDs to run until Friday (crossing my fingers there will be no need for RMAs). But please, any advice on what RAIDs to run with this system would be greatly appreciated. Please share your thoughts on this workstation build as well (my budget was to stay in the $5k-$6k range). I'd like to know what the weak link in the system is for future upgrades.

More about : raid advice needed high end workstation

November 8, 2010 10:59:23 PM

yinRXc8 said:
So I'm building a workstation for my mechanical engineering group at work (Mainly to handle ANSYS, FloTHERM, and NX), and it probably would've been better to post this before the parts were ordered this morning, but here's the list of components (all from Newegg except the monitors, total w/shipping was around $5600):

Processor: 2 x Intel Xeon E5630 Westmere 2.53GHz
Motherboard: Intel S5520SCR Dual LGA 1366
RAM: 2 x Patriot Signature 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) ECC Registered Server Memory Model
Graphics Card: ATI 100-505604 FirePro V7800 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 CrossFire Supported
Hard Drives: 4 x OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD2-2VTXE60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
2 x Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
Case: SILVERSTONE TJ07-BW Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Power Supply: COOLER MASTER Silent Pro Gold Series RSA00-80GAD3-US 1000W
DVD Burner: LG Black 10X Blu-ray Burner - Bulk SATA WH10LS30 LightScribe Support
RAID Controller: areca ARC-1220 PCI-Express x8 SATA II (3.0Gb/s) Controller Card
Heat Sink: 2 x Intel BXSTS100A Active heat sink with fixed fan
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders
KVM: LINKSKEY LDV-DM202AUSK 2-port Dual Monitor DVI Audio & Mic KVM Switch w/ Cables
Monitors: 2 x Dell U2311h Ultrasharp
Other: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
StarTech BRACKET Metal 3.5" to 5.25" Drive Adapter Bracket

The idea would be to use the 4 SSDs in one RAID for the OS and to run analysis and CAD, and the 2 2TB HDs in another RAID for storage purposes (Thus the need for the extra RAID controller). The way I plan on going is to run the 4 SSDs in a RAID0 using the areca ARC-1220 as the controller and then running the 2 2TB HDs in a RAID1 using the controller on the mobo. I'm worried that running a RAID0+1 or RAID5 on the SSDs would greatly decrease the performance of running the programs listed above.

I should be getting all the parts in by this Thursday, so I probably won't need to make a final decision on the RAIDs to run until Friday (crossing my fingers there will be no need for RMAs). But please, any advice on what RAIDs to run with this system would be greatly appreciated. Please share your thoughts on this workstation build as well (my budget was to stay in the $5k-$6k range). I'd like to know what the weak link in the system is for future upgrades.


You won't be able to RAID those Western Digital Drives very well. Sometime earlier this year WD decided to disable the Time-Limited Error Recovery on their non Raid class drives. I suggest you go with the Samsung F4 Spinpoint 2GB instead.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
November 10, 2010 1:14:22 PM

^OP has already bought the parts. If there are problems, that's something to think about.

As far as the setup goes, I'm not sure how important the data on the SSDs are to the business, so I can't really say if you absolutely need a RAID 10 or 5. What I can tell you is that running the in RAID 10 or 5 won't vastly impact performance. They'll certainly be slower than all four in RAID 0, but they're SSDs. They're already blistering fast, and RAID 10/5 will offer some speed benefits, just not as much as a RAID 0.

If I were setting everything up, I'd likely go with either RAID 10 or 5 on the SSDs. I'd use RAID 10 if the data was critical and RAID 5 if it wasn't. I'd definitely use RAID 5 if the machine would be running 24/7, as if a SSD were to fail, the RAID could continue working without replacement. The only way I would use RAID 0 is if the only thing that mattered was that the machine be as fast as possible and the machine could be idle during the time it takes to repair the RAID in event of failure.
November 10, 2010 1:36:20 PM

Thanks for the replies...I checked on the WDs I purchased on other forums, and people have run them in a RAID with no issues. Since I will be using them for storage anyways, I don't see it being an issue.

I think I'm going to take your advice and run a RAID 5. RAID 0 would be epically fast with 4 SSDs, but my processors may be the bottleneck on this system, so a RAID 5 would be safer. Data is semi-critical, but the idea is to run the analysis on the SSDs, and once completed, push those results files over to the 2TB HDDs where there is redundancy. Knowing my peers though, that may not get done right away...so it's probably better to have some redundancy than none.

Thanks!
!