I'm looking at building a new system and have been reading the forums for some excellent guidelines. I was considering getting a pair of 10,000 RPM 80 GB SATA hard drives and setting them up in RAID 0 mode. From what I'm reading here, setting up raid 0 gives maybe a 50% increase in read/write access times (instead of double the speed). The access time on these hard drives is already very low. Would I get much benefit from setting them up in RAID 0? Would I even notice it? Is it worth the extra money for the 10,000 RPM versions of these (4.5 ms average seek time instead of 8-9)? It seems like a waste to go with SATA HDs without RAIDing them somehow since the access times on the 7200 speed HDs are almost identical to IDE. Does anyone have any personal experiences/recommendations?
The computer would be used heavily for gaming. I'm on a budget and could spend the extra $150 or so to get 2 of these high-end hard drives, or I could spend the money on a better video card or such.
Do not get two of the fast SATA drives and RAID them. There is very very little performance increase unless you're running a heavily loaded server. See <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2101" target="_new">this review</A> to see what I mean.
Hard drives are pretty much a non-factor for games. They only load the levels and that's it. The ideal situation for you would be to get one of the 74 GB raptor SATA 10k rpm drives and use that as your OS/programs/games drive. Then get something like a 200 GB 7200 rpm SATA/IDE drive for your data and what not.
Of course if load times don't really matter to you (and I mean 5 seconds to get to the next level instead of 9), then just spend your money on a single 200 GB drive and use the rest on a better video card or more ram. The 7200 rpm larger drives are by no means slow these days and won't affect your frames per second at all. All else being equal, a system with a 4 GB ATA33 drive will run a game at the same fps as a system with a U320 SCSI raid array; it's just take longer to load the game up
So yeah, save on the hard drives, but get something you're happy with. RAID isn't worth it for desktops anyways. You'll notice the speed of a better video card for sure.
I fully agree with the "silverpig", any benefit you would get with RAID 0 would be minor. Additionally, you would be more open to problems.
I would rather save some of the money on off the 74gb Raptor and use the 36gb Raptors instead. They are a little slower, and they may lack some SATA support, but they are about 1/2 as much. If they are going to be used for boot/system drives then you likely won't need that much space anyway. (Granted all situations are different.)
So if that space is not needed, then I would stick with the smaller drives, and maybe even get a pair of them for mirroring.
Thanks Jim and Silverpig for your replies. That is an excellent link to really show the lack of gains. I was looking for exactly a link like that or some personal testing. I really thought that the gains would be at least measureable, but maybe not worth the extra cash. Thanks for listing some alternative recommendations as well. Very sound, cost effecient advice.
I'll definitely save some money on the hard drives. Thanks again.
setting up raid 0 gives maybe a 50% increase in read/write access times
RAID0 does nothing to access times except maybe increase them marginally. RAID0 increases continuous read/write rates. Continuous read/write is a rather rare event in most people's computer usage which is why RAID0 isn't for everybody. For some people it can be a real benefit however.