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advice on allocating new RAID 0 setup

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March 1, 2005 3:11:01 AM

Hey everybody,

I could use some advice on how to divvy up my uses of my drives when I get my new RAID 0 setup in a few weeks. I'm a heavy computer arts user (graphic design, motion graphics, video editing, special effects, 3d animation and simulation) and I'm going to need this for my own personal work as well as my professional work (gotta pay those bills).

As it is now, i have two drives (80 gig and 120 gig) internally. They are each partitioned in two's as follows:

80 gig:
/20 -> OS and Software
/60 -> Work files (video, audio, graphics, image sequences, etc)

120 gig:
/60 -> Media (MP3's, Videos, Games, etc. Also used sometimes for video encoding and capture. Have 1 gig pagefile here and have software secondary scratch disks set to here.)
/60 -> Storage and Backup (Software installs, Work Backup, etc. Have 2 gig pagefile here and have software primary scratch disks set to here.)

I just grabbed another 80 gig (WD800JB) for 40 bucks on sale as it is the same drive as my other 80 gig and I plan on reformatting everything and using my onboard RAID controller to stripe the two drives. So now, I am needing to figure out how to assign each area to the drives.

Initially I was thinking of just keeping everything pretty much the same and just use the new RAID for the OS and my Work files. Now I am reconsidering. From some of the FAQ's over at storagereview.com, it looks like the RAID isn't really going to do much for the OS and software except for there load times. And I'm thinking the RAID would be put to best use for the pagefile and scratch disks. But what about my work files? Will the actual files themselves have performance gain if i have them on the RAID? And i still get that funny feeling that the OS would still really like to have a piece of it too. But I need to make a decision and thought the minds here on the forum would be able to help.

Here is the setup I am currently considering. Any feedback, suggestions, thoughts on it and anything else regarding my issue would be really appreciated.

120 gig:
/40 -> OS and Software
/80 -> Storage and Backup (might consider secondary scratch disks here as well)

160 gig RAID (2 80's striped):
/80 -> Work files
/80 -> Media, single large pagefile, and all my software's primary scratch disks.

My concerns with this setup is that my work drive (the files i will be having open and working on) will be on the same disk array as my pagefile and scratch disks. Also, the OS isn't benefiting from the RAID here. Am I over-analyzing this? :) 

So I know this is pretty long and exhausting, but if some people could take the time and give their thoughts, that would really be great.

Thanks everyone,
Dave Quirus
March 1, 2005 11:20:49 AM

I would do a bigger OS partition with maybe 80 gigs and put you OS and APPS there. Use the remaining as a storage partition.

The RAID could be splitted in 2 but more than 100/60, as 100 being your working partition as if you work with 2 or 3 big capture files, you'll need the extra space for rendering and creating DVD..

Use the other 60 gigs for what you planned for your last RAID partition, except for the swapfile, that I will move to the first one, as it will be faster

-Always put the blame on you first, then on the hardware !!!
March 1, 2005 1:19:30 PM

Get a WD740GD and put your OS/APS in a 20G partition at the start and use the rest for backup. Use the 160G RAID0 array for files you are working on. Use the 120G for pagefile, you can put a small partition a the start for dedicated scratch space, use the rest for backup.
Until you get a WD740GD put the OS in a 20G partition on the 120G and use the remaining 100G for backup. Whatever you do, don't put your OS, pagefile and data on the same physical drive.
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March 1, 2005 5:14:10 PM

Thanks for your responses guys..

@Pat:

Just wanted to clarify on "except for the swapfile. that I will move to the first one, as it will be faster".. Did you mean to put the windows page file or apps scratch disks? And by first one, did you mean the first HD (120 non raid) or the first partition of the RAID drive? Thanks for your input. So you think the RAID should sit with my work and media stuff rather than the os, correct?


@sjonnie:

That would be a nice alternative if I could afford it right now, but unfortunately I can't. I mainly did this because I was able to grab that other 80 gig caviar for 40 bucks. A raptor would definitely be cool, but just can't do it for the moment. But yea, I've always avoided keeping my pagefile off the physical OS drive at all costs. Any thoughts on what I should do with what I've got?

Thanks again everyone,
Dave Q
March 1, 2005 7:48:10 PM

Quote:
Any thoughts on what I should do with what I've got?

Yes

120G drive: 20G partition, OS and pagefile; 100G partition, backup
160G RAID0 drive: work in progress

1) There's no point putting the pagefile on the RAID0 drive if that's where your working and you definitely won't want that if capturing video to the RAID0.
2) If you're not capturing video, you probably don't actually need RAID0 so you could do 1 80G OS/backup (20:60), 120G working drive (divide how you like), 80G pagefile/backup (5:75)
March 1, 2005 8:36:44 PM

Quote:
1) There's no point putting the pagefile on the RAID0 drive if that's where your working and you definitely won't want that if capturing video to the RAID0.

Good point about the capturing video and pagefile. However it's rare (if ever) when I capture on this machine as this is mainly a post machine. Usually the capturing is done on an edit suite hooked up to a dub rack.

Quote:
2) If you're not capturing video, you probably don't actually need RAID0 so you could do 1 80G OS/backup (20:60), 120G working drive (divide how you like), 80G pagefile/backup (5:75)


Well even though I won't be capturing, I figured the RAID would give me a good performance gain in general while working. Overall for the OS if i have my page file on it. And overall for my apps when photoshop has a 1 gig temp file on it and is reading and writing to it consistently. Or when After Effects is pulling 9 layers of composited video over one another. (these are just examples obviously). I'd like to say that my 3d work would benefit from it much, but I doubt it will as all the interactive stuff is video card, processor, and ram dependent and the rendering is all the cpu with an occasional 1 meg file write after the frame is done every 30 sec to 10 min (depending on the complexity).

Thanks again,
Dave
March 2, 2005 1:01:12 AM

Quote:
even though I won't be capturing, I figured the RAID would give me a good performance gain

Test it and see. In my experience having multiple drives that enables you to do multiple I/Os at the same time is far superior to having 1 drive that can do 1 think twice as fast. Say for example you click to open a file in photoshop, and windows decides it needs load dlls from the OS prefetch cache, find the file on the hard drive and write out some unused memory to pagefile. With three hard drives those operations can be caried out almost simultaneously, with 1 drive there's going to be lots of waiting around.
March 2, 2005 2:58:33 PM

Quote:
With three hard drives those operations can be caried out almost simultaneously, with 1 drive there's going to be lots of waiting around.


very good point.. definitely worth considering..

thanks.
March 8, 2005 12:41:11 PM

Sorry for being late...

Forget about a 20 gigs partition for the OS and Apps. At minimum... 40 gigs. good, 60 gigs. If you have to install many apps for multimedia content, you'll learn that 20 gigs is too small for picture editing, office stuff, video editing, cd/dvd burning.... I know. I use 60 gigs here and I need all kind of stuff as one sometime miss something the other has so you basically need 2 apps to have the job done.

the swap file is something complicated to manage. I would try to put it on every drive and find the combination that works best for you. But the first partition on the HDD is usually faster than the last ones.

As for the OS on the RAID, well, I have it here, and sometime it doesnt help me because if I capture, it is on the same disc that the OS is on. Not the same partition, but the same disc and I sometime get drop frame, when I sometime acces the drive.



But, As you dont capture, then maybe you could install the OS on the RAID, but you'll loose the fast I/O of RAID while working with your files because it will be stored on the second partition of your RAID.

Mostly, you decide where you need the speed to be there, Is it for the OS? The apps?? And manage your drives this way.

-Always put the blame on you first, then on the hardware !!!
!