Can Heterogeneous RAID Arrays Work?

Test Setup

System Hardware
Processor(s) 2x Intel Xeon Processor (Nocona core)
3.6 GHz, FSB800, 1 MB L2 Cache
Platform Asus NCL-DS (Socket 604)
Intel E7520 Chipset, BIOS 1005
RAM Corsair CM72DD512AR-400 (DDR2-400 ECC, reg.)
2x 512 MB, CL3-3-3-10 Timings
System Hard Drive Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB
120 GB, 7,200 U/Min, 8 MB Cache, UltraATA/100
Mass Storage Controller(s) Intel 82801EB UltraATA/100 Controller (ICH5)
Promise SATA 300TX4
Promise FastTrak TX4310
Networking Broadcom BCM5721 On-Board Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Graphics Subsystem On-Board Graphics
ATI RageXL, 8 MB
System Hardware
Performance Measurements c’t h2benchw 3.6
PCMark05 V1.01
I/O Performance IOMeter 2003.05.10
Fileserver Benchmark
Webserver Benchmark
Database Benchmark
Workstation Benchmark
System Software & Drivers
OS Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, Service Pack 1
Platform Driver Intel Chipset Installation Utility
Graphics Driver Default Windows Graphics Driver

Hard Drives Used

We used three different hard drives for this article : A Samsung Spinpoint T166, Seagate’s Barracuda 7200.10 and a Western Digital WD3200JD. All of them hold 320 GB each.

Manufacturer Samsung Seagate Western Digital
Family SpinPoint T166 Barracuda 7200.10 WD Caviar SE
Model Number HD321KJ ST3320620AS WD3200JD
Capacity 320 GB 320 GB 320 GB
Rotational Speed (RPM) 7200 7200 7200
Platter 2 2 3
Interface SATA/300 SATA/300 SATA/150
Cache (MB) 16 16 8
NCQ yes Yes yes
Warranty 3 years 5 years 3 years

RAID Controller : Areca

Areca’s 1680ML series provide high I/O performance and very good throughput for up to six drives. Have a look at our RAID Scaling Charts for more details.

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  • Anonymous
    Typically, I'd say, run RAID-1. When it's time to upgrade, get two more identical drives, plug-em in and set up another mirror. Then, for Windows, delete your system hdd from the device manager and reboot to a Norton Ghost CD (assuming it supports your raid controller). Clone the partitions to new mirror. Power off, remove old mirror, boot to a new mirror. It will most likely re-detect the new mirror and request a re-boot, after that you're good to go on. Old drives can be wiped and sold on e-bay. Or turned into a backup volume.