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Thread: To RAID or not to RAID?

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    To RAID or not to RAID?

    As many of you are aware, I am on the hunt for information to help me build a very nice PC for myself at as close to a grand as I can get it. I recently re-read the CPC article on RAID and how it can under perform versus a single large drive. So.....
    - Which of the following set-ups will give me the best performance on SATA?
    - Where would YOU put the pagefile for the best performance?

    Option 1:
    1 * 38GB WD Raptor (configured as Windows)
    1 * 250GB Hitachi 7K250 (configured as Program Files and Documents on separate partitions)

    Option 2:
    1 * 38GB WD Raptor (configured as Windows)
    2 * 160GB Hitachi 7K250 in RAID 0 (configured as Program Files and Documents on separate partitions)

    Option 3:
    1 * 38GB WD Raptor (configured as Windows)
    2 * 250GB or 160GB Hitachi 7K250 in RAID 1 (configured as Program Files and Documents on separate partitions)

    Option 4:
    2 * 160GB Hitachi 7K250 in RAID 0 (configured as Windows and Program Files on separate partitions)
    2 * 80GB Hitachi 7K250 in RAID 1 (configured Documents)

    Option 5:
    Something else entirely.....

    Thanks in advance etc. etc.

    GingerNinja.net - Gamer, Geek & Father of 3

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    F.A.S.T. Butuz's Avatar
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    Option 3

    Butuz

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    King of the Juice Platinum's Avatar
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    yep option 3 defo, I use 2 raid arrays, first is 2x 36gb raptors striped and then 2x 250gb maxtors mirrord, I get speed and security that way
    Salazaar : <Touching wood as I write this...>


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    Another option i suppose would be to buy 3 x 160GB drives and a raid card that supports raid 5 - and then you will have 320gb of speed and security.

    More expensive option tho.

    Butuz

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    Quote Originally Posted by Platinum
    yep option 3 defo, I use 2 raid arrays, first is 2x 36gb raptors striped and then 2x 250gb maxtors mirrord, I get speed and security that way
    This was what I was thinking off for option 4.

    I guess your method is a kinda of Option 3.5 though as you, but with two Raptors instead of one giving you lots of speed, although, does anyone know if you do you get any extra speed using RAID 0 on the system partition?

    Also, where do you have your pagefile?

    GingerNinja.net - Gamer, Geek & Father of 3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz
    Another option i suppose would be to buy 3 x 160GB drives and a raid card that supports raid 5 - and then you will have 320gb of speed and security.

    More expensive option tho.

    Butuz
    I could potentially stretch to that but as you say, the ASUS A8V doesn't support RAID 5 onboard.

    GingerNinja.net - Gamer, Geek & Father of 3

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    Richard Allen Evans mr_anderson187's Avatar
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    you could get a pci RAID card, that woudl do raid 5 nicely
    Under Development...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz
    Another option i suppose would be to buy 3 x 160GB drives and a raid card that supports raid 5 - and then you will have 320gb of speed and security.

    More expensive option tho.

    Butuz
    /Kez strokes his RAID-5 array.
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    Does anyone actually know if the ASUS A8V Deluxe will support a 3 x SATA RAID 0 array? It support 4 SATA drives, but can you connect all 4 of them in RAID 0, or can you only have 2 seperate RAID arrays?

    GingerNinja.net - Gamer, Geek & Father of 3

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    Junior Senior Member Aaron's Avatar
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    The 4 ports are controlled by two seperate RAID controllers, so I doubt it.

    A quick google search might find the answer though.

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    Buy me another 3 S-ATA drives and i'll tell you
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    lol - OK, I've done what I should have in the first place......RTFM!

    Two seperate RAID controllers chips = two seperate arrays.

    I already back-up all my data to an external 250GB Maxtor One-Touch drive via my FireWire so looks like I will be going for either:

    RAID Array #1 - Windows and Pagefile in RAID 0
    1 or 2 * 38GB WD Raptor
    or
    2 * 80GB 7K250

    RAID Array #2 - Program Files and Documents in either RAID 0 or 1
    2 * 80GB 7K250
    or
    2 * 160GB 7K250

    Any final thoughts would be appreciated!

    GingerNinja.net - Gamer, Geek & Father of 3

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    F.A.S.T. Butuz's Avatar
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    My only suggestion now, would be not to even think about using Raid 0 on your documents drive. As you double the chance of losing all of your work.

    Also - all your program files should be installed on your raptor C: drive, as thats a faster drive and so your programs will load faster.

    Raid 0 on the raptors, and Raid 1 on the files. And if you need alot of file storage, just use a single raptor for windows and program files and 2 big drives in raid 1 for documents.

    Butuz

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz
    My only suggestion now, would be not to even think about using Raid 0 on your documents drive. As you double the chance of losing all of your work.

    Also - all your program files should be installed on your raptor C: drive, as thats a faster drive and so your programs will load faster.

    Raid 0 on the raptors, and Raid 1 on the files. And if you need alot of file storage, just use a single raptor for windows and program files and 2 big drives in raid 1 for documents.

    Butuz
    Thanks for your help. I am hearing two conflicting arguements here. One says that a RAID array will outperform a single drive and the other says that the 74GB Raptor will even outperform 2 * 36GB Raptors in RAID 0 as it is that fast!

    My thoughts on this are budget related (despite using the 25% off voucher to get a 3800+ instead of the 350+).

    As already discussed, I am looking at getting the ASUS A8V Deluxe motherboard. I've read the Disk Controller Performance section of the TechReport on the ASUS A8V Deluxe which tells me which controllers to use - the VIA controller is faster but the Promise controller uses less of the CPU when running so is the logical place to put a RAID 1 array as this is more of an overhead (or so I've heard).

    Obviously, I am looking at the most disk space going to the Program Files area as these are increasingly taking up HUGE amounts of room. I also don't really think that I would need more than 80GB of data for the Documents partition/drive. Windows will be taking up no more than about 10GB.

    In keeping with the whole "Documents in a RAID 1 array" idea, here is what I have come up with as viable options:

    ARRAY #1 - RAID 0 holding Windows and Program Files partitions (2 * 160GB 7K250 = 320GB)
    ARRAY #2 - RAID 1 holding Documents (2 * 160GB 7K250 = 160GB or 2 * 80GB 7K250 = 80GB)

    or

    ARRAY #1 - RAID 1 holding Windows and Documents partitions (2 * 80GB 7K250 = 80GB)
    ARRAY #2 - RAID 0 holding Program Files (2 * 160GB 7K250 = 320GB or 2 * 80GB 7K250 = 160GB)

    Ofcourse - there is also a total overkill option which I have only just discovered when looking through the manual of the ASUS board.....It would technically leave me £60 out of pocket as I couldn't sell my 80GB 7K250 IDE drives, but could be a good option:

    VIA Southbridge ARRAY #1 (SATA) - 2 * 80GB 7K250 holding Windows as RAID 0 (effectively 160GB)
    Promise Controller ARRAY #1 (SATA) - 2 * 80GB 7K250 holding Program Files as RAID 0 (effectively 160GB)
    Promise Controller ARRAY #2 (IDE) - 2 * 80GB 7K250 holding Documents as RAID 1 (effectively 80GB)

    This should STILL leave me with 2 IDE channels on my Southbridge for my DVD and RW drives

    If you think I should be putting some Raptors in there (£££££££!!!) then let me know where you would put them.

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by GingerNinja.net; 27-09-2004 at 01:00 PM.

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    F.A.S.T. Butuz's Avatar
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    Personally, i think you will see better results using:

    1 x WD Raptor 74GB for Windows and Program Files (C:\)
    2 x 160GB 7K250 in Raid 1 for My Documents (D:\)

    That is what i would do if i was in your situation.

    Butuz

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    I was always keen on RAID 0, but now I'm not so sure.

    Check out Storage Review ... half way down the main page is an article title "Stop the RAID0 Insanity!"... it leads to a number of threads and testing on the matter that makes for very interesting reading.

    To be honest, I don't think that I'll bother with RAID 0 in the future.

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