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Thread: Hard Drive ( RAID ) advice!!

  1. #1
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    Hard Drive ( RAID ) advice!!

    Hi Guys,

    I'm looking to take advantage of the RAID ability on my motherboard, I just had a few questions about RAID it's self and hard drives... hoping someone can pass on some useful advice..

    First up, is it even WORTH using onboard RAID ? I know it won't be as fast as using a RAID controller card, but is it acceptable?

    Second of, I was lookiing at the following setup.

    1x80GB IDE drive for OS ( using a current drive I own )

    2x ~200GB SATA drives for Games etc in RAID0 - as I don't really card about the data on the drive, just after performance.

    Thridly, What HDD's would you recomend to RAID? I would prefer fairly quiet ones but I don't want that to impend on performance too much. Looking to spend between 50-70 ish per hard drive, at around 150-250GB.

    So, can anyone tell me if I would see a noticable differance in doing this instead of my current 2x80GB IDE hdd setup. Is it worth raiding or just buy one drive ? If it makes any differance chipset wise etc my motherboard is a Asus P4C800-E.

    Many Thanks!!

  2. #2
    DILLIGAF GoNz0's Avatar
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    just raid the 2 200gb drives, you would only slow the system with the old ide 80gb

    just upgraded to 2 maxtor maxline3 250gb's sata2's, fast, not that quiet if theres no other noise, but 5 year warranty and million hour lifespan aint bad for £50 ea

    system loves it, and motherboard based raid aint that bad imo.

    having the games on another drive from the system isnt a great gain, as you cant load a game while loading windows, so in your case i would just go for 2xSATA in raid0, use your old 80gb for backup storage, save messing about with CD's if you need to reinstall.

  3. #3
    Nox
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    Is the 80GB fairly new? i'm guessing not. So I would probably take it out the system completely.

    Now if you really want to try out RAID, I would just bung the two 250 GB drives in, raid em, 2 partitions, maybe three. going down the two partition route, OS/apps/games on the first one, around 400GB. Then one partition of around 80GB.

    Then also buy an external caddy, icey dock or similar for your IDE drive, and use it to back up all data in the 80GB partition on your system, keeping all important stuff in there.

    But, its a long subject - and RAID is probably not really worth the hassle... unless you enjoy hassle I have raid, i run on an areca controller - its hassle, but its been a good learning experience, even if performance isn't as hmmm, 'snappy' as you'd expect from the graphs.

    Nox

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    DILLIGAF GoNz0's Avatar
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    bf2 loves raid0

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    I can recommend the Samsung Spinpoint P120 SP2504 HDDs if you're after a good balance of acoustics and performance.
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    Not Very Senior Member RavenNight's Avatar
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    Yep I can smash the loading times of people with much qiucker PCs than me in BF2, purely due to my Raid Array.
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    Depends whqat you want from RAID. If you are implementing RAID 0, you might get a small improvement in disk access, but the general view is that in general use you won't notice the difference. Not only that you are increasing the risk of data loss as if one of the two drives fails you lose all your data, and the chances of two drives failing is statistically higher than one. (For example, If you have one drive with a meant time between failures of 10 hours, the it is likely to fail at least oncce in 10 hours, if you had ten drives, statistically you could expect a failure every hour, with 2 drives, every 5 hours - of course real drives have MUCH longer MTBFs than that, but yopu get the idea)

    If it is data resiliance you want, then RAID 1 (which really is RAID - RAID 0 is only data striping) then it is worthwhile, because if one disk fails, the data is preserved on the other one - the downside is that you are paying twice as much for your storage - you may have 2 80GB disks, but your total storage is still only 80GB.
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    youll lose cpu performance using onboard raid (this goes for most addon cards too) and lower the response times slightly as both drives need to line up to read (though one can initially start without the other so its not that much of a problem)

    if you really care about load times and really dont care about your data then consider it

    i wouldnt bother unless you have 2gb of ram otherwise youll constantly be eating into your cpu time because of the windows pagefile

  9. #9
    Admin team peterb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -ChEM-
    youll lose cpu performance using onboard raid (this goes for most addon cards too) and lower the response times slightly as both drives need to line up to read (though one can initially start without the other so its not that much of a problem)

    if you really care about load times and really dont care about your data then consider it

    i wouldnt bother unless you have 2gb of ram otherwise youll constantly be eating into your cpu time because of the windows pagefile
    although one way round that is to have the OS and swapfile on a non raid disk, and just keep apps and data on the striped array. (I think Windows requires you to have the swapfile on the same partition as the OS, unlike some other OSs)
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    Thanks for the help all.

    Think I will get the Spinpoint drives as suggested ( if i can find some fairly quickly... most places seem out of stock !! )

    I understand that the chance of data loss are higher, I'm ok with that so no issues there.

    Only thing I am a little concerned about is what you said Chem, you advise 2GB of ram? Do you not think 1GB would be enough then? I don't really understand the reason for that, can anyone expand on it for me?

  11. #11
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    well a lot of stuff is going to need to use the pagefile when youve got 1gb memory... and when youre using software raid every time you access or write to the pagefile youll be going through the cpu... and the times when you need the most ram are usually the times when you really need the cpu, so basically youll be slowing down your computer when you need the speed most, and for games etc you really dont need sustained transfers which is the only thing raid is good for

    if you want to check you can run HDtach... as it happens your southbridge is very good (10% utilisation max) and nforce4 has come down a long way too (never much more than 10% and often less)

    obviously if you have a faster chip it will cause less of a problem, and it varies from board to board with southbridge implementation

    since i checked my opinion has changed somewhat, its still a case of losing cpu time and HD access times for the sake of a couple of seconds load time (unless you do something that needs a RAID) but i was originally referring to how it was a couple of years ago when you had nforce3 RAID giving 30-40% utilisation, and that was with systems with 512mb RAM

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