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To RAID or not to RAID? That is the question.

Discussion in 'Storage' started by CrAsHnBuRnXp, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. CrAsHnBuRnXp

    CrAsHnBuRnXp

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    As the title states.

    First a background on my situation. I was running 2x80GB hard drives for some time now in RAID-0 which I had my OS and other various apps on. Stripe size was 128k. On my old evga board that I had, I could move 13GB of data in less than 3 minutes becuase of this. (software raid) But now that I am on my DFI board, I really dont see any major differences. Moving files just doesnt seem to be as quick.

    I built my brother a new computer the other day. Basically used parts from his previous build (case, opticals, hdd's) things like that. What I didnt realize is that my brother has one IDE hdd and one SATA 80GB. The sata contained his games and his backup for when I had to format the computer. So I could not format that drive. What I ended up doing since my old EVGA 680i board only has one IDE connector on it for the optical's, I had to pull an 80GB hdd out of my RAID array to give to him to get his computer up and running. So I ended up ordering another 80GB hdd to replace the one I took out of my computer. (Still following me?) Then I got to thinking about it (ordering the hdd) and before I could cancel the order, it was already shipped. So here it is sitting in the box behind me unopened wondering what I should do with it. I have 3 computers that I want to sell and out of the three computers, one is a complete computer minus a hard drive and video card. If I throw in that 80GB hdd in that computer, I am still missing a video card. My brother wants RAID-0 on his computer so should I just sell the drive to him? Or do I continue using RAID-0 myself on my computer. (currently not running a RAID array)

    Some insight would be greatly appreciated guys. Thanks!
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2008
  2. mrw1986

    mrw1986

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    I'd go with RAID-0. Good performance boost. I recently just started using it, but I'll tell ya, I'll never go back to non-RAID.
  3. CrAsHnBuRnXp

    CrAsHnBuRnXp

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    Thats what I thought at one point too.
  4. AphexDreamer

    AphexDreamer

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    Yeah same here, I don't understand how come they just don't make everything in some sort of RAID configuration. Its ither A faster or B safer, depending on why you use your PC for.
  5. EnglishLion

    EnglishLion New Member

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    If you can be bothered with the hassle then go back to RAID if not then don't. The real time performance boost isn't that great unless you commonly do things that require great hdd throughput.

    I've got a 3 x 80gb RAID0 setup on my SSF gaming rig but decided to stick to a straight 1 x 320gb drive for my main PC. The thing I hate most about RAID0 is having to dig out a floppy drive and remember how to connect it to install or repair XP.
  6. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Let's face it, perhaps the slowest sub-system of your PC is the storage. Stripping two or more drives into RAID 0 provides significant performance boosts that step up loading times, of applications, games and the OS itself. It's becoming very affordable to go RAID with today's hardware, and that RAID controllers are becoming a standard feature on today's motherboards so why not use it? Go RAID. Recommended stripe size 64 KB though for typical gaming systems where you have large game resource files, 128 KB does.
    CrAsHnBuRnXp says thanks.
  7. DanTheBanjoman Señor Moderator

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    Which has exactly nothing to do with RAID, just lacking drivers of the controller in Windows. You can add the drivers to your CD using nLite for example.
  8. Grasshopper New Member

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    You are using Vista, so RAID will do good for you. I made my RAID just to reduce the load Vista put on my 320GB HDD. It gave me performace boost too.

    Vista finds RAID areas just fine.
    CrAsHnBuRnXp says thanks.
  9. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    A tip for ASUS desktop boards' users for easy RAID install in XP would be this:

    The driver CD and support website don't provide the drivers as such but a retarded program (makedisk.exe) that makes a RAID driver floppy. I made a RAID setup floppy for a M2N-SLI board I just bought. The app seems to copy a floppy 'image' onto the disk than just copying files. I don't get the logic. It's not a bootable disk that the program should write an image onto the disk, merely copying the files would still make it to work. Implies, for you to slip-stream the RAID drivers onto your custom installation discs made by nLite (XP) or vLite (Vista), you need a floppy created by this makedisk.exe, just slip-stream the contents of the floppy into your custom nLite/vLite installation image. The disc would still work. Saves the hassle of the floppy for future re-installations.
  10. bassmasta Guest

    you should get a PCI raid card. my motherboard is slowly dying for whatever reason, and I can't replace it because I have my raid on it, and MS told me that I cant phone in to get vista keys anymore.
  11. CrAsHnBuRnXp

    CrAsHnBuRnXp

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    I bet I have reinstalled Vista for various reason at least 100 times on my machine (I did the same with XP and 2000) and I have only had to phone Microsoft once. :)

    How much faster would a RAID card be rather than just using the ports on the mobo?
  12. EnglishLion

    EnglishLion New Member

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    How long is a piece of string!

    Depends what raid controller you have on the mobo and what raid card you have. A PCI-e 4x or 8x raid card will have sufficient bandwidth for any raid config but the processors on raid card vary in ability. If you buy cheap you get a slower one etc.

    A high end raid card may have more hdd capacity too, so allowing for greater raid size, which should lead to greater speed (still talking raid0 here). A higher end raid controller will no doubt have more stripe size settings.

    I should imagine a raid card would also take some load off the cpu too and that might help overall performance.

    Main advantage of a raid card though as mentioned by 'bassmasta' is that your raid setup is more portable. If run through your motherboard, you need a direct replacement if you get a mobo failure. A PCIe card can be moved accross and you'll often find that a raid config is good on another raid card as long as the controller is the same.
    CrAsHnBuRnXp says thanks.
  13. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Depends. A motherboard chipset based RAID controller poses CPU overhead meaning that the CPU does all the computation of stripping/ reading / checksum-verification / CRC of the data. Whereas in a RAID card, the chipset used matters. A low-cost card could again have a HSP chipset (that uses CPU for its jobs) while in the high-end enterprise/server/workstation segment, you have cards with dedicated storage processors, onboard memory, etc. They cost a bomb. But in a small time setup like RAID 0 for 2~4 drives, the speeds are harldy lower. The enterprise segment controllers are mainly SAS controllers for 8~16~32 drives in rack-mount drive chassis. So, the cheap PCI-E based cards you get will not give any advantage over your motherboard chipset, instead will step up power consumption.

    BTW, how many of you knew XFX (the graphics card guys) make a RAID controller with dedicated processing for gaming PC's ? It costs almost GBP 200 though :p http://www.xfxforce.com/web/product/listConfigurations.jspa?series=Revo64&seriesId=66&productId=834
    blobster21 and CrAsHnBuRnXp say thanks.
  14. CrAsHnBuRnXp

    CrAsHnBuRnXp

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    Well looks like Ill be doing RAID then.

    Thanks for the input guys!

    Also, what do you recommend for a RAID stripe size? 64k? 128? Its my OS drive that is being striped. I dont normally copy/move large amounts of data.

    As for the XFX thing, Ive known for a while, but I just dont see myself buying a RAID card.
  15. MKmods Case Mod Guru

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    LOL, I used to get so pissed looking for a floppy and cable to do that hundreds of times (all comps I build are Raid0)

    That is one of the cool things of Vista, just installs raid soooo easy.

    (64k)
  16. 3870x2

    3870x2

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    RAID is definately faster. if you are rich, raid0 4 128GB SSDs from inotech, and you will break world records, for only 15,000 dollars.
  17. EnglishLion

    EnglishLion New Member

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    why stop at 4.

    see here for a 9 x SSD RAID0 setup. Unfortunately they couldn't get a RAID card that could get the full potential from them!
  18. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    ZOMG! :eek:

    [​IMG]

    Imagine if they had used this card (below) along with 24 of those drives.

    [​IMG]
  19. EnglishLion

    EnglishLion New Member

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    probably wouldn't have made much difference, the on board chip on the RAID card probably would bottleneck.
  20. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    That's not an onboard chip, lol. It's a storage processor made by Intel. It clocks at 800 MHz and has its own memory controller. Look at the DDR2 module above it? It caches data. The card ships with 256 MB of DDR2 533 MHz memory (ECC, unbuffered) you can upgrade it to 2 GB. That card is one of the very few that come with PCI-E x8, the highest interface RAID cards have gone so far. And it takes 24 SATA/SAS devices. So 24 drives?

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