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Windows 7 RAID or Intel RAID?

Discussion in 'Storage' started by niciuffo, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. niciuffo

    niciuffo

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    Hi everyone, so, after finally having reached a stable 4.67GHz OC on my new Ivy, I was wondering: is it better to have 2 HDD's setup in RAID directly from the Intel RAID thing that pops up in POST (CTRL+I)? Or can I just set them up separately in RAID from Windows (this is the setup I have now).
    I'm asking this because I have an OCZ SSD in AHCI mode in BIOS, would there be any issues or performance loss if I let the RAID setup on in W7?

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    Windows raid is software raid. Intel raid is hardware raid. Hardware raid > software raid.
     
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  3. niciuffo

    niciuffo

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    Okay, but in whick ways is it better than software raid? faster, more reliable?
     
  4. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    True and false. The Intel RAID actually isn't real hardware raid, it just has a RAID bios to make it act like hardware raid, the driver and the CPU are still responsible for RAID ops.

    Windows raid is software raid.

    Intel raid (on your motherboard,) is something people in the linux world refer to as "fake raid" and what is does is that a RAID bios on your motherboard handles RAID commands using the CPU to issue those commands rather then a dedicated RAID controller, so under heavy read/write situations, disk I/O will use more CPU resources than a real hardware raid card would.

    With that said, there isn't much reason that you, as an average user have to worry about with the differences between fake raid and hardware raid considering most modern CPUs won't struggle in the slightest with fake raid, but real hardware raid will normally include a BBU and it's own ram for read and write caching, so hardware raid tends to be faster.

    All in all, go with the Intel raid controller.
     
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  5. niciuffo

    niciuffo

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    Thanks for the explanation. I guess I'll backup any data in the hdds and do a hardware raid then. Thanks again!
     
  6. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    Good 4-port hardware raid will cost as much as a decent video card, 300 USD+. I would use the RAID controller on the motherboard, but keep in mind the RAID will fail if your motherboard fails, so keep a backup of your RAID anyways. Unless when you said hardware raid you really mean't fake raid. ;)
     
  7. niciuffo

    niciuffo

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    I will, but I usually keep any important file in the SSD and all the downloaded junk in the hdds, so there is no problem there.
     
  8. lyndonguitar

    lyndonguitar I play games

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    bios tasks > OS tasks
     
  9. phanbuey

    phanbuey

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    intel
     
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  10. JrRacinFan

    JrRacinFan Served 5k and counting ...

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    Just adding: it is possible to bring a raid over to the same chipset. Myself personally, have migrated a raid before from an ICH8 on a p965 to an ICH9 on an i975x. Along with AMD SB750 up to SB850. If you find yourself in this predicament, alot of times will need to get a new board with the same chipset(s).
     
  11. Millennium

    Millennium New Member

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    Just to add to this. I used to use windows raid 0 for a number of years. The advantage was I could port the raid across motherboard and chipset changes (even AMD to Intel).

    Performance wise it's software raid VS fake hw raid, I doubt the difference would be much. If you plan to stick to intel though (or ever want to dual boot Linux) probably use their raid would be my suggestion. It's possible to make a windows raid 0 volume accessible on linux but its tricky?
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  12. AsRock

    AsRock TPU addict

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    So true had that with my old x38 setup although using a intel chipset you should be ok even if it's newer. And some mobos just have raid options disabled in bios and will run a current raid setup it's just that you cannot make a new one or get rid of the current one..

    More to the question Intel raid unless you can afford the extra money for a raid controller.
     
  13. Blackkatt New Member

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    You should stop guessing and do some research before u say stuff to others that do not know, or let them in on the secret that you are unsure. Else you give them wrong information and whats the point in that?

    So Intel RAID, is NOT hardware raid, its Firmware RAID

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Matrix_RAID
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  14. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    Instead of necro-ing a thread that has been dead for a year, you should read my response which already corrected him.

    Please leave the thread alone and let it die in peace.
     
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  15. sltech New Member

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    I hope you don't mind me replying to this thread. I was wondering what "fake RAID" was and your explanation was really good.

    But I still wonder if you can do certain things with fake RAID that you can do in a real hardware RAID setup. For example, I have a RAID controller card in my desktop PC, and it lets me do things like verify that both disks are in sync (for RAID-1) and also scan each disk for bad sectors. In addition, if my computer ever crashes, it will automatically rebuild the array because it assumes that the disks might be out of sync due to the lack of a proper shutdown.

    Can you do these things with fake RAID? Is there a way in fake RAID to verify both disks in a RAID-1 are in sync, or to check each disk for bad sectors?
     
  16. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    Not that I condone replying to this thread, you should have made a new one, but I'll reply.

    FakeRAID tends to do everything hardware RAID does however RAID controllers will have dedicated cache and CPU to doing RAID commands and calculating parity. In fakeraid, these RAID commands are offloaded to the CPU, which is fine in most cases, however you run into a few limitations depending on the OS you're using and what kind of fakeraid you're using.

    Generally speaking, Software, fake, and hardware raid all support your normal RAID tasks, such as keeping a RAID in sync, rebuilding after a drive fails, checking drive health, etc.

    The real differences come down to reliability and performance and what is handling the RAID commands.

    Software RAID handles RAID commands at the kernel level.
    Fake RAID handles RAID commands at the driver level by utilizing AHCI commands from the chipset RAID controller.
    Hardware RAID handles RAID commands on the expansion card and has dedicated hardware for such commands as well as extra memory for caching and some support battery backup units to prevent data loss if power goes out before the buffer has been flushed to the disk.

    The fastest is hardware RAID.
    Chipset and hardware raid tend to be more resiliant than software RAID and allows an OS to boot from it.
    Software RAID can't be booted from (Linux can use it at root (/), but not as /boot.) but is easily ported between machines with different hardware.

    ...but all in all, when it comes to the disks, all 3 handles RAID 0, 1, and 5 the same way. RAID is always RAID no matter what way you look at it. It's just a difference on what method you use to achieve a RAID configuration.

    Final note: Make a new thread next time, please. :)
     
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  17. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    You gave me a good view of this- i guess main advantage of a raid card vs built in is if the card bites it a new one can be put in, vs buying a whole new mobo

     
  18. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    Correct, but generally speaking, RST arrays can be moved between different chipsets and still work fine. You typically have luck using the same chipset or newer. The same happens to be the case with hardware RAID controllers. At work we had an older 6GB PHY RAID card that bit the dust and we upgraded to the newer 12GB PHY variant and the RAID started working OOTB (an LSI card I might add).

    Also, we can't forget software raid like Windows RAID and mdadm. As long as you have a board that can hold all of the HDDs and you have a version of mdadm that the same of newer than that of the RAID, then you can once again bring you data back to life. Failure of your RAID device doesn't always mean you lose your RAID. You lose the RAID and its data itself when your drives fail, not typically when your raid controller does unless it did something bogus to the drives.
     
  19. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    ive always thought about if its mobo based it cant be moved, main disadvantage is mobo drivers on them. Raid was supposed to be a cost effective solution to maintaining integrity of a pc/server/mainframe. Btw what is RST?

     
  20. sltech New Member

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    Can you explain what you mean by "software RAID can't be booted from". If I set up software RAID in Windows, I can still boot up into Windows.
     
  21. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    You can't have your Windows partition on the same partition as a Windows software raid device. Not to be confused for fakeraid (chipset raid) or hardware raid which you can boot from.

    Think of it this way: How will Windows load and startup the software RAID if the drivers and software to start the RAID is on the RAID that you're trying to start? Simple answer: You can't.
     
  22. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    I transferred an Intel RAID1 from ESB2 (predates RST but did have the update to RST installed when it died) to H87 without a problem.

    Rapid Storage Technology is the driver set Intel uses to run the storage controller(s).


    The primary advantage of any dedicated card versus integrated into the motherboard is the dedicated cards may have their own dedicated processor and memory so it doesn't use as much CPU time and system RAM. This applies to all cards such as network, audio, storage, physics, and graphics.

    And there's no such thing as "fake" RAID. They all fall into three categories:
    1. Software RAID (performed by operating system using CPU and RAM resources) - would never recommend this
    2. Hardware RAID Adapter (performed by silicon using CPU and RAM resources) - mostly used for adding more ports to a computer
    3. Hardware RAID Controller (performed by silicon using its own processor and memory) - when performance and reliability are critical
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
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  23. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    It's just another term for chipset raid. To say that there is no such thing isn't really true. Ubuntu's site describes the term really well:
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/FakeRaidHowto

    RST, RSTe, and AMD SATA RAID are examples of "fake raid".
     
  24. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    That's like calling Phenom a "native" or "true" quad-core (quoting AMD).


    Since when was Ubuntu the expert of Intel and AMD technologies? I mean, just take a look at what you quoted and highlighted:

    "...multi-channel disk controllers..." Right, what all hardware RAID has to be to bridge the gap between components in the computer and the drives (SATA/PATA/SCSI/SATA/etc.)

    "...combined with special BIOS configuration options..." Right, because ALL hardware features need BIOS/UEFI implementation to be of any use.

    "...and software drivers to assist the OS..." Like ALL hardware features do because something has to bridge the gap between hardware and software.

    "...in performing RAID operations..." And here is the blatant lie. RAID on these alleged AMD and Intel platforms can exist entirely without an operating system! How do I know? When I lost a drive on both Windows 2003 R2 x64 (ESB2) and Windows 2012 R2 (H87), the operating system took FOREVER to load because the Intel RST was preoccupied rebuilding the RAID1 array. The computer merely had to be on for it to be working on it.

    You can argue until you're blue in the face that it's "fake" but the fact is, it is as real as the screen you're looking at reading this. The entire RAID infrastructure is integrated into the silicon of the chipset and it is also fully integrated into the BIOS/UEFI of chipset as well. It's not unlike how GPUs are on the same silicon as CPUs today. There's absolutely no reason to distinguish AMD/Intel RAID implementation from host adapter cards because they're functionally identical.


    Host adapters generally aren't as high-performance as dedicated host controllers but they work great for most people. I'm apparently the only one these days that differentiates the two using that nomenclature because most businesses call all cards "controllers" (I blame marketers for ignoring the distinction).
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
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  25. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    This is similar to a "winmodem" if any of you are old enough to remember one of those...
     
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