• Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Flash Drive RAID

Joined
Aug 10, 2007
Messages
4,265 (0.85/day)
Location
Sanford, FL, USA
Processor Intel i5-6600
Motherboard ASRock H170M-ITX
Cooling Cooler Master Geminii S524
Memory G.Skill DDR4-2133 16GB (8GB x 2)
Video Card(s) Gigabyte R9-380X 4GB
Storage Samsung 950 EVO 250GB (mSATA)
Display(s) LG 29UM69G-B 2560x1080 IPS
Case Lian Li PC-Q25
Audio Device(s) Realtek ALC892
Power Supply Seasonic SS-460FL2
Mouse Logitech G700s
Keyboard Logitech G110
Software Windows 10 Pro
When you have some old flash drives and nothing better to do, RAID them!

Going through my desk I found four 1GB flash drives, one I bought several years ago and the other three received at various computer conventions. They haven't seen much use as I have larger/faster drives.

Linux Software RAID will be used as it will allow a setup such as this with no fuss (I'm looking at you Windows ;)). Since I have a CentOS 5.4 disc on my desk, it's going to be the distro of choice tonight.


Testbed:

Celeron 2.8Ghz
MSI 945GM3
1GB DDR533


The Drives:




Setup #1

100MB /boot, ~3.5GB RAID-0, with remaining space on drives used for swap.

Setup took forever. I switched back over to my other box, watched a couple shows on Hulu, switched back, and it still took 20 minutes past that. Watching the activity lights on the drives I noticed that they would all blink for awhile, then three of them would stop. The lone active drive had a write speed so slow that it took *seconds* for it to catch up! Ugh. After reaching the desktop I found that the overall feel was ok, but because of 'that drive' everything would freeze until it finished writing. This happened a couple times every minute, so only one quick test will be done.

hdparm read = 46.7MB/s. Yay. Reboot, reformat, reinstall.


Setup #2

Slow drive = 100MB /boot, rest as swap.
Others = ~3GB RAID-0 array for /.

Installation on the three 'speedy' drives went much more quickly, about a quarter of the time. Desktop feel was again decent, but luckily no freezes. The numbers!

hdparm read = 43.6MB/s.
bonnie++ write = 6.7MB/s.

With writes like that you don't want to be doing too much at once. Yum download/install? Let it finish as web browsing was out of the question. But even when browsing was done alone it could be a stop and go event on picture heavy page.

While this particular setup doesn't provide the performance one would desired, it does give proof of concept to using cheap flash drives. Want that no-wires look and don't mind riding dirty? A 4-pack of 4GB sticks can be had for $33. Possible applications? For me it would be terminals around the house and I'd love to try to build a DIY tablet. That is, until direct-plug SSD's become cheaper (I'm looking at you SuperTalent and Apacer).
 
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,515 (1.74/day)
Location
Kansas City
System Name The Dove Box Rev 3.0
Processor i7 8700k @ 4.7GHz
Motherboard Asus Maximus X APEX
Cooling Custom water loop
Memory 16GB 3600 MHz DDR4
Video Card(s) 2x MSI 780 Ti's in SLI
Storage 500GB Samsung 850 PCIe SSD, 4TB
Display(s) 27" Asus 144Hz
Case Enermax Fulmo GT
Audio Device(s) ON BOARD FTW
Power Supply Corsair 1200W
Keyboard Logitech G510
Software Win 10 64x
I don't mind riding dirty, gather up a bunch of old flash drives for a cheap hdd solution.

What about using SD cards in the same manner?

And isn't using Flash Memory more prone to failure? More use degrating overall preoformance?
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2007
Messages
4,265 (0.85/day)
Location
Sanford, FL, USA
Processor Intel i5-6600
Motherboard ASRock H170M-ITX
Cooling Cooler Master Geminii S524
Memory G.Skill DDR4-2133 16GB (8GB x 2)
Video Card(s) Gigabyte R9-380X 4GB
Storage Samsung 950 EVO 250GB (mSATA)
Display(s) LG 29UM69G-B 2560x1080 IPS
Case Lian Li PC-Q25
Audio Device(s) Realtek ALC892
Power Supply Seasonic SS-460FL2
Mouse Logitech G700s
Keyboard Logitech G110
Software Windows 10 Pro
The quality of flash used in these drives isn't as high as what you'll find in SSD's and there's probably no wear leveling, so yes, it wouldn't have the same longevity.

That's why I thinking terms, tablets, and perhaps folders/crunchers (though they don't need as much space, speed). The main purpose of the first two would be web, video (from a network share), and other such things. A disk dies, not a big deal.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2010
Messages
471 (0.11/day)
Location
Houston
System Name Beast
Processor Intel Core i7 860 @ 3.8GHz
Motherboard eVGA P55 FTW
Cooling Coolit Eco ALC with Yate Loon 1700RPM fans
Memory 8 GB Patriot Viper @ DDR3-2000
Video Card(s) EVGA GTX280
Storage 2x 1 TB WD Caviar Black
Case Thermaltake Element V
Power Supply Seasonic X760
Software Win7 x64 Ultimate
Interesting concept - I know most of the new HP DL360's and DL380's - the G6 series, have an internal usb port for booting off of a flash device for a primary os. Kinda cool.

Might have to check this out with my test rig.
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2007
Messages
4,265 (0.85/day)
Location
Sanford, FL, USA
Processor Intel i5-6600
Motherboard ASRock H170M-ITX
Cooling Cooler Master Geminii S524
Memory G.Skill DDR4-2133 16GB (8GB x 2)
Video Card(s) Gigabyte R9-380X 4GB
Storage Samsung 950 EVO 250GB (mSATA)
Display(s) LG 29UM69G-B 2560x1080 IPS
Case Lian Li PC-Q25
Audio Device(s) Realtek ALC892
Power Supply Seasonic SS-460FL2
Mouse Logitech G700s
Keyboard Logitech G110
Software Windows 10 Pro
Supermicro has started adding ports to their boards as well.



No accidental drive pulls! :)
 
Top