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Storage 2x SSD C300 Setup

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by saxman, 7 Apr 2011.

  1. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer New Member

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    Did you not notice the performance figures noted above?

    I have to confess at being confused at statements of extra expense (RAID controller is built into the motherboard, so no extra hardware needed except for an extra SATA+power cable), hassle (one-time selection of a BIOS option compared to, say, the complications of splitting the Program Files or Windows folders over 2 drives) and overhead (faster performance would surely outweigh the extra driver involved - especially when a driver is needed for non-RAID operation anyway).

    Have you actually tried RAID yourself?
     
  2. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    I'm inclined to believe Baz's stance on performance of RAIDed SSDs - I very much doubt there's a tangible advantage to an SSD RAID in the majority of usage scenarios.

    The RAID controllers on motherboards are generally regarded as not being worth using, from what I've seen and experienced. If you're going to do RAID for performance then it seems counter-productive to use an onboard controller to do it.

    There's plenty of hassle involved in RAID if you get a power failure or a BSOD. Spending hours with performance worse than that of a single drive while the array is rebuilt is hassle in my book. That issue is likely lessened on SSDs, but I imagine it is still present.
    Then there's the hassle faced when changing motherboards if you're using an onboard controller, since the array would be invalid on another controller for a different board, as opposed to moving a PCI-E RAID card along with the drives to a new system.

    Moving 'Program Files' and other application/storage folders to a separate drive/partition/volume from the OS itself is good practice almost regardless of the circumstances, anyway.

    Many RAID controllers add a few seconds to boot-time when there's an array present or when an external RAID card is in use.
    Most on-board controllers use the CPU and system cache for the actual RAID processing. The performance overhead is probably only about the same as using onboard audio, which is why I spoke of potential overhead issues; but it's still going to be there in most instances.

    Condescending. Sorry for stepping on your epeen, you'd swear I was making a case against RAID in any circumstance or something. :rolleyes:

    Yeah, I've used RAID plenty of times; but I don't think it's worth the hassle in the OP's case.
     
  3. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    I get this with my RAID 5 array, very annoying! Thats why I'm looking to an SSD, so when it hapens atleast my system will still respond well.

    The Intel RAID controllers are cross compatible, so you can move motherboards :)

    But as said before, why bother with RAID? Why loose the data on 2 drives if one dies? Why loose TRIM?

    And you keep saying your saving money, your saving £4, which isn't that big a saving when spending over £300!
     
  4. saxman

    saxman New Member

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    Thanks for all the information!
    I know it is still raid but I am not really looking for a RAID 0 type configuration but more of a RAID 5 type array. I realize that there is no tangible benefit for RAIDing a set of SSD's.

    Is there any reason to even consider RAID 5?

    I will be running 5 mechanical drives along with the SSD's and I do appreciate the simplicity of only having things on one C:\ drive
     
  5. disturbed13

    disturbed13 New Member

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    this confuses me
    Crucial SSD 128
    according to the details in the link above
    it has a life span of 1200000 hours
    lets do some math
    1200000 / 24 = 50000 days
    50000 / 365 = 136.986........ YEARS!
    how long do you expect to use that machine?
    use it, abuse it, then loose in a couple years
    like you will anyway for a faster rig all together
     
  6. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer New Member

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    *Shrug* Your choice, which is your privilege to make. My experience has been different and I've run RAID-0 (2-drive and 4-drive) for a couple of years.
    I've used onboard RAID from Intel (ICH40) and Nvidia (nForce 680i) and had significant benefits from both (Intel scores better for not requiring a Windows service and Nvidia's RAID-5 performance was worse than a single drive when I benchmarked it). Neither scaled linearly so doubtless a dedicated external controller could do better, but then the cost/benefit ratio becomes less favourable.
    I have had numerous BSODs (Nvidia display driver mostly) and several power failures (due to an over-zealous RCD) over the last couple of years and not once encountered disk corruption. That's not to say it can't happen - but RAID-0 has nothing that should make this more (or less) easy to deal with.
    You need to reinstall/significantly reconfigure Windows anyway for a new motherboard, so you can't just plug old drives in whatever the controller. Once Windows is set up, everything else can be copied from a full image backup (which though not mandatory in system migration, should be considered pretty much essential).

    Conversely, if your controller fails, you have to find an identical model (assuming one is available) to avoid the above procedure.
    I'd agree there, but while moving such a folder is doable (though tricky on an established system given the need for Registry editing) using two SSDs as you were suggesting above would require it to be split across both drives - far harder and, in the case of the Windows folder, maybe not possible (junction points on subfolders might do the trick).
    Is that really significant given how rarely most systems need rebooting?
    I've not been able to detect this myself (with the exception of the NvRaidService process on nForce RAID) but since games (the most CPU-demanding applications for many viewing this thread) tend to avoid significant disk access when running (almost all pause for level/area loads) I'd question how significant a factor it could be for home use.
    Well pardon my condescension - but it did look like that. SSD pricing is in that strange position that we've not seen with magnetic disks for over a decade where larger units cost more per unit storage, giving RAID a financial as well as a performance advantage. Your post sounds as if you're approaching RAID from a business/server perspective where the priorities and outcomes are likely to differ from a home user.
     
  7. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer New Member

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    The best bet is to test for yourself. Even if benchmarks show an improvement - it may not reflect on your day-to-day usage. But if your day-to-day usage includes swearing at game level loadscreens, you'll likely want every bit of performance you can lay your hands on. :)
    RAID-5 covers you if a disk fails. It doesn't cover you if you accidentally delete/overwrite a file, pick up a malware infection or have a faulty program corrupt your installation. So you need to take regular backups whatever version of RAID you use (and even if you don't use RAID at all). RAID-5 is worth considering if, and only if, you need to provide 24-hour access to data.
    Suggestion: RAID-0 your SSDs and use them where the extra speed counts - Windows and games.

    You could RAID-5 your mechanical drives and use them for media files, downloads and for storing image backups of your SSDs (if you're running Win7, experiment with Windows' own backup which has an image option). Install a copy of Windows on the RAID-5 array so you can boot into it if necessary - that way if your RAID-0 SSD develops a problem that stops it from booting, all you need do is change boot order in the BIOS (so the RAID-5 array is listed first) and use that install to restore a backup onto the SSDs.

    However you'll need to back up your RAID-5 array onto another disk, requiring you to purchase a sixth and, with only non-speed-demanding-data on it, RAID-5 isn't going to offer you any benefit aside from faster backups of your RAID-0 array. I'd therefore suggest using one mechanical drive as storage (media, downloads, etc), a second for backups (with a Windows install so you can boot it) and two more (in external drive boxes) for off-site backups. Why two? So you can have 1 stored elsewhere while you backup to the other, then you just swap boxes when you take it off-site.
     
  8. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    Just as it is for the OP, and why I'm giving this advice - I'm not Anti-RAID, I just don't think it's worth it in the OP's scenario.

    This issue isn't about Windows - It's about the actual state of the array itself for any volume, regardless of operating system installations. It applies to storage drives equally, but the reason I mention hardware controllers is that if you migrate to a new motherboard you can just plug the hardware controller in, configure its drivers, plug in your array of disks and it should work. That isn't the case when the controller that built the array is on the motherboard that was left behind.
    If you use an onboard RAID controller and change your motherboard then at best you will have to rebuild your entire array on a new controller and at worst have to re-image the drive from a backup before rebulding.

    These are the caveats of RAID which we accept when using it for one reason or another; but they also add to the argument against using RAID unnecessarily or for minimal gain. A lot of people try out RAID because they want to see the big numbers and because it sounds cool (it is a cool concept, after all); but then they abandon it when they realise how much trouble it can be unless you really need it for redundancy - And that's with mechanical drives, where the performance benefits are much more tangible and perceivable across usage patterns.

    Why would you even need to split folders in the first place? I think your approach is too heavily focused on treating the two drives as one large volume of space when the point adam_bagpuss and I were both making is that the space is there to use regardless of how the drives are combined or presented to the OS and the user - Meaning it's pointless to go to such effort with RAID setups just to get the two drives displaying as one instead of just using two drives and keeping it as simple as that.
    40GB for Windows on one drive and the remaining space on that drive, plus the space on the other drive for storage and installations - When one is full, put stuff on the other; Or split your data for the sake of organisation and performance. (OS on one drive, games/media on another)
    It's not even necessary to use the Program Files folder for most software anyway if the user just supplies a custom path (or just changes the drive letter); which makes the whole thing a moot point.

    Threads on the topic of shutting-down or rebooting here in the forum have found that many people prefer to shut down every night than leave their system running for no reason. That's at least one boot every day for a lot of people.
    A few seconds added to boot-time may be insignificant in the course of a whole day, but then why do people care so much about the boot-time advantages offered by SSDs? It does matter to a lot of people.

    Doesn't this just go to highlight the redundancy (pun not intended) of RAIDing SSDs, though? The random access speeds from SSDs are high enough that there's little to be gained from a gaming perspective when games so rarely stream data from disk anyway.

    No, my approach is focused on the whole point that RAID in this instance is offering almost nothing more than consolidated volumes and a questionable performance increase - The financial benefit is there with or without RAID.
    If the OP or anyone else feels that seeing the two drives together as one volume in their OS and a marginal performance increase (in real-world terms) are worth the hassle of RAID then fine; be my guest - But my point and my advice here, is that RAIDing two SSDs just to see them as one drive is pointless when you could just leave your two drives running independently and lose out on very, very little.
     
  9. IvanIvanovich

    IvanIvanovich будет глотать вашу душу.

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    if all that is wanted is to see the 2 drives as a single volume, use spanning in the windows disk manager. as far as i'm aware it won't break trim either. though it still has the negative aspect of raid 0 if one of the disks fail, there goes your whole file system.
     
    Last edited: 11 Apr 2011
  10. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer New Member

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    Because otherwise fitting a (say) 140MB Program Files folder onto a single 128GB SSD is non-trivial?
    Which introduces greater complications since it requires an idea of which folders are going to hold the most data (yes, you can specify a different install folder, but that won't stop savegames going to Application Data/AppData or Windows installer from dropping a 200MB .msi file or two in the Windows folder) and to remember what went where (when installing patches, changing configuration settings or applying mods). Doable for an organised user, but far more long-term work than a RAID setup.
    And I'm sure that many others just rely on their power settings to suspend (or hibernate) their PC after a period of inactivity instead.
    Because when games do stream, it's an interruption to play which makes the delay more noticeable. When performance differences between single SSDs can mean two seconds saved off a Crysis level load, that is a saving that adds up more quickly than boot times, and 2-disk RAID-0 should outperform that with zero additional cost.
    That's another method (effectively software RAID) though it would almost certainly use more CPU than firmware (and does require the drives to be set up as dynamic volumes which may cause problems with third party utilities).
     
  11. zia

    zia New Member

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    Since moving to raid from single samsung drive to velociraptor 150gb in raid ,i've noticed considerable better lvl loading time in games and faster startup,am stilll running raid velociraptor in riad and have been for 3 years,
    Never had one issue with them whatsoever, i reinstalled windows nemourus times changing from core 2 dou with 680sli nvidia mobo to my current asus x58 the peroframce actually has increased with intel chipset.
    in my opinion raid is far better and quicker than what i was using before,i even ran windows for few weeks to test it out on the ssds, then wiped them and had reinstalled windows in 1hr up and running,for me encoding media with large files i think raid is great and my personal opinion is that it worth it and noone is going to dissuade me citing blah blah rules info, at the end day its personal decision.

    zia
     
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