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Storage Hardware RAID-0 vs Software - Multiple Methods, Which is best?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Whitesky, 27 Dec 2015.

  1. Whitesky

    Whitesky Minimodder

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    So I already have Windows 10 installed on a fresh new 256Gb SSD. I then attempted to connect two 500Gb SSD's into RAID 0 for a dedicated Steam/gaming drive and found out this isn't possible if the boot drive/Windows wasn't installed with SATA Configuration first set to RAID, not AHCI. Setting BIOS to RAID mode afterwards basically makes the boot SSD (which was installed in AHCI) not visible anymore to the system.

    After doing some searching I found I'll probably have to wipe Windows, configure BIOS into RAID mode first with CSM Mode disabled, and then proceed with a fresh install and redo the RAID SSD's later.

    However, I found there's a few other methods to choose from and I'm not finding conclusive reviews on any..

    Intel RST RAID: Apparently by loading the Intel Rapid Storage application, you can set software RAID mode across available disks.

    Windows 10 Disk Management:
    This has been there a while, selecting "New Striped Volume" and combining two drives into software RAID, easy as cake.. there has to be a catch..?

    Windows 10 Storage Spaces: So seems like Win10 made this really easy to setup RAID using Storage Spaces

    I'm confused as to whether to wipe the drive and go with hardware RAID using UEFI BIOS, or going with one of these software methods.

    Any input? Thanks in advance,
     
  2. noizdaemon666

    noizdaemon666 I'm Od, Therefore I Pwn

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    You should be able to change from AHCI to RAID in BIOS without reinstalling. Just set Windows 10 to boot straight to safe mode in msconfig, restart, in to BIOS, change to RAID, save and boot up. The first boot into safe mode should put a RAID driver in so it'll all work. Then just untick safe mode in msconfig reboot and profit.

    However

    Personally I'd go the disk management route. Yes, a small number of CPU cycles are used to do the necessary calculations but modern CPUs are fast enough for you to not even notice. I'd steer clear of storage spaces, from personal experience it was horrifically slow. Never used Intel RST RAID so can't comment on that.

    I wouldn't use hardware RAID unless you had a dedicated RAID card with top of the line SSDs that you needed to eek out every last bit of performance on. If your board dies, you'd have to source a near identical board. With software RAID, you simply plug the SSDs in to any board of your choice and it'll work.
     
  3. SchizoFrog

    SchizoFrog What's a Dremel?

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    I wasn't aware of that. I currently have a 250GB SSD in my PC and another in my laptop, both as system drives. I am planning in the near future to upgrade the laptop to a single 500GB SSD and then use both of the 250's in RAID 0 as a system drive in my new PC. I am assuming that would have to be in 'Hardware' RAID as 'Software' RAID as you mention just isn't possible?
     
  4. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    The 'hardware RAID' available on consumer boards is just software RAID that is not handled directly by the OS. It still uses the CPU to do RAID operations.
    Unless there is a dedicated hardware controller doing RAID operations (e.g. you've got a higher-end server board or bought yourself a non-entry-level LSI drive controller card card) any RAID will be software RAID. And that's fine, the only time you really need hardware RAID is in an enterprise datastore where you need to start manual tuning for database queries.
     
  5. noizdaemon666

    noizdaemon666 I'm Od, Therefore I Pwn

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    Correct. For the system drive the only option is to do it through BIOS.

    And I wasn't aware that RAID on consumer boards wasn't true hardware RAID, thanks for the info :thumb:
     
  6. SchizoFrog

    SchizoFrog What's a Dremel?

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    OK, so let me check to see if I have this correct then, so if I use my 2 SSD's as I mentioned above I won't face the issues of connecting them to a new board should a failure occur?
     
  7. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    Any time you move a RAID array between systems, you can face issues. Even moving the array between identical boards can be a pain if they happen to not have the same BIOS revisions, or not have exactly the same array settings.
    If you have a RAID array, expect any failure to hose it and require you to recreate it from a backup. That way, plugging it in and having it work again is a nice bonus rather than a gamble you are relying upon for recovery.
     
  8. SchizoFrog

    SchizoFrog What's a Dremel?

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    Fair enough... To be honest, as it is a system drive I am not that bothered by a failure. I relocate the locations of all files (docs, videos, music, etc) to a separate, physical drive (HDD) so the only things I'd lose would be whatever is on my desktop at that given time.

    But thanks for the info... :)
     
  9. Whitesky

    Whitesky Minimodder

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    Interesting, thanks for the info, didn't see any of this on other links.

    However..

    I tried this and it worked in getting Windows up and running. However, the manual for the Gigabyte G1 1151 states to change in BIOS "Windows Features" setting to "Windows 8/10" and then disable CSM before continuing with RAID. I'm unfamiliar with CSM and don't know why it instructs to do this. Anyways, once I change these settings, Windows and the SSD fails to boot up again and it's as if the board doesn't recognize it, just like before doing the Safe Mode / RAID trick above.

    I was wondering if I could proceed without disabling CSM, but after reading the above comments it looks like I can bypass all of this and just do software RAID via Disk Management...
     
  10. noizdaemon666

    noizdaemon666 I'm Od, Therefore I Pwn

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    RAID is quite old so presumably needs a standard MBR setup for the HDDs instead of the newer GPT. When you installed initially it will have been done in UEFI/GPT style, changing then to legacy/MBR and RAID could be causing it not to boot. I imagine the RAID controller can't handle a GPT disk.
     
  11. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    RAID does not make any preferences over GPT or MBR, it's all bits in a volume. But when you initially installed Windows, and chose to format for MBR rather than GPT (or upgraded an older version of Windows with a MBR drive, or installed Windows on an MBR formatted drive with a quick format rather than an explicit reformat) you would still be on an MBR drive, which would not be supported for booting once CSM (Compatibility Support Module, meant to help legacy features like MBR and USB2* continue to function 'natively' under UEFI in a BIOS-like mode) is disabled.


    *Or rather, its internal interface, whose name I can't recall at the moment.
     

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