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Storage Partition within RAID or within Windows?

Discussion in 'Tech Support' started by trueno!, 17 Nov 2014.

  1. trueno!

    trueno! That's TRUE-N-NO if ure not sure!..

    24 Apr 2009
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    So, I have set up a PC to be taken over to my cousins where it will mostly be staying at for which I can use during my time I visit them there...

    As this post was created with regards to storage in question the PC consists of 3 250GB & 2 200GB Mechanical HDDs to be set up in RAID mode and is currently configured to RAID all drives together with 2 partitions created with the 1st partition with 256GB to hold the OS, applications, & games and the 2nd partition with whatever space is left available for downloads and files... The partitions were created within the RAID interface / settings rather than within Windows, but am unsure whether this was the smart way or not ( as this configuration loses me 50GB from each of the 250GB HDDs ) in terms of RAID configuration!.. Is partitioning the HDDs with the onboard RAID the smart idea or is configuring the partition in Windows the better idea?.. What IS the difference in regards to partition configurations & performance between the onboard RAID and Windows?..

    However also, if I were to separate the 250GB HDDs from the 200GB HDDs within the RAID interface to gain back the 150GB of lost space, will the RAID performance be increased, reduced, or have no change at all if the RAIDs were configured this way instead?.. As in have 2 partitions with the 3 250GB HDDs whether configured with RAID or Windows and a seperate RAID configured as a full / single partition with the 2 200GB HDDs?..

    If I were to create these configuration scenarios, how & what would I need to be able to bench these different configurations, and will the results help those with similar HDDs RAID configurations or even those with many SSDs instead in RAID mode?..

    Well then, hope you people understand what I just wrote and hope to receive some detailed explanations!..

    I look forward to the incoming responses!..

    Thanks... :thumb:
  2. phuzz

    phuzz This is a title

    28 May 2004
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    What type of RAID are you using?
    The three most common types are: RAID 1, where everything on one drive is mirrored onto the other (so with two 250GB drives you end up with 250Gb of space). Writes are the same speed as a single drive, reads could potentially be twice that (ish). If one drive dies, you can still access your data.
    RAID 0 which stripes the data across two or more drives so half a file is on disk A, half is on disk B, so both reads and writes are faster, but if one drive dies, you loose all your data.
    Raid 5 requires 3+ disks and stripes the data across two disks, and writes a parity to the third. This gives faster reads, the writes are highly dependant on your RAID controller, and you can survive losing one disk.

    If you have four+ drives you can make two RAID1's, and stripe across those two, this is called RAID 10.

    In your case, I'd be tempted to put the two 200GB disks in RAID 1 (giving you 200GB of space), and the three 250's as a RAID 5 (giving you 500GB usable space), but this depends on your RAID controller supporting RAID 5.

    Almost always a dedicated RAID controller will be faster than doing it in software (ie in Windows)

    So, more questions for you:
    • What is your RAID controller (is it built into the motherboard, or a separate card)?
    • Do you want speed, or resiliency? (ie how upset will you be if a drive dies and takes all your data?). Possibly you'll want a mix of both (I keep irreplaceable data data on a mirror, and have a striped volume for my games).
    • What version of Windows are you using? Win 8 provides a different approach to software RAID called Storage Spaces which is more like ZFS.

    One last thing, generally you create a RAID volume, and then put a partition on the volume. Partitions and volumes are different (but don't ask me to explain exactly what that difference is ;))

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