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What is the fastest Storage System for a windows xp desktop

Posted on 2004-11-30
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
What is the fastest configuration (hardware) for storage. Not server , but desktop powerhouse.
Scsi Raid 0
Fiberchannel
or Sata Raid ?
With what Disk drives? Make and Model?
Cost is no issue.

I have an adaptec 2120s with three Seagate st373453 Lw SCSI in Raid 0 (but it broke down, see other question i have)
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Question by:cparth
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by:Duncan Meyers
ID: 12712625
How much money do you have?  :-)

15K RPM U320 SCSI discs in a RAID 10 (mirrored and striped) set.

But a more important question is: what is your application? It has a huge impact on storage speed.
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by:Duncan Meyers
ID: 12712630
BTW - RAID 0 is best left to the very, very brave.
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by:crazijoe
ID: 12716300
The more disks you have in a RAID 0, the more points of failure.
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by:caball88
ID: 12718217
what exactly are you going to be doing on this workstation? RAID 0 is going to be the fastest as far as throughput performance but has the potectial of having a hard drive failure and losing your data. using RAID 1+0 would help reduce the chance. 15K U320 drives are basically the fatest drives you'll be able to put into a desktop. you also need to find a mother board that will support the bandwidth. most desktop boards have 32bit PCI slots and the max throughput is 133MB/s. so even if you have those U320 drives in a raid config your throughput is limited. so you will probably have to end up getting a server mother board which supports 64bit PCI slots. the other delimena here is that server boards usually don't have AGP slots so if you are using this as a gaming machine it will be tough to find a good PCI video card. there might be newer server boards that have PCI Express(PCI-e not to be confused with PCI-X) which you can find alot of high end video cards for.
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by:Duncan Meyers
ID: 12721649
>RAID 0 is going to be the fastest as far as throughput performance but has the potectial of having a hard drive failure and losing your data. using RAID 1+0 would help reduce the chance.

I have to disagree -  RAID 1/0 is a faster solution as you can potentially read (more or less) simultaneously from 4 sources in a 4 disc RAID 10 array.  Write speed isn't as good - you would typically see 1.5 X performance of a single disc.

A word on bandwidth/throughput - U320 is an absolute maximum you could possibly hope to see - and you would only ever get near that performance in a large sequential read with multiple discs in a large RAID array in a lab. Typical performance for a single 15K U320 disc is in the order of 25MB/s - 60MB/s (depending on model, manufacture etc). For example, Fujitsu quote a maximum of ~500 I/O's per second during boot with their latest and fastest 15K drives.

In short - you cannot saturate the PCI bus with a single disc. And you'd be pushing it to saturate the PCI bus with 4 15K discs with the best RAID controller out there in real world usage.

If you want best cost-no-object performance, go with 4, 6 or 8 15K U320 discs in a RAID 1/0 set. I'd suggest a 2 channel U320 RAID controller from LSI (http://www.lsilogic.com/products/megaraid/scsi_320_2.html) with each stripe on a seperate channel (that is; mirroring the stripe set across the two channels). Bear in mind that you will need a pretty solid PSU and good cooling. And very deep pockets.
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by:Duncan Meyers
ID: 12721663
>Fujitsu quote a maximum of ~500 I/O's per second during boot with their latest and fastest 15K drives.

Sorry! Missed a bit there: and typically 120 - 220 I/O per second during normal random read operations.
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by:crazijoe
ID: 12725930
I do agree with caball88 and don't agree with meyersd with the saturation of the PCI bus. If this is a common desktop board, not only will you have your RAID array on the PCI bus but you will also have your sound and LAN on there to. This would be more an issue if you are running a Gigibit LAN. Since the theoretical bandwitdth of a 32bit PCI bus is only 1064Mb a Gigabit LAN has already saturated this.
The best option would be a SATA RAID 0 solution that utilizes a south bridge controller and not an independent controller on the PCI bus.
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by:Duncan Meyers
ID: 12731421
>The best option would be a SATA RAID 0 solution
No redundancy - lose one disc, lose 'em all. I'll say it again: best left to the very, very brave.

Re: PCI bus saturation: The fundamenal point is that although a disc might be U160 SCSI or U320 SCSI the reality is that it doesn't run anywhere near that speed. A single 15K U320 disc tops out at around 60MB/s - roughly half that of 32 bit 33MHz PCI bus. To actually achieve anywhere near 60MB/s requires a large sequential read. You should get large sequential reads if, for example, you are editing large video files and your disc is not fragmented etc. In short, you will only see the maximum performance of a disc quite rarely in real life operations.

So I stand by my statement that you cannot saturate the PCI bus with a single disc (especially an ATA).
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by:cparth
ID: 12732122
My MOBO is an ASUS SK8N, i have 2 Gig of Ram and a AThlon FX 53
should i go onto a Intel Server Board with a Pentium EE to get the 64bit bus?
I do not really care about graphics, i rather compute fast..i use access, and excel with huge files

i already have three U320 Drives 15k in Raid 0, probably one failed or maybe its my controller adaptec 2120S.
See m other question in the forum (my raid 0 stopped working)
If i add another disk i go raid 10?
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Duncan Meyers earned 150 total points
ID: 12732182
Go RAID 10 - fast and has redundancy.

I hadn't picked that yours was the other question. Unfortunately, I doubt that you'll recover any data from your existing array. I'd suggest that you create a RAID 10 set and rebuild the system. You should get excellent disc performance.
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