Posted on 2006-05-16
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Does anyone have any info on which striping block size is the best for performance???  This machine is going to be primarily used for gaming.

I have 2 Western Digital 74GB Raptors that I am going to setup in a RAID 0 array.  The documentation for the hard drives is giving me conflicting information so I am at a loss as to which block size would give me the best performance.  The options are:  8K, 16K, 32K, 64K, 128K and Optimal.  ( I don't trust optimal)

Here are some stats of my machine just in case it will help:
-AMD 64 4000+
-ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe
-ATI Radeon X850XT
-2 x WD 74 GB Raptors in RAID 0 array

Time is of the essence so I've offered alot of points for a quick and informative response.
Question by:sgtoverlord
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    Use larger block sizes if your files are large; use smaller block sizes if you have a lot of small files.  Basically, you set the parameter to match the typical data usage.  Video files are large; text files are typically small.
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Hi sqtoverlord,

    you'll find the best performance (since gaming is your intent) with the largest block size (128k).


    Author Comment

    Thanks Jim & Callandor

    But do you have any idea what "optimal" is?  
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    Optimal may be a setting that lets the controller pick the size, based on what it thinks is best.  This may or may not match what you think it should be.
    LVL 70

    Accepted Solution

    Remember that a controller's RAID stripe size is NOT the same as the block size used when formatting the logical drive created by the controller.

    Optimal is this case is generally determined by the controller by executing transfer tests with the specific drives you have installed.   A large stripe won't necessarily provide the best transfer -- it simply means that the data is striped across the drives in larger "chunks".   The operating characteristics of the drives, the size of their buffers, the transfer efficiency of the SATA interface, your DMA controller, etc. can all influence the true effective transfer you'll achieve with the RAID-0 controller.   I can think of no reason not to use the "optimal" setting and let the controller assign the size that gives the best transfer rate.

    I DO agree that when you FORMAT the resulting drive you'll get the best performance for gaming by using a large block size.

    Author Comment

    Thank you gary.  That is the kind of indepth answer I was looking for.

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