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Which way to setup RAID?

Posted on 2006-06-17
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Oh Herrow!

I'm looking at setting up a RAID 0 configuration, after my overly expensive idea of an SSD fell through the floor. What I'm after is:

A - 1 HDD in the PC (already have the HDD)
B - 4 external HDD in RAID 10 config (I wouldn't need more than 100GB)
C - 8 external HDD in RAID 0 config (I wouldn't need more than 100GB either)

A is just a general data drive. B is for more important data and C is for the OS etc, so C should be bootable, although I'm not too keen on having to mess about with drivers when doing RAID. So maybe an external RAID solution instead? ... I know that I need two RAID controller cards for B and C, but I don't know from here on. My very top limit is £1,000. Can anybody suggest what I do now?

Thank you!
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Question by:Unimatrix_001
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16925811
This is very odd to me.  First, you don't want to put the OS on RAID 0 because if it fails, you have to reinstall EVERYTHING.  Second, why would you want 8 hard drives - EXTERNAL no less - for a RAID 0 for the C: drive when you only need 100 GB?
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by:Unimatrix_001
ID: 16925836
In short the speed... :)
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 100 total points
ID: 16925897
If you want speed, get yourself a SAS SCSI hard drive running at 15K RPM.
http://www.computergiants.com/items/one_item.asp?part=118812&aff=2
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by:Disorganise
Disorganise earned 120 total points
ID: 16926285
OR for real speed go solid state:
 http://www.auspcmarket.com.au/show_product_info.php?input[product_code]=RA-GAIRAM4G&input[category_id]=4

Get a pair of HD (like the 10k raptors, or as leew says, some 15k SCSI's) in RAID 1 (or 4 in RAID 10) and install your programs there instead of C, keeping C just for the speed critical stuff.

RAID 0 is ok, but I would go expecting blinding performance from slower disks, and bear in mind the risks of data loss ( 1drive and it's all gone).  instead, get the fastest drives you can. - you'll get better performance from a SCSI 15k disk, than a pair of 7k IDE/SATA drives in RAID0 in my experience.
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by:Unimatrix_001
ID: 16926447
Hi again,

Are raid controller cards (PCI) bootable? I.e. can I install windows on it.
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by:Disorganise
Disorganise earned 120 total points
ID: 16928089
Usually, yes.  Sometimes your motherboard BIOS may interfere - some have settings for booting SCSI or EXT or RAID which you need to set to allow the add-in card to be allowed to boot, or bring it up the boot sequence before the on board IDE.  Other times, you may need to disable the on-board controller.

Many modern board have additional controller chips anyway, so they support secondary boots - adding a PCI card is no different to having the extra chip on-board; they both still connect via PCI/PCIe
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scrathcyboy earned 140 total points
ID: 16931781
Dont be dazzled by this speed issue.  If you want speed, you buy a dedicated 165 Mb SCSI RAID controller and it will give you SPEED.

RAID 0 or 5 will give you only 15% improvement above no raid, or 20% > raid 1 or raid 10 on a fairly fast controller.  Basically in 7 years of setting up RAID, I have found that 80% of people who want RAID 0 lose their data, 55% of people who use raid 5 lose their data (longer interval than raid 0) - but as long as they dont do something stupid, 0% of people who use raid 1 lose their data.  The results are clear, if you want to keep your data, use raid 1 or 10, and if you MUST have a 15% speed edge (almost always an illusion), then buy the fastest controller and SCSI drives on the market, and PAY THRU THE NOSE !!!
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by:xavier_k
xavier_k earned 90 total points
ID: 16935125
-If you are looking for performance a single SAS drive will give you better performance that a pair of 7.2k spin drives in R-0
-Smaller the drive better the performance

If you are looking for the best performance possible, get as many SAS drives as possible and put them on Raid-0, Put your OS on it and once you have installed everything take a ghost image and keep it, Put all your data on another drive and if your OS fails you can always just drop the ghost image back on (a 30 minute procedure)

If you are looking to stay in to 1000£ limit, try 2 Segate PT#ST336754SS  (should cost you about 190USD each), Intel 256MB SAS Raid controller PT# SRCSAS18E (Should cost about 690USD),
and you could buy a bunch of 80Gb SATA's for your storage with a cheap SATA raid controller you should easily be able to git that inside 500USD, buy the Segates with a 8mb cache I have noticed that performance off those is significantly better.
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by:pjedmond
pjedmond earned 50 total points
ID: 16939041
Minor point - If you are using a standard PCI bus for your SCSI card, and this bus is shared by you gigabit ethernet card, thenif the data is being pushed down the ethernet connection, then because the PCI bus is shared, you'll be lucky to get mor throughput than a standard SATA 2 drive! As a result, you'll be paying through the nose for virtually *no* additional performance!

Make sure you have a good look at what you want to use the configuration for, and make sure that the *whole* system works together without bottle necks. It's no good putting a jet engine on a paper aeroplane!

HTH:)
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by:pjedmond
ID: 16939047
A nice little bandwidth table:

http://www.acme.com/build_a_pc/bandwidth.html

Bear in mind that the bandwidths are maximums *AND* some bandwidths are not duplex!
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by:Unimatrix_001
ID: 17001481
Hmm... Okay thank you everyone for your comments. I think I shall save more and go for a SSD when funds allow. Thanks again all! (-:
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