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Do all drives need to be identical in RAID 10?

I want to set up RAID 10.  I have two Western Digital 10K rpm drives (74Gb) and two Western Digital 7200rpm drives (80Gb).  I am going to set up the two 10K drives as the stripped set and the two 7200 drives as the mirrored set.

My question is, will the 7200 drives have a detrimental affect on the 10K drives in terms of system speed?

Also, the motherboard (Abit IP35) has 6 SATA interfaces.  4 of these will obviously be taken up by the RAID 10 configuration, but can I attach optical drives to the other 2 interfaces?
2 Solutions
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Yes, the 7200 rpm drives will degrade the performance of your array ==> you don't need to use "identical" drives, but you should use drives with essentially identical specifications  ... i.e. you could use 4 different 80GB, 7200rpm drives ... but they should all be the same capacity and the same rpm ... and even then if they were from different generations with varying areal density the performance would suffer.

Bottom line:  It's certainly best to use 4 identical drives.

As for the 2nd part of your question (r.e. optical drives on the additional SATA connections) ... that should work fine, as long as the additional SATA ports aren't dedicated to the RAID controller.  Most likely it's simply a BIOS configuration setting to be sure they're not in RAID mode.
h1_philAuthor Commented:
So will I be able to assign RAID to individual ports?  I've had a look in the user manual and it doesn't mention anything about this.  The board is on its way in the post so I can't flick through the menus just yet.  

I downloaded a copy of the maual from the abit web site.
You should be able to assign individual drives (as they're detected by the BIOS) to the RAID array.  Unless you've got a dedicated RAID controller, everything depends on the BIOS configuration utility.

I fully agree with garycase - the array's performance will be determined by the slowest drive and the size will be determined by the smallest drive.  There are small differences between manufacturers, so be prepared to have some small areas of unused space on some of the drives, if everything isn't identical.
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