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Possible (and if so best method) to Run SSD RAID on Laptop

Posted on 2014-02-09
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Hey All -

I've got a Latitude E6470 which I'm about to upgrade a bit.  Below are it's current specs:
- Dell Latitude E6470
- Windows 8.1 x64
- i7-2640M CPU @2.80Ghz
- 16gb RAM (DDR3-1333 DDR3)  (2 x 8gb)  (E6470 supports max of 8gb per Dell's website, but after reading few posts, found that 16gb works.  Have used it for few months now without issue)
- x1 128gb SSD (OCZ Vector 4) in primary drive slot
- x1 320gb 5400RPM HDD in secondary drive slot

The secondary drive slot was actually a module bay I purchased which replaced the DVD Drive.  It allows you to use a 2.5" SATA drive instead.

I'm upgrading the 320gb drive soon when I thought it may be a good idea to just add another Vector 4 to it and run the two drives in RAID.  I have four questions about doing this, though...

1. Can I do it in this model laptop?  The BIOS surely doesn't support it as it comes stock with only 1 SATA port.  Given that, would Windows 8.1 alone be able to handle the RAID.

2. Since using a module bay which replaced the DVD Drive, is it's connection still just a standard SATA connection therefore any drive attached there just as fast (I/O) as if in primary drive slot?  The last thing I want to do is have the RAID degrade performance

3. Assuming above two things are good to go, would either of the two things above affect performance of the RAID and if so, how much do you think?

4. Honestly - do you think the speed difference would be worth it and very noticeable over single SSD?  If not, perhaps just upgrading with a bigger and faster HDD may be best.

Thanks Guys!
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Question by:BzowK
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6 Comments
 
LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39846000
1. Yes, you can do soft RAID in Windows 8.1 Pro and Enterprise. Don't know in the home/unnamed edition
2. The connection is still SATA
3. You want a mirror or a stripe? In a stripe you should expect a 50% increase in read/write performance, in mirror you should expect an increase in read performance.
4. No. You won't notice the difference.

HTH,
Dan
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Author Comment

by:BzowK
ID: 39846010
Thanks -

I do use Pro or Enterprise for Windows and would probably go with Stripe since I would think it would have the best overall performance increase.  However, if you say that I really won't notice a performance increase (except for just in benchmarks) then perhaps I'd be better off going with just additional storage.

Is that what you were saying?  Thanks
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Dan Craciun earned 2000 total points
ID: 39846011
Yup, that's what I'm saying.

Running now on my desktop with 2 ssd (1 Intel 530 240GB, 1 Vertex 30GB - for swap) and 2 2tb hdds.
Had for awhile 2 530 in stripe, saw no difference. Maybe Photoshop started in 1.1 seconds instead of 1.2. Maybe.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 39846074
SSD firmware is optimized for 128KB I/O and 4KB I/O.   Any I/Os that are also not aligned and are NOT a whole number multiple of 4 or 128KB will suffer.

Frankly, you're throwing your money away and are better off investing in a pair of hybrid SSD/HDD devices, then mirroring in host-based RAID1.   Make one partition 4KB, the other 128KB NTFS size.

Above will give best overall performance by far. But in the grand scheme of things, using a SSD in a laptop is silly unless you are doing a lot of database work where you need tens of thousands of RANDOM IOPS.  

The hybrid SSD/HDDs mix both technologies in the same device and squeeze better overall performance for laptops.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Greg Hejl
ID: 39846080
can you see the drives in BIOS?  can you do cntrl i to access the Intel raid controller panel?
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 39851064
Can't agree that using SSDs in laptops is silly, Drop a disk based laptop and a SSD based one on the floor and see which one survives. The battery also lasts longer as SSDs take less power.
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