Question Gaming PC... designed around storage??

Phrozt

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I really haven’t done a ton of research for this build, and I’m doing something different this time. I’ve used Intel/Nvidia for every build, but not because I’m a fanboy. I usually buy high middle tier or low high tier, and AMD has just never had any offerings in that range when I’m looking to build. However, as I’m sure you’re all aware, this is quite a time to be alive, because AMD is kicking the pants off of Intel w/their latest offerings. I’m definitely going for a 5900x for the CPU, and I’ll most likely go for an AMD GPU as well, but I’m going to wait for the benchmarks first. If they aren't as promised, I'll go with a 3080.

The other interesting thing about this build, is the storage arrangement. I do a couple interesting things in that department. To begin, from all my builds previous… I really don't delete many things, and I have a LOT of games loaded, so I use up a huge amount of storage. Also, on my last build, I tried out RAID5. Now, while I was WILDLY optimistic w/performance (RAID5 on platters still isn’t remotely comparable to a single SSD), I did get used to the idea of having redundancy. I also was very fortuitous in this department, because out of all my previous builds, I never had a HDD fail, but the first time I tried RAID5, one of the disks failed – which was no problem! After having that happen, I really don’t think I want to go back to a single disk for all my files and stuff. The last note in the storage section, is that I’ve done a bit of streaming, but even when I’m not, I have lowkey.gg or some other capture program so I can make clips. The problem is that this is very disk intensive, and it fights for disk IO w/anything else I’m running – namely the game that I’m running that I would want to capture things from in the first place!

Here's my current storage layout: C: 91GB free of 464GB (500GB SSD) D (Downloads): 159GB free of 200GB F (Files): 146GB free of 200GB G (Games): 473GB free of 4TB P (Apps): 444GB free of 500GB R (Archive): 134 GB free of 400 GB X (Desktop): 192 GB free of 200 GB

My C drive is an SSD, and the reason I’ve used a lot of it is because, in addition to some apps that will only allow installs on the C: drive, I’ve also ended up putting my most played games on it for performance. I actually have D, F, and X bound to their respective functions in the system. I like this, because when I want to go to my documents, I just type F: in the address bar and there I am! Same w/downloads/desktop. This also REALLY helps get me back up and running after a new build/restore, because all my files are exactly where I want them after a bit of configuration. D, F, G, P, R, X are all part of the RAID5 array, just split into logical drives. Currently, I’m using R for the temp storage for lowkey/obs… but it’s still part of the same RAID array, so it still fights for IO. The plan for the new build is m.2/NVMe for the C, a RAID5 of at least the size you see here for everything else…. And then m.2/NVMe to dedicate to video encoding processes.

tl;dr – This is a gaming build w/a unique storage situation. On to the parts list, where I have several questions.


CPU – Ryzen 9 5900x – pretty firm on this

GPU - Probably a Radeon RX 6900XT. Possibly a RX 6800 XT, depending on the actual performance difference, but if I’m in that range, getting a RTX 3080 might be just as much of a possibility depending on deals/etc. I do know about the smart tech or whatever where the CPU and GPU from AMD are supposed to be able to talk to each other for better performance, but again, that all hinges on third party benchmarks (let’s be serious, I’m primarily talking about JayzTwoCents).

Mobo – I don’t know? Again, never having built an AMD machine, I’m WAY out of my research zone for this, but I’m pretty sure it will be an X570 board, and most likely the AUS ROG Strix X570-E. Thoughts on this would be appreciated. One of the things I need to make sure is that the board will support my storage strategy, so I would need at least 2 NVMe, and plenty of SATA connections after that.

Cooling – I have never done a water build… don’t ever really want to. I’m pretty impressed w/the fact that Noctua FINALLY got away from their aged beige color scheme, so I will most likely go with a NH-D15

Memory – Again, I haven’t done much research, but I doubt there’s that much difference, so I’ll probably look for a good BF deal, and I’ll be getting 32GB, unless you guys shout at me.

PSU – Anything 1000+ watts from Silverstone or Corsair – will look for some deal on BF

Case – Another area I haven’t done a lot of research. My primary concern here would be great airflow and proper room/accommodations for 2 NVMe/m.2s, and 3-4+ SSDs.

Storage – Here’s where we get into the fun, and I’m hoping you have good knowledge/advice on performance, problems, etc to help guide me away from noob mistakes and into a solid configuration.

C – NVMe or m.2, probably 1TB, but potentially 500GB. As you can see from the above, I currently have a 500GB C, and while a lot of space is used and I have to fight to free space, that’s mostly because of games, which should be solved if the RAID5 option is chosen wisely. The reason I’m flirting w/a 1TB option is because I have a friend who might be able to get me a good deal on a 1TB WD black NVMe. That being said, I’m not tied to anything at the moment, so I’m very open to your thoughts on this.

Video/Encoding – Again NVMe or m.2. Again, 500GB or 1TB depending on deals. I’m less worried about the performance of this one, because the major performance upgrade will just be getting the video encoding to work w/a separate drive. I could even go down to an SSD for this option. I thought about doing an elgato device or something similar, but I don’t want to use this just for streaming. Even if/when I do other video/music editing on this drive, final products won’t necessarily live here, so I don’t necessarily need to carve out a huge chunk of storage space for this attribute.

Everything else – Here’s where we get back to RAID5, and I’m shooting for at least the size I had before (as you can see, I’m already pushing the limits of my games drive, and that’s with some of the games being offloaded to the C). So that’s 3 3TB drives minimum, and SSD at least. The thing is, in my first RAID5 foray, I completely underestimated the performance, and I don’t really want to do that again. I know there are a plethora of differences in SSDs when it comes to speed, especially when you tie that in to size. I know there are some who warn about using SSDs for RAID, because of the fact there are is so much IO w/the parity and everything, but I think most of those fears are assuaged by pretty much anything currently available on the market. That being said, this could be another area where I’m underestimating the potential risks. Does anyone have knowledge/thoughts on using SSDs in RAID? Also, because of the need for multiple drives, and because of how much large capacity SSDs cost in the first place, this is where I really have to take price into consideration, because things can scale up quite quickly. I had previously stated that I need 3, 3TB drives… but the cheapest option right now is a 4TB drive, and actually there really aren’t any options at the 3TB range that are affordable. So really, I’m looking at 3, 4TB drives.

The cheapest option is the Samsung 870 QVO. Then you’ve got a couple other Samsung options, WD, SanDisk and some Kingston options. I have 0 knowledge of the reliability of Kingston at the SSD level. However, after that, you get right into m.2 options. I’m pretty sure m.2 would be better, but you’ve got to have a mobo that can handle that.. right? And while there are some mobos out there that handle 4-6 m.2s, part of the idea of RAID5 is scalability, so I don’t really want to be bound by a number that low (considering my C and video drives would also be counted in there), even though realistically I wouldn’t be doing more than 4 drives in my RAID, especially since they’re already bumped up to 4TB instead of 3.

However, the other option is to go lower, and get more than 3, 2TB drives. So, if I’m shooting for 6TB minimum, and RAID5 is n-1, then I would need at least 4 SSDs to get to my current storage size. The 2TB drives are roughly half of the price of the 4TB drives in their respective categories, but I could even go to 5, 2TB drives, have more space than I currently have, and still spend under what it would cost for 3 4TB drives. However, once again, we get back into the discussion of speed/performance of larger drives vs smaller drives. I’m way out of my league here, because the only thing I really know about SSDs…. And m.2…. and NVMe… is that there are SUCH huge differences in performance over a wide array of factors. Also, if I push to 5, 2TB drive, then add in the C and video drives, and I do m.2/NVMe, then I bust out of the limit of most mobos. Course.. I could drop the C and video to SSDs and then use all m.2/NVMe slots for the RAID.....


Ok.. so I posted this on a different forum... someone mentioned that AMD boards don't have RAID, but I could just use a RAID controller. As I was looking those up, however, I also saw that apparently RAID5 is deprecated?? Even though I'm currently using it on this PC and in my NAS?

Now I'm thinking I might need to rethink my whole storage system outside of RAID5...
 

Phrozt

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That would get rid of the redundancy, get rid of any performance gains, and get rid of the ability to add more disks and/or change partition sizes. It would literally just be going back to a regular computer set up, which would defeat the entire point of the build.

EDIT: I just noticed my signature... lol.. been about a decade or so since I updated that.
 

DSzymborski

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RAID is not a backup solution. It's only redundancy for a specific type of failure, hardware failure. RAID is for uptime/performance, not for backing up things. It provides no protection for viruses, corruption of files, accidental deletion of files, etc.

Without a specific use case for RAID -- such as a server or shopfront or a workstation with very large individual files worked on as a group -- it's hard to recommend any of what you're doing as a practical solution. But if you're still determined, good luck to you!
 

Phrozt

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DS - Curious if you read my reply to Lutfij. Those are the things I'm going for - redundancy against hardware failure, not going for a backup solution/virus protection/any of the things you said it wouldn't do. I'm aware of all of that, and none of that was my aim in the first place. I gave several specific use cases.

I'm really hoping to find someone here who understands RAID well and can advise the best build for it, not talk me out of things I was never going for in the first place.
 
You are posing a solution in search of a problem.
If you care about protecting data, it starts with EXTERNAL backup.

Hardware failure is inevitable, but uncommon. A ssd without moving parts is intrinsically more reliable.
The more parts you have, the more opportunities for failure.
But, there are other perils inside your case:
Fire.
Theft.
Ransomware.
Inadvertent user deletion.
Malware.
Software error.
And so on.

If you care about performance, use ssd devices.
The best case for a HDD is for bulk storage of large sequential files such as videos.
 

Zerk2012

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DS - Curious if you read my reply to Lutfij. Those are the things I'm going for - redundancy against hardware failure, not going for a backup solution/virus protection/any of the things you said it wouldn't do. I'm aware of all of that, and none of that was my aim in the first place. I gave several specific use cases.

I'm really hoping to find someone here who understands RAID well and can advise the best build for it, not talk me out of things I was never going for in the first place.
If I understand your post your using raid 5 for a gaming libary?
 

Ralston18

Titan
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This:

"redundancy against hardware failure "

=========

Your premise seems to be that a hardware failure will be disk related.

Which depending on the final complexities of hardware, configuration, RAID etc. that could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Disk drive(s) or otherwise.

Once you have decided the final hardware configuration then buy two of everything so you have fully provisioned spares on hand.

Caveat being that even if the make, model, and versions are identical then there is still likely to be some difference that could make a hardware swap moot.

Just my thoughts on the matter.
 

Phrozt

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I am fully aware that RAID is NOT a backup solution.. I didn't indent it to be in my original post, and I've tried to clarify this in both of my replies.

If I understand your post your using raid 5 for a gaming libary?
Nope.


I don't mean to be a richard, but it seems as though people didn't read my original post and aren't reading my replies.....
 

Zerk2012

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Ambassador
I am fully aware that RAID is NOT a backup solution.. I didn't indent it to be in my original post, and I've tried to clarify this in both of my replies.



Nope.


I don't mean to be a richard, but it seems as though people didn't read my original post and aren't reading my replies.....
It's because it goes all over the place and makes it hard to comprehend.

Raid in 2020 for a gaming, recording gameplay, editing, useless.

PCPartPicker Part List

Type|Item|Price
:----|:----|:----
Storage | Samsung 970 Evo 500 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive | $69.00 @ Amazon
Storage | Crucial MX500 2 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive | $219.99 @ Adorama
Storage | Seagate Barracuda Compute 2 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive | $54.99 @ Newegg
Storage | Toshiba X300 4 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive | $104.99 @ Amazon
| Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts |
| Total | $448.97
| Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-11-20 14:01 EST-0500 |

500GB M.2 for the OS and programs.
2TB SSD for your main games.
2TB HDD to record to.
4TB HDD for extra games and move your edited gameplay to.
When you fill the 2TB HDD up just reformat it since you have already moved the finished product to the 4TB drive.

EDIT you have hade 4 Moderators and 1 Ambassador all tell you the same thing.
 
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Phrozt

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EDIT you have hade 4 Moderators and 1 Ambassador all tell you the same thing.
Trust me, I'm just as amazed as you are that that many people skipped over what I originally wrote, and the replies I wrote, and recommended a solution for something I never asked about in the first place.
 

USAFRet

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Trust me, I'm just as amazed as you are that that many people skipped over what I originally wrote, and the replies I wrote, and recommended a solution for something I never asked about in the first place.
How much "fast storage" do you need?
As mentioned above, any solid state will crush any RAID with spinning drives.
 

DSzymborski

Polypheme
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Trust me, I'm just as amazed as you are that that many people skipped over what I originally wrote, and the replies I wrote, and recommended a solution for something I never asked about in the first place.
Nobody here's your employee. We try to give the best possible advice, whether it's what the person wants to hear or not. If you only want to be told things you want to hear, you could simply email yourself and save the middlemen. Nobody here has any ethical requirement to assist you in executing a bad idea.
 

Zerk2012

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Trust me, I'm just as amazed as you are that that many people skipped over what I originally wrote, and the replies I wrote, and recommended a solution for something I never asked about in the first place.
I looked at your post again and my drive setup is actually the way I would put it if I was selling you a custom PC for what you listed.
Your real only argument in using raid is the I/O of recording gameplay, this is completely gone by having the game on one drive and recording to another drive. Reading and writing on a HDD at the same time slows everything down. The write speed to raid 5 is actually slower than a single drive.

Your not doing real work with the PC where you can loose what you have done in the event of a drive failure everything can be replaced. If you never delete things that have really no meaning except for not deleting things that just adds to your needs without any real justification.

My last post on this topic you know just what you need I would suggest you buy a 500GB M.2 drive for the OS and programs and 3 4TB SSD's for your raid it should only cost you about 1800 bucks unless you buy cheap crap that is either slow or more prone to failure.

For AMD spanking Intel, not really their about tit for tat for gaming they have matched the performance depending on the game as to what performs better. Using work programs that can use all the cores they did pull ahead. The things that bothers me about their new video cards is the driver will it take them a year after release to fix them or actually have a good driver.
 
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Phrozt

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I looked at your post again and my drive setup is actually the way I would put it if I was selling you a custom PC for what you listed.
Your real only argument in using raid is the I/O of recording gameplay, this is completely gone by having the game on one drive and recording to another drive. Reading and writing on a HDD at the same time slows everything down. The write speed to raid 5 is actually slower than a single drive.

Your not doing real work with the PC where you can loose what you have done in the event of a drive failure everything can be replaced. If you never delete things that have really no meaning except for not deleting things that just adds to your needs without any real justification.

My last post on this topic you know just what you need I would suggest you buy a 500GB M.2 drive for the OS and programs and 3 4TB SSD's for your raid it should only cost you about 1800 bucks unless you buy cheap crap that is either slow or more prone to failure.

For AMD spanking Intel, not really their about tit for tat for gaming they have matched the performance depending on the game as to what performs better. Using work programs that can use all the cores they did pull ahead. The things that bothers me about their new video cards is the driver will it take them a year after release to fix them or actually have a good driver.
We're getting much much closer here, and I appreciate it! Let me try to simplify a bit so perhaps I can dial in on exactly what I need. The basic idea is:

  • OS drive
  • RAID array that will hold: my documents location, desktop location, games, apps, archive - all split logically
  • Encoding drive
The reason I want to put the middle stuff on the RAID is for hardware redundancy - so if a drive fails, I have some time to back it up, and a recovery process; for scalability - to be able to add more space in the future; and for read performance gains when loading games. I am aware that writes take a hit. On the OS drive and the encoding drive, I don't care about hardware redundancy, and at least on the encoding drive, I don't want the hit to write speed. I want the encoding drive separate so that it doesn't steal the IO of the OS or the game being played.

So, for advice:
  • You mentioned buying cheap crap for the RAID, could you give some examples? This is one area I really need help in, because there are a myriad of drives out there w/a slew of different performance claims... but then there are also crap drives out there I want to avoid. I plan on sticking with Samsung/WD/Crucial/Corsair, but one of the things I saw is that Samsung has several entry level SSDs, and I'm wondering how reliable those actually are, and if the price is too good to be true. Can you steer me away from the poor performers?
  • Do you know any good RAID controller cards? Cards to stay away from? Can I/Should I look into SAS as a way to accomplish what I'm doing? (Internal SAS setup, not external).
  • Do you know which mobos are configured to handle a beefy GPU taking up PCIe lanes, as well as providing good service to what would be the PCIe lanes for the controller card?
Just a final comment about AMD - in the 20+ years I've been building PCs, I've never done an AMD build, because I've always built mid-high end, and AMD never really had any contenders in that space. I'm going to wait for the benchmarks of the new AMD GPUs, but if they are comparable, I'll go with one just for the experience. If not, the 3080 is already a beautiful option. I've heard about AMD driver hell, but I've been through about every other driver hell, so how hard can it be (yeah, I know I'm asking for it here, lol). For the CPUs, the 5900x is an absolute monster, and I don't plan on playing the waiting game to see what Intel has in spring, so that's why I'm decided on that one.


Thanks again for taking a second look at this.
 

neojack

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@Phrozt

I was in the same situation as you a few years ago.

In the end, here is what i choosed :
system : 256GB SSD on sata
games : 1-2TB ssd on NVME or sata (very few differences for gaming between sata and nvme) + copper heatsink on top

big storage : 1 archive HDD 8TB (those spins slowly but are fine for storing big files like video,music, pictures, etc). not recommended for running apps or games. Excellent for Plex server.
if you really want redondancy, you can buy 2 and set them in raid 1

temp / working storage : a volume that i use for a few blockchains. I also redirected the working directory of spideroak on it. For this i use a 1TB ssd
in your case, you can choose to replace the temp folder with 2 HDDS in raid 0.
choose disks without SMR. non-SMR seagate RED line is good for this.

max performance, no redondancy. it's fine for a temp folder. performance should be high enough for the video editing.

in total you would be using 4-6 sata slots, maybe a M2 slot. the B450 tomahawk max would be a good mobo for this.
whatever mobo you buy. check the manual before. check how the M2's and SATA operate. Often, some sata ports are disabled if M2 is populated. you may not want this depending of the number of slots you need.

for the case, i recommend the LianLi LANCOOL II
3x slots for 3.5 HDDS
4x slots of slots for 2.5 ssds/hdds
option for a back panel for hot-swap HDDs (check the link)
buy a pack of fans. artic F12 on amazon in bundle of 5 are a good value. buy fan splitters so you can control them from the motherboard.


I you really insist in doing raid-5, you can buy a used HP raid controller on ebay. dont forget the SAS->SATA cables
and the battery on the board.


I was really bitten with raid a few years ago. I was doing raid 0 for my big storage. did backups from time to time on an external drive (script that copied all the files). the sata controller on the mobo half died. slowly corrupted the array, windows , everything. my backup was also corrupted so i had to change the motherboard, restore backup, and read every file to check if it was good or not. Pictures had artefacts, movies were cut, etc.

Since then for long time storage i put my folders inside RAR archives protected with a recovery record.
+ cloud backup with ability to restore folder at given date.

whatever you do, i really suggest subscribing to a cloud backup solution. something with an unlimited plan. Spideroak had one for select clients a few years ago. im keeping it :p
search about backblaze.
 
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Phrozt

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Neo - I realize when I pasted this in from another site that the formatting didn't keep as well as I wanted. My "current setup" numbers didn't translate over very well. I'm already over 4TB on gaming, and there are a lot of games I don't have installed that I would like to, lol.

As it stands, from discussions in other places, my current design is falling along the lines of:

OS - 1TB NVMe (mostly because I can get a good price on a WD Black)
Vid encoding/temp work - Same as above for same reasons
RAID5 - 4x2TB .... jury still out on what drives they will be. More affordable than 3x4TB, and if I do the RAID controller right, scalable at 2TB a pop.
Cache - 1TB NVMe - This is not set in stone... was learning more about PrimoCache, and thought, if I can keep up w/the good price, I could use an entire SSD just for cached reads. This might not work out tho.

As for pro/cons of RAID, it actually saved me in this build, because one of the 3 drives in my R5 array failed, and I was able to work in degraded mode for quite a while until I got my new drive in, and rebuilt everything. There were a few errors, and those were cleared up. Because of the issues you mentioned w/the mobo, and the more I'm learning about it, I think w/this build I'll be going w/a dedicated RAID controller and not relying on the mobo to provide it. Given this design element, I think I'm still ok pushing for the faster x570 mobo, even w/their drive limitations.

That LianLi case is pretty fetching, honestly.

This particular line very much piqued my interest:
"I you really insist in doing raid-5, you can buy a used HP raid controller on ebay. dont forget the SAS->SATA cables
and the battery on the board. "

I'm still trying to learn exactly how these cards w/only a few interfaces can host the number of drives they claim. Is it all through SAS -> sata?? Can you give me some examples of what types of cables I would need to accomplish what I laid out above??

Thanks for your input!
 

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