RAID 0 - is it worth it?

marshahu

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I have two 150Gb Raptor hard disks on my new setup.

I intend to put Vista on one 150GB Hard disk and XP MCE 2005 on the other.

If I was to combine these two hard disks into a single RAID 0 array, despite the fact that I will be splitting the array in half again for the two OS installs would I gain any performance boost?

Also, what pitfalls will I need to watch out for when building/using this RAID array?

 

Smoked Turkey

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Yup, Just create the array and make it 2 partitions when you go to install the OS. You will still see a performance gain.

Only real pitfall with RAID 0 is the increased risk of complete data loss in a drive failure. If I remember the numbers correct, your chances of complete drive failure and or data loss on a bad drive in a single drive setup is less than 1% but in a RAID 0 setup the risk is ~9%. So, back up your data!

IMO, RAID 0 is an easy way to speed up load times and increased overall 'snappyness' of the OS.
Do some searches and you can find some pretty good benchmarks.
 

xnamerxx

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The raptors overall dont need the boost in performance but ive been doing it for a while and have had no problems with mine so knock on wood.
 

leo2kp

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I don't understand those numbers. Data backup is obviously important, but you still have a chance to lose data no matter what lol. Raptors have a 5-year warranty so that's a start =D
 

mobo57

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My two pence.....
If you are asking the question then my answer is do not do it.
ST is correct, a RAID 0 will speed up load times of your os and some applications. It is great when you need to access very large uncompressed data files. Working with NLE video editing and animation for instance (what I use it for), it can add quite a bit of performance.
The down sides I have personally experienced:
You break the stripe, you lose the data.
Running 2 os's off the same hard drives can cause problems for back up programs.
Over clocking can cause the stripe to fail.
A power outage during a read/write operation can cause the stripe to fail.
A software bug can cause the stripe to fail.
A buggy BIOS can cause the stripe to fail.
My observations of the various reviews of RAIDS... They are significantly faster at benchmarks but not for many applications. Those that take a long time to load, such as large games, are usually slow due to the need to uncompress the files. A few due benefit though.
I am constantly looking to squeeze that last bit of performance out of my system, but I balance that with the risk of having a failure. After several years of trial and error, my main system is 4 os', XP Pro, XP 64, Vista Ultimate 32 and 64. The XP's are on their own partitions on their own 300 gig WD SATAII, same as Vista. I have 2 WD 500's in a RAID 0 for data only. 1 WD 300 for swap files/cache files. I do daily backups of the RAID to a external 1394 drive.
Those drives you have are fast and will perform real well. The first time your RAID fails, the time you spend reloading and rebuilding will more then offset any savings you gain.
 

marshahu

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mobo57 your downsides seem to be putting me off making a RAID array for the two drives. The facility and circumstances warrant it so it is tempting but by the sounds of your personal experiences it sounds like RAID 0 is rather fragile. So much as resetting or turning off the machine while it is say loading a game or stuck in a heavy task will kill the whole array.

Are you really saying that RAID 0 is really that delicate??? :-O
 

blotch

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i have had a raid0 array for 3 years with the same two drives and have had no problems (even with many random BSODs when Vista first came out). But if you are going to use it I would recommend a third drive as a backup for important irreplaceable files.
 

jedi940

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I have been using RAID for about 9 months now and I LOVE IT!!! I am only using 2 WD 160GB hard drives at 7200 RPM but the difference is very noticable. From the time I push the power button, log on, and double click the icon to start my game is 1min. That is awesome. I hate waiting and being able to start loading a game in only one minute from power on is great.

As for how fragile it is? I don't really know if I can confirm mobo57's statements. I have never had any problems with it, and it has randomly restarted on me a few times. I have never had a power loss as I have a battery backup on my system but I have never had an array break down.

Also, I consider myself a fairly heavy user and because of that, I make sure and reformat my drives at once every 6-9 months. Because of this, I always have my important files saved on another drive. That way, in a worst case scenario, I will only loose my most recent data. Just back up your data and you won't have to worry. It is a good idea even if you don't use raid.
 

bjmarler

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Well, as has already been stated, and as my real world experience proves, RAID will let you load the OS faster. It will let you access large files faster. It will evey start games faster.

It will not help you play games better. It will not make your FPS higher. It will not make hardly anything faster/better after that program is already open.

Add to that, it is much more prone to problems, so it requires more diligence in backing up your data. Finally it makes basic maintenance/troubleshooting a bit harder since not all diagnostic programs work as seemlessly with RAID.

So, make your choice based on those pro's -vs- con's.

I ran a RAID 0 array for about a year. I'll never do it again. For me the benefit was not worth the extra pain. You may have a very different experience than I did.
 

Smoked Turkey

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As far as the numbers go...

In a single drive you have a less then 1% chance of drive failure (as in physical drive failure)

With a RAID 0 you have at least 2 drives required to create the Logical Dive. But, with RAID 0 even if one drive fails you lose everything. There is some logarithmic function that defines the fact that if any single drive has a ~1% chance of failure that x amount of drives in a given array will increase the risk factor of data loss if catastrophic drive failure occurs in any of the drives in the array by amount n

Get it ;)
 
Have used raid 0 for 4 to 5 years. My 2 B/U computer (An old p4 prescott is about 4 years old) Only on problem, shortly after loading OS I bumbed the HDD dring a write - Dumb.

My current system (Built Jan 07) has 2 pair of Raid 0 drives, One pair has XP Pro and the Other pair Has Vista 32. Use Bios to select which drive to boot from.

Performance gain depends on usage and file size. I notice very little difference in performance only daily task (Don't game)

If it was me I probably would not raid 0 the two Raptor. One for OS and programs, One for Data.
 

coverfire

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I have run raid 0 for along time, have I had it fail yes but don't be a moron and put critical data on those drives, make sure you have a spare drive to put critical data on. For me even if the stripe fails I just shrug and reload the OS, piece of cake. Better yet if you know how to make a proper image you can reload it and set it up with the raid drivers and bam! within half hour or less you back up and running. My opinion is don't do it if you don't know what you are doing, otherwise GO FOR IT! Heck I would just say go for it, its all a learning experience anyway.
 

groo

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The problem I'm running into is that I built up too much data to back up easily.

I have a 250 - solo and a pair of 320s in raid 0

I was using the 250 for data security, and now I've filled it and had to transfere stuff to the raid. Now I'm looking at redoing the system, and breaking it up, but I just dont have the free data capacity to do anything about it. I looks like I'm going to have to buy another HDD just to reuse the drives I have.

If I hadn't done the raid, I'd have no problems.
 

druedd

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Hi

I ran Raid 0 on two gaming systems, one for more than three years over 4 drives. This was the best experience ever!
 

hcforde

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What kind of MB do you have? Is it an INTEL chipset? If you have a higher end intel chipset board with ICH7R or higher you can have the best of both worlds with INTEL matrix Raid on just 2 drives - reply before I go futher.
 

asoccerplayer99

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If you are really hung up on the drive fail -> loss of everything problem, I wonder, would buying a 3rd HDD and using it in a RAID 5 setup be something you would consider? You get the space of 2 drives, very nearly the speed of RAID 0, and if a drive fails, you dont lose anything at all.

On a related note... whats the best way to migrate from single to raid?
 

rushfan

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I used RAID 0 for a couple of years and realized little benefit from it, even for video editing. I found that using AHCI for my SATA II drives made more of a difference than anything else.

I had a couple of heart stopping moments when my array went missing at startup for a couple of different reasons. Even though my data is backed up to two different locations (LAN and USB HDD) unless I had performed a backup minutes before an array went down, something would be missing.

As others have mentioned, if there's a problem with EITHER drive for any reason, you lose the contents of BOTH drives.

I no longer feel that RAID 0 is worth the trouble.
 

hoodlum54

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That Puget article about RAID was one of the worst articles I've ever read.

First of all, he made it clear he hates RAID because he's sick of helping his customers dealing with problems that it can cause. His attitude toward the matter is 100% unprofessional. An "I told you so" attitude in the IT world is one that true professionals just can't have. Just because he's upset he has to provide service for his customers doesn't mean he has to flame a whole technology for it.

Secondly, for someone who builds some decent computers, he didn't seem like he knew that much. Sure, a RAID setup doesn't decrease the access time of a single hard drive...but who was saying it did? Instead, what you have is overlapping access times of multiple hard drives so that it appears that your access time (when reading multiple small files) is shorter.

Also, whenever you hear someone saying that they don't see an increase in performance between RAID0 and a single drive it's most likely because one of the following:
1) Crappy RAID Controller, it'd be like plugging an 8800xx into a PCI 1x slot (ignoring the inherent incompatiblitiy issues)....your capping your self.
2) The hard drives just simply aren't meant to be in a RAID setup and will benefit little from it. Check the HDD section of Toms to see which hard drives scale well.
3) Solitaire just doesn't take that long to load anyway.

To say that RAID is more hassle than it's worth, that's a judgement call, but don't let someone try and fool you into thinking that there is "little benefit" from it.
 

qwertycopter

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Hoodlum, I'm not necessarily defending the article, but the guy does make some good points to consider:

- The onboard controllers are very crappy.
- RAID adds a significant amount of complexity to the system
- It is their most common help desk call.. the technology isn't up to par

I agree he was a bit unprofessional, but he wasn't denouncing all RAID. Only in some enthusiest desktop machines where his point seems to be "It's usually more trouble than it's worth."
 

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