Two harddrives...Do i need to Raid??

DragonXI

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im planning on building my own PC, for the first time --- I ordered Two 250GB Seagate SATA Hard Drives...

Reason i got the 2nd hard drive was mainly to put all my Music, Videos, Movies etc into that Drive....and use my 1st hard drive for my OS, Applications, Games.

I keep reading though people who do RAID & Partions etc...

Since i am using two Hard drives should i be doing a RAID or Partion? Is it okay to just use each as a seperate hard drive without losing performance?

any type of reply will be appreciated. thanks
 

Gunlance

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No raid for you. There are many downfalls to raid. I suggest you stick with a non raid setup if you are beginning.

BTW I do have a raid 0 with 2 raptor drives. That being said I also have a basement full of servers for all my data.
 
RAID 0 will let your PC boot, load programs and load games a little faster. RAID 0 is the topic of a lot of discussion whether it actually makes THAT much difference over a fast single drive.
I personally use RAID 0 on my system, would never go back to a single drive again, I think it makes a noticable difference.

Just be warned, if either one of the drives fail running RAID 0, you lose EVERYTHING.

Have I ever had a drive fail using RAID 0? No
Have I ever known someone one who had RAID 0 fail? Yes.
No matter what kind of drives you run in any configuration, should you back up your important files? Yes!
 

Nedkt

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It's not twice as fast. The only place it's fastER is in synthetic benchmarks. In single-user applications the gain is minimal to non-existent. If you are into posting and comparing HDTach numbers, get raid-0. If you aren't, and you aren't running a server, then use a single raptor (or some combo for whatever you need).
 

niz

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It's not twice as fast. The only place it's fastER is in synthetic benchmarks. In single-user applications the gain is minimal to non-existent. If you are into posting and comparing HDTach numbers, get raid-0. If you aren't, and you aren't running a server, then use a single raptor (or some combo for whatever you need).
Thats bullcrap. My PC's noticeably faster if I raid-0 my two raptors, compared to using them as single drives.
 

turs

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Use RAID 0 on your two 250GB hard drives and get another hard drive to store all your music, vids, docs, etc. in, that is, if your budget permits. If not, then don't use RAID anymore. Just let them run as 2 separate hard drives.
 

rantsky

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I assume you're considering RAID0 to get more performance. Well, from my experience, using RAID0 indeed gives you a great increase in performance, and I am all for it. Actually, I must say that at first I was quite skeptic, because technically it only gives you better sequential speed, while access times remain the same. But in fact, in day to day use I was surprised what a boost you get from it.

However, and this is very important: for your mental health, **DO NOT** put anything on a RAID0 disk that is not backed up!! Beyond having x2 the risk of loosing the info (it is enough that one of the drives crashes) it is also much more complicated - and expensive - to recover a RAID0 disk.

As I see it, these are your options:
1. Have the two in RAID0. In this case, you *must* have another HD in the system for backing up your data, or otherwise back up to DVD in a regular basis.

2. Forget about RAID. In this case you can use partitioning to gain a bit of speed. Put at the beginning of the first HD a 20-30GB partition just for Windows+Apps, and at the begining of the second HD a partition just for your swap file (size it to about x2 your RAM). You benefit here because the partitions are both at the fastest areas of the HDs, and because you can simultaneously r/w Windows ans swap files. In fact, I would also have another partition at the begining of the second drive - say right after the swap parition - for temporary files. You can move all your TEMP directories to there and hopefully gain a bit more speed there.

3. This one is a bit more involved: most RAID controllers now allow having different RAID configurations on different parts of the same HD. What you can do is allocate a 20GB partition at the beginning of each drive, and have only these two partitions in RAID0, while the remaining parts of the drives are non-RAID. This will give you one 40GB RAID0 partition for Windows, apps, swap and tempfiles, while your remaining partitions (you should be left with two 200GB partitions now) will contain your files and other important data. Of course you can play around with these things further, and allocate additional partitions for different types of files etc. For instance, you can have your downloads, which I assume are disposable, on another pair of RAID0 parititions.

To summarize: RAID0 is best for system and temporary files, where you gain the most speed while having little risk of loosing data. As to your data - always back up your important stuff, and especially anything on RAID0 you care about. If you keep parts of these HDs non-RAID, you can use one HD to backup the other, for instance.

Good luck!
 

SockPuppet

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It's not twice as fast. The only place it's fastER is in synthetic benchmarks. In single-user applications the gain is minimal to non-existent. If you are into posting and comparing HDTach numbers, get raid-0. If you aren't, and you aren't running a server, then use a single raptor (or some combo for whatever you need).
Perfect example. This dude has never had raid. He really wishes he did, and this makes him angry. therefore he tells you it sucks.
 

glockman

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You could do the RAID 0, get good performance and buy a cheap USB external or NAS to back up your important stuff to.

- OR -

You could set the drives up as RAID 1 and have fault tolerance.

But, if you do the two separate drives as you suggest then the really important stuff like photos or purchased music should be regularly copied to the second drive.
 

Nedkt

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It's not twice as fast. The only place it's fastER is in synthetic benchmarks. In single-user applications the gain is minimal to non-existent. If you are into posting and comparing HDTach numbers, get raid-0. If you aren't, and you aren't running a server, then use a single raptor (or some combo for whatever you need).
Thats bullcrap. My PC's noticeably faster if I raid-0 my two raptors, compared to using them as single drives.
I say that two raptors in raid-0 is NOT twice as fast as a single raptor for single-user use (games, etc.). You say that is "bullcrap". Ok, prove it's bullcrap. Show me numbers that place the raid set-up as twice as fast. And, based on the comment which you dismissed, I'm not talking HDTach numbers, I'm talking actual single-user benchmarks. Or, just show a substantial improvement, if not a doubling of performance.

And again, with real-world single-user benchmarks, not synthetic I/O measures.
 

Nedkt

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It's not twice as fast. The only place it's fastER is in synthetic benchmarks. In single-user applications the gain is minimal to non-existent. If you are into posting and comparing HDTach numbers, get raid-0. If you aren't, and you aren't running a server, then use a single raptor (or some combo for whatever you need).
Perfect example. This dude has never had raid. He really wishes he did, and this makes him angry. therefore he tells you it sucks.

:roll:
 

Nedkt

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http://www.storagereview.com/articles/200406/20040625TCQ_6.html

RAID helps multi-user applications far more than it does single-user scenarios. The enthusiasm of the power user community combined with the marketing apparatus of firms catering to such crowds has led to an extraordinarily erroneous belief that striping data across two or more drives yields significant performance benefits for the majority of non-server uses. This could not be farther from the truth! Non-server use, even in heavy multitasking situations, generates lower-depth, highly-localized access patterns where read-ahead and write-back strategies dominate. Theory has told those willing to listen that striping does not yield significant performance benefits. Some time ago, a controlled, empirical test backed what theory suggested. Doubts still lingered- irrationally, many believed that results would somehow be different if the array was based off of an SATA or SCSI interface. As shown above, the results are the same. Save your time, money and data- leave RAID for the servers!
 

Nedkt

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http://www.anandtech.com/printarticle.aspx?i=2101

If you haven't gotten the hint by now, we'll spell it out for you: there is no place, and no need for a RAID-0 array on a desktop computer. The real world performance increases are negligible at best and the reduction in reliability, thanks to a halving of the mean time between failure, makes RAID-0 far from worth it on the desktop.

There are some exceptions, especially if you are running a particular application that itself benefits considerably from a striped array, and obviously, our comments do not apply to server-class IO of any sort. But for the vast majority of desktop users and gamers alike, save your money and stay away from RAID-0.

If you do insist on getting two drives, you are much better off putting them into a RAID-1 array to have a live backup of your data. The performance hit of RAID-1 is just as negligible as the performance gains of RAID-0, but the improvement in reliability is worthwhile...unless you're extremely unlucky and both of your drives die at the exact same time.

When Intel introduced ICH5, and now with ICH6, they effectively brought RAID to the mainstream, pushing many users finally to bite the bullet and buy two hard drives for "added performance". While we applaud Intel for bringing the technology to the mainstream, we'd caution users out there to think twice before buying two expensive Raptors or any other drive for performance reasons. Your system will most likely run just as fast with only one drive, but if you have the spare cash, a bit more reliability and peace of mind may be worth setting up a RAID-1 array.

Bottom line: RAID-0 arrays will win you just about any benchmark, but they'll deliver virtually nothing more than that for real world desktop performance. That's just the cold hard truth.
 

SockPuppet

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Have you ever tried it? If you had, you wouldnt be posting this trash. I notice a SIGNIFIGANT speed up of loading in games, esp. BF2 and EQ2. MMO's such as WoW and eq benefit greatly from the extra speed as the streaming nature of the game demands that things be loaded as they come into view.

You sir, as just as bad as BaronBS.
 

mkaibear

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The whole argument with RAID 0 and not RAID 0 seems to be as follows;

People who think RAID 0 is faster have set up a RAID 0 array, and they think that RAID 0 is faster.

People who think that RAID 0 is slower have got a non-RAID 0 solution, and they think that their non-RAID 0 is faster (or at least "just as fast").

Basically, if you think it's going to be faster, you're going to see an improvement, even if it's just a perception. It's the way things work - go and ask a scientist about how the placebo effect works, for example (a medical example of basically the same thing).

Nowhere have I seen anyone on any forum do any kind of double-blind testing of which is faster, RAID 0 or non-RAID 0.

The only place we can find said information is from 3rd party websites, people such as Anandtech and Storagereview. Both of these websites have said that RAID 0 is pointless for desktop use.

I would be interested in seeing any independant reviews, tested in direct comparison to a single disk, which would claim that RAID 0 is significantly better in desktop use. I've never seen one.

Anyone seen one?
 

johngoodwin

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My advice:

1) If you need to install drivers anyway to take full advantage of your SATA controller, consider installing RAID 0 and doing backups
2) If you just want your PC to work and it has an IDE compatibility mode, don't bother.

If this is your first build don't go out of your way to make it harder to upgrade maintain, or backup. When you RAID 0 it, you will be depending on that particular raid controller, and depending on your backup programs to be able to read it, anytime you need to do boot time recovery, you are banking that your tools can read it.

If you are willing to accept that risk, yes it is nice to have one large device which is usually faster.

Do be aware, Whether you choose to RAID or not, you should consider backing up your data right away. Right after install/setup is a nice time, since you won't have to do it again, if a game screws it all up, or new DX install or whatnot.

Just my two cents.

John
 

chuckshissle

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It's up to you to raid or not. But there's little to no increase in performance. I do have raid 0 with 2x74Gb Raptors mainly for gaming. It's about 5 or more seconds faster in loading my games but not much. I just did it for I needed more space for os and all my games and to try it. It's very bad in terms of performance-to-cost ratio I tell you but it's a little faster on loading my games nonetheless. For you, don't even, just use one for os and game and the other for backups. Is my raid worth it, well no not really. :)
 

OldGoat

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Reason i got the 2nd hard drive was mainly to put all my Music, Videos, Movies etc into that Drive....and use my 1st hard drive for my OS, Applications, Games.
If this is why you forked out the money for the second hard drive then set it up for that purpose. As you can tell from the other post it is a very touchy subject.
RAID0 is great if you need games or apps to load faster, how much faster depends on your drives. (just like Chuckshissle said he only sees 5 seconds of improvement)
The downside is the lack of data protection, unless you backup your data regularly.
The only advice I can give you is to experiment with the various options until you find one you like and are happy with. Think about what is more important having 500GB of space or 250GB?

Use this as a chance to gain some knowledge and experience.
 
http://www.anandtech.com/printarticle.aspx?i=2101

If you haven't gotten the hint by now, we'll spell it out for you: there is no place, and no need for a RAID-0 array on a desktop computer. The real world performance increases are negligible at best and the reduction in reliability, thanks to a halving of the mean time between failure, makes RAID-0 far from worth it on the desktop.

There are some exceptions, especially if you are running a particular application that itself benefits considerably from a striped array, and obviously, our comments do not apply to server-class IO of any sort. But for the vast majority of desktop users and gamers alike, save your money and stay away from RAID-0.

If you do insist on getting two drives, you are much better off putting them into a RAID-1 array to have a live backup of your data. The performance hit of RAID-1 is just as negligible as the performance gains of RAID-0, but the improvement in reliability is worthwhile...unless you're extremely unlucky and both of your drives die at the exact same time.

When Intel introduced ICH5, and now with ICH6, they effectively brought RAID to the mainstream, pushing many users finally to bite the bullet and buy two hard drives for "added performance". While we applaud Intel for bringing the technology to the mainstream, we'd caution users out there to think twice before buying two expensive Raptors or any other drive for performance reasons. Your system will most likely run just as fast with only one drive, but if you have the spare cash, a bit more reliability and peace of mind may be worth setting up a RAID-1 array.

Bottom line: RAID-0 arrays will win you just about any benchmark, but they'll deliver virtually nothing more than that for real world desktop performance. That's just the cold hard truth.
I run RAID 0 and I disagree completely.
I would never, never, ever for any reason go back to a single drive. I have never done any benchmarking on my drives. I can tell the difference just using the machine, and it's a pretty big difference.
 

mkaibear

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>I run RAID 0 and I disagree completely

This is exactly what I mean. You can't point to anything saying from an objective POV that your RAID 0 system is faster. Equally, no-one can point to anything saying from an objective POV that a single-drive system is faster.

Subjectively, you think it's better. That's great. Subjectively lots of people think a single drive is just as good. That's also great. Sorry to be so relentlessly postmodern, but hey, if it feels good for you, that's great! :)
 

yakyb

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i run 5 hard drives
3 are the exact same model (250 gb sata1 seagate barracudas)
1 is a slighlty older 80gb diamond max
1 new 300gb sata2 seagae barracuda

i run my os off one of the 250's the other two are set up in raid 0 the older 80gb contains my music files whilst the newer drive is used to backup everything important (music videos documents drivers savegames etc..) in terms of real world usage (i dont really bother benching my hard drives) i would say that in terms of write times (when transfering large videos (vob's) the order is (quickest first)

1.)raid 0 setup
2.) 300gb backup drive
3 250gb drive
4.) older 80gb drive

now i know this is the order you would expect but im just trying to proove that raid 0 is noticably quicker and before you ask no i dont time them so dont have any figures. but i must say that it is a joy to use the raid 0.
now in terms of access times i would say the the 300gb drive is far more responsive when simply browsing thru folders than any of the others

1 300gb backup
2.) 250gb/raid0 setup
3 old 80gb

please do not try to say that raid 0 speeds are just perceived improvements based upon us wishing they were better when that is clearly not the case


to Nedkt
Have you ever used Raid??
and for what did you use it?


back on topic tho

use seperatly
until you have a backup medium i would keep your media collection seperate from everything and then run everything off the other drive
(apart from maybe the swap file but thats another discussion)
once you get happy with this setup then consider going raid

oh and i have had a failed raid 0 never quite found out the reason for it (wasnt a failed drive) so i rebuilt the array reformated ran a few data recovery apps and managed to get back 60% of my data( god knows how, i was very very Lucky). which is what prompted me to get the backup.

finally a bit of nostalgia for you
i remember the days when it was rare to even see a d:\ on your computer it used to be just a A:\ and a C:\ but now with multiple hard drives two cd drives my phone my pda. my usb card reader even my sodding printer P:\ can be acheived with out even trying. anyone know what happens after z:\?
 

mkaibear

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>after z:

You really don't want to go there... Once Windows has hit Z: it goes back to A: and starts overwriting old drives. All kinds of problems.





...




I'm lying really. I don't know what happens ;)
 

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