Is RAID Worthwhile?

  soy 11:29 07 Jan 04


I've been thinking about setting up a raid 0 configuration having become interested after reading an article about it.

Just want to ask wether I will definatly see performance benefits.

I'm think of setting up 2 hard drives in RAID 0.

If a game loads in 30 seconds using the normal way, would the time half to 15 if I used RAID? Same for programs?.

I know that the hard drive needs to be the same size and speed, what about the cache size?

Been looking around at RAID controller cards and prices vary from £20 - over a thousand. Would a cheap card suffice?

Once RAID is set up and the hardrives work as one, is it possible to partition using partition magic?

I assume the hard drives will connect to the controller card and that will go in a PCI socket. Does this mean I can add further hard drives using the standard IDE ports on the motherboard? Would combinations of RAID and normal IDE ok?



  Jester2K 11:43 07 Jan 04

First thing i can say is

If a game loads in 30 seconds using the normal way, would the time half to 15 if I used RAID? Same for programs?.

No. It'll get the data from the disk to the processor faster but then it depends on how fast your processor and RAM is.

RAID 0 is used to make 2 HDDs appear as one big one as far as i know. Its not really even a proper RAID Array (RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independant (or Inexpensive) Drives) As RAID 0 offers no redundancy it.

RAID 1 onwards are true RAID arrays but have their pit falls. They fall into two types Mirrored and Striped.... click here

If you just want games / programs to launch faster then get more RAM. Otherwise more info on what the PC is used for will give someone a chance to help you further.

  Keith 11:45 07 Jan 04

RAID is really designed as a failsafe for network servers. Basically, all that happens is that data is replicated on both drives and if the main drive failks its partner kicks in to keep the server up and running. In performance terms, I suppose that, if anything, as the system is writing data twice instead of once it must take marginally longer.

In a 'domestic' situation I wouldn't be bothering with it. Keith

  soy 11:58 07 Jan 04

Thanks for the repies,

My system: Pentium4 2.53, 512DDR, windows XP, Geforce Ti4600.

I'm currently at University studying on a Product design course which uses AutoCAD, 3D studio MAX, Photoshop, Page Maker and usual Office apps.

I also play alot of online gaming.

At the present time, the computer runs well, but I'm always tweaking and modding etc to get as much performance as safely as possible (No overclocking etc). When I read about RAID setup, I thought it might be something worthwhile to do. As I already have partition magic and drive image, I was going to try a RAID 0 and buy 2 60GB drives for it. I already have a 120GB drive which I would use to backup the RAID Drive.

  Tog 12:30 07 Jan 04

The big bottleneck in any read/write to a hard drive happens while the disk performs a mechanical seek to find the data on the platter. RAID sets up a bunch of disks so that while one is performing a seek the next is being set up to read the next bit of data and so on (striped array?). For large blocks of data this cuts down on the time the CPU spends doing nothing.

I've never used RAID 0 so I don't know what kind of performance gain, if any, you might get.

I have set up Raid 1, mainly because in the event of hard disc failure, I am still o.k (I am one of the worst in remembering to do regular backups). There are a number of advantages, such as faster data transfer, quicker formatting of discs and smaller connecting cables allowing increased air flow. I doubt if I will return to using EIDE Hard disc drives.

Sorry, I should have made it clear that my HDD's are SATA - I would not bother with Raid using ordinary drives.

  soy 13:17 07 Jan 04

Would a combination of RAID and normal hardrives connected to the motherboard work ok?

  Mysticnas 13:57 07 Jan 04

I too have been looking quite a lot at raid.

Basically, Raid 0 isn't raid in the fact that raid is a method of redundancy, and raid 0 is not not a redundant array. This is why infact it is called Raid 0 as the 0 means it's not really raid.

Yes is will work, with a combination of drives. you can have raid 0 setup and independant drives.

Cache does make a difference, if you get 8mb drives each, then in effect it will become 16mb cache which is much better.

Jester2k is correct, it is totally dependant on the rest of the system, what controllers you use, ram, cpu, etc.

I have onboard Gigaraid and Silicon Image SATA raid controllers. It's always better to start good from the ground up. If you're going to build a really good system, then you need a good motherboard to support it. In your case you need to get a good controller card, the best you can afford in your budget. I'm not saying go all out and buy a £1000 controller, after all i did mention budget.

yes once you've setup raid, you can partition all you like.

  soy 14:11 07 Jan 04

Great, thanks for the replies!

Mysticnas, how much improvement in speed do you think RAID 0 will give?

  Mysticnas 14:22 07 Jan 04

when you thinking about setting it up?

I'm in the process of odering my SATA drives, and will setup around the end of the month.

If you can wait till then i'll let you know.


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