Which raid to Use???

August 29, 2005 at 03:34:14
Specs: Windows XP Pro, AMD Athlon 64bit 3000+OC3

Hi all, well im new to using RAID so am in need of some advice, im looking to have a few hard disks put together and i want them to work as one drive if this is possible, so for example that the 3 80gb hard drives ive got work as one drive in windows of 240GB's. Is this possible and if so who and which Raid number is it?

AMD Athlon 3000+ 64bit OC-3400
Asus A8N-SLI MB
1GB DDR 32002X 512MB
2X SLI Asus 6600GT Cards
200GB SATA Hard Drive


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#1
August 29, 2005 at 04:05:39

RAID Overview

i_XpUser


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#2
August 29, 2005 at 04:28:27

ive just looke dat that and to be honest a lot fo it doesent make sense to me, lol, either im just a bit salow but i cant tell which one i want

AMD Athlon 3000+ 64bit OC-3400
Asus A8N-SLI MB
1GB DDR 32002X 512MB
2X SLI Asus 6600GT Cards
200GB SATA Hard Drive


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#3
August 29, 2005 at 04:57:05

Realistically you have two choices. You can go with a RAID 0 which offers no redundancy or a RAID 5 which does.

If you use RAID 0 you will be able to use all 240 GB's but if any one of the drives should fail, all data on all three drives is gone.

A RAID 5 will give you a grand total of 160 GB's of available space (the other 80 is used for parity) but you would have redundancy and if a drive should fail, you simply replace it with another identical drive and rebuild the RAID.....no data loss.


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#4
August 29, 2005 at 05:13:27

Hi Curt R,

Your post above is indeed interesting. While I don't use RAID several quiz came to my mind ...

What's the advantage & benefits of having RAID?

How complex is the setup?

Would you recommend that anyone do it?

Thanks :-)

i_XpUser


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#5
August 29, 2005 at 05:21:46

The problem with Raid5 is that the usual board doesn't allow Raid5 so you need an additional controllercard.
The only board with build in Raid5 controller I know about is the Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe or Premium. There might be others but additional Raid5 controllercards are not that cheap!
(also see descripption of Raid5 below)

The thrid option would be using two of your 80GB drives in Raid1 and the third as a normal drive. With Raid1 you use 2 (or 4) drives but can only access half of them. The other one is used to store an exact backup of the other drive so if one of them fails you still have everything on the left one as a backup. The problem is that this still didn't protect against a failed OS or virus because that would affect both drives as the second one is always an exact copy of the first. But this is true for every Raid option!

In Raid0 the data is split across the connected drives. In your case with 3 drives in a Raid0 part one goes to drive1, part two to drive2, part three to drive3, part4 again to drove1 and so on!
If one of those drives fail that part of every file stored is lost and you will not be able to recover it!
The advantage of Raid0 is that the data will be read and written all at the same time on each drive in the array which gives you a higher speed than normal. The more drives in the Raid0 array the faster you get!

Raid5 only works with 3 or 4 drives because the data are split in half like on a Raid0 array but one of the drives is always used to store a parity file which allows you to restore your data out of the remaining drives if one of the drives failed. Should you loose two drives at the same time for what reason ever the data is lost too!
The big advantage of Raid5 is that it combines the high speed of Raid0 with the safety of Raid1 and compared to Raid1 you only loose a third (3 drives) or fourth (4 drives) of your GB and not a half like in Raid1!


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#6
August 29, 2005 at 05:25:22

I don't use RAID either.

Seems obvious that it's not for the uninformed.

A good *HARDWARE* question might be: Which are the most manageable, reliable RAID CONTROLLERS?

M2


If at first you don't succeed, you're about average.


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#7
August 29, 2005 at 06:51:34

ok, thanks for all the help, it looks like i may go for a raid 0 system, with lots of large files of a gigabyte or so i want to be able to move them onto one drive and not have to sift through folders on various drives, also i want it to be as low cost as possible so raid 0 looks to be a good idea. Many Thanks. Chris

AMD Athlon 3000+ 64bit OC-3400
Asus A8N-SLI MB
1GB DDR 32002X 512MB
2X SLI Asus 6600GT Cards
200GB SATA Hard Drive


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#8
August 29, 2005 at 07:39:31

I suggest you reconsider. The website provided by XpUser has excellent info about the different RAID configurations. It uses a little too much tech talk for the casual PC user to easily understand though. Basically, here's what is said about RAID 0:

RAID 0 is "less reliable than a single-drive implementation; its only advantage is speed". It should only be used "where compromised system reliability can be tolerated."

In other words, RAID 0 is less reliable using a single huge HDD, but it is faster. You should only use it if the possibilty of losing all your files isn't something you're concerned about.

ASUS A7N8X-X
Athlon XP 1800+
8.5 x 200MHz
1024MB PC3200 2.5-3-3-7
Asus A9550GE/TD 128MB
WinME/WinXP Pro SP1


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#9
August 29, 2005 at 09:58:57

Most people who use Raid 0 are gamers, who 'mistakenly' think it will improve the speed of their games.

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#10
August 30, 2005 at 02:10:44

ohh right, i see wht u mean, well i couldent really stand to loose all of my data, the only real thing i want from raid is to have one large hard drive using a nimber of drives. So would i be better using raid 5 then i guess?

AMD Athlon 3000+ 64bit OC-3400
Asus A8N-SLI MB
1GB DDR 32002X 512MB
2X SLI Asus 6600GT Cards
200GB SATA Hard Drive


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#11
August 30, 2005 at 12:26:50

I would suggest forgetting about the large drive. Just come up with a good file naming strategy, get your drives/folders/files organized into logical groups. It's takes a little time to set up, but once done you should be able to find anything fairly quickly.

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#12
August 30, 2005 at 13:05:28

XpUser:

What's the advantage & benefits of having RAID?

The biggest advantage, excluding RAID 0, is redundancy. With most any other RAID configuration, should you lose a drive, your data remains intact and all that is required is replacing the defunct drive and rebuilding the RAID.

While you never asked about disadvantages, I thought I might touch on a couple. The biggest is RAID 0 for the obvious reason that it has no redundancy. If one drive in the array crashes all data is pretty much unretrievable without shipping the remaining drives to someone who will charge an arm and a leg for retrieval. Also, with one disk of a 3 disk array gone, you lose 1/3 of your data no matter what. If you're dumb enough to install your OS on a RAID 0 you can also forget booting your system. The other main disadvantage is cost. For a RAID 1 you need 2 identical disks, doubling the cost. For a RAID 5, you require a minimum of 3, tripling the cost. Over and above the cost of a single drive system.

How complex is the setup?

That depends on the controller itself mainly. I have a strong preference for Adaptec RAID controllers myself and find them quite easy to setup. Generally speaking, the setup is done through the controller's onboard BIOS. During POST you usually get a message like "Press Ctrl-S to enter RAID setup" and do so. For a reasonably experienced user, setup is normally fairly easy. You tell it what type of RAID you want and which disks to add to the RAID. Then the disks (RAID) must synchronize and it's ready for use. In my experience with RAID's because of the synchronization, it's always best to do this before installing an OS as the more data you have, the longer sync'ing takes.

I've yet to buy a motherboard with a built in RAID controller so can't even begin to compare them to controller cards. Someone else mentioned that frequently onboard RAID controllers aren't capable of RAID 5 without an add-on card. I wasn't aware of that for the above reason. I assume that isn't necessarily always the case though depending on motherboard and onboard controller.

Would you recommend that anyone do it?

Not really. For the average computer user a single drive will work just as well as a RAID. RAID has mainly been intended for servers or other high end machines where redundancy is required. On the average home PC, a reliable, regular backup should suffice.

I have noticed a lot of people (ok, as ham30 mentioned....mostly gamers) are using RAID 0's these days in an attempt to "speed up" their systems. Any possible performance gains are at computing speeds which wouldn't really be noticable to the human eye during 'game play'. Most of those are likely software RAIDS configured within windows itself. If you're interested, a search on MS's site should yield information on configuring software RAIDS in Windows.

To be honest, I think in a lot of cases having a RAID 0 on a home PC has become a case of bragging rights.

Mechanix2Go:

A good *HARDWARE* question might be: Which are the most manageable, reliable RAID CONTROLLERS?

A very good question! As I stated earlier, I have a strong preference for Adaptec. I've worked with LSI controllers and a few others I don't even remember the name of anymore and was never as impressed with any other as I have been with Adaptec. Of course like all opinions, that's just mine and I'm sure there are a lot of different ones out there.

Myself, should I ever decide to build a RAID system at home (and the only reason I would do so is if it were a server) I would likely go with Adaptec. However, I would do some google searching and comparing regarding cost and capabilities before making a final decision on what to purchase.

Free Weasel:

The problem is that this still didn't protect against a failed OS or virus because that would affect both drives as the second one is always an exact copy of the first. But this is true for every Raid option!

No RAID configuration that I know of can protect you from a virus or failed OS. If you know of one, please tell me what level of RAID that is as I'm sure the place I work would be interested in knowing this....as well as every other IT department in the world....

The point of RAID is not to protect you from virus's (that's what antivirus software is for) or failed OS's (that's what backups are for)....it's to protect your important, and often unreplacable, data....which RAID's do quite well (again, excluding RAID 0)


Cakonopka:

I would go with the RAID 5 configuration. Or possibly a RAID 10 since you have 4 drives. That's a combination RAID 1 + RAID 0 configuration.


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#13
September 4, 2005 at 02:12:01

Hey Curt R thanks alot for all that info :-)


i_XpUser


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#14
September 5, 2005 at 19:52:42

JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Drives). It gives you exactly what you ask for without redundancy. Or go with RAID5.

About all this RAID 0 talk and how it doesn't actually yield any improvement in performance. RAID 0 allows for a (theoretical) read speed and write speed of twice what a single drive would (assuming the drives are identical). This can really only happen if files are accessed in a certain order. Also, spin up times slow it down too. But it definitely can make a difference.

RAID Rundown

Alert me after you respond otherwise I'll forget to come back.


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