why use raid for os

June 30, 2009 at 20:10:42
Specs: win xp, PD 2.66 / 4gb kingston hyperx
I am rebuilding my main computer and considering putting the os (win xp) on a raid with 2 80 gb WD's. I'm somewhat new to the idea of using a raid and dont really know what the advantages are or witch array to use. any advice would be great

Thanks, Baldy

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June 30, 2009 at 20:56:52
Most RAID arrays provide for some form of data protection. However, I think you are referring to RAID 0, which isn't really a true form of RAID at all.

RAID 0 splits the data between TWO or more disks to make the data access faster. The downside is that if a disk fails or even hiccups you will lose all the data on that array.

Most experienced users around this site don't recommend RAID 0. Look at the link below to see explanations of the various forms of RAID arrays.

You need to have RAID controllers or use a RAID software in order to run a RAID array.

Whatever you do have a backup plan in place.


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June 30, 2009 at 21:03:02
First off, RAID, short for Redundant Array of Inexpensive/Independent Disks is overrated on simple home PCs. With that stated, there's a lot of materials out there on RAID levels -- ranging from basic to advanced -- for anyone interested. For a home user, it usually boils down to three options: RAID 0; RAID 1 & RAID 5.

With the popularity of disk imaging & cloning utilities out there, you can get by without setting up RAID. But if you insist on going with a RAID setup, you need to avoid RAID 0 at all cost, regardless of its theoretical performance advantage. In this arrangement, data is striped across both of your disks without parity or redundancy. And because it has no fault tolerance, it comes with significant risk of complete data loss in the event of a disk failure, especially with you contemplating loading Windows using this RAID level .... nuff said!

RAID 1 will be more suitable for you since you've got two 80GB disks that come in handy for mirroring. This option offers fault tolerance, in that, if one of your two 80GB disks craps out on you, The other one is there with the same data preserved since it contains identical data as the one that died.

I won't go into RAID 5 since it requires two or more disks & is out of your options anyhow.

The above is a layman explanation, you can find more technical information on RAID levels on the internet if interested.

Jabbering Idiots: Everywhere You Look!

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June 30, 2009 at 21:22:00
first off my mobo has a built in RAID controller so i shouldn't need a separate card right? also my pc is mostly used for gaming not quite a simple home pc. so what type of pc would you recommend use a RAID set-up. i see your point about RAID 0 but would i really benefit form RAID 1? or RAID 3, 5, 10, for that matter?

BTW my current specs:

Gigibyte ep45-ds4p
Intel PD 2.66
4 GB kingston HyperX @1066 mhz
2 WD 80 GB HDD
1 WD Cavair black 1 TB HDD

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June 30, 2009 at 22:31:04
A gaming computer is a simple home pc; just with better stuff inside. A rather simple network server would benefit from Raid 1...OvertheHill gave a you a good link to get your research started.

You want speed or backup? You can have either/both without resorting to a raid array.

I might go with Raid 1 if I did a lot of office apps or web page work, etc. I'd also stay completely away from Raid 0 and just buy a fast hdd for speed.


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July 1, 2009 at 09:41:08
first of all thanks for all your help so far

i have already read through wikis RAID guide

im mostly going for speed because i game alot but was looking at RAID because of the backup although from what i can tell it would be just as good to back up important data on and external

would the RAID on the mobo do the job or would i have to get a separate controler the board supports 0, 1, 3, 5, and 10

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July 1, 2009 at 09:48:08
With only TWO drives the only speed option you have available to you is RAID 0. RAID 0 has been shown in some tests to run some games faster and some no improvement.

I suggest you invest in a newer, faster drive instead of the 80s.

For example I have two SATA II WDigital drives. One is a 250GB and the other is a newer 500GB. The sustained transfer speed on the 500GB is substantially faster than the 250GB.

Try installing the games you play on ONE of the drives and see the results. If you play shootem up games the Graphics card is probably more critical than the drives.

Both of those will blow away your 80GB drives. You need to quit buying into the RAID hype because that is all it is.

And that is all I am going to say on the topic.

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July 1, 2009 at 10:35:41
what most lay people don't know about raid is that raid1 [mirroring] can speed up games [slightly]. Raid1 can read different information from either disk. Cost is when you write something to the disk. Games do more reads than writes.

Raid is not backup. This is another popular misconception. Raid provides drive fault tolerance. In other words if one drive dies you are still operational with the mirror drive.

The difference between raid and backup becomes apparent when you overwrite a file. Backup will contain the original overwritten file. Raid does not.

You should use the onboard controller and configure the two drives as raid1.

If you decide to get different drives remember that the game itself needs to be installed to a different disk than the OS for optimal performance. You also need to make sure any temp files it writes are written to this drive and not the OS drive which is usually the case.

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July 1, 2009 at 11:01:11
I agree with the others in that you should stay away from the RAID set-ups as they were really designed more for business applications than for home pc users.

OTH is right that 1) a faster harddrive will work better to your advantage and 2) you probably will get better action as well from a top line graphics card also.

On another aspect is that you can also speed up the gaming experience by removing all the extras from the operating system as well. When i was gaming I used a dual boot set up as to one installation as standard and one stripped....then installed and ran the games from the stripped down version of XP.

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July 1, 2009 at 14:59:46
Gee, I tend to use raid in most cases as long as they are true hardware arrays.

There are many things that also can be used to speed up your system if that is what you want to do.

If you want to protect data, raid along with a backup plan might be better.

"Best Practices", Event viewer, host file, perfmon, antivirus, anti-spyware, Live CD's, backups, are in my top 10

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July 1, 2009 at 17:21:12

You are not wrong in reiterating the theoretical performance benefit of a RAID setup, insofar, as you remember to clarify one thing, which you didn't. And this is: Under, realtime usage, the theoretical performance advantage that can be directly attributed to the RAID setup is likely to go unnoticed by the average home PC user. Also, the associated cost with a RAID setup, when you consider the extra hardware requirement more often than not discourages its implementation.

Even for the gamer, the setup isn't all that compelling. Sure, your games may load a tad faster, but are you getting a higher FPS because of the RAID level setup? Nope. A faster video card & CPU are still the key determinants of maintaining the smoothest gameplay. And in baldybob's case, implementing RAID is probably going to negatively impact his gaming since he's got a built-in RAID controller, which implies, that the load that a discrete RAID controller would have handled will have to be handled by his CPU, much to the detriment of the CPU's performance & quite possibly his FPS. And all of this is not even considering the potential risk associated with a disk failure.

You need to rethink this whole thing baldybob.

Jabbering Idiots: Everywhere You Look!

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July 1, 2009 at 18:04:38
"You need to quit buying into the RAID hype because that is all it is."

im not buying into it that's why im here

"implementing RAID is probably going to negatively impact his gaming..."

thats a very good point that i hadn't thought of...

well i think ur right a RAID is over rated and wont benefit me much if at all so thanks to all of you for leading me back to the right path wisdom and a faster gaming pc lol

thanks again to all of you, baldy

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