RAID0 vs Single Drive

Discussion in 'Hardware Discussion & Support' started by phantommenace2, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. phantommenace2

    phantommenace2 hexa-core gamer

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    I never had a RAID array before and was considering getting one for my next build...I always assumed RAID0 offered the best performance vs a single drive but after doing a lot of reading on the subject it seems that it is not necessarily the case...although there are quite a few people who swear that RAID0 is definitely the way to go it seems as though more people feel the opposite

    anyone have any opinions on this issue

    I mostly use my system for high end gaming and apparently RAID0 does little or nothing to improve performance in this area...it seems like getting a RAID0 would only cause potential issues: failure rates on each drive goes up, a data backup nightmare, and increases in noise, thermals, and power consumption...so I guess my main question is, is a RAID0 setup worth it?

    here are some of the better articles I read on the subject from some sites I trust...

    StorageReview.com - Tiki : SingleDriveVsRaid0

    AnandTech: Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000: Two Terabyte RAID Redux
     
  2. Zelig

    Zelig Well-Known Member

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    I used to be anti-RAID 0, but have become mostly ambivalent about the whole issue.

    RAID 0 isn't going to make any difference with gaming, it's only going to speed up situations where you're working with large files.

    The failure rate on each drive doesn't go up; the array will simply fail whenever the first drive in the array fails. Either way, everything from every drive has to be backed up for safety.

    Similarly, the increase in noise, heat and power consumption is assuming 2 smaller drives in RAID vs. 1 larger drive. 2 drives in RAID are going to behave the same as 2 drives not in RAID.


    So is it worth it? I guess it depends on your needs, after you find all the information available, you have to decide if it's worth it to you.

    FWIW, I'm running 2 RAID 0 arrays (2x500gb, 2x320gb). I keep my important data on both arrays, and back it up to flash memory and/or DVDs periodically.
     
  3. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

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    i personally feel a huge gain in high end games on my system vs a single disk. large items load faster, games load in seconds vs minutes
     
  4. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    Depending on the games that someone may play, and in which you play them, raid 0 vs single can make absalutely no difference worth mentioning to being an incredible boost.


    For example, games that have a considerable amount of data to load very often, such as some MMORPs the rely on a porting system to get around the world, which is instant and has no transitional movements in the next zone after zone. ( Lineage II vs WoW for example) having raid 0 can mean waiting up to 30 seconds if not more to complete the porting, where as with raid 0, and in my case my raid array, the time can be shrunk down considerably, it takes me roughly less then a second to do the job where as a single drive that i have usually means at LEAST 5-10 second.

    UT3 shows a pretty nice increase in loading and less stuttering for the intial loadup of the game. Considering that is dynamic and loads only the first little bit just to get you in the game and going, the rest of the lvl and textures and whatnot are then loaded from the hardrive into the system memory and then made available to the video card, raid makes a considerable difference here.

    See the major playing factor here is the loading of massive amounts of data constantly.

    If for example, and alot of people like to do this, you wanted to record video/audio of a game in wich you may be playing, using a program like fraps, this is where hardrive speed is the most critical part of it all.


    I've been running raid 0 for nearly 9 years straight, only one occasion and usually only for a few month have i been without raid 0.

    Recently in the last 2 years, i've since been using raid 0 with 4 drives, and just recently i am running raid 0 with 6 drives.

    I've gone from a technical maximum read/write speed of 70-90MB/s using a single drive to breaking 600-750MB/s with raid 0. I admit, this is overkill, 2 drives should net you roughly 140-180MB/s. Fraps needs roughly a sustained 100-160MB/s to record a 1920x1200 resolution video and audio @ 30fps full resolution.


    I've yet to have a hardrive fail, lose any of my data. But i know it's highly possible, and i know that i should have backups, in which case i do, I have a seagate 500gb Freeagent external USB hardrive in which i keep essentially EVERYTHING i have on it, then i have a 8gb USB OCZ Flash drive as well in which i keep another duplicate of the most critical files on it.

    If one of my drives were to fail right now, it would only cost me a little bit of time, as it only takes about 15 minutes to load windows up again.and transfer data back to it would take no more then another 30 minutes.
     
  5. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

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    lol Judas.... whenever i see the whole 6 drive 7200.11 array you run man i just think

    goddamn......
     
  6. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    i swear i could get a vista hd score of like 29.9 ;)
     
  7. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

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    lol just 1 single 7200.11 gets 5.9 as a score, i got 2

    and you got..... 6...... goddamn i wish i had that much money to play with HDDs....
     
  8. phantommenace2

    phantommenace2 hexa-core gamer

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    do I need to use a RAID hardware controller for best performance or will the software controller be fine?
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2008
  9. Zelig

    Zelig Well-Known Member

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    Yes, and yes.

    A hardware controller will give you better performance, but if you have to ask, it probably isn't worth the expense.

    (Note: I'm assuming that by "software", you mean RAID solutions integrated onto the motherboard, and not true software, such as the dynamic disk feature in Windows.)
     
  10. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

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    Raid on motherboard is fine.
     
  11. jp306

    jp306 New Member

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    I use 2 Hitachi 320's in a Raid0 and have noticed a big difference in overall responsiveness on my PC. Games load faster, but if you're hitting the HD in games to much, you might need more ram more than anything else. That said I love my raid0 setup and won't be going single drive anytime soon. I use an on-board controller that came with my p965 chipset based board.
     
  12. phantommenace2

    phantommenace2 hexa-core gamer

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    interesting that most review sites notice little to no improvement when going from a single drive to RAID0 but a lot of users seem to feel the opposite...that StorageReview.com article I linked to in my first post even ran both through a series of benchmarks...that being said I think I'll definitely give RAID0 a try for my next build using 2 HD's

    "we still do not think RAID 0 is worth the trouble or cost for the average desktop user or gamer, especially with the software RAID capabilities included on most motherboards. If you must run RAID on the desktop, then we highly recommend the use of RAID 1, 5, or 10 (0+1) in order to protect your data and probably a hardware controller if you can afford one...At this time we still do not recommend RAID 0 for most desktop users due to the lack of widespread performance improvements and potential data integrity concerns with it"

    "RAID 0 offers generally minimal performance gains, significantly increased risk of data loss, and greater cost"
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2008
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  13. Zelig

    Zelig Well-Known Member

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    Excellent point, I'm just quoting this for further emphasis.
     
  14. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    i've 8gb of ram..... under vista x64...

    i still say i can see a noticeable improvement with raid...

    btw, intel Raid controllers baised on the ICH7/8/9R chipsets are a hardware baised solution that is quite excellent.... (via chipset)... very very efficient and fast.

    You don't need to go out and buy a PCI-ex/pci raid controller....

    True software solutions are all doing the raid work within the OS... now that's ungodly slow....
     
  15. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

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    Judas, my man, tell them the truth. It's more like demoniacally slow. :D

    Although I have to admit, even software RAID 1 can improve read speeds once things get up and running. Not for gaming, mind you, but in a server setup where multiple users are accessing the same data at the same time, it's of great benifit. Having 2 drives or more available sure speeds read access up considerably. Not as good as hardware RAID mind you, but sometimes good enough.
     
  16. phantommenace2

    phantommenace2 hexa-core gamer

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    someone mentioned to me that RAID 0 excels in synthetic benchmarks, or writing large files to disk however in real world benchmarks when reading a lot of smaller files(which is what you do most of the time) it is no faster than a single drive. Often times slower....

    true?
     
  17. Zelig

    Zelig Well-Known Member

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    Shouldn't be much slower, apart from increased CPU usage.

    Any files smaller than the stripe size simply get written to a single hard drive, so performance should be pretty much the same as a single drive.
     
  18. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

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    The only slowdown is during bootup. The reason being is that it takes a bit of time to initialize the array, so on a single drive Windows will always load faster. After that RAID 0 takes the lead. Is RAID 0 significantly faster than a fast single drive? Yes, and no. No when you pit it against a RAID 0 array that consists of 2 drives. It is faster, but not hugely faster. Yes RAID 0 is faster once you add on more drives. Simply add a 3rd drive, and that's all she wrote. RAID 0 wins hands down.

    Something that hasn't been touched on here is stripe size. Being a relative noob to using RAID 0 outside of a server environment I asked this question: what's the best stripe size to use? As I said, all my experience with RAID has been in server environments, so doing this on a personal rig was new to me. Some of this I knew already, but a nod goes to Judas for helping settle this (and this is based on using Intels Matrix RAID, btw):

    For a strictly gaming machine: 64k.
    For an average user machine: 64k if you use the machine more for gaming, or 128k if you use it more for everything else.
    File server: 32k.
    Streaming media box (be it music or video): 128k (the larger the better, actually).

    A lot of people recommended 128k, and that size is fine for the average user that uses their machine for other things, not just gaming, but in my case I found 64k (which was Judas' suggestion) was the best.

    BTW, I'm not sure what other peoples experience has been with this (maybe Judas can comment on this since he's running such a setup), but I've tried a RAID 0 setup with different drives with different cache sizes, and from what I've seen, once you hit 16mb cache there is no significant speed increase going to a RAID 0 setup that is using 32mb cache drives. After 16mb cache drive speeds begin to take over. It could just be my setup though.
     
  19. H3X4D3C1M4L

    H3X4D3C1M4L New Member

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    If you can afford to splash out, go SAS :) Single 15,000RPM drive will slay anything on the SATA market for random access and transfer rates, not to mention that a good SAS/SCSI drive at the 15,000RPM level will probably outperform the average RAID array on its own :D
     
  20. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    I'd be thoroughly interested to see 15k rpm drive vs the 7200.11's.......
     

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