View Full Version : Computer Question, Should I RAID?
11-04-2001, 04:30 PM
Ok, I have a motherboard with RAID on it, and I just bought two new 80 gig HD's. Would it be better to RAID them together so I have one 160gig HD or should I just put them in as two HD's? I run Win98SE, and I use my computer mostly for games.
11-04-2001, 05:05 PM
Here are some other good message boards for that question.
There are several different types (levels) of RAID. Raid drives can be used to improve performance and/or improve redundancy (mainly for some failure immunity).
In the latter case, if one drive duplicates the other, you would have 80Gig available to you and if one of the drives fails you will hopefully lose very little if any data.
Since you are a gamer, the first case might be more interesting. The disks can be "striped" so parts of each file are kept on both disks. Your system can be reading both parts at the same time (more or less) to nearly double disk i/o speed. (Assuming your CPU, bus, etc. can keep up with it.)
Unless one of these is what you are looking for, don't do it.
But, does MS Win98SE support RAID????? In the MS Windows NT branch there is some support but I'm not sure about the MS Win9x branch. I don't think just MB support alone is enough. Make sure you have drivers. This guy (http://www.ocworkbench.com/hardware/abit/bx133/bx133p5.htm) seems to have done it under Win98SE though...
(Since MS doesn't do multitasking well, I've left off some other possibilities.)
11-04-2001, 05:13 PM
ftg: I already know the types of RAID, right now I'm using two 15 gig drives to make one 30 gig. And it works. The main question is if it is worth it to make a 160gig vs. or two 80 gigs. I don't know how good the increase in speed is.
11-04-2001, 08:37 PM
I was going to do a RAID drive on my Win98 machine, but I decided to use the money to get a supercharger for my Ford Escort instead. :rolleyes:
11-05-2001, 07:54 PM
The increase in speed is dependant on how good your motherboard's RAID implementation is. For simple striping, theoretically, you can get twice the performance for sequential access, assuming that everything else in your system can keep up.
But to figure out how your performance would increase, we need to know things like model numbers of your drives (or, better yet, their transfer speeds), what type of bus the drives will be on (IDE, SCSI, USCSI, etc), and some info on your motherboard so you/we can look up reviews on how well your motherboard does RAID.
In general, I can't imagine that you'd get a big increase using Striping on an IDE bus, or if you have really fast individual disks on a mediocre SCSI bus. But if you have slow disks, or a hot SCSI bus, you will probably see a noticable (at least in the benchmarks) difference with striping enabled.
Also, be warned that the striped disk will be limited by the slowest disk in the stripe, so don't stripe a slow disk with a faster one. And pay attention to your stripe size, you certainly want it to be as big as a typical file system write for maximum speed.
And ftg: When you do hardware RAID, the OS sees it as a single hard drive. The hardware RAID controller receives the disk requests from the OS, and funnels them through to the proper drive(s). No special driver should be necessary...
11-05-2001, 11:45 PM
From what I've read IDE RAIDS do not benefit you in speed very much if at all. SCSI RAIDS on the other hand are generally much faster (mostly depending on the controller you use).
I've never understood the use of software RAIDs and would steer clear of them.
Remember, in just about any RAID setup you lose diskspace. If your interest is fault tolerance then that's fine. If diskspace is important you may not want to do that. Speed may or may not be there for you. Look into reviews of whatever you have to see if they test the speed.
I am currently running on an ABIT KT7A-RAID mobo but I do not make use of the RAID (although I make use of the extra controller...4 IDE channels for up to 8 devices). In my case the RAID barely netted performance gains in tests and occasionally was slower. That's just me though...depending on your setup your mileage may vary.
11-05-2001, 11:52 PM
I was searching for an article I had once read before posting my last message but couldn't find it. After posting however I continued looking and ran across the following article which is very good (and long). It seems IDE RAIDS are a mixed bag but CAN be faster as long as a few minimums are met.
SOURCE: AnandTech (http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.html?i=1491&p=1) NOTE: Along with Toms Hardware I highly recommend AnandTech as a source of PC info.
There is no question that a software RAID 0 IDE array will make your computer run faster, as the Content Creation Winstone 2001 scores clearly showed. Performance gains on the order of 13% are not negligible Just be sure that your software RAID chip is set to use its optimal stripe size, which we found in previous sections. The difference between a good stripe size for your card and a bad one can mean the difference between being faster than a single IDE drive or being slower than it.
Don't let the speed increase that comes with a RAID 0 array fool you into thinking that you can use older drives and get the same performance. The fact of the matter is that unless your IDE drives in the array are fast, the array simply won't perform well. The same can be said with mixing fast drives and slow drives: the performance of the array will go down.
Running with Scissors
11-06-2001, 08:44 AM
I'm just trying to figure out why, as a gamer, you need 160GB.
One thing to keep in mind that if you use RAID 0 (not really RAID, as there's no redundancy) and you lose one disk, you lose everything.
11-06-2001, 09:41 AM
I suppose, frogstein, that he could be hoping to create a lot of virtual memory. This would slow you down a lot, of course, but with a RAID-0 drive instead of a regular hard drive, it would slow you down a lot less!
Oh, and for those who are interested, my Escort now does 0 to 60 in 4.2 minutes, and tops out at 82 m.p.h. Hoody-hoo!
Whack-a-mole: the reason for the use of software RAIDs is very simple. It's cheap. A hardware RAID controller costs $$$$$; Windows NT comes with a software RAID system as part of the package. (Presumably Windows 2000 does as well-don't know about XP, but it wouldn't surprise me.) OK, so the performance stinks compared to a hardware controller-if what you're looking for is the redundancy aspect, the software controller does just fine. If you're looking for something better than RAID-1, you should probably shell out the bucks for a real system, of course.
11-06-2001, 10:07 AM
Originally posted by frogstein
I'm just trying to figure out why, as a gamer, you need 160GB.
For games that require more than 80 gb of drive space.
Hey, don't laugh. They're coming.
11-06-2001, 04:30 PM
Ok, I've decided to just make it two hard drives, since the majority of people say the speed increase is not worth it.
Oh Frogstein, I said I used the computer mostly for games, but I've also recently gotten into d/l old tv episodes that are not on DVD onto my computer. It's amazing how much space that burns up :)
SCSSimmons: That would be alot of virtual memory, but I have 768 megs of RAM, and haven't met a program yet that uses it all. Hey, it was on sale, why not? :)
Thank you all for your replys.
11-07-2001, 09:06 AM
Originally posted by SCSimmons
Whack-a-mole: the reason for the use of software RAIDs is very simple. It's cheap. A hardware RAID controller costs $$$$$; Windows NT comes with a software RAID system as part of the package.
I understand that but what I don't understand is how a software RAID is expected to be fault tolerant. Certainly it works just fine if one of your harddrives wonks out on you but what happens when the OS crashes? It seems likely in this case that you could get some data corruption as whatever is queued-up for writing back to the drives will now be lost.
A hardware RAID, especially the nice ones, have no such problems from system crashes. Good hardware RAIDs have tons of batteries on the board so even in the event of a power failure they keep whatever has been queued-up in memory till it gets its chance to write the info back to the drives when they come back up. Granted, the boards I'm thinking of are $1,500+ and are probably a bit much for a home system (they're usually found in servers) but they do rock!
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