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To RAID SSDs or not??
Melbourne, Victoria
21 posts
Hi Guys
Just built a new rig for gaming and photo and video rendering, and was wondering whether to raid the ssd's or not.
Sytem as follows:
Intel 3930K
Giga X79-Ud5 (bit disappointed in this board)
16gb GSkill sniper
Corsair H100 Water cooler
Giga GTX 580SO (from old build)
CM Cosmos2 (freakin HUGE)
Corsair AX 850 80+ Gold PSU
WIN 7 Pro 64 OEM
currently 2x Seagate 1Tb mech's

Have bought 2x Intel 520 series 240Gb, now should I raid them or not?
If so - raid 1or raid 0? I will be leaving the mechs in, and maybe adding a couple more, and I also back up on a semi regular basis. (if its not backed up I can afford to lose it, is my thinking).

Only annoying problem is the system sees the HDD & the DVD drive as SCSI devices, and if i dont have a disk in the DVD when I boot it shows as an audio CD is in the drive even when its empty, and I cant use it at all. (It works fine in my old system though. WIN 7 home premium 64).
Any advice welcome thanks.
11:06am 21/04/12 Permalink
11:06am 21/04/12 Permalink
Melbourne, Victoria
3478 posts
If you were considering raid on SSD's and had the money to buy 2x 240Gb SSD's, I would have just gone with the 240Gb RevoDrive 3 X2 PCIe SSD, it's effectively 4x 60Gb SSD chips in Raid0 on a PCIe card. Oh yeah, and it's awesome.
11:40am 21/04/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
5506 posts
I would be looking for either two very high spec ssd and throw them in a mirror otherwise get 4 moderately fast ones and run a mirror stripe

Its also going to depend on the raid controller you are using, if the raid controller has a cache or better yet battery backed cache. Better still not using hardware raid, but its entirely up-to what OS, the type of data being written / read and a host of other factors. For you average gaming rig I would opt for pcie solution keep in mind that most of the time your mainboard is going to see it as some form of raid controller

But for the two intel 520's stripe em and treat them like they will die at any minute or go buy two more and run raid10

last edited by HerbalLizard at 12:24:48 21/Apr/12
12:21pm 21/04/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
12871 posts
you can definitely do it, it would be very sick too
however as tspec points out, there are other/better alternatives for less money

if space wasn't an issue you'd definitely get more bang for buck with 4-6 sata drives in raid6, the speed+redundancy would be there and you'd have several hundred percent more space for the same $ value
12:37pm 21/04/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
5406 posts
Obviously your rig is pretty high end so I wouldn't see why not; but it's kind of unwarranted, i'd spend the money making sure you buy a good SSD over getting some average ones in raid. SSD's usually fail thanks to things like sandforce chips and their crummy drivers, they have issues with things like randomly disappearing from the drive list. Not exactly what you want.

Although almost all those issues with stuff (like the ocz vertex drives) have been overcome with firmware updates.

But if you have two of them in a cheap raid (like raid0) you'd find yourself in trouble pretty quickly.

PS: i've got that cosmos case you call huge. And it is. It took like half a week to find enough spare fans to populate the what, like 6 120mm slots that it has? The top of it will house a 120mm x 360mm radiator which is what i'm slowly working towards (although i seem to be able to clock 4.5-4.8ghz depending on weather using air cooling alone..)

Anyhoo post back results when you've done whatever solution you decide.
02:08pm 21/04/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
5507 posts
Do you have a spare 16x or 8x slot (can't be f***ed looking at the spec of your board) if so just go and grab a semi decent raid controller something like an HP p410 and some 8087 sas to sata fan out cables, normally they are about 70cm long so makes cabling in a large case simple

What will f*** you though is allot of consumer / prosumer (re non server / workstation) boards have issues trying to boot from raid controllers in those slots. Some but not all

Set the boards bios to boot from the controller then configure your raid in the card and it will present the os with the volume when you install your os as far as the os is concerned its a simple volume which you are formatting as NTFS done easy as f***

While you are in there go grab two mech drives and mirror them and then simply run an image based backup using acronis or shadow protect. Then don't give a s*** if it dies restore from image easy

03:06pm 21/04/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
9623 posts
+1 Herbal.

I love my striped Crucial SSD drives, though I wish I had the spare cash to plug them into a decent PCI-e card that'd see them to their true potential.

The Intel ich10r SATA3 onboard raid controller on my mobo is pretty decent, though it doesn't stack up next to a true PCI-e raid controller card.
06:31pm 21/04/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
5510 posts
Maybe go grab a an LSISAS2008 based card or a p400 or something I have seen them on ebay for about $120 you would want something with 8087sas over 8484 (p400) they are a pain in the c***

More than happy to lend you some sas to sata cables
11:19pm 21/04/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
1350 posts
Just don't get OCZ, my third died on me today :/
01:08am 22/04/12 Permalink
12819 posts
wonder if anyone uses something like drbd in linux or shadow copy in windows to do a sort of poor-mans raid1 with an ssd and a sata. set it to write-behind so you don't have to wait for the slower drive to be written to, so you get the zippy speed of the unreliable drive type, and it's copied at the block level to the cheaper sata drive so you can get to your data if the ssd fails
04:00am 22/04/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
2442 posts
I love my striped Crucial SSD drives, though I wish I had the spare cash to plug them into a decent PCI-e card that'd see them to their true potential. The Intel ich10r SATA3 onboard raid controller on my mobo is pretty decent, though it doesn't stack up next to a true PCI-e raid controller card.
How many do you have striped together?

If it's just 2, I wouldn't really bother.
07:40am 22/04/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
5514 posts
wonder if anyone uses something like drbd in linux
I have a mate working in storage for SGI who uses it, I can ask

09:41am 22/04/12 Permalink
Melbourne, Victoria
6779 posts
Never RAID SSDs.

Seriously, when have you ever come across circumstances where the speed of even a SATA2 speed SSD has not been sufficient? SATA3 is going to let you double that, and while RAID will give more again, it's not worth losing all data on both drives when one fails.
09:56am 22/04/12 Permalink
12820 posts
raven I guess you mean stripe/raid0, not raid in general
10:03am 22/04/12 Permalink
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
951 posts
it's not worth losing all data on both drives when one fails.

Nor to essentially 'double' the read/write usage of both disks.

As I understand it, SSD's have a much shorter half-life than 'traditional, mechanical' HDDs. By setting up RAID 0 or 1 you will essentially have both SSD's writing information in sync. My logic is, if you have both SSD's writing that data when really you only need one copy of that information, then you are essentially 'burning' the lifespan of the other SSD unnecessarily.

If you're looking to Mirror the SSD, My suggestion is to consider alternatives to the way you wish to 'backup' your data.
(If they're new disks, and they're built by the same manufacturer (and likely from a similar batch) then they're quite likely to die within a short period of each other (which makes your mirrored setup seem pointless to me))
If however you want some real 'speed' I'd suggest Striping them, but seriously... I don't see you getting a dramatic enough performance gain to warrant (essentially) reducing the lifespan of thoses disks otherwise.

I opted to use my SSD (120GB) as a 'System disk' and have my previous 'fast HDD' (a 300GB Velociraptor) now set as the target disk for my 'Users' folder (which including 'Desktop').

I've done this so I don't lose any data that I have created (if the o/s disk dies, well I lose the SSD, but all of 'my content' is on the Velociraptor) if the disk gives up the ghost, but I get the performance gain of having the o/s loading super quick.

In conjunction with this, I am running a 'Soft-RAID' (RAID 0 - Striping) in this system also (for my steam folder primarily) which is a pair of 7200RPM 500GB disks that were essentially about to be 'retired' (srsly... who uses a 500GB disk anymore?) so I set them up for striping, and am happy with the performance that these two disks give when paired with the SSD and the VR.

At then end of the day it's your dosh, if you want to go to the top story of your building at hurl the SSD's at the ground, you're entitled to. As for setting up your SSD's in RAID? Consider what you want the RAID for, and whether or not you'll yield any tangible speed gain, or in the case of 'data redundancy' whether or not there are better alternatives.

I say don't bother, there really isn't a need to try and milk the extra performance at the expense of longevity.
01:09pm 22/04/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
6915 posts
As I understand it, SSD's have a much shorter half-life than 'traditional, mechanical' HDDs

I think most of the concerns about SSD vs mechanical life-span only kick in realistically if you're continuously writing to the drive non-stop. For typical use where you're actually using your PC and hence not doing 24/7 bulk disk transfers, there's probably no real life-difference between the two.

Also in my opinion using mirroring on an SSD is an extremely inefficient use of your money, as the price-per-GB of those drives is horrendous compared to mechanical drives. Much better to get decent backup software like Macrium and do daily automated compressed incremental/differential backups to a cheap 500GB mechanical drive or over the network to another machine. If your drive dies, buy another and it'll take less than 1 hour to restore from backup with a couple of easy clicks.
01:19pm 22/04/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
9624 posts
How many do you have striped together? If it's just 2, I wouldn't really bother.

ta for the tip Step... I'll grab a couple more when I get a decent PCI-e contoller.

I don't work for a decent hardware provider anymore, so I don't have the easy access to resources to test 'marketing opinion and forum opinion' bulls*** for myself.

03:13pm 22/04/12 Permalink
Melbourne, Victoria
6781 posts
Yeah, I meant basic cheap stripes. Who the hell has enough money to set up a proper RAID5/RAID6 SSD array.
06:40pm 22/04/12 Permalink
1909 posts
01:56am 23/04/12 Permalink
01:56am 23/04/12 Permalink
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