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RAID question

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by theseus75, Feb 3, 2005.

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  1. theseus75

    theseus75 Thread Starter

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    I have been reading a bit about using RAID to speed up some programs, but the info I'm getting is somewhat unclear or too esoteric to certain configurations.

    Here's my question: I read that it's better if both drives (or multiple drives) are better off as the same size, but mine are different. Does that matter?

    Also, do all drives have to be SATA or ATA or can it be a combination of the two?

    I know my MB is RAID compatible, but is it just a program I run to install it, or do I have to physically plug something into the MB from the drives supporting the RAID utility?

    Any other help (of things I might be missing, but haven't mentioned here) would be good.

    Thanks.


    ASUS mb
    Win XP Pro
    HDD: 200gb Maxtor and 120 gb Seagate (both ATA)
    128mb Nvidia
    1gb Kingston RAM
    Audigy Gamer 2
     
  2. Arcadion

    Arcadion

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    Forget about it. Software RAID is highly overrated.
     
  3. norton850

    norton850

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    Here's some info. Although the article talks about servers things are basically the same with home systems. If your motherboard supports RAID, then you need to connect your drives to the connectors on the motherboard. A driver that usually comes with your motherboard supplies the RAID driver. Most RAID motherboards support RAID0 and RAID1, some also will support RAID5 and something called RAID0+1.

    The controllers are of the SATA type, so you need SATA drives or IDE drives with a converter. The drives do not need to be the same size, but with certain RAID configurations (RAID0) your total drive size will be twice that of the smaller drive. For example a 80 GB drive combined with a 40 GB drive will give your new RAID drive a total of 80GB of storage (2x40). So it makes since to have drives of the same size.

    What we are talking about here is "hardware" RAID. There is also a software RAID setup. I've never used it and as Arcadion says I don't know if it's worth it.

    RAID
     
  4. Arcadion

    Arcadion

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    One of my computers running Win2k at home has two RAID arrays. The first (which Windows boots off) is 3 9GB 7200rpm SCSI drives in an 18GB RAID-5 array on a hardware SCSI RAID card with 64MB of cache (AMI Megaraid 466), which ensures that even if one of my drives dies I don't lose any of my data or end up with a non-booting machine. One of these hardware RAID-5 cards on its own costs as much as a new computer. The other array is 3 4.5GB and 1 9GB 7200rpm SCSI drives in a software RAID array (JBOD, i.e. the drives are just joined together to make one big one) using the built-in RAID ability in Win2k and XP Pro. I use this array for general-purpose storage (but anything important goes on the RAID-5 array). This configuration (which uses 7 drives in total, on two SCSI cards) shows two good uses for RAID - realtime data backup (with the RAID-5) and the ability to use all those small drives you have lying about to make a single large one (with the JBOD array). There are some good articles about RAID on www.storagereview.com

    The RAID-0/RAID-1 controllers you find onboard many recent motherboards don't offer RAID-5 support, they have no hardware acceleration of RAID functions or cache. What you CAN do with your setup is to combine your two hard disks into one big one, but you don't need the RAID on the motherboard for that, XP Pro has this feature (using dynamic drives) built in.
     
  5. theseus75

    theseus75 Thread Starter

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    Thanks a lot. I'll look into these resources.
     
  6. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    I can't comment on other MB's, but my ABIT IC7-G MB has a SIIG RAID-0/1 controller onboard. Configured for RAID-0, I get just about 50% greather throughput moving large files than with either of the drives individually. I suspect other RAID controllers might do somewhat better, but I don't think that significant an increase is something to scoff at. Obviously, with RAID-0, backup is very important, but that's always the case. :)
     
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