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RAID 5 Intel ICH Performance

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to get a 2or 3 more Seagate Green 2TB drives (so I'd have 3-4) and want to RAID 5 them. I'm using a Z68 chipset and have heard Intel ICH Raid has poor RAID 5 performance? How poor are we talking?

(I'm a student and I LAN frequently and stay in a flat (apartment), so owning a LAN rig AND a NAS just doesn't make sense - nor can I afford it.)
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post #2 of 10
ICH10r, I assume? RAID5 is always inefficient for write speeds and overhead processing. Since the ICH10r chip offloads it's actual processing to your CPU, this means you may take a CPU performance hit depending on how close you are riding the 100% usage line. That said, the actual IO performance of the ICH10r chip is on par or better than most budget-priced RAID cards.

In your particular case, I don't see a 2500k being too heavily taxed by the RAID5's overhead. That said, if seagate's "green" drives are anything like western digital, you don't want to raid them to begin with. Also if you don't want your write speeds to be sucked into the void, you may consider upgrading to a RAID10.
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
I didn't actually consider that I'd experience a problem with Green drives. Western Digitals I can understand because of the variable RPM (5400-7200) but can't imagine the 5900 fixed RPM Seagates would suffer the same?

And I CANNOT go back to 7200RPM drives, two are loud enough and they only go up to 1TB.

RAID 10 could be a possibility - you can migrate from RAID 5 to RAID 10?
Edited by CourageD - 10/2/11 at 6:05pm
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post #4 of 10
@OP

The RAID 5 implementation on the ICH10R isn't very good at all. It's not the fact that it uses the CPU for XOR calculations; Linux's software RAID 5 does that too, but is infinitely better. The ICH10R implementation is simply poor.

Additionally, the ICH10R needs drives that support TLER, in order to avoid them dropping out of an array if they hit a bad block. If you want to use the ICH10R, stick to RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 10.
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Okay another question, a Windows software RAID 5?

Not really keen on the loss of space to a RAID 10, especially since my limitation is 4 3.5" drives. But at the same time, I HATE having a multiple "drives", just makes space and folder management so much more difficult and becomes chaos in no time.
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post #6 of 10
I think Windows software RAID 5 is only available with Windows Server variants, and is just as poor (if not worse) than the ICH10R implementation. It certainly isn't very popular. I'd guess that 99.9999% of Windows-based RAID setups use a true hardware RAID card.
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well is there any other way I could "combine" these drives, it really makes my folder and storage management a lot simpler.

Perhaps even a RAID 0+1/1+0/10 setup?

Or should I perhaps fork out a little bit for a RAID controller card (not a cheap rubbish one) that *could* handle these drives in RAID5? Because I see Green drives being used in RAID NAS boxes, is this just because of using a specific controller?
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post #8 of 10
Those NAS boxes run a variant of Linux, so they will use Linux's built-in software RAID. For a Windows machine I would recommend either a hardware RAID card or FlexRAID, depending on if you want performance or not.

FlexRAID is pure software and is ideal for serving media files over the network. The focus is on data integrity and minimising the impact of drive loss. FlexRAID doesn't use striping, so the threat of catastrophic data loss is greatly reduced. However, performance is limited to the speed of one drive.

There's plenty choices out there when looking for a hardware RAID card, and all of them are expensive. For the money, I would look at getting a PERC 6/i off eBay, or perhaps a used Areca ARC-12xxML series that supports RAID 5. LSI cards are also good.

One thing to note though is that some Western Digital and Seagate "green" drives don't play nice on hardware RAID controllers. Some guys on this Areca thread have had issues with both Seagate and WD "green" units dropping off the RAID. Hitachi and Samsung drives seem to be the units of choice for this kind of setup.
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post #9 of 10
if you are going for RAID purely for the sake of having a single root directory for all your folders, and not for performance or hardware-failure-protection, I believe it is possible to span a volume over multiple independent drives from within windows. You would have to look it up or ask someone who knows more about it, but I'm fairly certain it is possible.
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post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well I would *like* some performance and data protection but that's not looking possible. Hopefully I can pick up one of those mentioned RAID cards for a decent price, otherwise I'll just stick to spanning.
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