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RAID help and advice

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I'll be honest, I've been out of the loop when comes to RAID.
The last time I was in the know, RAID was stupidly expensive and impractical for daily users.

So, I'm wondering a few things as I want to set up my system in RAID.
I have 1tb Samsung, 1tb Seagate, 2tb Samsung and 2x 500gig Samsung drives.
Currently the the 1 and 2tb Samsung drives are in my system, but I'm going to chuck in the other 1tb too me thinks.

I do have data I want to keep on all those drives, so first question and probably the one that will sound most retarded; can RAID be set up without affecting data on the drives? Or do they need to be wiped. (windows included)

Also, what is the recommended RAID setup? 0? 1? 5? 10?

What advantages am I going to see in performance as a gamer with these mechanical drives in RAID over them being independent?

Thanks very much for the input and your time!
Any other bits of advice and or wisdom is welcome! :]
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post #2 of 7
Yes, unfortunately the drives have to be wiped.
RAID 0 if you want performance but aren't worried about redundancy (data striped across 2 or more drives).
RAID 1 if all you want is redundancy (data mirrored).
RAID 5 if you want performance combined with data recovery abilities (data striped with parity across the stripe).
RAID 10 is a combination of RAID 0 and RAID 1, the RAID 0 stripe is mirrored.
This: http://www.thegeekstuff.com/2010/08/...vels-tutorial/ explains them all pretty well, and it's got diagrams too.

You should see a pretty good performance increase if you use RAID 0, 5 or 10.
I see most people running a RAID 0, but then if one of the drives fails you will lose all data. If you want some kind of way to ensure you don't lose data, consider RAID 5.
Edited by Mr. Moon - 10/19/11 at 2:44am
    
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post #3 of 7
if that's what i had..i'd raid 0 the 2 1tb drives..AND the 2 500gb drives..and use the 2 tb for a backup..short-stroke the 1 tb..and use the 500gb raid for pagefile
 
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post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmuckley View Post
if that's what i had..i'd raid 0 the 2 1tb drives..AND the 2 500gb drives..and use the 2 tb for a backup..short-stroke the 1 tb..and use the 500gb raid for pagefile
Excellent! Sounds like a plan.
That would work perfectly actually, considering my 2tb is already the back-up drive. So I'll just migrate everything over tonight and get onto setting up RAID in the morning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Moon View Post
You should see a pretty good performance increase if you use RAID 0, 5 or 10.
I see most people running a RAID 0, but then if one of the drives fails you will lose all data. If you want some kind of way to ensure you don't lose data, consider RAID 5.
Thanks for you reply and the links, very much appreciated.
I knew about the down-fall of RAID 0, but given that I'll have the back-up drive separate from the array, I'm not too phased if it all turns pair shaped.

Both +repped.

Of course, if anyone else has any input it's always welcome.
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post #5 of 7
post #6 of 7
Yes, creating an array would wipe the data. The problem is that the controller presents the group of disks to the OS as a so glee, bigger disk, so the file table on any one disk becomes meaningless.

One thing to think about, though, is that different capacity drives don't play nice in any configuration besides JBOD (just a big ole disk) which isn't really RAID. An array will limit the capacity of each drive to that of the smallest one.

RAID 0 gives you faster reads and writes by using all the drives at a time. The capacity of the array is the smallest drive times the number of drives. If once drive dies, though, all data is rendered unreadable due to the missing pieces.
RAID 1 mirrors the drives, each half of the array is a copy of the other half, so you can lose a drive and still have all your data. Write speed isn't noticeably improved, but a good raid card can read from both halves of the array, improving read speeds. The capacity leaves something to be desired, though at half the number of drives times the capacity of the smallest.
RAID 5 stripes the data and adds parity, so your data remains safe on the event of the failure of a single drive. Stirring to the drives is a bit slower since the system has to write the parity data, but a between card can mitigate this if it has onboard logic to calculate the parity, or better yet, an I/O processor. Read speeds are improved, however, since data is striped like in RAID 0. Your capacity is the size of the smallest drive times one less than the number of disks. A similar version RAID 6 can survive 2 drive failures, but the capacity is reduced by one disk from RAID 5.
You can put one array in another to get the benefits from both types. For instance RAID 50 splits data across 2 RAID 5 arrays to increase read/write speed without sacrificing redundancy. Capacity is based on the arrays, find the capacity of the inside arrays and use that as the disk capacity for the outer array.

Note that read/write speed mentioned is sequential, so it is more effective for large files and doing stuff like recording/playback of video files. Seek time isn't affected at all (though the array is limited to the speed of the slowest drive), so random access times on a bunch of smaller files won't benefit much or at all.

For a small number of disks like you have, I would recommend a RAID 0 and frequent backups. For larger arrays, I recommend RAID 5 or 50 depending on if you want more capacity or speed respectively. Backups and/or a hot spare are also recommended.
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
The 2x 1tb drives in RAID_0 are performing extremely well. Definitely noticeable compared to a single drive.

Except, I'm not sure if I only have the ability to run the 2 drives in RAID. It only shows my Intel SATA controller as having RAID.
But I'm fine with leaving out the 2x 500gig drives.

Thanks everyone for the information and help. :]
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