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Planning new build, need help with SSD/HDD arrangement.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

I'm beginning to plan a new build as my system is starting to show its age.
I plan on using a single ~256GB SSD for operating systems and everyday programs and some arrangement of HDDs for larger programs (Adobe Creative Suite, for example), games, data storage and everything else. I'd like to use no more than 5 drives total.

I've never used RAID before, but as I understand it:
RAID 0: Faster Read/Write, if a drive fails, you'd better have backups elsewhere.
RAID 1: Mirroring, I'm not interested.
RAID 5: Faster Reads/ Slower Writes, allows a drive to fail without losing your data, lose the capacity of one drive.
RAID 6: Like RAID 5, but allows two disks to fail, lose capacity of two drives. Not interested.
RAID "10" or "1+0": a RAID 0 of two RAID 1's; faster Read/Write, lose capacity of half the number of drives.

I do lots of gaming, so fast read speeds are nice. I also like to record game footage and some of my own music, so fast writes are also nice. Here's what I'm thinking so far:
-Buy 3 HDDs to RAID 5 for my games, other large programs, documents, media, etc. This should give me a slight increase in read speed as opposed to a single drive, correct?
-Use the 250GB Seagate ES.2 that is my current main system drive as a dedicated "scratch" disk for recording game footage, music, etc.

Then I could just use an archiving program to backup the contents of the scratch disk to my RAID array regularly so I won't lose anything if my scratch disk dies.

Does this sound like a good setup? Could I do anything better with the same number of drives? I will buy a dedicated RAID controller.

I know this is a long post, thank you for your time!
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post #2 of 5
Without a real dedicated RAID card, using a RAID 5 for a system drive can cause some serious stability issues. If you're trying to avoid investing in a real RAID controller, stick with SSDs or RAID0 of a pair of Raptor drives, WD Blacks, or two Seagate XT drives.

Scratch disks shouldn't need backing up because they are generally just temporary in-and-out storage for things you haven't sorted yet.

My preference goes to having an OS/Software drive with high speed drives, and a separate, high capacity, lower speed data drive. Software can be easily re-installed, or an image of it be made to the data drive just in case. Data is what really needs protecting.

Personally I have two WD 320's in RAID0 and I'm consistently one of the first people loaded into most games, my next move will probably be to either Raptor drives or SeaGate XT drives for better random IO as SSDs are still too small for me (I need 400GB on my C drive). If you don't have as much stuff, even a single SSD will outperform most hard drives in a RAID array. RAID 5's make great data drives even on the motherboard's built in controller if your mobo will support it.
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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTRLurself View Post

Without a real dedicated RAID card, using a RAID 5 for a system drive can cause some serious stability issues. If you're trying to avoid investing in a real RAID controller, stick with SSDs or RAID0 of a pair of Raptor drives, WD Blacks, or two Seagate XT drives.
Scratch disks shouldn't need backing up because they are generally just temporary in-and-out storage for things you haven't sorted yet.
My preference goes to having an OS/Software drive with high speed drives, and a separate, high capacity, lower speed data drive. Software can be easily re-installed, or an image of it be made to the data drive just in case. Data is what really needs protecting.
Personally I have two WD 320's in RAID0 and I'm consistently one of the first people loaded into most games, my next move will probably be to either Raptor drives or SeaGate XT drives for better random IO as SSDs are still too small for me (I need 400GB on my C drive). If you don't have as much stuff, even a single SSD will outperform most hard drives in a RAID array. RAID 5's make great data drives even on the motherboard's built in controller if your mobo will support it.

I stated in my post that I will buy a dedicated RAID controller. Are there stability issues with RAID 5 even with a dedicated controller? I've also heard of a data corruption/integrity issue called a "write hole" with RAID 5, although I don't know anything about its prevalence.
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post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Bumping for more opinions. I guess another option instead of a 3-disk RAID 5 would be to have a 2-disk RAID 0 plus one disk to backup documents, savegames, media, etc. in case the RAID 0 fails. But then I'd lose my steam games if the RAID failed and I'd hate to have to download all of them again. If I backed them, I could start to run out of room quick. Then if the backup disk failed instead.. ah, it's just messy. I'd much prefer the 3-disk RAID 5 if the read performance would be good and the write performance would only be a little worse than a single disk.

Thoughts?
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post #5 of 5
(sorry for the slow response)

With a dedicated controller it's less likely to have a problem. Make sure to buy the battery backup module for the RAID controller you buy. If power get's lost mid write cycle it can cause issues on a RAID5.
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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1TB RE4 2x3TB WD Red LG 10x BD-R Corsair H80i w/push pull 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Win 7 Ultimate 3x 1920x1080 LG IPS displays. Razer Mass Effect 3 Blackwidow Ultimate Cooler Master Silent Pro M850 
CaseMouseMouse Pad
Silverstone TJ08B-E R.A.T. 7 An ergonomic one 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i7 3770k Gigabyte Sniper M3 1155 mATX CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz 1TB WD RE4 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
2TB WD Red 2TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 
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750W Seasonic Gold Fractal Node 804 5.1 Definitive Def Tech PERC 5i RAID card w/ BBU (LSI Firmware) 
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