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To RAID or Not

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
In my current build I'm using an SSD as my system drive, and I have all my personal storage on a WD Caviar Black (1TB) SATA-III HDD. Since I don't keep my files on the SSD I'm not worried if it should fail, however, I would like to protect my personal files. With HDD prices returning back to earth, I was thinking I should build some redundancy.

I'm undetermined between RAID 1 (mirroring) and RAID 5.

As I understand it, RAID 1 is a mirror, so two 1TB identical drives would yield 1 TB of storage, fully duplicated and independently addressable, so if 1 disk fails, the other is an exact copy, no data lost.

I believe RAID 5 uses a block striping method, with parity, but it seems I would need at least three HDDs to make it work, but it would give me more usable capacity.

I'm leaning toward RAID1 because I don't think my P8Z77-V motherboard has enough SATA ports to create a 3-disk RAID. It only seems to have 2 Intel Sata-III ports (one is in use for the SSD, the other for my HDD) and two Asmedia Sata-III ports. There are four Sata-II ports, of which I have two occupied with my BluRay and my eSata port.

What ports are best for setting up a RAID?

I suppose there are add-on controllers for setting up RAID, so that might be another approach. Does anyone have any experience with that?

Thanks in advance for any advise/Feedback.
post #2 of 5
If you're going to do a "fake" RAID (which is when you do a software RAID using drivers for your MOBO to do RAID, instead of a real controller) then I would just stick with RAID 1.

RAID 1 is much simpler to maintain than a RAID 5 is, and keeping things simple with a RAID 1 would be the best choice for "fake" RAID because it's so much simpler and there would be a lot less to go wrong than there would be with a RAID 5 using software RAID.

The SATA II ports would probably be fine for running the RAID off of because the mechanical hard drives couldn't use all of SATA III's bandwidth anyway so you might as well leave those available in case you ever add another SSD which could utilize the extra bandwidth.

Check with your motherboard's manual and make sure RAID is supported on all SATA ports on your board, and in what combinations. thumb.gif
     
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post #3 of 5
I'd go with RAID 1 if I were to choose. Since almost all ASUS z77 boards have only 2 Intel SATA III ports, RAID 1 would be perfect.

Another route I suggest is getting an External HDD and backing up to it. This way if you ever need the data somewhere else, you can carry it around.
:D
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Intel i5 3570K [4.5ghz] Asus P8Z77 V-Pro Asus GTX 760 2X4gb Corsair XMS3 1600mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
WD Blue 1TB EZEX X 2 [RAID 0] [WD Black 640GB][2 X WD Blue 1TB EZEX] Corsair H80i Windows 7 64bit 
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Dell Ultrasharp 23" Corsair CX430W v2 Corsair Graphite 600T 
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post #4 of 5
To be honest I'm not familiar with RAID 5, so I don't know which to recommend. You are correct in that RAID 1 is a direct copy.

The SATA ports don't matter unless you're using SATA III mechanical drives, and even then the difference will probably be negligible, if any at all.

If you have three free SATA (II or III) ports, you can set up RAID 5. It shouldn't matter if some drives are connected to SATA II and some are connected to SATA III ports. I'm just guessing here, but I don't see why it would matter.

SATA cards are another way to go, but you shouldn't need one for what you're doing. They are better for high speed setups (multiple SSDs) or server setups with several hard drives connected in RAID. Your motherboard should be able to handle what you need just fine. If it doesn't, you can always add the RAID card after.
Ace
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Ace
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 3570k @ 4.5Ghz ASRock Z77E-ITX EVGA GTX 680 Hydro Copper G.Skill Ares Series 16GB 1600MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Samsung 840 PRO Series 256GB WD Scorpio Black 750GB Asus External XSPC EX240 
CoolingCoolingCoolingOS
XSPC EX120 EK Supreme HF Swiftech MCP355 w/ EK Top Windows 8 Professional Plus MC 64-Bit 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
LG W2442PA 24" 1080P LG W2442PA 24" 1080P Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silverstone ST45SF-G 450W SFX  
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Compact Splash #001 Mionix Naos 5000 Steelseries 4HD 
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post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
All, thank you. I'll try Raid 1 on the SATA 2 ports.
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