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A little Fun with SSD RAID 0 (SAS & up to 6 SSD comparison)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well I'm starting this topic as it gives me something to do at night while I'm sitting here bored

I recently threw together a new system and have been trying to get the best performance possible for what I have (as we all do). But it wasn't until recently that I got addicted to my drive speed. I happened to be de-commisioning a server at work that had a Dell PERC 5/i controller card and 3 300GB SAS 10k RPM drives in it. Rather than see it go to waste I decided to test it out compared to a single WD black drive... needless to say I was hooked instantly! My system just felt so much more responsive and load times were great for everything (with the exception of waiting for the damned drives and controller initializing lol).

Well I was given an opportunity through work to get a hold of a batch of SSDs! So I hopped on it and ordered 6 OCZ vertex 120GB SSDs. While they arent all mine (this is for some systems there and my home machine that I use to VPN in to remote admin stuff) I will have some time to play with them before I have to roll them out.

My usage scenario is this: I used to game a lot more, but as time goes on I play less and less. I still get the itch to play once in a while but the need to tewak and get things as fast as possible is always there. for the most part I dont need much storage as I run a WHS system that houses all my downloads, MP3s, pictures and DVD / Blu-Ray collection. Really a nice 300GB drive would do it for me on most of my desktops.

I have a HTPC hooked up that serves as both a gaming rig and typical HTPC duties. It is a e8400 @ 3.6GHz, Freezer 7 Pro, 8GB DDR 2, 1.5TB Seagate, Blu-Ray Drive, HD 4890, hooked to a 52" LCD.

My main play around / gaming / remote admin machine is the one I will be testing on:

i5 750 @ 4.01GHz
Coolermaster N520 Cooler
Asus P7H57D-V-EVO Mobo
2x 4GB Corsair CMX8GX3M2A2000C9 XMS3
GTS 470
LG Blu-Ray Writer
37" LCD
Tried and true Cambridge soundworks 2.1 speakers
Win 7 x64

I had a 1TB WD Black drive and put in the 3x 300GB 10k SAS drives on the PERC 5/i controller and haven't looked back. However with the recent purchase of the OCZ Vertex SSDs I figure I should take the opportunity to really run things through the paces.

I know from reading around that two SSDs will come close to maxing out the PERC 5/i three can go a bit further but it doesnt seem like I'll see as much benefit past that. If I can get a hold of a cable to go from the controller to the SSDs I may test out comparing the SAS drives vs the SSDs on the controller to see the difference in 1 VS 2 VS 3 drives in full space and short stroked on the SAS. I even have access to 4 1TB WD Blacks just for numbers sake but with the TLER thing I know the WD drives wont be a reliable solution.

Past that I'll try to test the on board VS PERC 5/i with up to 3 drives VS the on board controller on my MoBo and the proceed in to the 6 SSD drive range.

So my questions to you are:

What tests would you like to see, and how would you like to see them setup?

from looking around it looks like 64k stripe size will be my best bet, depending on time I may try 32k and 128k, are you more interested in just drive scaling? or include some stripe sizes?

I hope to make a base image on a 120GB drive and clone it over and expand the partition to save time. I want the results to be produced from the OS drive to show benefits of using this ina real world situation. This will be Win 7 x64 Enterprise with all latest windows updates, MS Security essentials, a few basic programs (which I will list, and also list the startup programs which I usually keep to an absolute minimum) and a few games to possibly show some load speeds (Crysis anyone?)

What else would you like to see during this experiment?

So in the mean time I'll be prepping my image, and waiting on the SSDs to arrive!

Let me know what you think!
post #2 of 13
AS SSD and CrystalDiskMark are some popular ssd benchmarking programs, Crysis and other games/programs are always welcome (like Photoshop CS5). And don't forget the boot time tests!

I should mention, however, that you need to manually create the partition for the SSDs and do a fresh install (for the first time). You'll have the wrong offset if you just copy an image from an HDD installation.

Good luck!
 
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Wild eyes (2015)
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Samsung 850 Pro 256GB + 2x Seagate 3TB HDDs Koolance CPU-380A water block Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium BenQ XL2720Z 
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post #3 of 13
I don't think OCZ supports trim,
but they may have changed this with the release of the vertex 2

also I saw somwhere that they have released another PCIE card aimed at enthusiast market. it looks like a sata ssd attached to a PCIE card, it has a plastic cover over the sexy bits.
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post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
they supposedly do support TRIM, however that is not supported on RAID.

I have read however conflicting reports that they don't / do support a garbage collection utility which supposedly makes up for TRIM. Some say native garbage colloection is in a different controller not the Sandforce one, so I'm trying to see what the real deal on this is. Most posts are from feb-april last year.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ok ppl need to let me know what you would like to see with what settings I plan on playing tonight!!

Got the Six SSDs sitting in front of me now and I keep wanting to suddently come down with a stomach virus so I can leave here!!
post #6 of 13
I will love to see them all, i repeat all. btw does the perc can do raid 3, if not raid 5, looking forward to this, thanks in advance.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
been pretty slow tonight. Doing a fresh install of Win 7 x64 on my first 120GB SSD. Got my USB key setup with my windows ISO to install from it to save some time and going to try to test the windows backup. I'm hoping it will allow me to restore from my 1TB drive to the various arrays I will be creating, with the base image I want. This way I don;t have to keep re-installing all the windows updates and programs I want to test with.

Again if anyoen has a cable I can use for a short time to test with the PERC 5/i and reg SATA drives please PM me, I'll pay shipping both ways! I have a feeling I will end up stickign with the on board RAID in the end but you never know. I may buy my own cable after all this lol

So back to the testing, what settings should I use in HD Tune and AS SSD?

I also remembered seeing in one of my crysis benchmark tools it writes a log file on how long it takes to load a level.

I'm going to do some load time tests as well with a timer and my iphone recording video so I can try to put them side by side (windows boot, Crysis load time, Heaven benchmark load times, shutdown, file copy, etc etc)
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
bit the bullet and ordered a SFF-8484 to 4x SATA cable to use for testing. Money is tight right now for me lol so I only bought one for the time being.

Hopefully it will get here quick. In the mean time still building my image and prepping.
post #9 of 13
AS SSD and CrytalDiskMark.

Pity no SSD's support TRIM in RAID as of this moment, however OCZ Sandforce drives do have Garbage Collection (log-off, let it run overnight)
post #10 of 13
For real world testing check out Iometer. You can configure the program for testing in all sorts of different realities. DB processing, video streaming, etc. Disk testing is one of it's features.
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