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To RAID or not to RAID...

Poll Results: RAID-0 or not?

 
  • 87% (7)
    Yes
  • 12% (1)
    No
8 Total Votes  
post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
...That is the question. RAID-0, that is.

My current set-up consists of the following:
Kingston SSDNow V+ 40GB - C:\\ - OS (Windows 7 Ultimate)
Kingston SSDNow V+ 40GB - E:\\ - Virtual Machines

I recently bought an Intel X25-M 120GB which I'll be using to replace my OS drive. I will be using the freed Kingston 40GB for storing virtual machines, too. What I'm wondering is, should I RAID-0 the two drives or just stick to JBOD?

So far, I've got:

RAID-0 Pros:
  • increased sequential writes (might be helpful given writes are an abysmal 45MB/s which is slower than most modern HDD's)
  • drives show up as one volume

RAID-0 Cons:
  • no TRIM support

Notes:
  1. The motherboard doesn't support RAID-0 so I'll be using Windows software RAID-0.
  2. The Kingstons will only be used for storing virtual machines (page file is enabled on the VM's). No other data will be stored on the drives aside from VM's.

I guess the main question is, am I better off retaining TRIM support? Aside from the initial copying of vhd files to the SSD (RAID or otherwise), I don't really know of any instance where the improved writes would be beneficial.
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post #2 of 9
I would just so it is one volume.

If it was me, I would RAID0 two SSD for the OS then just JBOD a SSD for VMs.
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post #3 of 9
I'm a little confused as your pros and cons are sort of the same.

The pros are you get higher write speeds, but the con is that without TRIM your writes will degrade, but you don't care about that since you aren't going to be writing much.

I'd probably raid for increase read speeds, spanning of data to what is essentially one drive so you don't have to worry about fitting anything on one drive or the other. If you aren't going to be writing much data, you can not worry that much about write degradation.
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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ocpokey View Post
The pros are you get higher write speeds, but the con is that without TRIM your writes will degrade, but you don't care about that since you aren't going to be writing much.

I'd probably raid for increase read speeds, spanning of data to what is essentially one drive so you don't have to worry about fitting anything on one drive or the other. If you aren't going to be writing much data, you can not worry that much about write degradation.
Thank you for the feedback.

It's not that I don't care about write speeds at all. I compact VHD's every month or so (basically copy existing VHD to 1TB HDD, defrag, pre-compact, compact then copy back compacted VHD to SSD). At the very least, I'd like to keep the sequential writes to 40MB/s or thereabouts. TRIM would pretty much guarantee me that.

What I'm concerned about is without TRIM, would an SSD RAID-0 array degrade to the point where performance is lower than a single drive configuration? I ran some benches with CrystalDiskMark and pre-TRIM, my sequential writes have dropped down to 20MB/s and random 4k was down to 9MB/s after just 6 months of use. Sure, getting 70~80MB/s writes instead of 40MB/s would certainly be nice, but not if it means I'll only be getting 20MB/s after a year of use. Any thoughts?


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post #5 of 9
Quote:
What I'm concerned about is without TRIM, would an SSD RAID-0 array degrade to the point where performance is lower than a single drive configuration?
No.

All SSDs have a garbage collection mode (GC) and it does @ 90% of what TRIM does.

The basic difference is that TRIM enables the OS to signal the drive that it's time to "clean up".

That's pretty simplistic but it's basically the difference.
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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Hippie View Post
All SSDs have a garbage collection mode (GC) and it does @ 90% of what TRIM does.

The basic difference is that TRIM enables the OS to signal the drive that it's time to "clean up".

That's pretty simplistic but it's basically the difference.
True, but it doesn't seem as if garbage collection is aggressive enough from the above screenshot. I guess the issue is exacerbated by the fact that it's such a small drive. An 80~160GB SSD that has seen the same amount of use probably wouldn't have deteriorated as much. Oh well, since capacity will increase to 80GB, I'll probably have enough free space on the array that it shouldn't become an issue. If ever, I could always back-up the contents to a mechanical HDD and do a secure erase.

Thanks again for all the feedback!
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post #7 of 9
Quote:
An 80~160GB SSD that has seen the same amount of use probably wouldn't have deteriorated as much.
Yep.

On my Intel G1s in RAID0 I used to create a 15% partition and leave it blank during the OS install.

Because that extra 15% isn't tied to the OS the idea is that the drive will use that for free space and have more area for GC to work.

This article describes the idea of free space.

AAR, you have the basic idea.

There's give and take with SSDs and various factors effect performance.
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by rui-no-onna View Post
Thank you for the feedback.

It's not that I don't care about write speeds at all. I compact VHD's every month or so (basically copy existing VHD to 1TB HDD, defrag, pre-compact, compact then copy back compacted VHD to SSD). At the very least, I'd like to keep the sequential writes to 40MB/s or thereabouts. TRIM would pretty much guarantee me that.

What I'm concerned about is without TRIM, would an SSD RAID-0 array degrade to the point where performance is lower than a single drive configuration? I ran some benches with CrystalDiskMark and pre-TRIM, my sequential writes have dropped down to 20MB/s and random 4k was down to 9MB/s after just 6 months of use. Sure, getting 70~80MB/s writes instead of 40MB/s would certainly be nice, but not if it means I'll only be getting 20MB/s after a year of use. Any thoughts?

Are you sure trim is working? Or did you just hammer the hell out of that drive?
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightsout View Post
Are you sure trim is working? Or did you just hammer the hell out of that drive?
Again, that was an example of a drive that's had 6 months of use and over 600GB host writes without TRIM. I was too lazy to flash it with Intel firmware until Saturday afternoon and I'm just a wee bit concerned that I might be seeing similar performance deterioration (down to 50% seq write) on the RAID-0 array given it won't have TRIM support and will have to rely on the controller's garbage collection. The same drive immediately after TRIM gives me:

Read (MB/s)
Sequential: 186.7
512K: 155.6
4K: 15.18
4K QD32: 134.4

Write (MB/s)
Sequential: 44.32
512K: 44.34
4K: 32.84
4K QD32: 42.67

Sorry, no screenshot. I just RDP'd on my smartphone into my desktop to get those values. Since I don't really see myself needing the full 74GiB for VHD storage, I think I'll just format it to 60GiB or so. That leaves 25% spare area which should be plenty of space until garbage collection kicks in.
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Garnet
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G.SKILL Phoenix Pro 120GB Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Silverstone ST45SF 450W Silverstone Sugo SG05B 
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Core i7-860 Biostar TH55B HD MSI GT 240 1GB GDDR5 Kingston 2x2GB DDR3 1333 
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