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Intel SSD RAID Review


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#1 Brian

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:10 AM

With the price of SSDs being driven lower and lower, one question keeps coming up; how well will two SSDs perform in RAID 0? After reviewing both the 160GB Intel X25-M and 40GB X25-V a few months ago, we decided to see how well they performed in RAID 0. On one side we try to find out if two 40GB SSDs can be as fast as the single 160GB X25-M and on the other we see just how fast a high performance Intel SSD array can get.

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#2 geshel

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 03:14 PM

Why do the graph colors change so much? EG in one graph, the M is blue and the Vs are pink; in the next graph it's the other way around. Makes it a lot harder to read the article.

#3 TSullivan

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 06:22 PM

Sorry about that, the non-4k aligned server charts kind of slipped past us. Fixed now :)

#4 geshel

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 08:26 PM

Thanks!

#5 tjoff

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 04:45 AM

Not a single word about TRIM? (didn't read through everything, apologies if I missed something)

If it hasn't changed since last time I checked there is no card that can do TRIM on RAID array. Having no TRIM at all can, in time, easily outweigh any benefits of RAID and thus perform much slower than even a single drive.

You could probably do some hacks to improve non-TRIM performance such as ensuring that some (TRIMmed) space will never be used - i.e. before making the array, make sure that everything is TRIMmed and leave x % of the array unused at all times (by making sure that you don't even partition x % of the array for instance). That will save some space for the controller to juggle data around and should improve write speeds significantly when the array gets full.

But a better solution in many cases is simply to use the two drives as is. For instance one for the OS and one for applications. Especially with the newer and faster SSDs coming, pure bandwidth isn't the whole picture and with Intel G3 around the corner the use of SSD-raid should, for most people, not be that appealing.

But really, I'd recommend a single large SSD for most of the cases. A 160 GB drive is often more or less two 80 GB drives in the same package anyway so you could say that you already are running them in RAID 0 in some sense (other bottlenecks take place (the controller for one) but write speed for the G2 160 GB is much better than the write speed for the G2 80 GB).

And thats probably the main reason for why the budget-drives are smaller and why the smallest G3-M drive will be 160 GB and not 80 GB and why there is no X25-M 40 GB. They can't make smaller drives in the same performance-league as the larger ones.


Please correct me if I'm wrong, I might be a bit outdated on the subject but I use full disk encryption on my G2 80 GB so I sure now how devastating the lack of TRIM can be for performance when the drive gets full.

#6 TSullivan

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 09:45 AM

Well for the primary enthusiast market, most people might be completely redoing their system by the time TRIM problems come into the mix. Its a downside with current firmware and chipset limitations, but if you can cope with the loss sometime out in the future, you can reap the rewards of a much faster system in the short-term.



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