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RAID edition? Worth it?

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I was looking at buying a couple of 1TB drives and putting them in RAID0. They'd be used mainly by my usenet client as it stores data, runs a par2 check and de-rars the data onto the array.

I noticed that Western Digital have their normal drives, green power, caviar black, raid edition 2 green power, and raid edition 3. Only the latter two are supposed to be for RAID. Samsung have the Spinpoint F1 RAID Class, possibly the other manufacturers have the same idea.

Is it worth buying a RAID edition of the drives, is there really any difference?

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Is it worth buying a RAID edition of the drives, is there really any difference?

There is a small difference in the firmware of the drives that make the RAID Editions play nicely with RAID controllers vs the non-RAID Editions. Depending on the $$$ difference, and the risk you want to take with drives being dumped from the array (and considering you'll be using RAID0), it's up to you. If it was me, I would just spend the extra on the REs.

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Is it worth buying a RAID edition of the drives, is there really any difference?

A raid drive mandatory feature is not to be "timed out" by the raid card.

A desktop drive can spend up to 30 seconds trying to read a sector in error state.

WD has TLER feature.

... Error Recovery Control (ERC), used by competitor Seagate, and Command Completion Time Limit (CCTL), used by Samsung and Hitachi.

Although, on those RAID edition drives, NCQ is usually enabled ... and not every drives may has its mode changed.

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If the only difference on the WD drives is the TLER and that can be changed, then it seems like a huge price jump from a green at £73 to a black at £86 and to a RE3 at £130. (These are the 1TB sizes).

I understand the green is slower, the black has a 5 year warranty, and the RE3 has TLER.

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If the only difference on the WD drives is the TLER and that can be changed

It may NOT be changed. May be looking for the drive makers available Utility will help you about this...

Although, Enterprise drives MTBF (life) are considered on a 24/7 usage where Desktop drives are supposed to be 30% or 50% used only...but that may be marketing points only...

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I started having problems over the past few months with my Maxtor drives dropping out of on-board Intel ICH9R RAID solution. So I'm looking for new drives too.

Is there a list of drives that support RAID? Or a comparison of drives with these features? I tried looking on Newegg for these drives, but it's very difficult to search for them. I guess what I need are model numbers of what is available right now from each manufacturer. Could anyone help me?

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For Western Digital it's simple.

RE2, RE2-GP, and RE3.

Samsung drives just seemed to be "F1 RAID" rather than F1. The model number for the 1TB is HE103UJ

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Sorry, it wouldn't let me edit my message. I'm less sure about the model number for the Samsung... I saw a page on their website with that model number, and the RAID edition, but I'm also able to find a page that doesn't mention RAID class, with that model number.

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I'd advise you have a look at more than just Western Digital for RAID drives. The price hike from their normal drives to the Raid Edition looks like gouging to me, maybe the other manufacturers don't do the same.

£73 -> £133 is a heck of a jump. I've not had time yet but I was intending to look around to see if I could get my head around what the other manufacturers make and sell. If you have to order this weekend though, and you end up looking around it'd be good if you posted back here :)

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I've just found out that Seagate use "ES.2" to designate their 1TB "Raid edition". They seem to cost roughly the same as Western Digitals.

http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/...da_hard_drives/

http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/...s/barracuda_es/

Hitachi call it an Ultrastar instead of Deskstar. Their site is down at the moment, but here's a google shopping link with blurb. They seem to be more expensive.

http://www.google.co.uk/products/catalog?q...ng=p#ps-sellers

For Samsung I still have the same problem.

http://www.aristacomputers.com/Samsung-Spi...-Cache-OEM.html

That has the same model number, but almost half the price. Even though the description says it's suited for RAID I do not believe it is the right one.

http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/specpage.html?sam-he103

I think that one is the RAID edition.

http://www.samsung.com/global/business/hdd...9&ppmi=1155

http://www.samsung.com/global/business/hdd...3&ppmi=1162

The same bloody model number. No doughnuts for Samsung.

I've just found out that Seagate use "ES.2" to designate their 1TB "Raid edition". They seem to cost roughly the same as Western Digitals.

http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/...da_hard_drives/

http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/...s/barracuda_es/

Hitachi call it an Ultrastar instead of Deskstar. Their site is down at the moment, but here's a google shopping link with blurb. They seem to be more expensive.

http://www.google.co.uk/products/catalog?q...ng=p#ps-sellers

For Samsung I still have the same problem.

http://www.aristacomputers.com/Samsung-Spi...-Cache-OEM.html

That has the same model number, but almost half the price. Even though the description says it's suited for RAID I do not believe it is the right one.

http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/specpage.html?sam-he103

I think that one is the RAID edition.

http://www.samsung.com/global/business/hdd...9&ppmi=1155

http://www.samsung.com/global/business/hdd...3&ppmi=1162

The same bloody model number. No doughnuts for Samsung.

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Is it worth buying a RAID edition of the drives, is there really any difference?

There is a small difference in the firmware of the drives that make the RAID Editions play nicely with RAID controllers vs the non-RAID Editions. Depending on the $$$ difference, and the risk you want to take with drives being dumped from the array (and considering you'll be using RAID0), it's up to you. If it was me, I would just spend the extra on the REs.

RAID edition drives often also have some small differences in mechanics, specifically in vibration and shock performance in an operating environment. Whether this is worth it or not is up to you.

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TLER definitely affects quality HW raid.

How about softraid built in on a motherboard? Kojote, do you see SMART errors if you check the dropped drive? Or are you saying perfectly good single use drives don't play nice with your Intel softraid?

how about OS level RAID? Fully software based RAID?

In addition to those three types will the RAID level matter? TLER is more important in RAID 0/5/6 but less important in RAID 1/10?

I have a couple of low end Dell servers doing RAID 1 with some WD Black WD6401AALS drives. One of the servers has a CERC SATA 6 channel RAID controller doing RAID 1 the other is doing OS level software RAID 1. Both are Server 2003 standard 32 bit. I suppose it is a bit early in their life to say anything significant but so far so good.

FWIW the server with the CERC sata 6 had four drives in a RAID 5 array and after a power failure decided to drop 3 of the drives. The old drives were Maxtor Maxline Plus II 250 GB from 2004. Moving from 700GB usable space on the old array to just under 1.2TB usable space split across two RAID 1 arrays gave me an increase in space and I'm hoping reliability.

I figure worst case if the controller flakes out and breaks the mirrors I can check for drive damage and if none is present switch to software only RAID 1. So far I haven't had a single issue and I'm hoping it stays that way.

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Oh, and when a RAID 5 array that is heavily used drops 3 drives at once you realize how much stress was saved by having recent viable backups. The only way it could have been any better is if I'd known the drives were bad two weeks earlier and replaced them proactively.

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Hmm. I'm still not at a decision. Am I right in thinking I can switch TLER on for a non-RAID WD drive, and it should then not be dropped from a RAID array? Since the array won't be used anything like close to 30% buying really expensive enterprise drives just seems like a huge waste.

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Hmm. I'm still not at a decision. Am I right in thinking I can switch TLER on for a non-RAID WD drive, and it should then not be dropped from a RAID array? Since the array won't be used anything like close to 30% buying really expensive enterprise drives just seems like a huge waste.

I'd say get yourself into some WD Black or Blue Edition Drives, if you don't care about a 5 year warranty. Just as fast, speedwise, and if it's an array that can afford to be down, then it should be a no brainer.

If it's something important, one should do everything they can to ensure that it's uptime is high[er]. Since you're doing RAID-0, you have no concern about uptime.

I can personally recommend the RE2-GP drive, I'm using one, it's been on 24/7 for the last year+ in my file server, no issues with it.

At work I'm using RE3 edition drives for RAID-1 arrays with fakeraid on motherboards, with no issues.

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The ideal situation would be...

Array 1 : A fast boot drive - for this I've got 4 Vertex SSDs on order and will likely put an Adaptec 5805 to run them. This will give over 800MB/sec read and 600MB/sec write, which should be speedy. The array will be 120GB in size and only for OS and program files. No data.

Array 2 : Some kind of fastish, silent storage for my usenet client to download, parity check, de-rar to. 1TB capacity would be good.

Array 3 : Some kind of permanant storage where I put stuff I want to keep. Also I'd be imaging the boot drive to this regularly. 2TB and perhaps more over time would be good.

So RAID0 for the boot drive, as I've already decided.

RAID0 for the fastish silent storage. With AAM on and RAID0 it might seem like a daft combination, but even with AAM on it's really just seeks that are slower, when it's chewing through files or copying them it shouldn't be significantly slower. At least I think so.

RAID1 or 5 for the permanant storage. Perhaps starting with a single 1TB drive not in RAID, and then adding a second 1TB drive before Array 2 is full and I start deleting stuff. Then when array 3 starts to get full I add another 1TB and move to RAID5...

Sadly array 1 and the 5805 has taken up most of what I wanted to spend...

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SSD to boot ... RAID 0

You don't boot more than once a day, don't you ?

I may use SSD to store TEMP and SWAP files but other files, particularly application and OS files (that are loaded only once and stay in memory or swap later on) are not valuable on a SSD

Among that, my advice for "silent" would be to look at 5400 rpm drives (Green edition usually) even if they have slower access time (you don't care of this for a mono-task sequential usage).

About a large raid array, my advice is to go with 6 1TB (Enterprise edition) Sata drives on raid 6.

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TLER definitely affects quality HW raid.

How about softraid built in on a motherboard? Kojote, do you see SMART errors if you check the dropped drive? Or are you saying perfectly good single use drives don't play nice with your Intel softraid?

After writing my previous message up above, I made another RAID 1, and put the O/S on it. Well tonight, Comodo Firewall had some issue and my system did a hard lock. I had to hit the reset button. Then after booting back into Vista, the Intel Matrix Storage Manager starts rebuilding the RAID. It starts finding "verification errors" and starts correcting them. At 1% progress, one of the drives drops out and is now in failed state! I am so MAD right now! So basically ANY little STRESS you put on the drives, and they DROP OUT! In the past, if I ran PERFECTDISK to DEFRAG, they always had about 50% chance of dropping out!

This is just plain ridiculous, that you have to buy "special RAID edition" drives. What really bugs me, is that I went into Fry's Electronics, and they don't carry any of those drives. All of the guys working in the storage area, didn't know a thing about "RAID edition" drives. They said people just buy regular drives, and use them in enclosures just fine. SMART monitors won't work while drive is in RAID mode. Even when a drive drops out. And I'm not going to waste time changing my O/S drives back to non-RAID and reinstalling the O/S. I already installed Vista, THREE times in the past two weeks. Now I'll probably have to call into Microsoft to activate it another time!

Here is what I'm running:

Gigabyte GA-EX38-DQ6 (Intel ICH9R)

8GB Mushkin 800MHz High Performance DIMMs

1x Intel Q6600 2.4GHz CPU

My board has Intel ICH9R so does anyone know if these on-board solutions support the TLER function of these "RAID Edition" drives"?

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Forum wouldnt let me edit previous post. Here is the drives I am using with problems....

I'm wondering if I try different regular drives, if they would work better instead of spending extra money on "RAID" drives.

2xMAXTOR Maxline Pro drives 7H500F0

2xMAXTOR DiamondMax 21 320GB

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This is an often-discussed topic. You also get additional vibration tolerance and firmware modifications.

For smaller RAID1/0/10 arrays of up to 4 drives in a nice chassis, regular desktop drives are fine. For anything else I would only run the nearline versions of SATA disks rather than the desktop versions of SATA disks. Troubleshooting large RAID arrays is difficult enough when the disk firmware/tolerance is not a factor...

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Just a little comment. I've had two Seagate 7200.11 250GB in Raid-1 on a Adaptec 3405 for well over a year now in daily use. Never had a problem with it. :)

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