Smithdogg1

Which of these 3 drive setups would you use as your boot drive?

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So here is my situation, I have an HP xw8600 which is a pretty high but end year old workstation. For full details and specs on the machine you can see this thread http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=241654

Now in the future I would eventually (maybe a year from now) like to put either a small but fast SSD or SAS drive into this machine as the primary boot/OS/Application drive and then store all my data and media on either other drives or on my NAS boxes. But for right now I just want to get this thing going without spending money which means using existing drives that I already have and that gives me three options more or less. They are as follows…

Option 1: 2 Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250 GB (SATA 3.0, 7200 RPM, 16 MB Cache) in RAID0

These are the drives that came in the machine, from what I have seen they are very reliable and had a long production run as many of our HP workstations at work use these same drives and the failure rate is very low which I why I would feel ok putting them in RAID0. Total space would be 500 GB which is more than enough for an OS/Apps drive. In HD Tach a single drive gets consistent Average Reads of 80 MB/s which is pretty good. I believe in RAID0 it is somewhere around 110-120 MB/s. I think these are single platter drive which is why they are fairly fast even though they are over a year old now. Look at the Newegg page for this drive, out of 1,777 reviews 1,400 give it a 5/5, pretty good.

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx...N82E16822148262

Option 2: 2 Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 320 GB (SATA 3.0, 7200 RPM, 16 MB Cache) in RAID1

Pretty much the same setup as above just using newer generation Seagate drives that are slightly bigger and in RAID 1, total space would be 320 GB. The Average Read on a single drive for one of these is 90 MB/s, so a little faster than the 7200.10 drives. I have not benched them in a RAID1 setup but I am guessing they would only be slightly lower at 80 MB/s or so. These drives are still new and have yet to prove themselves at least to me as the 7200.10 series did, otherwise I would be putting them in RAID0 as well.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...8-469-_-Product

Just a background on why I trust the 7200.10 series drives. I own several 7200.10 drives, I have a 320 GB that I bought approximately 4 years ago when they first came out and it is still running 24/7 with no issues and I have two 750 GBs that I bought as well, no issues with those either. And I did a few builds for friends about 3 years ago using the 320 GB version in RAID0 and those are still holding up as well. In my experience the 7200.10 series was a great reliable drive. Then Seagate messed up pretty big with the 7200.11 series (I never owned any thankfully) so for me the 7200.12 is not as “trusted”, so far they seem good but only time will tell.

Option 3: 1 Seagate Barracuda ES.2 750 GB (SATA 3.0, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache) No RAID

This is my last option, a single, large drive that is meant to be run in a server environment 24/7 and in a RAID setup, except that I do not have two of them to do RAID or else I would, unless it would be possible to use 7200.10 series drives with these? Then I could potentially do a RAID5 array since I have two 750 GB 7200.10 drives and this drive. That would give me 1.5 TB of protected storage which would be ideal for media. Then I could just use the trusty 250 GB 7200.10 drives in RAID0 for my main OS drive. It would give me 5 drives in total but my workstation can handle it.

Anyway I am getting off topic here, I have no idea how the single drive benches as I have never ran it in a box before, but the drive has pretty poor reviews on Newegg, a little over half of them give it 5/5 and a little under half 1/5, pretty drastic. I am not sure I am willing to run this thing without a safety net of RAID1 or 5, which is why I think my idea above would be ideal if it would work out.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...8-295-_-Product

Long post but what do you think I should do? I can list all of the hard drives that I have to work with if needed as well. Any input is welcome as I would like to install Windows 7 on this box soon and start setting it up. I tend to do many customizations and tweaks to my OS and applications installed, for that reason I am leaning more towards a RAID1 or RAID5 setup right now.

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I, personally, would go with the second option. Hell, for my desktop I have two 500GB in raid 1 just because ALL my data is on it, another 320GB for steam, a 1TB as a backup drive, and a 750GB for incremental images of all my computers.

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Option 2.

Booting involves lots of random reads of varying sizes. Probably not many really long (10s of megabytes) sequential reads. RAID1 should be 2x as fast as a single drive in this scenario. Depending on the controller, a long sequential read may be 1x or 2x speed. A RAID1 will be 1x speed for all writes, whatever type.

A RAID0 will only be 2x as fast as a single drive for a) random reads or writes that are *smaller* than the stripe size, and b.) long sequential reads or writes. Operations that fall in the middle will be as slow as a single drive.

So, for the IO you're likely to get at startup, RAID1 should be as fast or faster than RAID0. Combine that with the fact that you won't have to reinstall the OS if a drive fails, and that's a big win in my book.

Edited by geshel

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I agree that the 320GB RAID 1 array would be best to use as your boot drive. There is no downtime if one of the drives fail, a definite huge plus. I run two RAID 1 arrays in my desktop, RAID 1 has saved my rear in the past and I am at the point where I do not put anything important on a non RAID 1 array. Paranoid maybe, but better safe than sorry - especially when it comes to data.

RAID 0 always makes me cringe. Even though your experience tells you those drives are very reliable, having double the rate of failure is like always having a thundercloud over your head.

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Don't know how valuable you deem your data, so there's not much to go on so I'm only speculating. Anyway, I've never been a fan of using any type of RAID for the OS or 'system', nor do I count on RAID as a backup, but I digress...

In your scenario I'd run:

1 x 250GB > C drive

2 x 320GB RAID 1 > data volume with all user personal folders (docs, pics, music, etc) mapped here & routinely backed up to your NAS or whatever it was you mentioned.

It's real friggin late. Nite nite.

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Interesting post geshel, I never really thought about it like that, so as far as real world performance differences outside of see numbers on a benchmarking tool RAID0 is not necessarily going to make your computer noticeably faster. But I agree with what is being said here in terms of no matter how much I may trust a drive RAID0 is still trusting it to two points of failure rather than 1. The more thought I gave it, the more I want to do RAID1 or two RAID1 setups eventually. I care much more about my data then a marginal performance increase, so I am either going to go with option 2 or a new option, which would be the Seagate ES.2 750 GB along with a Seagate 7200.10 750 GB, this 7200.10 is currently in my desktop but I only use it for backups so I could easily pull it out and format it along with the ES.2 to make a nice 750 GB RAID1 array. Only problem is the drives are not identical (different firmware, different Cache sizes, ect.) and while it may work I don't think it would be ideal. So here is the plan I came up with using 4 drives and giving me plenty of space for the time being...

RAID1 with 2 Seagate 7200.12 320 GB Drives for my OS/Applications plus my more important data like Pictures, Documents and other smaller files that don't take up a ton of space, 320 GB seems a bit small to me at first since I am currently getting by using a 320 GB for my OS/Apps, as well as storage of pretty much everything except my videos and while I do backup this drive frequently, the thought of loosing what is on it makes me cringe but the thought of RAID1 saving my ass makes me smile :) Right now my 320 GB only has 122 GB free, but 106 GB is taken up by music, so once I move my music to another separate drive (listed below) then I will have 234 GB free, which is more than enough open room to expand my other stuff and have room for games and such. Even though this is RAID1 I am still going to use my 500 GB external drive to backup my important stuff, Pictures mainly as well as a copy of my Music as well perhaps, since my user profile excluding Music/Video is only 35 GB I will have plenty of backup space on this drive to do so.

As for Media Storage including Videos and Music I will re-use 2 disks from my current machine, they are...

2 Seagate 7200.10 750 GB Drives now as much as I would love to put these in RAID1 as well its just not possible with all my media, right now my Videos and Music total 802 GB, which will not fit on a 750 GB array. So I plan to run the two drives separately for now (as I have been doing) for 1.5 TB of media storage. I will keep my TV Series on one of them, since those take up about half a drive anyway at 350 GB. Then on the other I will keep my Movies (including HD) and my Music collection which will add up to about 300 GB used. This will keep each drive with over 50% free space give or take and allow another 700 GB free between the two which should last me for a bit. Now since these are not in RAID I certainly need a backup plan for them, that is where my NAS will come in, now I am going to have to spend some money on 2 TB drives for it, hoping they will drop once 4 TB drives come out? Then I will just backup all of my media to my NAS which will be RAID1, I want to keep up to date copies of my Media on my NAS anyway so then I can stream it to my 360 and other computers.

So that is my plan, now to find the time to put it into motion!

Edited by Smithdogg1

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Well slight change of plans here, I manged to get my hands on two 500 GB Seagate 7200.12 drives from work, they are model number ST3500418AS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...Tpk=ST3500418AS I am going to RAID1 these just as I planned to do with the 320 GBs, except now I have quite a bit more space which means I will prob leave my music collection on the safety of these drives. I think these drives also bench a little bit better, 100 MB/s Average Reads I think so that is good. Also I will always be able to back up whatever is on them to my 500 GB My Book since they are the same size which I like. Anyway I am happy with this choice and I am going to finally start to load Windows 7 on these drives and start configuring everything the way I want it on this machine and then migrate over! I am pretty excited since I am going from a machine I built in 2005, which is still rock solid but just dated with a 3.0 Ghz P4, no onboard RAID controller, only 4 SATA ports, 1 PCI-E, ect. So to get this new rig setup with a 2.5 Ghz Quad core Xeon will be nice, and even nicer once I add a second one!

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