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Lazzarus2nd

Hardware RAID recommendations

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Has anyone any experience with hardware based RAID controllers. Im not talking firmware based - I have just bought a QX9650 and wish to get the most out of the processor - Firmware RAID creates overheads that tax the CPU, i want it running at full tilt. If you have experience then let me know your thoughts - I can read reviews all day, but nothing is as good as first hand experience.

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Well... Yes, i have.

 

I've gone through a few raid cards in my time.... and for what you're wanting to use it for.... I can only suggest the Adaptec 3805.

 

I've used it, and it's little brother, the 3405(4 port version, not 8), and they're great little cards. Run a little hot though - so a small fan blowing over the (passive) heatsink is a wise move.

 

 

You going to be about this weekend? Can talk more then, if you are..

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Thanks for the heads up and welcome back squeezer. Do you think this will run RAID faster - or is the money better off spent in two 10,000 RPM drives to RAID?

 

Yup around this weekend - i'll give you a bell tomorrow. Come over Saturday for a beer if your not doing much - not much on but a few lads and i are thinking of hitting Cheers for a quiet few followed by a hunting down of wimmens.

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i have been using a software raid 5 with 4*500 gig and it hasnt had much effect on cpu usage, but it is horidly slow. im looking at an adaptec possibly

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I've ben using an Areca 1210 4 Port SATA RAID card for about 2 years now.

 

I've been very happy with it. Good performance (although I can't say I've compared it to a lot of the competition) and a great feature set.

 

I must admit that some of the features for migrating RAID configuratiuons (RAID level, number of disks and/or stripe size) while the system is running I haven't really used much because I set it up once, made a few tweaks to stripe size, and for the last 2 years have just used it - although this will be handy when I get around to swapping the 250GB drives for larger ones - I can swap drives in one at a time, let it rebuild the array onto the new drive, then once the last one is done, go in and tell it to enlarge the RAID volume.

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I have used a few Adaptec raid cards over the years and found them to be reasonably good overall.

 

The one I am using at the moment is a PCI-X format and is rock solid (I can't remember the model).

 

I haven't used any of the PCIe models but so long as Adaptec still have the same driver support and relatively painless firmware updates then I would consider them a good deal.

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I have a Highpoint RocketRAID 2320 or something (8 port SATA 300) with a few WD REs in RAID 5 and I have been disappointed with the performance.

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You won't get hardware RAID unless you spend around $600-800. The rest of the cards just use these software drivers that you're trying to get away from. At these prices, you would have to have some pretty serious requirements to avoid software RAID!

 

Depending on your application, you might be better off to build a fileserver and use ZFS. My file server cost me less than half of what a decent hardware RAID card would have cost me, but is a lot more flexible, thanks to ZFS. I don't even need to worry about partition sizes or growing the pool, as all that is handled for me. Plus, it's open source so you don't have to pay any money at all. It's pretty quick too.

 

You might like to look into FreeNAS as well, if you're looking for a more point and click web interface style of administration.

 

 

*Edit* RAID5 parity calculations aren't vey taxing these days. I mean, it was an issue when we had 300Mhz processors, but with a quad core, it's nothing to worry about. The real reasons for hardware RAID are a) reliability b) flexibility and c) speed. This only applies when the card is an actual hardware RAID card. That means a dedicated CPU, memory and hopefully, battery backed cache. But unless you have some serious reliability requirements, then software RAID is a much better choice*. Never, NEVER use motherboard RAID.

 

*on Unix platforms. Windows RAID5 is very good, but is only on their server OS's :(

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I've ben using an Areca 1210 4 Port SATA RAID card for about 2 years now.

Would you say these have any benefit over motherbaord RAID?

 

Depending on your application, you might be better off to build a fileserver and use ZFS.

 

*Edit* RAID5 parity calculations aren't vey taxing these days. I mean, it was an issue when we had 300Mhz processors, but with a quad core, it's nothing to worry about. The real reasons for hardware RAID are a) reliability b) flexibility and c) speed. This only applies when the card is an actual hardware RAID card. That means a dedicated CPU, memory and hopefully, battery backed cache. But unless you have some serious reliability requirements, then software RAID is a much better choice*. Never, NEVER use motherboard RAID.

 

*on Unix platforms. Windows RAID5 is very good, but is only on their server OS's :(

Im using the computer mostly for games - reliability and flexibility is not really a concern, haowever speed is. What is so wrong with motherboard RAID? Im not sure what a file server intails either. I may have to look further into this, as i have a download box sitting at my feet, that may be able to be used. Of to google world!

 

Just saw this in Ebay - its very cheap compaired to other 3ware RAID controllers but i cant see why...

 

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/3Ware-AMCC-9550SX-4...1QQcmdZViewItem

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Lazzarus2nd, if you RAID 0 your hard drives, be it via horrible motherboard RAID, software RAID or hardware RAID, you'll see a 3-6 second decrease in level loading times for games. That's it. It's not going to increase your fps or anything like that.

 

Personally, I don't think there is much point to it for home users, unless you're killing your swap file, or working with huge files in Photoshop or some video editing suite.

 

A home server with a RAID 5 volume or ZFS RAIDz is an excellent idea on the other hand. I can back up all my work to it, and my entire media collection is available on any one of my computers thanks to wireless networking. I don't have a huge number of files, just 3x500GB disks, but knowing that it's protected from drive failure is a real comfort.

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hell what are you raiding?

if you want best raid possible, Adaptec make the best raid controllers. problem is, they take a little while to boot through, lol but once they are up, they run "ALL NIGHT LONG!! OH BABY"

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Well... Yes, i have.

 

I've gone through a few raid cards in my time.... and for what you're wanting to use it for.... I can only suggest the Adaptec 3805.

 

I've used it, and it's little brother, the 3405(4 port version, not 8), and they're great little cards. Run a little hot though - so a small fan blowing over the (passive) heatsink is a wise move.

 

 

You going to be about this weekend? Can talk more then, if you are..

Dammit, PCI-X??? Who made that shit up?

 

Guess i'll look up the adaptek stuff then. Should just have listened to you in the first place. Damn my small brain!

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Serves you right for being an impatient bitch...

Haha yeh you picked that up huh? Man i was waiting like nearly a whole two hours for a decent reply, so i thought fuck it "nike - just buy it"

 

See this is why i need a money chaperone, save me from dumb decisions.....

 

So im off to grab one of those adaptec thingos. Heh um actually i just bought another 320GB drive to RAID 0 three drives, should provide a little performance increase, so i might give the adaptec a miss and use motherboard RAID, even tho wiltson thinks its a bad idea...

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So im off to grab one of those adaptec thingos. Heh um actually i just bought another 320GB drive to RAID 0 three drives, should provide a little performance increase, so i might give the adaptec a miss and use motherboard RAID, even tho wiltson thinks its a bad idea...

It depends on your motherboard raid.

 

To be honest, the Adaptec software and Bios offer a really good way of doing it all native and there is more to a dedicated controller than simply a reduction to your system overhead.

 

With a raid 5 build on a dedicated hardware controller, you also get the ability to pick up the card and drives, plonk it into another computer and away you go.

 

With a 4 port controller, you can also use 3 drives in your array and add a fourth as a hot spare. This means that once one drive fails, the hot spare kicks in and the raid is rebuilt. You can then replace the defective drive knowing that you get another chance at another failed drive before your array is rooted. Once you have replaced the defective drive, you assign that as the new hot spare and no rebuild is necessary.

 

Adaptec controller software also allows alert conditions (email) that will send you an alert if the raid suffers. Handy for servers that you generally don't check.

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I've ben using an Areca 1210 4 Port SATA RAID card for about 2 years now.

Would you say these have any benefit over motherbaord RAID?

 

 

Significantly better IMO.

 

500MHz Processor, 128MB of cache, native hardware RAID 5 support, PCI-e x8 running the second slot of an SLIx16 mobo - costs about $600

 

Even with my 2+ year old (slow by current standards) 250GB drives it gives sustained writes speeds in excess of 100MBytes/second and sustained reads at about 180MBytes.sec

 

The array is about double the speed of my 74GB Raptor drive that is my bood disk.

 

In the past I've used Motherboard RAID 0, and run NAS servers. This gives the best of both worlds - relaibility & speed. NAS falls over IMO when it comes to getting the data on and off of it. Good reliability, good shared access, but slow compared to a local RAID array, as you're limited by network speeds.

 

NAS is not a problem for storing and playing your music/movie collection (although slow to get it on/make copies of it) and backups of files. It's slow to work from it. I use my RAID 5 array for storing and working on my digital photos, regularly copying 4 to 8GB directories of files around, and it happens fast.

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So im off to grab one of those adaptec thingos. Heh um actually i just bought another 320GB drive to RAID 0 three drives, should provide a little performance increase, so i might give the adaptec a miss and use motherboard RAID, even tho wiltson thinks its a bad idea...

Why bother asking for advice if you're not going to listen to it? 320*3 = 850GB~ of usable space? I hope you're not filling that up with data you're not backing up. If you use motherboard RAID, that array will probably be stuck to that motherboard for life, so I don't think it's very flexible.

 

 

NAS is not a problem for storing and playing your music/movie collection (although slow to get it on/make copies of it) and backups of files. It's slow to work from it. I use my RAID 5 array for storing and working on my digital photos, regularly copying 4 to 8GB directories of files around, and it happens fast.

You're right, but given that he's going to see a max decrease of 5-7 seconds loading time in games, is there really any point in a RAID 0 array? Everybody is talking about RAID 5, but I see no mention of RAID 0. Am I the only person who thinks it is worthless?

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You have a companion here that also thinks its worthless, Here is an idea. Try before you buy.

 

Raid 0 your existing drives, then find out how much of a bitch it is to install an os to. (with an actual hardware controller you wont have this problem since the 'space' is represented to the system as a single large drive). Marvel at the benchmark speeds and then wonder why the hell you put yourself through the pain when a better hdd, would perform comparably and be easier to use. For example if you were to sink your money into a 640gb drive or a Samsung F1 1tb drive.

 

If you do this you will find that there are certain aspects that really do thrash you disks, video editing and working on large photoshop files are two of them, gaming is not.

 

Got an old pc - throw all the disks in it you can find run linux software raid 5 or Solaris Raidz, and you have a cheap fast nas that is capable of stoing a shit load. Then spend all the money you were thinking of pissing up against the wall on a SSD.

 

Raid 0 is for your ePenis not desktop use.

 

Personally I'm running a solaris 10 NAS at home with 4 750's in Raidz and to say the least its quite fast.

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Why bother asking for advice if you're not going to listen to it? 320*3 = 850GB~ of usable space? I hope you're not filling that up with data you're not backing up. If you use motherboard RAID, that array will probably be stuck to that motherboard for life, so I don't think it's very flexible.

 

You're right, but given that he's going to see a max decrease of 5-7 seconds loading time in games, is there really any point in a RAID 0 array? Everybody is talking about RAID 5, but I see no mention of RAID 0. Am I the only person who thinks it is worthless?

The advice given was well recieved an was given due consideration - thats whats good about advice, people can advise you but then you decide what the best course of action is. Trust me wilson, it was much appreciated - i know your knowledge on these things are greater than mine.

 

Im not really worried about redundancy - im not really worried about backing up or preserving my data (cept for music - which is on two seperate iPods and two seprerate hard drives) What I am interested in is the fastest hardrive array I can build, within reason and that limits the effect on my processor the most. I usually only game - I want those maps loading as fast as posssible, I want what I click on to open, now.

 

I have however become rather enamoured of being about to swap out a hard drive array with a PCI-e card and keep that array over different motherbaords, i never really considered that before, thank you.

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You have a companion here that also thinks its worthless, Here is an idea. Try before you buy.

 

Raid 0 your existing drives, then find out how much of a bitch it is to install an os to. (with an actual hardware controller you wont have this problem since the 'space' is represented to the system as a single large drive). Marvel at the benchmark speeds and then wonder why the hell you put yourself through the pain when a better hdd, would perform comparably and be easier to use. For example if you were to sink your money into a 640gb drive or a Samsung F1 1tb drive.

 

If you do this you will find that there are certain aspects that really do thrash you disks, video editing and working on large photoshop files are two of them, gaming is not.

 

Got an old pc - throw all the disks in it you can find run linux software raid 5 or Solaris Raidz, and you have a cheap fast nas that is capable of stoing a shit load. Then spend all the money you were thinking of pissing up against the wall on a SSD.

 

Raid 0 is for your ePenis not desktop use.

 

Personally I'm running a solaris 10 NAS at home with 4 750's in Raidz and to say the least its quite fast.

Hm hate to double post but havent quite worked out yet how to edit and include a quote - could be the beer, but we'll see....

 

I like it sparky, easy to understand :D

 

However surely the NAS is only as fast as the ethernet connected to it?

 

An operating system on SSD - with games installed. Now that does have my interest, hence the reason I started the thread......the more people that contribute the better it turns out. Tahnks, im off to look at SSD's :D

 

Edit : Shit man, a 32GB SSD costs in the vicinity of $1000! Its a little two much for wank factor and a slight increase in speed.

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yeah I wont be buying a ssd just now, I'll wait for them to get faster and cheaper. I only need about 32gb worth of storage on the local machine for the os and a few programs. So I guess the ultimate for me personally would be a 32gb SSD paired with a Velociraptor just for the game installs.

 

OCZ's Core series two looks quite promising, Reminds me to go have a look at a review.

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An operating system on SSD - with games installed. Now that does have my interest, hence the reason I started the thread......the more people that contribute the better it turns out. Tahnks, im off to look at SSD's :D

 

Edit : Shit man, a 32GB SSD costs in the vicinity of $1000! Its a little two much for wank factor and a slight increase in speed.

32GB SSDs are about $300 for MLC models, and about $400 for 64GB.

 

I have a 64G SSD in my sub-notebook, and I'm in the process of building a rackmount system with 32G SSD for a linux based embedded system that must be left in an unattended unairconditioned cabin for the next few years running 24/7. They are not cheap, but for the right uses, they are in the realms of affordability.

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