Setting up a RAID, could use some tips please!

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Hello, I have already bought a Promise Technology FastTrak TX2000 RAID
CARD, after reading it can improve performance. I already have two
Identical drives (WDC WD200BB-75AUA1 (18 GB) x2) which I read is
needed, to experiment with so no loss to me if it proves to be a

I'm mainly targeting speed and performance.
If all goes well, then I plan to get larger drives for the ultimate
RAID set up.

Anyway I could use a link to a beginner's guide to setting up a RAID
and to help me choose which array.

What I have found seems to suggest that I can have the RAID system
handle Windows XP, true? Also it improves gaming (which I do a lot),


below is my core and more:

Intel Pentium 4 530 (PRESCOTT), 3000 MHz (15 x 200)
Asus P5P800  (5 PCI, 1 AGP, 4 DDR DIMM, Audio, Gigabit LAN)
Corsair CMX512-3200LL X4 = 2GB

Re: Setting up a RAID, could use some tips please!


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Yes it can and yes it does but you're going to be using Striping which
in effect means you end up paying twice as much for half the
reliability with nowhere near double the performance. If one drive
fails, you lose the lot.

TBH there's bugger all need for RAID for the home user. If you want a
fast HDD, stick in a Western Digital Raptor for the OS and programmes,
using a stock HDD for data storage.


"You're not married, you haven't got a girlfriend and you've never seen
Star Trek? Good Lord!" - Patrick Stewart, Extras.

Re: Setting up a RAID, could use some tips please!

On Mon, 03 Oct 2005 06:12:04 GMT, Sammy Smith

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Always seek more than one assessment of technology, in most
cases it will not improve performance much, if any, and in
some it will reduce performance.  I'll list some reasons at
the end of the post.

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No, two "identical" drives are not needed.  Again it is good
to seek more than one source of information as there are far
too many urban myths out there.  Identical drives are not
needed and in no way any better than two non-identical
drives.  However, if the drives are different sizes too, the
array size is limited by the smaller drive, the remaining
space on the larger one is essentially wasted space that
cannot be used for anything.

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The ultimate RAID setup would not merely use large drives
connected to a PCI card.

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Your description is of intention to use a RAID0 array.
It's quite simple- install card, hook each drive to a
separate channel, separate cable, then when you turn on the
system and after it's motherboard bios post screen, you will
see a message on screen to press a key to enter the Promise
Card's bios menu.  In that menu you will select and add
members to an array, define that array.  It is pretty
obvious how to do it while looking at the screen when the
time comes.  You will also choose a stripe size, that size
depending on your data file or segment sizes.  In other
words, working with very large files you might benefit more
from large stripes, or vice-versa.  Most people find a low,
but not lowest, value most useful but then they often
consider this for running the OS which is comprised of many
small files.  Google search for "stripe size RAID" to get
some benchmarks or 2nd, 3rd, etc opinions on optimal stripe
size for your needs.

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You can have it run WinXP, and/or load games.  "Improves" is
again, subject to circumstances and may or may not be
entirely true or of little difference.

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Use of a PCI card for RAID means you're using more of a slow
bus, a bus also used for other purposes.  For example,
hooking a single drive up to such a controller is almost
always slower than hooking same drive up to a motherboard's
southbridge-integral controller.

This PCI limitation also essentially caps the max throughput
possible, and/or degrades the performance of the other PCI
devices- something benchmarks often ignore as they are
*only* measuring drive performance, not actual in-use
performance while the system is commonly being used for
something simultaneously.

Another issue is best use of drives- it can be faster to
leave two drives as independant volumes instead of raiding
them, such that each drive is dedicated to a different
purpose so you can read or write to both at same time, for
example a source and destination drive for editing large
files.  Optimizing drive performance within the context of
(possibly) using RAID can mean you target the specific
task(s) you find most demanding, not expecting one
configuration to automatically be the best choice for

If your need is to have two cheap IDE drives to load game
levels, having the RAID0 array will usually speed that up
some.  It wouldn't help much if any during the gaming
though, only the loading of each level or portion of levels.

Re: Setting up a RAID, could use some tips please!

Sammy Smith wrote:
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RAID 0 is great.  However, as one poster has already said, you stand to
lose everything if one drive goes down.  Your WD drives are not reliable
enough for this.

That poster also said there's no need for RAID for the home user, which
is a load of tosh.  Games maniacs generally demand more throughput than
your average enterprise-supporting servers...

You also have the Promise FastTrak.  Promise cards (as well as Adaptec)
are particularly crap with RAID 0 and you'd probably get better
performance from a single, decent-performing hard drive than with RAID 0
using your WD drives on the Promise controller.

I've just ordered an Areca ARC-1220 card for a PCI-e bus, and Broadcom
are sending me one for evaluation.  *Those* are serious RAID 0 cards...

Globally Local Data Recovery Experts

Re: Setting up a RAID, could use some tips please!

Odie Ferrous Thanks for your input. I checked out Areca ARC-1220
PCI-Express x8 SATA Controller Card and about called homeland security
when I saw the price!!!
The price is too high for me.
For a raid card I will only pay up to $200.00
My second option was 3Ware Escalade.
I've seen some go for 160.00 (used) on eBay.
As far as failure the drives are expendable and I will suffer no loss
if they should fail.
I'd like to see how SATA does. both my Mobos are set up for it.
Thanks again for the groups input and tips!

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Re: Setting up a RAID, could use some tips please!

Forget about the performance gain with RAID 0, it's not that great and

you double the risk of losing all your data.  RAID 0 is not a true

RAID at all.

Go with disk mirroring RAID1.  Your drive read speed will increase

because it can read across the two drives.

If a drive packs up, no problem.

Yes, you can boot XP with RAID.  The only problem is you'll have to do

a new build, and on Windows installation, it'll ask for any 3rd party

drivers.  Put your RAID driver in the floppy slot and you're all


They say there is a way to add it to an existing XP system, but I've

never been able to get it to boot.  Maybe someone can help me here as


Best of Luck

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