Small HDs in RAID 0 vs Cheap SSD in XP-X64 Help!

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by sohosources, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. sohosources

    sohosources n00b

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    Hi, Gang,

    Just built an i7-930 system with 12 GB of RAM on an ASUS Rampage II Gene MB. Easy and stable OC to 3.8 GHz with Hyper 212+ cooler.

    This is my main productivity box (no REAL gaming), which presently runs XP Pro X64 as the host OS and a bunch of VMWare 7 VMs for various dedicated purposes.

    I have been drooling over the HD performance anecdotes of modern SSDs...but have also been noticing that these buggers are kinda spendy and not exactly bug/gotcha free as of yet.

    As a hassle-free step in the right direction I have been considering using a single 250GB Samsung F3 as my boot/OS drive (should provide at least 110 MB/sec according to reviews, etc, and using a pair of F3 250s in RAID 0 to house the working copies of my VMs and other temporary local storage (all work files are stored on a RAID 1 file server via gigabit LAN).

    Two Sammy F3 250s in RAID 0 using ASUS MB software raid controller should get me to at least 150 MB/sec, which is a crap-ton faster than the single SATA I drive I'm now using, and ease the pain of NOT having an SSD.

    These drives are way cheap, and I could even use 4 or them in RAID 0 if I thought such an array would be even remotely reliable and the speed would be usably faster than 150 MB/sec using the on-board RAID controller.

    Am I on the right track here? Or is using an SSD on a non-Win7 platform (trim, garbage collection, etc) realistic TODAY.

    This machine needs to be as fast as REASONABLY possible...without being twitchy, fussy and requiring lots of attention.

    Thanks, as always,

    --KK in MN
     
  2. Dangman

    Dangman Ninja Editor SuperMod

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    The price for the F3 250GB is not that good considering that for $10 more, you can get the larger and slightly faster F3 500GB drive.
     
  3. sohosources

    sohosources n00b

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    I had considered the 250 because it has a single platter and should (theoretically) be more reliable in the long run.

    If the 500s are faster and similarly reliable I will use them (although I really don't need / want a 1 TB local array).

    Heck -- a pair of 80s -- if they're running at F3 500 speeds -- would be perfect.

    Is there any performance/longevity benefit to only formatting / using part of each drive in a RAID 0 array?

    --KK in MN
     
  4. legcramp

    legcramp [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The 500gb F3's are also single 500gb platter.
     
  5. drescherjm

    drescherjm [H]ardForum Junkie

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    They certainly would not be. Much lower platter density even if the 80GB used only 1 side of 1 disk.
     
  6. sohosources

    sohosources n00b

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    I see what you mean...

    I guess I could say, then, that for my setup, costs being mostly equal, I need only the speed and not the size.

    If I have to use a pair (or several) 500-GB drives in RAID 0 to get the speed, I'll do that, even though most of the array will be empty :)

    --KK in MN
     
  7. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment [H]ard as it Gets

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    i think windows 7 would make MUCH better use of that rig then XP x64 would, especially memory wise.
     
  8. sohosources

    sohosources n00b

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    Can you explain why?

    XP Pro X64 runs the server 2k3 core, which is completely bulletproof and handles tons of RAM.

    Some have suggested that Win 7 would be better, but I don't know exactly why. I don't need DirectX 11 (or 10)...and I have three XP Pro X64 COAs on hand...

    --KK in MN
     
  9. enginurd

    enginurd [H]ard as it Gets

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    If you want speed, quickness, and/or that snappy feeling without an SSD, you won't get it from mechanical drives due to their inferior access times and small random write speeds. If you want fast transfer rates/throughput without an SSD, then you can short stroke RAID0 some high-density-platter drives (F3 and newer Caviars in the 500GB flavor). Since you're reluctant to go with an SSD, go with the short stroked drives in RAID0 and see how you like the performance. If you're not wow'd enough, you should research on tweaking XP for SSD usage or move to Win7.
     
  10. sohosources

    sohosources n00b

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    Thanks for the info.

    When you say "short-stroke," do you mean partitioning them to a lower capacity

    If so, what capacity is recommended for an F3 Samsung 500?

    Is a pair of F3 500s sufficient to get a taste of the kind of performance that will be available, or are more drives required?

    Thanks, as always,

    --KK in MN

    P.S. I'm not exactly reluctant to use an SSD...I guess I just want to know if there's a hassle-free way to use them outside Win7 environments (such as XP X64 or 64-bit Ubuntu, for example).
     
  11. Dangman

    Dangman Ninja Editor SuperMod

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    Yes that's what short-stroke means. With any short-stroking, it's suppose to be 20 to 25% of the drive's capacity. So roughly 100GB to 125GB.
    Nope. No matter how many drives you use, none of them will come even remotely close to the access speeds/times and small random write speeds of a SSD. But in average transfer speeds, two F3 500GB in RAID 0 should give you a 2/3rds of the performance of the average Intel SSD.
     
  12. enginurd

    enginurd [H]ard as it Gets

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    btw, the short stroking would be done while setting up the RAID0 array.