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RAID0 - Would Partitioning the hard drive for an OS offer any performance benefit?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'm rebuilding one of my PC's that currently uses old loud Raptor drives in RAID 0. I'm tired of the noise those drives put out and since they're old, I'd like to replace them with something else.

The VelociRaptors sound like a nice improvement over the old Raptors, but their priced a little high IMO. Reading reviews, the 640GB WD Black hard drives seem to get similar speed reviews compared to the raptors. Since the speed difference is minimal, and they're much cheaper, I have decided to go with the WD Black drives.

But, 640 GB in a RAID0 setup will get me 1+ TB worth of space. I only want to use these drives as the OS drive. All of my data resides on other hard drives or network shares.

So this brings me to my question. Would partitioning my 1+ TB OS RAID0 drive into say a 160GB partition give me any benefit over not partitioning the drive at all? Partitioning the initial 160GB as the OS drive should ensure that the OS and all programs installed on the OS will always remain on the outside of the hard drive platter. I would be left with over 1TB worth of storage left, and I could use Intel's Matrix RAID to make that either another RAID0 partition, or a RAID1 partition. But in reality, I would never use that space so it wouldn't really matter. I really only need say 160GB of space for the OS, the rest of the hard drive space will forever remain unused.

I'd appreciated anyone's thoughts and/or opinions on this setup. I may be over-thinking everything and the differences probably wouldn't even be noticeable. But since this is one of my PC's I don't want to tinker with, I'd rather have it setup for the best results from the start.
post #2 of 21
I don't think partitioning does much for performance in the NTFS world.

If you're not putting anything else on the drive, your OS data will always be in the fastest part of the drive anyway. If you decide to use it for storage, then you will benefit by making a smaller partition for just the OS, but I doubt you'd notice the performance increase in regular usage.
post #3 of 21
Just incase your buying WD 640 Black drives based on its past peformance & reviews.

I got hit on this as well... cant turn on TLER (which isnt neeed for what ur doing) but I hear the design has also changed. Its 3 platter instead of two now, and runs slower.

Taken from Newegg review. I bought mine on black friday sale. Got 5, all are the newer style.


:: SNIP FROM NEWEGG::

Pros: Disks manufactured on "01 MAY 2009" (WD WD6401AALS-00L3B2) with 01.03B01 firmware have 2 plates, quiet, fast, does not get hot in my case, keeps around 42C.

CrystalDiskMark 2.2 Benchmark

Sequential Read: 135.848 MB/s
Sequential Write: 126.506 MB/s
Random Read 512KB: 50.563 MB/s
Random Write 512KB: 104.158 MB/s
Random Read 4KB: 0.969 MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 2.523 MB/s

Ordered few week ago, decided to get another one, it works, but ...

Cons: WD has changed hardware and new drives not as good as the previous hardware. Disks manufactured on "12 OCT 2009" (WD6401AALS-00J7B1) have new firmware: 05.00K05 and looks like have 3 plates instead of 2, case looks different, feels heavier, makes annoying high frequency noise, gets hot up to 50C, not as fast.

CrystalDiskMark 2.2 Benchmark

Sequential Read: 96.673 MB/s
Sequential Write: 86.774 MB/s
Random Read 512KB: 41.350 MB/s
Random Write 512KB: 82.511 MB/s
Random Read 4KB: 0.824 MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 2.425 MB/s

i'm not sure that i want to keep it.

Other Thoughts: i don't see any advantage in buying this model anymore, it make sense to switch to the 750GB model in this case, the same 3 plates design, more space.

:: SNIP FROM NEWEGG:: end
post #4 of 21
In regards to your orignial question, I heard it can help with peformance if you partition / short stroke the array. Google "short stroke hard drive" for more info.

Should be easy enought to try and test.
post #5 of 21
Quote:


But, 640 GB in a RAID0 setup will get me 1+ TB worth of space.

No, it will give you 640GB space.

Quote:


I only want to use these drives as the OS drive. All of my data resides on other hard drives or network shares.

You can pick up a 40GB SSD for about 150 that will outperform that raid0 and be silent. The 1TB blacks are faster than the 640s. I have both.

Like another poster said, if you really want to go raid0 640s then yes, partitioning will improve seek and sustained transfer rates.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgrimley View Post

No, it will give you 640GB space.



You can pick up a 40GB SSD for about 150 that will outperform that raid0 and be silent. The 1TB blacks are faster than the 640s. I have both.

Like another poster said, if you really want to go raid0 640s then yes, partitioning will improve seek and sustained transfer rates.

...Raid 0 is stripping, so he should have 1.28 TB minus formatting.

Some of these cheaper SSD drives aren’t worth it in terms of transfer rate, but seek time is there. The lowest id buy is an OCZ Vertex but I am going to hold out for Intel SSD drives.

And from my own benchmarking I came up with the Original 640 Black drives are faster than the 1TB Black drives. The 640 Blacks been the talk of the town on storage forums for this very reason until the changes; now I just see irritated WD fans (and I am one of them). I also have 10 WD RE3 1TB drives which benched slower than the 2 platter 640 blacks. The NEW (3 platter) 640 blacks are slower than the 1TB WD drives. For some reason the 1TB RE3 drives really kick butt in terms of seek time with my 3Ware 9650 card.
post #7 of 21
The SSD is your answer. The Kingston SSDNOW (40gb) is under $110 at the egg. Its really half an Intel x25-M.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by grittree View Post

The SSD is your answer. The Kingston SSDNOW (40gb) is under $110 at the egg. Its really half an Intel x25-M.

I've thought about getting an SSD, but I still feel like the tech is too new and we need a few years before all the bugs are ironed out.

If I were to get an SSD I'd probably go with the Intel X-25M. It's almost 3 times the price as the Kingston, but I'd have double the storage capacity, and it supports TRIM (which I hear/read is almost a must).

SSD's should be the future of hard drives... but I don't know if I'm ready to spend that much money right now considering the tech is quickly changing.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by grittree View Post

The SSD is your answer. The Kingston SSDNOW (40gb) is under $110 at the egg. Its really half an Intel x25-M.


I tried that drive and returned it... The write performance is terrible, worse than a traditional 7200 RPM hard drive.

Kingston SSDNOW only writes at 40 MB/s

OCZ Vertex writes 135 MB/s Burst % 70 MB/s sustained

Intel writes @ 70 mb/s

Even read performance on the Kingston isn't that hot @ 170 mbs with intel and OCZ in the 230+ marks. You're going to find that drive dog slow.


You need to keep in mind that traditional HDDs are faster than SSD in numbers for throughput. Two WD 640 in raid 0 still bench at about 200 mb/s. I am using 4 in raid 4 getting 400mb/s using the onboard Intel ICH10R controller.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies guys. I wasn't aware the 640GB drives are now shipping with 3 platters. I guess that throws my original idea of putting two of those in a RAID0 setup out the door.

Are there any other recommended drives I should look at then? I know the fastest option is SSD's, but if I want fast and reliable "old school" drives to run in RAID0, what should I look at?
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarlp View Post

RAID0 - Would Partitioning the hard drive for an OS offer any performance benefit?

Just have a good backup!

Mike
post #12 of 21
I think you are being too cautious. The TRIM thing is way overblown. I ran a X25-M for 8 weeks on a very active machine and it lost zero performance. Best drive I ever bought.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarlp View Post

I've thought about getting an SSD, but I still feel like the tech is too new and we need a few years before all the bugs are ironed out.

If I were to get an SSD I'd probably go with the Intel X-25M. It's almost 3 times the price as the Kingston, but I'd have double the storage capacity, and it supports TRIM (which I hear/read is almost a must).

SSD's should be the future of hard drives... but I don't know if I'm ready to spend that much money right now considering the tech is quickly changing.

SSD has a long way to go before its mature. SLC is where its at, MLC is most of the mainstream stuff you see. You are very right in the importance of TRIM. The intel SSD drives are the only SSD I can see myself buying right now. Windows 7 and Intel SSD firmware enabled trim and its a fantastic combo.

Another option is using SAS drives for the OS if speed and seek time are a goal. I am using two Fujitsu 15,000 RPM drives in raid 0 for the OS. I only went this route since my mobo supports SAS and didnt want to jump into SSD yet.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by grittree View Post

I think you are being too cautious. The TRIM thing is way overblown. I ran a X25-M for 8 weeks on a very active machine and it lost zero performance. Best drive I ever bought.

TRIM matters more based on your data usage paterns... so for some its more important than others. Intel drives are the best SSD ive used to date so you got some quality stuff, too bad I wont pony up for them yet. Id love to get 2 or 4 but I feel I should wait for SLC drives to come down as write peformance is very important for what I do.

Ive also been eyeing the PCI-e 8x SSD hard cards. Basically a raid card with SSD drives that uses that PCI-e bus instead of SATA or SAS. Google Z-drive and fusion io
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarlp View Post

Thanks for all the replies guys. I wasn't aware the 640GB drives are now shipping with 3 platters. I guess that throws my original idea of putting two of those in a RAID0 setup out the door.

Are there any other recommended drives I should look at then? I know the fastest option is SSD's, but if I want fast and reliable "old school" drives to run in RAID0, what should I look at?

The WD 640 thing was a real bummer for me too as I found out AFTER buying them. Now im forced to buy and pay the price for RE3 drives for my larger raid arrays.

Personally I would get one Intel SSD.
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealthlude View Post

The WD 640 thing was a real bummer for me too as I found out AFTER buying them. Now im forced to buy and pay the price for RE3 drives for my larger raid arrays.

Personally I would get one Intel SSD.

I am truly interested in using SSD's... but I'm going to wait 1-2 years. The 80GB may work, but I'd prefer to have the 160GB for an OS drive. The 160GB is around $480... and I can't justify spending that much on a drive that I will probably want to replace in 2 years (when SSD tech gets better). SSD's are exactly what I want... but the price is keeping me from purchasing them.

I'm thinking about picking up either the Western Digital RE3 320GB or 500GB hard drives and running those in RAID0 for now. Those are both single platters right?

I could run the 320GB for example in RAID0, and partition that to 160GB. I could leave the remaining 480GB left over as un-partitioned space. This would help ensure I'm using mostly the outer area of the platter(s) for faster speeds.

Any advice on the RE3's? The 320 is $70, the 500 is $80 and the 750 is $130 at my local Fry's. I'd prefer 2 of either the 320 or 500 GB drives because they a little cheaper then the 750's. But if there's enough of a performance gain switching to the 750, I'd consider it.
post #17 of 21
If you are only doing raid 0, you do NOT need RE3 drives. The RE3 drives have TLER enabled from the factory.

TLER is very important if you decided to use something like Raid 5, 6, 50 .....

My 640WD Black drives error out and fall off my raid 5 array because TLER cant be turned on (tested with Raid Intel ICH10R and 3Ware 9650se). In raid 0 I dont have any problems.

If you can find WD Black for a decent price just use it, sounds like you plan on changing things around in a year or two anyways. The only RE3 drive ive really tested is the 1TB drive; look for benchmarks on the smaller Black models and see what you can find.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealthlude View Post

If you are only doing raid 0, you do NOT need RE3 drives. The RE3 drives have TLER enabled from the factory.

TLER is very important if you decided to use something like Raid 5, 6, 50 .....

My 640WD Black drives error out and fall off my raid 5 array because TLER cant be turned on (tested with Raid Intel ICH10R and 3Ware 9650se). In raid 0 I dont have any problems.

If you can find WD Black for a decent price just use it, sounds like you plan on changing things around in a year or two anyways. The only RE3 drive ive really tested is the 1TB drive; look for benchmarks on the smaller Black models and see what you can find.

I decided to give the 500GB RE3 drives a go in RAID0. Yea... they're probably overkill for my use, but the RE3 drives are enterprise class drives so reliability will be better. Plus, the difference in pricing between the black and RE3 drives at 500GB is only $20 locally. I'm willing to pay an extra $20 for some added reliability (especially for an OS drive in RAID0).

In a year or two I'll probably take a look at SSD's. Hopefully by then a high quality 160GB version will be available at sub $200.

Thank you for taking the time to help me out
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
I got my new drives tonight and tested them against my old setup.

My old drives were 2 76GB WD Raptors running in RAID0:



My new drives are 2 500GB WD RE3's running in RAID0 (partitioned at 160GB for the OS):



I was surprised how much faster this new setup is then my older setup. Everything is improved except for the Access Time. But even then, it's still pretty close. I'm sure the VelociRaptors would be much better then my old 2006 model Raptors.

Thanks again for everyone's input.
LL
LL
post #20 of 21
Ur bench scores look correct. Grats on the new drives, how much was each RE3 drive? I bought 10 1TB RE3s and that set me back a pretty penny.

Here are the similar drives in raid 1. Unfortunately the older raptor drives are old news... This is the bench for RAID1 WD 640 Black vs the 74 GB 1st Gen raptors.

Happy to see the new drives worked.
LL
LL
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealthlude View Post

Ur bench scores look correct. Grats on the new drives, how much was each RE3 drive? I bought 10 1TB RE3s and that set me back a pretty penny.

Here are the similar drives in raid 1. Unfortunately the older raptor drives are old news... This is the bench for RAID1 WD 640 Black vs the 74 GB 1st Gen raptors.

Happy to see the new drives worked.

The 500GB RE3's were available at Fry's for $89.

I also picked up 2 1TB Black drives for $99. I'm using these in RAID1 to replace my aging 320GB drives.

I'm happy that 1TB drives are so cheap these days. I remember building my unRAID server 2+ years ago and spending around $230-$240 per hard drive. These days, I can get the WD Green 1TB drive (perfect for an unRAID movie server), for something like $80. I think the price on those drives dropped from $200 to under $100 in less then a year. Once the 2TB drives drop in price I'll start replacing all my 1TB drives. It sounds crazy, but I've already used about about 12.5TB of space on my unRAID server (with a total of around 14TB).
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