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Windows 7: Raid 0 for performance


29 Nov 2009   #1

Windows 7 64bit
 
 
Raid 0 for performance

I recently bought an Asus CG5290 system at BestBuy with Vista 64. I received the Windows 7 upgrade disk last week, and was considering buying a matching HD and setting up a RAID 0 array for better performance. I am not worried about redundancy, as I back up all my files on external storage.
I ran into an interesting issue: The motherboard which is advertised to be included in my package is the Rampage II Gene board, which includes Raid support up to level 10, and even an Intel utility called "Intel Matrix Storage Manager", which seemed a pretty cool little utility for setting up Raid without having to tweak the BIOS directly.
Coming to find out, Asus cut some corners by installing a dumbed down version of the board and adding a "(CG5290)" designation behind the model name. The BIOS is not upgradable unless you are a hacker (and then you are on your own), and the Intel utility is also missing - in short, this board does not support Raid. Period.
So now my only option is either to use Windows to do a software Raid (which I would prefer not to do), or to buy a PCI dedicated Raid Controller.
So here is my question: Is it worth all this BS in terms of performance increase? Will I really notice a doubling in read/write speed if I set up Raid 0 using a PCI card?
Is there an inexpensive (less than 40 bucks) card that supports Windows 7? I have read that this was hard to find.
If the increase in performance is noticeable, I would go through all the hoopla to make it happen. Otherwise, I would take the extra HD back and just do the Windows 7 upgrade and be done with it.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Nov 2009   #2

XP, Vista, W7 64bit Home Premium
 
 

Raid doesnt really increase the performance all that much until you get 4 disks - most people are opting for the dearer SSD Drives (Solid State Drives) for the performance kick these days. Corsair 64gb are about $300 australian (extreme).

Welcome to Corsair :: SSD Product Family

Personally, if your on a budget I would recommend just buying another hard drive if you need more space. I just checked your memory @ 9gb you should be getting great performance with that amount of memory on a 64bit OS - Windows 7 is a bit slower than vista to load into memory as it goes on what the user wants, but 15 mins after startup everything should open instantly, and stay that way.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Nov 2009   #3

Windows 7 64bit
 
 

Thank you very much for your response, whest. I considered a SSD, but was steared away from it because the technology is still fairly new and supposedly "not yet perfected", and the higher end models were about $450.00 US here.
Several people told me that a striped array of 2 drives would nearly double drive performance and program loading, which is why I initially wanted to do this. If that is not the case, I will probably just upgrade to Windows 7 as is, and leave the drive alone. It sounded like a good idea....
If anyone else has any input from experience, it would certainly be appreciated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Nov 2009   #4

XP, Vista, W7 64bit Home Premium
 
 

Some performance details below:
You can probably find more by typing in search "sata raid 0 performance benchmarks"

Single Drive and RAID 0 SATA NCQ Performance with Seagate's Barracuda 7200.7 - Bjorn3D.com

Beginners Guides: Installing RAID on a Desktop PC - PCSTATS.com

"RAID 0 provides performance benefits over a single drive, but primarily in the realm of sequential transfers such as video editing or other apps that require more bandwidth."
Apparently though as far as loading times for games and such, that's more dependant on the cpu rather than the hdd. So a RAID 0 array makes viturally no difference in terms of gaming.
Game Level Load times(in seconds) printed in Maximum PC:
Doom 3: RAID ARRAY: 38 SINGLE DRIVE: 35
Far Cry: RAID ARRAY: 21 SINGLE DRIVE: 21
Battlefield 1942: RAID ARRAY: 22 SINGLE DRIVE: 22
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Nov 2009   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I fully support the SSD idea. I run Windows 7 off an 80GB Intel x18M and it is unbelievably fast. I also have an OCZ 60GB Vertex that I will use on another system. I recommend this Vertex ( Newegg.com - OCZ Vertex Turbo OCZSSD2-1VTXT60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - Solid State Disks ). Check often because the prices change daily. Too bad I did not catch you 3 days ago. Newegg was offering the 30GB Vertex for $99.99. Two of those in a Raid configuration run at 360MB/sec read.
60GB is ample if you move some of the big folders (e.g. Videos) to your HDD. My Windows 7 that has all programs installed that I want and runs at less than 20GB right now.
But in any case make sure that you get one with firmware supporting Trim. For the Vertex that is level 1.4. and 1.4.1. Windows 7 supports Trim and it will not degrade in write performance over time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIM_(SSD_command)

Here is a performance chart of my Intel - beats any HDD Raid:



Here is another user quote: " Using this as main drive in the server for a dental office. The speed is incredible compared to the previous raptor Raid 0 setup. Dramatically reduced load times for everything and as a result all computers (7 total) in office respond more quickly."

PS: I don't work for any of those companies. I am just so excited about those SSDs - and that at my age of 72 years.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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