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Windows 7: What is RAID, and would it work for me?

13 May 2012   #1

Windows 7 pro
What is RAID, and would it work for me?

Hello, I am looking at an Alienware m17x laptop, and in the options, there are multiple RAID choices, and what appeals to me is a 64gb SSD and a 500gb 7200rpm HDD, but how can one run one system on two harddrives, and for example, how could I install games onto the SSD to run quickly, but media on the HDD?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2012   #2

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

Forget RAID.
Forget RAID.
Forget RAID.

You are a standalone laptop system.

Raid on your system is utterly ridiculous.
The disk manufacturers would love for you to believe otherwise.

Incidentally, raid between different size disks is more than utterly ridiculous.

i can't give you a course on RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks),but here is a link or two:
Humour: RAID Explained Visually - John Baker's BritBlog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

RAID Levels Comparison Guide
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2012   #3
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64

Hi David and welcome to SevenForums,

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independant Disks. In laymans terms, its a way of "connecting" two or more disks to improve performance.

For example, a RAID0 "combines" two or more disks such that they appear to be a single disk only. Data is written across both disks, resulting in improved performance when compared to only a single disk. RAID0 is actually not redundant since if a single disk fails then all data written across both disks is lost - it a high risk strategy.

In a RAID1, data is written to both disks at the same time - think of it as a sort of backup. The two disks are mirrored images of one another. There are variants of RAID1 called RAID5 and RAID10, which are popular with data storage centres (the SevenForums database uses a RAID10 if I'm not mistaken).

RAID's have laregely become redundant (excuse the pun) with the advent of SSD's and cheap external USB backup devices. So, for the average person/user, RAID really holds no benefits. In specialist environments RAID's are still very good - I use them myself, as ou get both speed and larger storage volume, but again, this is a specialist environment.

In your case, you wouldn't RAID your SSD and HDD together, since the resultant RAID0 would only be 64GB in size (the remaining space is unusable and the system cannot access it).

You can happily install your program files to the SSD, but keep data files and media on your HDD - you will still get very good performance that way.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

13 May 2012   #4

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

originally it was inexpensive disks and not independent disks. Just for your general info.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2012   #5

Windows 7 pro

Thank you, I have decided to go with the 7200rpm 750GB hdd! I don't know why Dell are offering this then, it doesn't look very home-user friends stuff. but thanks :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2012   #6


The RAID 0 joke basically goes something along the lines of "0 being the number of files you can recover in case anything goes wrong". Go with the advice posted here, use your SSD as your boot & programs install drive, and keep your media and documents in the other drive. That's the same config I and many others who also have the same "SSD & HDD" combo also use.

The SSD does make a noticeable difference (especially compared to other gaming laptops that don't sport them), although at 64GB space is kinda cramped.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2012   #7
Max Peck

Windows 7 Ultimate

In agreement with what has already been said: RAID is really an overkill for most systems. Mission-critical systems like data centers need the technology but hard drives have gotten so reliable and backup so cheap that it just doesn't make sense to install them in most situations. Rather, the simpler your installation is the better.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2012   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

A RAID-0 stripe set is not useless, but you have to have a reason to want it on your machine. If you do a ton of I/O operations, it can save you tons of time. For example, if you extract 50GB databases on a regular basis from a RAR's great having a RAID-0 stripe to do it on. Same goes for making copies of very large video files.

But for most intents and purposes, RAID 0 on a desktop is just not warranted.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 What is RAID, and would it work for me?

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