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Windows 7: How to install Win7 to an SSD Raid array?

01 Dec 2011   #21
Mergatroid

Windows 7 Pro 64
 
 
Sorry man, I just tested it for a decent improvement.

My SSD was spanking the hard drive (250ish MB/s is about correct for this generation SATA II SSD) vs one hard drive. I said my buddy's RAID 0 (4 drives) was getting the same performance. Now my SSD RAID 0 is not only spanking my old single SSD, but it's SUPER spanking a single hard drive and out performing my buddy's mechanical RAID. I'm afraid I'm not the one with issues my friend. I have been studying everything I can find regarding SSD RAIDs, bought another 60GB SATA II SSD and set the drives to RAID 0 in hardware on my ASUS P8Z68-V Pro mobo. Worked first time, without issue. Installed Windows, have been reinstalling all my apps. Working great. Boot time is now just over 10 seconds from just over 20 seconds on the single drive (after POST). My average transfer benchmark with HD Tune (read) has gone from 246 MB/s on a fresh Windows 7 install on a single Patriot Inferno 60GB SSD to 461MB/s using the Inferno and a Corsair 60GB in a hardware RAID0 striped volume also on a fresh install of Windows 7.

If you go to Tom's Hardware you will find lots of people using SSD RAIDs, more on other sites as well. You can stand by what you say, I'll stand by what I have tested. Of course I can't say how much of a performance boost you would get by RAID0ing two SATA III SSDs. Because of their high transfer speeds a RAID may run into SATA limitations. I can't say for sure because I haven't tested that. Here's a screen shot of my current HD Tune benchmark.




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01 Dec 2011   #22
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Nice nums but are they really worth the complications - and cost. My 90GB OCZ Vertex2 boots in 16 seconds - in a laptop. What else do I need.
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01 Dec 2011   #23
Mergatroid

Windows 7 Pro 64
 
 
It's a keeper

The cost was less than adding a newer faster drive, at the expense of having to learn more about RAID and how to set it up. I had some experience already, so I wasn't too bad off. There were no complications. I plugged the drive in, set the BIOS, created the volumes, booted windows installer and from that point on everything was a normal Windows install. Really no more difficult than replacing your boot drive. Kudos to my new ASUS main board for working right the first time. Of course there was additional backup work as a lot of things needed to be backed up manually since you can't restore your old SSD image to the new RAID volume. Anyone who cannot seem to get the RAID working using the BIOS and hardware RAID on their main board should try updating their BIOS. This ASUS board was a pleasure to set up. Easy as pie.

I would agree that a person who's not an enthusiast may be better off not bothering with RAID because of the added complexity, but it does offer a performance improvement for SATA II SSDs in RAID 0. RAID1 on a couple of SSD storage drives could provide added redundancy just as it does with mechanical drives. I could see a nice little NAS holding four 2.5" SSDs in a mirroring RAID setup. If I could afford to go out and pick up a couple of SATA III SSDs I would definitely try RAID0 on them just to bench them and try a few things. If I could see an obvious improvement I would keep them in RAID.
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02 Dec 2011   #24
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Mergatroid View Post
If you go to Tom's Hardware you will find lots of people using SSD RAIDs
That site has been laughable for years now, at least on the real, true enthusiasts boards, like [H]ardForums and Anandtech. Once "Toms" was exposed as giving positive reviews and swaying forum members opinions in exchange for cash, the integrity of the site left in a hurry. It is hardly an enthusiasts site anymore. You also are putting all of your faith in synthetic benchmarks, and as the [H]ardForums debunked 5-6 years ago....doesn't show accurate and real performance for RAID arrays. It was a simple fad that was popular when SSDs came out, but it has since died off in the enthusiast community. Then it was determined to be all hype, just like RAID0 on spinners. That is why you'll see the high end manufacturers of boutique and custom PCs typically shy away from RAID, unless it is specifically requested. For a while, the only real purpose was to make up for small drive capacity....but now that SSD prices have been creeping down, that isn't the case. My new Agility 3 240 GB was cheaper than two 120 GB models of the same drive...and doesn't give me all the instability risks of a RAID0 array, while losing nothing in performance.
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02 Dec 2011   #25
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Absolutely right Deacon
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03 Dec 2011   #26
Mergatroid

Windows 7 Pro 64
 
 

I'll stick with what I see with my own eyes, thanks anyways. I see the improvement in boot times, and overall performance. Sure, the benchmark won't hold true all the time, and it IS an average read speed with peaks and valleys but the fact is that performance has improved. Argue all you want but the numbers don't lie.

Lets see your measurements showing how it doesn't work. I've shown one of mine. I supply proof and you supply...opinion.
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05 Dec 2011   #27
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Mergatroid View Post
I supply proof and you supply...opinion.
You're missing the point. The proof has been out there for years supporting my "opinion". I'm telling you what is the "accepted" answer. You are showing "proof" using synthetic benchmarks, which isn't actual proof to begin with. If you need me to explain that part, then that tells me you missed the great RAID debates from years back.

The bottom line is, what you choose to do with your system is completely up to you. If you feel you are getting some kind of benefit, go right ahead. However, you need to be very careful over what you actually post for others to read. The proof you seek is out there, and online. Anandtech has the definitive write-up that's considered the final word in the enthusiast community on RAID in a desktop, specifically striping. SSDs have eliminated the need to even consider RAID.
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05 Dec 2011   #28
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Deacon, I agree with you in general. I would never stripe SSDs for an OS installation because it makes no sense for the particular R/W pattern of the OS. And since the access time for a Raid is no different than for a single SSD, there is very little, if anything, to be gained.

This may change the day we see large SSDs at reasonable prices that we can use to store large amounts of data. If you move GBs of data around, striping may very well speed things up.

And there is another exception (at least it seems to be). That is the OCZ Revo drive which is a 4 way Raid implemented in the hardware controller. I do not have one of those devices but I remember when Shawn installed one on his system earlier this year, he reported a significant performance improvement over his single SSD (which I assume was a Sata II).

Since then we have seen Sata III SSDs appear and that narrows the gap again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Dec 2011   #29
Mergatroid

Windows 7 Pro 64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DeaconFrost View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Mergatroid View Post
I supply proof and you supply...opinion.
You're missing the point. The proof has been out there for years supporting my "opinion". I'm telling you what is the "accepted" answer. You are showing "proof" using synthetic benchmarks, which isn't actual proof to begin with. If you need me to explain that part, then that tells me you missed the great RAID debates from years back.
However, you need to be very careful over what you actually post for others to read. The proof you seek is out there, and online. Anandtech has the definitive write-up that's considered the final word in the enthusiast community on RAID in a desktop, specifically striping.
Right, in other words you offer nothing to back up what you are saying.

Here is further proof. A fellow using a hardware RAID on 2 x OCZ Agility 3 in RAID 0. He was benching 1000 MB/s.

ASUSTeK Computer Inc.-Forum- AHCI/RAID issues

Page 9.

The more I look into this, the more people I find achieving awesome transfer rates. The more I come back here, the more I see nothing but the evidence I provide. It's perfectly fine to claim there will be no real world benefit, but that doesn't explain why my boot time has almost halved (fresh win7 install vs fresh win7 install), or why the software on that raid is responding faster than it was. You say that benchmarks are no good for performance testing, but that's their entire point, to test performance. Sure, I won't see a 2 x benefit all the time, but so far it's looking like I have achieved an overall increase in performance as measured not only by the benchmark, but also software loading times (such as the aforementioned boot time). You keep SAYING there's no performance increase, yet I keep SEEING it.

As I said, I will have to go with what I see with my own eyes. I have done the testing, I have seen the performance increase, I have made my decision. You keep telling people what some other people did some time in the past, and I will show them my benchmarks and preformance time improvements.

Here's a quote from the article I linked to:

"Hello, I had (have) the gigabyte ga-990fxa-ud3. Coupled with 2 OZC Agility 3 in raid 0. It gave me just over 1000Mb/s. Bought the sabertooth 990FX, did a SE on my disks with a clean install, raid 0. Only get just above 800Mb/s and in write?! Something is wrong as, Sepher said. It's the same raid controller so obviously the problem lies within the BIOS and/or the driver. When i do something on my computer it feels a bit laggish. It did not do this on my gigabyte board!"

Obviously I'm not the only one enjoying great success with RAID0 on SSDs. Looks to me like I'm not the one missing anything.

The bottom line is that performance has improved. I really don't understand how you can argue with that. The clock doesn't lie.
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08 Dec 2011   #30
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

I don't have to provide proof...I'm not the one going against the grain. You are choosing to only read forum posts and articles that fall into the myth. I gave you the site to find the final word, and you ignored it. If you said rain drops were made of metal, I wouldn't need to provide you with proof that they aren't.

What you are believing is the results of synthetic benchmarks that do not accurately measure and test SSDs. I've stated that before, but you've ignored it because it's factual and goes against your "beliefs". It's been common knowledge for at least 5 years that stripped arrays can often hurt regular performance due to higher seek times. That hurts regular Windows performance. Striped arrays were only ever useful in very rare situations, such as a scratch drive for Photoshop or for some unique video editing environments. That's why striped arrays with spinners died out.

Once SSDs came out, you saw people creating arrays in order to extend the drive capacity. Two 60 GB drives were often cheaper than a single 120 GB, and could be striped together for the capacity. In real world usage, the performance didn't change. Now that prices are coming down, and smaller drivers don't have the same price per GB advantage anymore, the reasons for RAIDing them together dissolved.

All of what I said above is fact, whether you choose to believe it or not. I'm not going to continue this "debate", because I still have scars from the "Great RAID Debate" from 5 years ago. You still want to put your faith into synthetic benchies, and that is blindly leading you down the same path people walked 5 years ago. But, like I said previously...what you do and believe on your own system is your own business. When we post here, our job is to give accurate, best accepted advice to people seeking it. When you start posting about how great striped arrays are and how synthetic benchies are making you feel warm and fuzzy about your array...all you do is tell us that your thinking is outdated by those 5 years. I don't say this to sound rude....I say it to give you the chance to do your own reading and researching...from authoritative sources, so you know why striped arrays have fallen out of favor within the enthusiast community.
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 How to install Win7 to an SSD Raid array?




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