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 Post subject: Upgrade to Raid? What would you do?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:09 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:37 pm
Posts: 51
Location: USA
I do a lot of stock analysis, with fairly (but not excessive) large datasets. I also run heavy real-time stock analysis online for about 6 hours a day when the market is open. I'm not a gamer, although some might equate the heavy graphics work of the market platforms as approaching the same demand load.

I'm not currently having any real problems, but have some hardware laying around that is burning a hole in my pocket. Would you make some changes?

I'm running 4 30" monitors at 2560 off a GTX680/2GB. Windows 7 64 bit.
CPU is i7-3770K in a ASUS P8Z77-V Premium M/B with 32GB Corsair DDR3-1600.

Here where the choices begin to arise.

Currently I have a single Samsung 1TB 840 as a system + Programs drive, connected to the Intel grey SATA-III port. The other grey port is connected to a Samsung 256 GB 830 that isn't really used for anything.
I have a Hitachi 4TB data drive, connected to one of the Marvell SATA-III ports. It is only about 30% full right now.
I recently added a Synology NAS to implement offline remote access (at a later time) and manage backups and historical data. It currently has > 10TB of data it's holding. So local storage on the primary system isn't a concern.

I also have (not currently installed) an additional 4TB Hitachi drive plus a Seagate 4TB drive.

Originally, wanting to learn more about RAID (I'm a complete noob WRT Raid), I thought about putting the Hitachi drives in a Raid0 pair. Then I read in the ASUS M/B manual, "Due to chipset limitation [sic], when SATA ports are set to RAID mode, all SATA ports run at RAID mode together." Also the BIOS doesn't seem to differentiate between the Intel RAID setting and the Marvell RAID setting. So I am confused and uneducated.

It doesn't appear that I can implement the 2 Hitachi drives in RAID while leaving the 840 primary system drive as a solitary drive, correct?

If that's true, then:

1. Would you just add another 840 drive and RAID0 the system drive using the Intel ports, then RAID0 the Hitachi drives using the Marvell ports?
2. IF the 'either/or' option (RAID only the system drive, or RAID only the Data drives) *IS* available, which would you do? Or both still?
3. Would an update to Win 8.1 Pro offer any benefit before doing this?

4. Of course, there is always Option 4 - Leave well enough alone. :)

Or, if you have any other thoughts, I'd love to hear them. My plan is to upgrade to a 1150 M/B and new CPU sometime around August/September after things settle down somewhat....

I *REALLY* appreciate your thoughts and advice on this! Not really barn-burning issues, but I'd would like to do something. As I said, burning a hole.....

Thanks again!

The Gunny


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade to Raid? What would you do?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:31 pm 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5255
It depends if your operations heavily use the hard drive. If your hard drive (or SSD, or whatever) isn't used all that much, there's little to no benefit to going into RAID.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade to Raid? What would you do?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:24 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:37 pm
Posts: 51
Location: USA
I would say I'm definitely hitting the programs disk (Samsung 840) much harder than the data disk (Hitachi 4TB).

Do I have a choice? Can I do the 840s in RAID0 with a single data disk that is not RAID?

The Gunny


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade to Raid? What would you do?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:37 pm 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5255
No, I mean when you do your work, is the SSD or HDD being accessed frequently? The point I'm getting at here is if your secondary storage is idle when you do work, then doing RAID on it isn't going to help. It's like adding more cores to a word processor or a video card when you're getting 200FPS at 1080p.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade to Raid? What would you do?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:07 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:37 pm
Posts: 51
Location: USA
I understood your meaning, and it's a great perspective.

My SSD (OS & Programs) is getting hit much harder than my secondary storage. But I'm not sure RAID'ing the SSD would really gain much - is there that much bandwidth/headroom between the native performance of the SSD and the SATA III channel that RAID would show improvement benefiting the cost?

The Gunny


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade to Raid? What would you do?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:50 pm 
Coppermine
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Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:40 pm
Posts: 703
In reverse order:
Quote:
But I'm not sure RAID'ing the SSD would really gain much - is there that much bandwidth/headroom between the native performance of the SSD and the SATA III channel that RAID would show improvement benefiting the cost?

I would say no. Any gains you would see would be in milliseconds. Plus, to utilize your full 1TB SSD, you would have to buy another duplicate one. At about ~$650 it's not worth it. Not to mention you would have to backup the SSD to a separate HDD, setup the RAID (which would wipe the original SSD) and then restore the backup to the RAID'd SSDs. Time consuming for sure and if something goes wrong...oops.

Quote:
Do I have a choice? Can I do the 840s in RAID0 with a single data disk that is not RAID?

Yes. See my next comment for further details.

Quote:
Then I read in the ASUS M/B manual, "Due to chipset limitation [sic], when SATA ports are set to RAID mode, all SATA ports run at RAID mode together." Also the BIOS doesn't seem to differentiate between the Intel RAID setting and the Marvell RAID setting. So I am confused and uneducated.

It doesn't appear that I can implement the 2 Hitachi drives in RAID while leaving the 840 primary system drive as a solitary drive, correct?

I looked at the manual and I agree, their little "note" is confusing. I believe what it's saying is that once you turn RAID on, the RAID functionality is enabled for all SATA ports. In other words, you can't turn on RAID for the SATA III ports, but not the SATA II. I hope that makes sense.

What it does NOT mean is that every hard drive you install has to be in a RAID configuration - that would be extremely limiting (and silly, IMO). As for setting up the RAID, the manual does provide decent instructions (better than some I've seen).

Since this sounds like a work machine, I would not want to fiddle with any settings (like RAID) you're unfamiliar with unless you don't mind inadvertently losing your data. As I see it, here are a few options you could do:
  • To truly be safe, you should backup your data to 3 locations. You have your computer (1), and the NAS backup (2). You could buy an external enclosure for one of the 4TB HDDs and copy the backup files from the NAS to the 4TB periodically. Because of the size of the drive and the amount of data you have, you might be able to grandfather a couple backups.
  • I have no idea how much of your data is "crucial" but if it's not that much, you could use the 256GB SSD to backup the truly crucial data instead of backing up the NAS.
  • If you're really interested in learning more about computers, you could assemble a cheap computer and try RAIDing the 4TBs on that computer. You might be able to connect it to a TV and make it a media computer. Or install Steam and use Big Picture mode to play some games after a hard day of trading futures.

Hope this helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade to Raid? What would you do?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:29 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:37 pm
Posts: 51
Location: USA
BTDOG, that was indeed very helpful. You confirmed my intuition that absent doing some profiling, for which I don't have the tools, there isn't enough incremental gain from RAID'ing the SSD to justify (or even rationalize) the cost.

And yes, this is a work machine, and along with LatiosXTs comment, have pretty well confirmed that the best choice is to just leave well enough alone. I like the suggestion of doing a copy of the key backup files from the NAS - I have a 1TB USB external drive that should serve that purpose well.

Since my foray into RAID was 80% educational, with the remaining 20% potential performance boost a 'nice to have', I'll just defer that to another box - I have a couple that are available (remnants of upgrades past) that would serve that function well. Actually makes more sense as a 'play' environment!

You have provided me a roadmap to satisfy my compulsion to 'tinker', while protecting my data and current environment! Thanks!

(Now it's on to a couple of network 'considerations/opportunities'.... :D )

The Gunny


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