Raiding The Raptors

Nathan Edwards

I have a brand-new rig that sports two WD Raptors in a mirrored array. I wanted the speed of the Raptors and the convenience of a mirrored array. But I wonder if a mirrored or striped array (1+0, 0+1, or some other RAID number) using four 7,200rpm drives would be faster than the above array. And how would the price compare?

—David Thiel

As a matter of fact, the Doctor’s underlings have compared the speeds of various RAID configurations (November 2007). With Western Digital’s Raptor drives, we found that a four-drive 1+0 setup will outperform a two-drive mirrored array any day of the week. However, since a 1+0 setup requires twice as many drives as a mirrored array, it will cost twice as much to create.

As for whether four cheaper drives in a 1+0 setup would outperform a mirrored Raptor array, it’s certainly within the realm of possibility. A mirrored array of drives doesn’t offer a gigantic performance increase over just a single drive. There’s an increase, yes, but nowhere near what a striped array offers.

Given that you can now purchase drives that are both larger and cheaper than Western Digital’s Raptor, the Doctor thinks your best choice is to invest in cheaper drives and create a 1+0 array.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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