Sunday , 31 August 2014
Learn What SSDs Can Do For You:

RAID0 & the SSD – Simple To Build and Lightning Fast

You truly know that your a computer geek when you hollar “Woot” to your first RAID results and have to call up the wife and kids to see.  Quite frankly I don’t think I will ever forget the look of confusion on her face as much as she won’t forget the look of amazement on mine.  She felt a bit out of place when my son started telling me how amazing the speed was.

I locked myself in my office this past weekend in order to finally tackle something I have always been curious about, performance in a RAID environment and how easy it would be to construct such a thing.

After spending endless hours locked in the room, building, testing and ripping apart only to rebuild again, I have put together an article that I believe will show, not only the benefits and absolute amazing performance increase possible, but also how really simple it is to build.

INTRODUCTION

To give this story the proper spin, I have to concede that I knew absolutely nothing about RAID before this experiment.  Not only did I not know the basics of RAID, but also, I had never even once worked with a system that had RAID running.  Now I know that RAID means Redundant Array of Independent Disks but as I was soon to find out in testing RAID 0, RAID is not really RAID at all.

In trying to explain RAID to me, a close colleague had to laugh in stating that, although RAID0 is RAID, technically there is no data redundancy so it really doesn’t qualify as RAID.  Ok, I’m  confused.

Rule # 1 – Lets keep it simple!

Imagine that a you had drive two cars from Point A to Point B.   Now, imagine that there were two of you and you both drove the cars from Point A to Point B.  It would take half the time right?  Did you not technically just double your performance?

This is how RAID0 works.  Rather than the entire file moving from Point A to Point B, its actually split into two and each part written to a different disk at the same time.  Conversely, if it had to be read, it would be both disks being read simultaneously. Thats RAID0.

In just under 15 hours, far too many coffees and 70 performance tests that include Crystal DiskMark, ATTO Disk Benchmark, HDTune Pro and PCMark Vantage x64, I discovered enough about RAID0 to create a RAID0 build in less than 20 minutes.

A WORLD OF THANKS TO CRUCIAL

Our sincere thanks goes out to Kelly Sasso and the Crucial Team for lending 2x256GB Crucial C300 and 2x64GB Crucial C300 RealSSDs for our RAID Guide and subsequent testing of these drives.  As you will soon find out, there truly is something special about these solid state drives.

TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT

  1. Computer;
  2. Printer to Print off Our Directions;
  3. 2x HDD or SSD (Preferably Crucial C300 RealSSD);
  4. Latest Intel RST Package found here;
  5. Windows7 on Disk or USB; and
  6. Patience.

Very little patience is required for this procedure as I will detail my activities step by step  and explaining the performance enhancing tricks that extended my 20 minute installation to just under 15 hours.  You get the best of it without the heartache and trust me, it is quick and easy.

STANDARD RELEASE OF LIABILITY

This is not a RAID instruction manual or guide.

This is a compilation of my experiences in building and testing RAID0 and contains a compilation of tips that were learned through RAID usage.  The SSD Review doesn’t recommend anyone follow this in the building of their own RAID0 environment and doing so is, of course, done at their own risk.

Now enjoy!

OUR TEST BENCH

TEST BENCH, SOFTWARE AND PROTOCOL

TEST BENCH CONFIGURATION

Motherboard Asus Rampage III Gene SATA 6Gb/s USB3
CPU Intel i7-930 CPU@2.80Ghz (OCd to 3.2Ghz)
RAM 6Gb G.Skill 1600 Triple Channel
Graphics MSI N460GTX DDR5 768MB
Power Supply OCZ ModXStream-Pro 600w
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212+
OS Windows 7 64 Bit Ultimate
Wifi Belkin Surf & Share Wireless USB Adapter
Monitor Dell E228WFP 22? Flat Panel
Desktop Case BitFenix Survivor Mid-Tower ATX Gaming Case (x)
Front Loading Mobile SSD Rack2x64GB Crucial C300 RealSSD

2x256GB Crucial C300 RealSSDIcy Dock SSD 4 x 2.5? Mobile Rack (x)CTFDDAC064MAG-1G1 (rev 0006) (x)

CTFDDAC256MAG-1G1  (rev 0006) (x)

Software used for testing by The SSD Review consists of Crystal Disk Mark, HDTune Pro, ATTO Benchmark, along with FutureMark PCMark Vantage.  The first three do a great job of showing us the numbers that we want to see, or don’t want to see in some cases, while PCMark Vantage x64 is an excellent program which recreates tests that mimic the average users activity, all the while providing a medium to measure each.

In order to ensure accuracy of tests throughout the evaluations, tests may be repeated or conducted in safe mode to confim consistency throughout and eliminate any possibility of a wild card result.  Safe mode may be utilized as well as any other number of set criteria to ensure that tests conducted at present do not differ from those conducted in the past.  Where comparative SSDs are still in the possession of The SSD Review, we will follow every opportunity to gain fresh test evaluations from sample media.

Pg1 – Introduction & Test Protocol

Pg2 – TRIM and Building RAID0

Pg3 – Optimization and RealSSDx4

Pg4 - Benchmarking in RealSSDx2

Pg5 – Conclusions and Intel New RST Ver 10 Released

DISCUSS THE REVIEW HERE!

About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships. Google+
  • Dave Estes

    Having wanted to build a raid0 set-up with SSD’s since I decided I needed a new PC I read this review (twice) with avid anticipation. (I don’t really need this much speed but like Maverick I felt the need for speed!) I also read the SSD optimization guide & was wondering how this rig was holding up with Windows 7?
    I have purchased, over the past couple of months, an Asus Sabertooth MoBo, Intel Core i7 950 cpu, Thermaltake Frio CPU cooler, 12 Gb of Corsair DDR3 1333 trip-channel ram, 2 Samsung 470 series MZ-5PA064 SSD’s, 2 EVGA GeForce GTS 450 GPU’s (for SLI), Thermaltake TR2 RX750 PSU, and the BitFenix Survivor. Window’s 7 Professional will be the OS I use. Haven’t put this build together yet (because of work related travel & honey-do requirements) but was wondering if you thought this set-up would work in the SSD Raid0 configuration described in your article with Windows optimized per your article? My biggest fear is heat with all of this newer higher powered equipment stuffed into a mid-tower case. I am cramped for space in the home ofice area so I’d like to stick with the mid-tower set-up if possible. Your thoughts?

    Regards,
    Dave Estes

  • Volker Prause

    Stripe Size – ‘Intel recommends 16k …’.
    WHY?! What’s the logic behind that?
    I have read from multiple sources that the smallest addressable block on SSDs is 128k. Assuming this is correct then according to my understanding that means:
    - if you read a 4k file you read the 128k block anyway, and the same applies to a write
    - if you use a 16k stripe, this stripe on the disk uses an entire 128k addressable block
    It would be very helpful to me and quite some more people out there if somebody (you?!) could dig a little bit deeper into that.

    Regards

    Volker Prause

    SITE RESPONSE: Having tested SSDs in different stripe sizes, I can put forward my belief that the answer lies strictly in final performance at the lower stripe sizes.

  • MySchizoBuddy

    If you have 4 SSDs can you build 2 RAID0 configuration.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2ZYVB62PSJTUNIJV4EEPOT42GY Daniel

    Do benchmark speeds translate into noticeable real world benefits?The times do look very impressive,I am the first to admit this but is there a use for this performance or is it as Maverick says “I feel the need for speed”? Is there something that is going to happen with my computer use that will make me say “boy I am glad I have that RAID 0 setup working on my ssd’s”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/georgehafiz George Hafiz ?afiz

    Inexpensive, not independent! Hehe.

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