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Beginners Guides: Installing RAID on a Desktop PC

Beginners Guides: Installing RAID on a Desktop PC - PCSTATS
Abstract: With the right number of identical hard drives, motherboards that support RAID can choose from RAID 0, RAID 1, and sometimes even RAID 0+1 for improved performance, data redundancy and backups.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Apr 22 2008   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

The advantages of RAID: Tests

We carried out a set of tests on our Athlon XP 2800+ system equipped with the Highpoint controller and the twin 120GB Seagate ATA-5 drives. Using three different hard disk benchmarks, plus some timed file copies we tried to get a picture of just how much of a real-world performance boost a hardware or software RAID 0 array will give as compared to a single drive. We also tested a RAID 1 configuration to see where it fits in terms of speed.

PCMark 2004 Source: FutureMark

Futuremark's brand new benchmarking program, PCMark 2004, includes 4 separate hard drive performance tests. These use Intel's Rankdisk application to record an isolated simulation of various common Windows disk access events. The performance of the drives in these events is then rated based on the amount of data they were able to transfer per second.

PCMark 2004 HDD Benchmarks - Results

Physical Drive Size

XP Startup

Application Loading

File Copying

General HDD Usage

A) No RAID, Single HDD 120GB 7.168 6.536 22.778 5.085
B) Hardware RAID 0 240GB 10.281 7.050 32.104 6.588
Software RAID 0

240GB

10.535

6.984

29.426

6.713

Hardware RAID 1 120GB 8.396 5.391 15.353 5.364

Units:

MB/s MB/s MB/s MB/s

The results of the tests speak like this, for the "XP Startup" tests RAID of any sort seems to be an advantage. When we consider "Application Loading," there isn't much of advantage for RAID 0, though you can see a performance handicap imposed by RAID 1 begin to appear. The "File Copying" tests definitely show the advantage of having a RAID 0 setup. Lastly, the "General HDD Usage" tests show surprisingly little difference between a software and hardware RAID 0 array, at least on a fast computer.

SiSoft Sandra 2004 Source: Sandra

Sandra is designed to test the theoretical power of a complete system and individual components. The numbers taken though are again, purely theoretical and may not represent real world performance.

Sisoft Sandra 2004 - Benchmark Results

Avg. Access Time

Buffered

Sequential

Random

Tests:

Time: Read: Write: Read: Write: Read: Write:
Single HDD -Standard IDE 7 ms 87 50 41 42 8 9
Hardware RAID 0 6 ms 82 52 80 55 9 11
Software RAID 0 6 ms 82 52 81 55 9 11
Hardware RAID 1 3 ms 89 28 42 27 15 9

Units:

milliseconds

MB/s MB/s MB/s MB/s MB/s MB/s

You can see the advantage in terms of reading and writing speed that RAID 0 gives, as well as the slow writing performance of RAID 1 quite easily in this benchmark. Still no difference in performance between hardware RAID 0 and software RAID 0.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Installing RAID on a Desktop PC
 Pg 2.  RAID Terminology Explained
 Pg 3.  Parity and Common types of RAID
 Pg 4.  RAID 1 and RAID 0+1 Explained
 Pg 5.  Hardware or software RAID?
 Pg 6.  Setting up a hardware RAID array
 Pg 7.  Configuring Promise RAID
 Pg 8.  Configuring Highpoint RAID controllers
 Pg 9.  — The advantages of RAID: Tests
 Pg 10.  HD Tach and Timed Data Transfer Tests

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