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Beginners Guides: Installing RAID on a Desktop PC
Beginners Guides: Installing RAID on a Desktop PC - PCSTATS
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   M. Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

HD Tach and Timed Data Transfer Tests

HD Tach V2.70 Source: TCD Labs Inc.

HD Tach is a physical performance hard drive test for Windows 95/98/ME and Windows NT/2000. In Windows 9X/ME it uses a special kernel mode VXD to get maximum accuracy by bypassing the file system.

A similar mechanism is used in Windows NT/2000/XP. HD Tach reads from areas all over the hard drive and reports an average speed.

It also logs the read speeds to a text file that you can load into a spreadsheet and graph to visually read the results of the test.

Hard Drive Tach 2.70 - Benchmark Results

Physical Drive Size Access Time Read Bust Speed Read Speed Max Read Speed Min Read Spin Avg CPU Ultilization
No RAID, Single HDD 120GB 13.8ms 83.0 45.6 22.7 37.6 26.8%
Hardware RAID 0 240GB 13.5ms 83.1 71.4 24.9 40.4 23.6%
(Software RAID 0)*








Hardware RAID 1 120GB 13.8ms 82.9 32.5 13.2 20.4 19.7%


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

*Unfortunately, as it can only 'see' hardware RAID arrays and not Windows created software RAID arrays, we were unable to use HD Tach to benchmark our software stripe. The traditional drive speed-testing benchmark show us that Hardware RAID 0 offers the fastest data read times, while Hardware RAID 1 offers the best CPU utilization.

Timed Data Transfers Source: n/a

While not the most scientific of methods, this certainly illustrates real world file copying performance. We hauled the 'I386' directory from a Windows Server CD onto our system drive, then proceeded to copy this 488 MB chunk of many, many files to and from each of our drive configurations several times, averaging the scores. Timing the transfers revealed some interesting things.

Time Data Transfers

Physical Drive Size Upstream Transfer Downstream Transfer
No RAID, Single HDD 120GB 43s 39s
Hardware RAID 0 240GB 33s 34s
Software RAID 0




Hardware RAID 1 120GB 49s 51s


seconds seconds

Again the performance advantage RAID 0 gives us is clear.

RAID Test conclusions:

Both hardware and software RAID 0 should offer a significant increase in overall hard disk performance to any system. The tradeoff between the two is in expense (if your system does not have a hardware RAID controller built in) vs. the slightly increased load on the CPU that software RAID imposes.

We took screen shots of the task manager CPU usage graph while we were running our file copying tests on both RAID 0 configurations:

Hardware stripe: Software stripe:

Not a huge difference, but it's there. Overall though, either implementation will serve you well.

If you have any comments or questions, please post them in the PCSTATS Forums. Find out about this and many other reviews by joining the Weekly PCstats.com Newsletter today! Catch all of PCSTATS latest hardware reviews right here.

-Dual OS Installation of WindowsXP 32-bit/64-bit
-RSS Feed Setup & Subscriptions
- Windows XP Service Pack 2
- Firewall Setup and Configuration
-Eliminating Spyware and Hijacker Software
- Diagnosing Bad Memory
- 101 Tips and Tweaks for WindowsXP
- Burning CDs and DVDs
- Optical Drives & Recording Formats
- Securing Your Wireless Network
- Little Known Features of WindowsXP
- Ergonomics & Computers
- Annual PC Checkup
- Installing WindowsXP
- Encryption and Online Privacy
- Home Networking and File Sharing
- Forgotten Passwords & Recovery Methods
- Preventing Data Theft from a Stolen Laptop
- Creating a Weblog / Blog
- Installing RAID on Desktop PCs
- RAM, Memory and Upgrading
- Ten Steps to a Secure PC
- Flashing A Motherboard BIOS
- Windows XP Safe Mode Explained
- Upgrading Win98 to Windows XP
- USB Memory Drive Projects
- 104 Great Tech Tips for Windows XP
- Unattended Windows 2000/XP Installations
- Linux Part 2: Installing a PC
- Understanding and Tweaking WindowsXP Services
- Linux Part 3: Installing New Software
- The Registry: Backups, Repairs, and Protection
- Diagnosing Bad Hard Drives
- Decrypting Document & Zipped File Passwords
- Spyware protection and Removal
- Wireless home networking
- Internet Connection Sharing
- Remote Access to Computers
- Hard Drive Data Recovery
- Firewalls and Internet Security
- Back up and Restore Data in WinXP
- Assembling Your Own PC
- VPNs and Internet Connection Security
- Legally Copying Software and Music
- Setting up a FTP Server in WinXP
- Creating MP3 Music Files
- Stopping Spam
- Cloning WindowsXP
- Browser Hijacking and How to Stop It
- Printer Sharing on a Home Network
- Converting Videotape Into Video Files
- Creating a WindowsXP Install CD with Service Pack 2
- Creating a Flashing a Video Card BIOS
- Making DVD Movies from Video Files
- Synchronizing Files and Folders
- Crash Recovery and the Blue Screen of Death
- Most Common Ways to Kill a PC
- WindowsXP Command Prompt
- Linux Part 1: Getting Familiar
- Understanding and Creating Batch Files
- Website Hosting From A Home PC
- Formatting and Partitioning a Hard Drive
- Website Hosting With Apache

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Beginners Guides Reviews...»


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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