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Serial V. Parallel RAID Comparison

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  • Serial V. Parallel RAID Comparison

    I am looking at building a new system after the Holidays. P4 2.4 and either a PE or Granite Bay board.
    Will run ATI All in Wonder 8500 and probably an Audigy 2 and will do video capture, editing and a lot of music.

    For the video work I would like to stripe 2 disks with RAID 0. I am thinking I will have my OS and some programs and essential data on a separate non-RAID drive to avoid the problems with the increased risk of data loss. Probably a WD 80 gb Special Edition.

    So I can start with just one drive and add the RAID a few months down the line.

    My questions:
    1. I need to decide on a mobo. Should I prefer one with SATA RAID using the current SIlicon Image SATA RAID controller? I understand the drives aren't really out yet, but assume they will be in a few months. Would that fulfill its RAID functions any better than the current promise and highpoint IDE RAID controllers? I realize that there is still the PCI bus limitation of 150 mbps. And looking in your crystal ball, does it seem likely that SATA drives will be economical in comparison to IDE hard drives 3 or 4 months from now? Or is that overly optimistic and will I still be paying a premium for new technology? Even if everything else is equal I think the skinny cables and hot swapping would be nice.

    2. Is the unRAIDED primary drive for OS and programs and the RAID array for multimedia content a desirable configuration?? Which things are best put where for speed considerations? Swap file on the RAID array? Should I also move the video related programs to the RAID drive when I add that on?

    I will probably be backing up essential data and OS to an external drive.

    Appreciate any advice.

    Kevin Mogg

  • #2
    I'm feelin' lazy atm so read my reply here. ;)


    • #3
      CDW has the Baracuda V SATA for sale. 40 GB is $140, the 80 GB is $190. Ohter retailers have them as well, but the price is the same. The big question is still have is whether SATA is able to shove more data down the pipe than parallel?

      Even though most hard drive manufacturers say that you get 133 MB/sec throughput, realworld intense data transfers only get about 60-80% of this transfer rate (i.e. 80-105 MB/sec). Most of this performance degradation is the parallel interface sending commands back and forth and waiting for the drive to keep up. This is why 8 MB buffered drives have performance improvments over the standard 1-2 BM cache.

      The other interface I am interested in is the dual processor access on the Ultra160 SCSI. I wonder how much the PCI bus pummels the SCSI throughput?

      Case in point...
      I do work on a SGI Origin supercomputer (it is one sweet machine: 32 processors, fibre channel striped drive setup on dataprocessing that gives GB/sec throughput-only will set you back $2 million). It has a SCSI interface that can handle 80 MB/sec, and guess what? Without a PCI bus screwing you I can benchmark the machine at about 78 MB/sec (real world)! Same drive (manufacturer and interface) on a dual Xeon box gets only 50 MB/sec on a lucky day. The striped fibre channel drive is a whole other story, that bad boy can shove GB/sec of data into the processors without a hicup (real world)!

      I really want to see some detailed specs on the performance of each of these interfaces side-by-side to see if SATA1 is worth it or not.


      • #4
        I get your point that it probably is not worth any extra money or hassle to get the SATA drives now...... and would not necessarily give more performance due to the PCI bus bottleneck.

        But if it is not any worse and has the easier skinny cables and will cost the same in 3 or four months ( when I will add the RAID 0), some of the newer motherboards have it as a feature now. For example, the Gigabyte granite bay board actually has both SATA RAID and IDE RAID .

        I was also curious if there have been any tests of RAID performance with two SATA drives and the SIl Controller. I don't think its been reviewed cuz the drives aren't generally available yet.



        • #5
          [QUOTE]Originally posted by bolson
          [B]CDW has the Baracuda V SATA for sale. 40 GB is $140, the 80 GB is $190. Ohter retailers have them as well, but the price is the same. The big question is still have is whether SATA is able to shove more data down the pipe than parallel?

          Ouch! Thats why I want to wait on the SATA drives. I will make a WD with the 8mb cache my primary and will consider adding SATA RAID in 3 or 4 months. I read somewhere that the SATA drives should be cheaper to produce and theoretically should be cost competitive, but don't know how long it will take for them to catch on and for economies of scale to kick in.

          SCSI is too expensive for me.



          • #6
            SCSI for the little speed benefit that it gives has be used with 66MHz PCI slots which are found on highend server/workstation motherboards (even ATA100 RAID would benefit from the extra bandwidth that 66MHz PCI bus provides) or it suffers the same fate as everything else with the standard 33MHz PCI bus. ;)