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2x 1TB SSD (non RAID) vs 4x 500GB SSD (2 RAID 0 arrays) - worth it?

Who here runs RAID 0 setups?

My 2TB HDD recently failed (is showing raw in CMD CHKDSK, bought 4 years ago), so I was going to get some more storage, since right now I only have 2 drives in my rig, a 480GB HyperX Predator PCIe SSD (boot drive, a few games), and a 250GB SanDisk SATA 3 SSD. Storage space is tight with only the two SSDs, and with the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales coming up, I was going to get some new drives.

Originally, I was going to get two 1TB Samsung 850 EVO SSDs. However, I thought about doing four 500GB 850 EVOs, in two RAID 0 setups. The idea is that I'll still 'essentially' have two 1TB storage locations, but two 500GB 850 EVOs in RAID 0 will be faster than a single 1TB.

The 850 EVO is advertised as having:
Max Sequential Read
Up to 540 MBps
Max Sequential Write
Up to 520 MBps
4KB Random Read
Up to 98,000 IOPS
4KB Random Write
Up to 90,000 IOPS

Now, I know it won't be exactly double the speed, theoretically, but I have looked at Benchmark simulations, and the difference from a single drive to 2 in RAID 0 is significant. Even though SATA 3 has a max speed of 600MB/s, it should still be faster than that since it would be pulling from two separate drives simultaneously.

So that's the idea. I was looking for some feedback from some of you that run/have ran RAID 0 setups, and if you found it to be beneficial in real world applications (I do gaming and some video editing, but I like the speed of SSDs and am not considering an HDD). And yes, I am aware that it won't really improve games (other than slightly faster loading time), and I also know the difference between RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, etc). I don't really need data protection, and I'm aware that if one drive fails in RAID 0, they both lose everything, which is fine, because it's just an alternative to a single 1TB drive. I'm essentially making two faster drives out of 4 single drives.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks in advance.
16 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about 1tb ssd raid 500gb ssd raid arrays worth
  1. more trouble than it is worth. IMO
  2. 13thmonkey said:
    more trouble than it is worth. IMO


    Is it though? Could you explain what made you draw that conclusion? As far as I know, it's pretty easy to do. Just plug in the drives, set them as RAID 0 in the BIOS, boot up and good to go. They won't be my boot drive, either.

    I mean, is there any real downside to doing it, as opposed to just doing 2x 1TB drives? The risk of data loss isn't a concern, since they won't really contain important data, and I will be doing weekly backups to an external drive. The only real downside I saw, was that sometimes RAID 0 can be slightly slower in 4k random performance, and low queue depths, but faster in sequential read/write, and in deeper queue depths. And as far as I know, there won't be any benefit to NAND parallelism with a 1TB vs a 500GB, as a 250GB will max out the number of parallel lanes for speed (at least for SATA 3). If anything, capacities past 250GB will start to degrade in performance, but that difference is negligible and not noticeable in real world applications.
  3. I've had drives drop out and re-appear (raid edition HDD's) causing a rebuild and costing more working time than they save.

    If you want them to appear as a single drive then jbodding them into a single disk, do you don't get the speed benefit but it is probably more stable.

    Does trim pass through raid now?

    The constraint is the interface and not the drive itself, so have you considered a pci-e M2 card, and using an M2 drive, all of the speed (and a lot lot more) with none of the risk?
  4. RAID 0 + SSD's
    Read and make your own conclusion: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-raid-benchmark,3485.html
  5. apalio said:
    I mean, is there any real downside to doing it, as opposed to just doing 2x 1TB drives?

    Reliability, complexity, cost, efficiency, ...

    If one drive drops off the SATA bus for a while (maybe while doing a queued TRIM operation or simply as a result of a power fluctuation or random event, or the SATA controller or driver can't take the load), the RAID 0 is dead and must be recovered from backup. With a non-RAID setup, you either don't notice that anything happened, you notice a brief "glitch" or, at worst, your system hangs (or the drive disappears) and you have to reboot, at which point everything is back to normal. (I used to get this all the time using onboard RAID - with RAID-rated 10k hard drives on a server board, I might add - because the onboard controller simply couldn't take the I/O load during the nightly backup. Every few weeks, I'd come into work in the morning to find the RAID rebuilding itself, which would take all day and make the system run really slowly. Getting a high-performance add-in RAID card solved it.)

    Are there any real upsides?
  6. 13thmonkey said:
    ...have you considered a pci-e M2 card, and using an M2 drive, all of the speed (and a lot lot more) with none of the risk?


    Well, my main boot drive with my OS is a Kingston HyperX PCIe 480GB. It's quite fast, and I've love to get another M.2 or another PCIe drive, but unfortunately they are rather expensive, and I'd like to get around 2TB of storage. I don't think the price would be worth the speed. Jbodding doesn't really have any gain, aside from stability, but if I wanted that, I would just get two 1TB drives.

    USAFRet said:
    RAID 0 + SSD's
    Read and make your own conclusion: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-raid-benchmark,3485.html


    I actually did read that article prior to posting this, and I saw sometimes a single drive can outperform a RAID 0 array, and vise versa, which I noted in the first reply I made to this post. I just thought I would get some more input on other users' experiences.

    Anonymous said:
    apalio said:
    I mean, is there any real downside to doing it, as opposed to just doing 2x 1TB drives?
    Are there any real upsides?


    The cost would only be $20 more than if I got the two 1TB drives. I'm not worried about data protection, as I said, so reliability isn't much of a concern, unless I have issues like you stated of the drives rebuilding themselves. I'm not sure what RAID card you had, or what's good and what's not. I have an ASUS Maximus VIII Formula Z170 board, that apparently has a built in RAID controller. I'm not sure if that would be sufficient for this application, though I imagine it would be. And setting up RAID 0 doesn't seem to be too complex, so I'm not worried about that. However, you're description of possible causes of failure do make me question if I wanted to deal with it. I didn't think RAID was that fragile, that a simple power fluctuation could cause the system to fail and need to be rebuilt, and in the case of RAID 0, I would lose everything on there.

    The upsides? Ideally, faster speeds, especially when reading/writing large files during video editing, rendering, processing, etc. How much that difference would be though, I'm not sure.

    I'd also like to note that Newegg offers a free code for Watch Dogs 2 with each SSD. If I got the 4 500GB for RAID 0, I could sell each code for at least $35-45, as the game just released last week. Think of it has a decent rebate per drive. The 1TB drives also come with a code, but that would only be two codes to sell. Just something to think about when justifying cost, which would be $500 for two 1TB (with a potential $140-$180 'rebate'), or $520 for the four 500GB (for a potential minimum of a $70-$90 'rebate').
  7. Generally, benchmarks and specific use cases, RAID 0 is great.
    For most normal use, it brings no real performance benefit, and adds complexity and fail potential.

    What will this system be used for?
  8. USAFRet said:
    Generally, benchmarks and specific use cases, RAID 0 is great.
    For most normal use, it brings no real performance benefit, and adds complexity and fail potential.

    What will this system be used for?


    I'm starting to get that feeling that it may be more trouble than it's worth. I have:

    -GPU: EVGA 980Ti (getting 1080Ti when it's released)
    -CPU: i7-6700k
    -MBD: ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Formula Z170
    -RAM: HyperX Fury 32GB
    -Main Boot SSD with OS: HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB

    Also, usage from my original post:

    apalio said:
    So that's the idea. I was looking for some feedback from some of you that run/have ran RAID 0 setups, and if you found it to be beneficial in real world applications (I do gaming and some video editing, but I like the speed of SSDs and am not considering an HDD). And yes, I am aware that it won't really improve games (other than slightly faster loading time), and I also know the difference between RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, etc). I don't really need data protection, and I'm aware that if one drive fails in RAID 0, they both lose everything, which is fine, because it's just an alternative to a single 1TB drive. I'm essentially making two faster drives out of 4 single drives.
  9. ^ You appear to be one of those few users that actually understands the risks and potential benefits of Raid, be patient with us as we have so many people who have heard Raid is mooar MB/s and they want some.

    The benefit of speed is slight in the real world, and the risk of transient failure is high enough that the benefits will be wasted (and more). If you do not need this storage right now, then this is one of those circumstances where costs are decreasing rapidly especially as TB class drives become more common and there is competition.
  10. Thank you for the compliment. I usually do plenty of research on something before posting about it. I was a moderator on other forums before, so I know the headache of people posting the same question over and over again without searching. I know benchmarks are mostly just for lulz and epeen, and there are plenty of them I've seen. While that's all well and good for theoreticals, I've been weighing options, and just wanted to hear some more user experiences with real world applications.

    I do need at least an additional TB of storage, and would prefer two. My 2TB HDD, that was about 2/3 full, failed about a month ago (showing as RAW in CMD CHKDSK, haven't attempted recovery yet, though). I was going to replace right away with an SSD or two, but figured I would wait another month for the black Friday sales to get my drives. I have to be very selective about downloads and games, as my storage space is low (480GB SSD boot drive, software, few games, and a 240GB SSD, which was my old boot drive, which just has a few games on it). I've actually got to the point where I need to uninstall games to install new ones, and I only have like 6 or 7 games currently installed.
  11. First of all trust me i've been there, i know what presumes, If you raelly want to do this i would use microsoft storage space, it is far more stable then any raid from the motherboard. My experience: I had an asus z97-c and had a raid 0 array of 6 tb (3x2TB), i dont know how but after 4 months the bios was reseted to defaults, i said no worries, i got into the bios and set in teh storage settings back to raid from ahci, surprise screen (ctrl+I one) said status: failed, after a closer inspection i saw that 2 of my 3 array disk where ejected and there was no way to add them back, lost 6tb of data. I said maybe it is the motehrboard, i rma-ed it and to be sure i added some money and got an z97-a (a higher quality motehrboard), i setup my array everyhting was fine, i redownloaded the data and after 3 month i made a bios update, after bios reseted to default and puted the sotrage configuration back to raid the same story repeats itself, satus failed, 2 out of 3 disks sjected from the array. After that i said to try microsoft storage spaces, the difference is that you wont get the 3 times performance of one disk, you get just the performance of a normal disk (in my case around 200 mb/s) but i m happy because i changed 3 motherboards since then and the array did not failed in any of this period. You got all the options you would have in case of a raid (parity, no resilience (raid 0) mirror (raid 1)). If it suits you, i really recomend to try microsoft storage spaces.
  12. Dragos Manea said:
    You got all the options you would have in case of a raid (parity, no resilience (raid 0) mirror (raid 1)). If it suits you, i really recomend to try microsoft storage spaces.


    Problem is, there's really no benefit to that. The only thing it will do is make two drives appear as one through the OS. If I don't do RAID, I will probably just have two 1TB drives in as single drives. The only reason I would do a RAID array is for a speed gain. Data protection isn't a concern. At that point it boils down to if the faster speed will be worth $20 more in hardware cost, using 2 more storage bays, and having the array potentially fail and inconveniencing me (I do weekly backups to an external).
  13. Best answer
    apalio said:
    Dragos Manea said:
    You got all the options you would have in case of a raid (parity, no resilience (raid 0) mirror (raid 1)). If it suits you, i really recomend to try microsoft storage spaces.


    Problem is, there's really no benefit to that. The only thing it will do is make two drives appear as one through the OS. If I don't do RAID, I will probably just have two 1TB drives in as single drives. The only reason I would do a RAID array is for a speed gain. Data protection isn't a concern. At that point it boils down to if the faster speed will be worth $20 more in hardware cost, using 2 more storage bays, and having the array potentially fail and inconveniencing me (I do weekly backups to an external).


    Exactly. Storage Spaces is really only for those who do not want to manage 2 or 3 drive letters, and let Windows merge it all into one.
    The other issue is if you later wish to drop that second drive into another PC...is it actually readable as is?

    A regular second drive in a Win 10 system, removed and put into a Win 7 system...no problem. It is, again, just a second drive.
    Storage Spaces or RAID...then you have issues.
  14. ^ from what i've seen of storage spaces so far they are portable, unless you are on a post anniversary win10 upgraded pool and space and try to put that into a 2012 or pre anniversary machine.
  15. Yes they are portable, how i said, i changed 3 motherboards and my space is still there without any issues or error. Storage spaces does exactly what i wanted, to merge all my 2 tb drives into a single partition. One More advantage of microsoft storage spaces, for a raid 0 configuration it doesnt need to be all drives the same capacity, it can work with for example with 1 320GB, one 250GB and one 500 GB, in final you get one partition with ~1TB
  16. I am a speed junkie and I am always looking for faster hard drive systems. I have thrown a lot of money (thousands of dollars) at big raid systems and they always blow single drive systems out of the water in the benchmark tests, but I have seen very little improvement in every day use even with programs that have very high I/O requirements.

    As an example, I compared my 8-disk Samsung 850 Pro 512Gig SSD RAID 0 system on my workstation to the single 850 Pro 512 disk on my laptop . The RAID system was an LSI-9361-8I in a 16x Pcie 3.0 slot. I ran a fluid dynamics model that reads and writes multiple Gigabyte size files. The model takes about 30 minutes to run. I ran the model 4 times on each machine, and the run times were nearly identical on each machine. Sometimes the single disk laptop even beat the workstation, even though the workstation was dual processor and each processor had 8 cores, Xeon E5-2687W 3.2 Ghz . The workstation also has more (96 Gig of RAM), and faster memory with a higher memory bandwidth than the laptop. The laptop was a 6th Gen i7 single processor with 4 cores and 16 Gig of RAM 2.2 Ghz. The laptop processor was 30% slower than the workstation processor. The model is not highly parallel, so there was mainly one core running the show on each machine. There are differences in the processors and motherboards of course, so this does not perfectly isolate the two hard drive systems, but for a a very I/O intensive process, you should see some benefit to the massive RAID 0, but you don't.

    I have had similar results in other unofficial tests over the years. The benchmarks of the RAID blows the single drive away, but I have NEVER seen any measurable real world speed advantage, other than a significant lightness in my wallet. It's very disheartening to see a $1,500 laptop beat a $20,000 dollar workstation on a high end numerical model.
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