New PC Storage System Advice

By dgower2
Nov 8, 2008
  1. It's been a while since I've posted here. I hope everyone is doing excellent!

    I'm building a new PC soon and I'm trying to determine how I want the storage system configured. Ideally I would get an expensive (>$450.00) RAID/SAS controller card with 3 147GB SAS drives in a RAID 0 array. However, I cannot spend that money and expect to stay happily married. So alternatively I could get:

    • A cheap controller card (<$150.00) and 1 or 2 SAS drives
    • A more expensive card ($300-$400) and 1 SAS drive
    • SSD drives? I haven't really looked into these too much due to the cost and size limitations

    Please give me your thoughts and perspectives on the options OR any options I haven't considered.

    BTW, I game (COD, Crysis, FarCry, FEAR..), listen to music, run quicken, and surf the web w/ my machine. Don't do video encoding, music mixing, or anything very intensive other than gaming. My objective is to have really fast boot times, fast map loading for games, fast virus scans, and fast music conversion to MP3.
  2. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Why not just grab a 300GB VelociRaptor? It's fast enough for everything you want without burning a hole in your pocket.

    But if you really want the full power of SCSI, go for a cheap controller card like this (or this if you have a PCI-X slot on your mobo) and two drives.
  3. dgower2

    dgower2 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 238

    Very Logical...

    But, even the velociraptor cannot touch the speed of a SAS drive - at least as far as my research has taken me. Also, RAID arrays created using the motherboard's SATA RAID are much slower than a dedicated RAID/SAS controller (Software versus Hardware Raid - I think). Also, compare the specs of the velociraptor to this SAS drive -

    Average latency on the Fujitsu is less than 50% of the WD.

    My biggest question now is how much of a performance difference will there be between the cheap (no or little cache and lack of xor processor) SAS/RAID controller cards and a more expensive one with cache and xor processor. Any ideas?
  4. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    I know, I just suggested a cost-effective option. After all, most SAS drives spin at 15K RPM, compared to 10K for the VelociRaptors. That alone accounts for the enormous speed increase IMO.

    As for performance, there shouldn't be that much of a difference. The main thing you should look for is the standard the card supports. No point in running an Ultra320 HDD with a card that supports only Ultra160 speeds. Also, look for a card that fits in your PC i.e. a PCI or PCI-E card (unless you have a PCI-X slot). Also, if you're looking to boot with an SCSI drive, get a card with an onboard BIOS.
  5. dgower2

    dgower2 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 238

    Hey, that last part is great information! I thought you could boot with any card.
  6. dgower2

    dgower2 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 238

    Oh, I'm putting this in a future system I'll be building so it will be going in a PCI-E slot - which brings up something else I need to decide: I want the option to run a SLI setup: I could go w/ a nvidia 790i or wait for the Intel x59. Any opinions on this? I recently read that Intel chipsets are better than nvidia's (better bells and whistles).
  7. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    There will be X58 motherboards supporting both SLI and Crossfire, so I'd suggest waiting for those.
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