Sata RAID 0 - hardware or software?

By Indifilmz ยท 5 replies
Apr 4, 2007
  1. Hey guys,

    been reading through the forum and thought perhaps to make my first post :D

    I have a gigabyte GA-8I945P Pro mobo and am currently running Windows XP on my SATA II Seagate 320GB drive which is partitioned. I also have two IDE HDDs in my case which i use as storage (but don't think that might be relevant)

    As I wish to take my video editing business to SD grounds I purchased two 320GB Seagate SATA II drives recently (identical) and same type as my first SATA (just newer serial number).

    I wish to get the 3gbs out of those two new SATA drives and have thought of putting them onto RAID 0.

    I have had nothing but problems with this idea for I do not wish to 'delete' my windows or partitions on my existing SATA HDD but rather, to create this whole new storage space that is RAID 0.

    I have enabled the RAID in BIOS (pressing DEL) and have been able to stripe the new HDDs by pressing <CTRL+I> but then the windows (which is on that old SATA drive) does not want to LOAD - it crashes as the logo appears and the blue bar is running underneath.

    I even sourced out a Floppy Drive to attempt to create the RAID driver on floppy (Intel) and install the driver onto the HDDs in question. The only issue is, unless I am re-installing windows I never get to the F6 stage (and I really do not wish to re-install windows).

    I guess I am wondering what I should do?

    At the moment all I did is disabled the RAID in the BIOS and left the new SATA drives plugged in. Once I got into the Windows (to post this message) I stripped the new drives in the DISK MANAGEMENT and got them working as one storage unit in RAID 0 as such - not sure I am getting the 3gbs speed.

    That brings me to my last question... is SOFTWARE RAID 0 really bad over the HARDWARE?

    Any info would be MOST appreciated!!

    I do VIDEO editing if that helps understand my needs for RAID 0. You can see some of my work here:

    Thank you
  2. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,033   +2,558

    The holy grail, The fountain of youth ,3Gbs

    First, "3Gbs sec" is 3 GigaBITS, not 3 gigabytes. SATA II is 300 MEGAbytes sec.
    (gigabits divided by 10).These are wonderful ELECTRICAL specifications and have absolutely NOTHING to do with the amount of information that the HDD can actually read or write! Try about 60MBs on their best day. OOOwheee, They sure sell drives though, don't they. Installing Windows again may simply become necessary. By all means though, hang out here and wait for a second opinion.
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Your motherboard integrated SATA "RAID" controller is fakeraid and in reality, it just does software RAID.

    The only difference is that while OS-based RAID is well-tested, compatible and optimised, the driver-based fakeraid is rushed out, proprietary, buggy and slow.

    You made the right choice by using the OS RAID function.
  4. Indifilmz

    Indifilmz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thanks guys!

    I had no clue that 3gbs stands for 3GigaBITS and not gigabytes - now I am even more confused?! So was this a right thing to do to make my HDDs perform at their best for the sake of high end video editing, or was I really meant to fork out much more on SCSI or similar?

    I searched for an answer for a while, reading up on the net, seeing that majority of video editing storage is on SCSI drives (AVID) but that recently everyone is making a move to SATA II. I also noticed that they work with expensive exterior housings which are set to RAID 0 and I figured that I might be OK to just put two (since I don't need too much space yet) into the machine on RAID 0... but yeah, obviously I thought it was 3 gigabytes per second.... and these fancy housings all use FIREWIRE which I thought was 400mbs?! (I am probably WAY OFF with this info now aren't I?)

    Thus far I am half way into the edit (that this set-up was built for) and the OS based RAID is OK. I was told I would feel the 'difference' in the speed, but I don't. It feels the same as when editing on my IDE drives? Perhaps I do need that Windows re-installation.... and a start from scratch.

    Nodsu, would I need a different mobo (one with on board RAID controller - although I bought this one cause it said it had it on a box) if I am to get the ultimate speeds of SATA II, in making that hardware RAID or is my OS RAID OK to do the job? I read heaps of negative stuff on OS RAIDs whilst searching this topic out and am not sure what to do from here.

    Do you know by any chance what speed I might be getting via OS RAID on my HDDs?

    Last question, should I be worrying about my Power Supply Unit running 3 x SATA II HDDS, 2 x IDE HDDs, Video Card, etc...

    Thanks a bunch for your posts! I really appreciate it
  5. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Data rates are easy. Assuming that the other person is not clueless, b means bits, B means bytes.

    First, you should ignore the interface speed numbers. Sure, SATA gives you some 300 megabytes per second, but the hard drive attached to the SATA cable can do only some 60MB/s sustained at best.

    As for the (perceived) performance, there are many factors in play and your bottleneck may be somewhere else. With video editing you need lots of RAM and CPU in addition to fast disks.

    IMHO, with RAID0 the difference between software and hardware RAID won't be anything noticeable. I suppose you could find a motherboard with an onboard "real" hardware RAID, but it may be more worthwhile to just get a PCI(-Express) RAID controller card. Use this page to see which SATA chips are true hardware RAID:
  6. Indifilmz

    Indifilmz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the reply Nodsu!

    Since i first read your post I think I have learned a lot more about Video Editing machines and the relevance the speed of the HDDs has on it all, to achieve render FREE abilities. I have been told that I have to stay clear from hardware motherboard RAIDS and/or software RAIDS and only work with RAID controllers, and if possible, to utalize SCSI SAS or in my case (since I got few SATA drives already) SAS SATA controllers.

    All of this has prompted me to look for a new motherboard, one that can handle strong CPU, lots of RAM, at least two true PCI-E x 16 slots and at least two other PCI slots for other stuff...

    Not sure if any of this is making much sense now, but I just wanted to thank you for your post as it was a starting point for me to wonder of in the direction of RAID controllers and learn heaps about how much more they contribute to the HDD speed (and using them in the right way).

    Cheers from Oz
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