I'm a relative newbie to the whole mass storage side of computing, but I'll flesh out my scenario to give you a context of where I'm coming from. Sorry if it's a long read
Short version: Will an SATA RAID controller solve the problem of heavy I/O lagging Windows XP?
My system consists of:
E6700, 2GB of RAM, P5WDH
WD Raptor 150GB, WD 320GB JD SATA, WD 500GB KS SATA, all on the non "EZ-RAID" connectors.
BenQ DW1655 DVD Burner and LG GDR8164B (16X DVD-ROM) hooked up to my one IDE port on the motherboard.
Windows XP w/SP2
Things to note:
- None of these drives are in RAID, my DVD burner is set to Master
- My 500GB has been slowly degrading, as in, sectors are going bad without me doing anything.
- Windows is on the Raptor
- The other two drives are used for data storage
- CPU usage is 30% or less
This stuff is housed in my P180B, with all three hard drives in the lower compartment, airflow from my Seasonic S12-600W. All the drives are kept around 45 - 50 C. No other drives but the 500 GB have been exhibiting problems.
My issues with this setup:
Heavy I/O activity brings my computer to its knees:
When I do the following activities at the same time, Windows becomes very unresponsive:
- Extracting a large RAR set from the Raptor to the 500 GB --OR-- Just doing a checksum verification on the large RAR set on the Raptor
- Burning a DVD from the 320 GB
- Downloading at 500 k/sec to the 320 GB
I tried launching Word 2007 to work on a report, and it gave me one of those "blank" application windows where you can see the title bar of the window, but the rest of the window is the gray like an empty dialog box.
If I abort the checksum verification, I can use the system with no major slowdown or lag.
This performance problem first happened to me under similar circumstances when I had an X2 3800+, 2GB of RAM, on a DFI Ultra-D. My DVD burns would drop to less than 1 X.. simply unacceptable. At first I attributed it to the nForce4 chipset... but now it's happening on a completely different platform.
My friend informs me that heavy I/O can bring even the fastest machine to its knees. Is this typical of regular 'consumer' level boards?
If I get a 'workstation' grade board with the same chipset, intuition tells me I'll have the same performance problems.
Now this, along with my slowly dieing WD 500 GB (this is the second time data has corrupted itself. I've already repaired it once with the WD Diagnostics tool) pushes me towards getting an SATA controller with hardware RAID.
SATA HARDWARE RAID:
- A separate controller so I can migrate from platform to platform without losing data by relying on a motherboard's built in raid feature
- Offload calculations to the card so that Windows is free to do useful things like run MATLAB or encode video
- My friend setup a 4x120 GB IDE RAID once and literally blew up the motherboard IDE controller when dumping stuff on it over his 100mbit network.
My ideal setup:
- RAID5 with 3 x 500 GB SATA drives. Or eventually fill it up with the 1 TB drives from Hitachi
Some questions that I will look into on my own (but feel free to answer, as I'm nearing exams and will be pretty busy soon hehe):
- Will RAID automatically do an integrity check every X days to ensure a particular drive is not failing (and if it is, warn me which drive)?
- Let me expand the RAID dyanmically if I decide to add a 4th drive to a 3 drive setup?
My MAIN question:
- Will a separate SATA controller with drives in RAID solve my problems with heavy I/O making Windows lag like crazy?
Locally there's a Highpoint RocketRaid 2310. From what I can tell from posts here, it seems like a decent card.
( http://infonec.com/site/main.php?mod...tail&id=129613 )
If you made it this far, hopefully you aren't shaking your head at me, and hopefully you're willing to help Thanks in advance.