As you can see, Chris' top rank in the PPBM5 Benchmark reflects the enormous power of dual X5680's. Admitted, it is much more expensive than a similarly overclocked single i7-980X, like Studio North. However there is a distinct advantage of a dual Xeon system, in the sense that you will have 12 DIMM slots and can easily use the very affordable 2 GB sticks to get 24 GB, which saves a lot in comparison to 6 x 4GB sticks on a X58 mobo. Or you can expand memory to 48 GB should you desire so.
You may have seen this review already, but in case you missed it, look here: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/motherboards/2010/08/17/evga-classified-sr-2-review/1
If you consider that there will be further improvements in multi-threading and in some exporter modules in CS Next, the advantage of more cores and more memory will probably increase over a 980X.
As for disks, the WD RE4's are a great choice. Depending on your storage requirements, and your timing for an Areca controller, it may make sense to start with the 1 TB version or the 1.5 TB version and then later add another 6 x 1 TB or 6 x 1.5 TB. That will give you a 12 disk array with the same gross capacity as 6 x 2 TB for approximately the same amount, but because of the larger array will give you better performance or in the case of 1.5 TB models even more storage capacity. I would advise against the Caviar Blacks because of the TLER issue.
Planning ahead for the Areca, you have to keep in mind a way to transfer your data from a mobo array to an Areca array. You may have to first create a new 6 disk array on the Areca, copy your data from the mobo array to the new Areca array, then move one disk at a time from the mobo to the Areca and define it first as a hot-spare and then expand the array. You have to do that for all the existing disks, but that way you have no problems in getting all your data on the new array intact. I probably would use a Raid3 or Raid5 with one hot-spare, so you end up with 11 x Raid3/5 plus one hot-spare, or a 12 x Raid6.
Hope this helps.
Thats really helpful, thanks.
Just wondering what you mean when you refer to a hot spare?
Is that an extra disk to be used if one of the drives in the raid fails. I assume the controller would let you know what disc is responsible?
Thanks for your help.
A hot-spare is a disk defined as such in the array, that is not available for storage space, but in case of a disk failure of any member of the array takes over immediately and lets you continue working without any negative effect and allows you to exchange the failed member with a new disk. Consider it an extra safeguard for disk failure. A raid3/5 already protects you for a disk failure with the parity, but without a hot-spare response time degrades significantly and you will need to rebuild the array after adding a new disk. With a hot-spare that rebuilding is done automatically. Just an extra safeguard, which is welcome with a large number of disks.
Don't click on that link anybody! it's a dodgy site.
Hi, Got my SR2 all sorted with an Areca 1680ix. I have 6 1TB drives in a raid 3 array. Just wondering about how to add extra drives to the array. Does anyone know what this does to the data?
I know the array will need to rebuild but I was wondering if I will lose the data on the array. I have it all backed up on drobos but it would save a load of time if the array can be expanded without having to copy it all across.
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I have never done this, so I have no firsthand experience, but logic would dictate that 'expanding' the raid with extra drives will go without a hitch and without data loss. Of course the parity needs to be rebuild and there may be some shuffling of data to get even loads on all the disks, but I don't foresee any problems. Just to be sure, contact Areca support and ask them. They are quick to reply.