20 Replies Latest reply on Apr 8, 2011 1:07 PM by jimbrandt2000 Branched from an earlier discussion.

    Choosing a RAID Controller

    jimbrandt2000

      While I am waiting for CS5 to arrive, I was thinking I might go to hardware raid 0 vs software as a option.  I am researching and came up with 2 what looks like acceptable cards.  Both are enterprise level server RAID controller cards.

       

      I am looking at 2 Raid controllers: Both support the new Sata 6GPS drives.

       

      1:ARC-1880ix-12  $850.00   This cards memory  can be upgraded to 4GB so expansion looks good there and number of disks supported are > 100.

       

      6Gb/s SAS PCI RAID Card
      Model Name
      ARC-1880-ix-12
      ARC-1880-ix-16
      ARC-1880-ix-24
      I/O Processor
      RAID-on-Chip 800MHz
      On-Board Cache
      One DDR2-800 Socket with Default 1GB, Upgrade to 4GB
      Driver Connector
      3 x SFF-8087
      1 x SFF-8088
      4 x SFF-8087
      1 x SFF-8088
      6 x SFF-8087
      1 x SFF-8088
      Form Factor (LxH)
      Full Height: 250 x 98.4 mm

       

       

      2: 3WARE 9750-8I   $ 530.00  512MB not expandable.  Does this matter?  All my drives are internal.  I can support 7  3.5 inch and 2 2.5 inch drives.

       

       

       

       

      I was thinking of also  adding a 60GB SSD 2.5 inch drive and putting it as SWAP only for the system and hard configuring the swapfile at 20GB.

        • 1. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
          Jeff Bellune Level 5

          Branched to a new thread because RAID stuff is off-topic for the parent post.  Get to the parent thread using the link just above the topic post.

           

          -Jeff

          • 2. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
            jimbrandt2000 Level 1

            I have researched these 2 controllers, and this looks to be the better choice for many reasons:

             

            1:ARC-1880ix-12  $850.00   This cards memory  can be upgraded to 4GB so  expansion looks good there and number of disks supported are > 100.

             

             

            * External interfaces on the card provide for any future expansion.

            * Larger Memory and higher performance

            * From all of my research, this device WILL be seen at boot time, so I can put the OS on this card.

             

             

            Questions:

             

            1: Does Anyone have this card and can verify that is is a excellent enterprise card. Did it work at boot for Your OS?

             

             

            Next upgrade:

             

            I am looking at the new Sata III Hitachi desktors 3TB 6GPS  7K3000.  These are around 175 each on amazon, and 160 from my supplier when I buy 12 packs.

             

            Questions:

             

            Before I do my upgrade to servers and main system, does anyone:

             

            1: have experiece with these drives

            2: Know that they work on this controller and or have URLS to benchmarks?

            • 3. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
              JEShort01 Level 4

              1. Yes, Areca is an excellent card, and yes you can boot from it

               

              2. The 3TB 7k3000 drives seem to be getting pretty positive press and working for Areca 1880ix users over at hardforum.com; regarding benchmarks, one user showed HD Tune Pro reads of 800MB/sec pretty much from the start of the array to the end of the array. That's pretty darn fast!

               

              Here's the link for the 7x3TB RAID 5 HD Tune results:

              http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1573971&highlight=7k3000

              • 4. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                Harm Millaard Level 7

                Sounds about the same I get with the older 1680iX-12:

                 

                HD Tach E.jpg

                • 5. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                  Jim,

                   

                  In your situation I would definitely opt for Areca and not 3Ware and I would go for the 16 port model, because my 12 port model is completely filled.  There are however two other considerations. 3Ware is hampered by their own IOP design and I suspect that will change in the near future, now that 3Ware has been taken over by LSI.

                   

                  1. LSI has announced two new raid controllers on the Cebit, likely to be followed by models with more than 8 ports later this year. The MegaRaid SAS 9265-8i and the 9285-e. Might be worth to have a look at.

                   

                  2. I suspect that Areca will announce new controllers around Q3/2011 using the new PCIe-3.0 connection, in anticipation of the new Sandy Bridge octo and deca cores on the X68 platform.

                   

                  This last guess from my side keeps me waiting and not in a hurry to upgrade, despite the fact that my system starts to show signs of old age.

                  • 6. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                    jimbrandt2000 Level 1

                    Jim and Harm:

                     

                    Good enough for me...  If I wait fot the new 3.0 pcie controllers, will they be backwards compatible with the 2.0 x16 slots?

                     

                     

                     

                    Can you help me on how I should configure these Raid drives, ALL are raid 0.

                     

                     

                     

                    I am thinking raid 0 as follows:

                     

                    Data Use:

                    C: BootOS

                    Data 1 are the video source files and CS5 project files

                    Data 2 is cache, encoding (all output and preprocessing files  (literally, there is < 3%) on these drives of utilized data

                     

                    Configuration 1:

                    C: is 2 drives SSD raid 0.

                     

                    Data 1: 3 drives  3TB 7k3000

                     

                    Data 2: 3 drives  3TB 7k3000

                     

                    Configuration 2:

                     

                    C: is 2 drives SSD raid 0.

                     

                    Data 1: 2 drives  3TB 7k3000

                     

                    Data 2: 4 drives  3TB 7k3000

                    • 7. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                      Scott Chichelli Level 3

                      do not raid the OS unless raid 5 (3 drives)

                      its rather pointless to raid the OS unless for real redundacy (raid5)  NOT 0 or 1

                      as you gain nothing in the way of performance for editing.

                       

                      better to have a single OS drive and image it once a week

                       

                      Scott

                      ADK

                      • 8. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                        JEShort01 Level 4

                        Jim,

                         

                        I have configured my system as follows and am very happy with it:

                         

                        C: Boot OS - RAID 0 SSDs (100GB partition) - I keep this smaller than the full size of the RAID 0 array so I can easily put the "image" onto other drive(s) for testing, etc. When I'm building a new OS with programs, etc. I do an "image" backup probably twice daily (I use ShadowProtect), then after the system has matured, I image it about once every month or two. With the exception of Internet Explorer favorites and links and Microsoft "patches", not much ever changes on my OS/Programs drive that needs to be backed up. I like the speed RAID 0 provides and have used a RAID 0 configuration for the OS on my PCs (except laptops) for over 10 years now.

                         

                        D: remainder of space on RAID 0 SSD array - just checked and this is empty now; I use it for various things on a temporary basis. I tried using it with Premiere Pro for media cache / media cache DB files but it just slowed things down.

                         

                        Data 1: 8x1TB RAID 5 on Areca - all kinds of data reside here including Premiere Pro projects, media, media/media DB cache, scratch, etc. I did lots of testing using PPBM5 and it seems that when your "data" RAID has this many drives it can handle all of your files (for DV, HDV, AVCHD editing). Adding additional drives for this and that seemed to bring VERY little to the performance and it seemed to be more of a hassle. I have 10 partitions on my RAID 5 array for organization purposes (home data, work data, Photo editing, Video editing, image backups, etc.) and while some others on this forum swear by single partition RAIDs, this does indeed work for me.

                         

                        Notes:

                        - RAID 3 or 30 would probably be better than RAID 5 if you are only using your PC for Adobe (I'm using it for WAY more than Adobe) based on Harm's findings

                        - My first SSD was a total let down; I went from a 2x1TB RAID 0 OS/Programs drive to a single 120GB SSD and for the most part, performance went down. Now, I'm very pleased with small SSDs in RAID 0 for my OS/Programs drive. If money were no object, I suspect that a "latest generation" 256GB SSD would perform quite well as a solo drive, but the larger SSDs like that are still very expensive.

                        - for all my Adobe programs (Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Bridge, etc.) I keep all temporary files (scratch, swap, preview, etc.) on a single partition; this makes for easy cleanup and keeps all of the items that I NEVER need to backup in one area

                        - Off-site backups - do it! I prefer to do mine using RAID 5 hard drive sets in Supermicro hot-swap trays

                        - Doing a full image backup of my C: (from RAID 0 SSD to 8x1TB RAID 5) is blazing fast using ShadowProtect; this last time I did this my C: had 61GB on it and it only took 2 minutes and 36 seconds (23.3GB/min) to save the whole image

                         

                        Jim S.

                        • 9. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                          jimbrandt2000 Level 1

                          Jim,

                           

                          I have configured my system as follows and am very happy with it:

                           

                          C:  Boot OS - RAID 0 SSDs (100GB partition) - I keep this smaller than the  full size of the RAID 0 array so I can easily put the "image" onto other  drive(s) for testing, etc. When I'm building a new OS with programs,  etc. I do an "image" backup probably twice daily (I use ShadowProtect),  then after the system has matured, I image it about once every month or  two. With the exception of Internet Explorer favorites and links and  Microsoft "patches", not much ever changes on my OS/Programs drive that  needs to be backed up. I like the speed RAID 0 provides and have used a  RAID 0 configuration for the OS on my PCs (except laptops) for over 10  years now.


                          Jim B: ************************************************************

                          I agree, Raid is either users that want performance or redundancy.  I want performance and care little (zero) about redundancy..  I have ghost images of OS I do monthly, and can reimage a lost Raid 0 OS any time. 


                          My data partitions are backed up to a 8TB (NFS) server using a smart backup utility.  I also run a binary compare on the directorys to validate the data.  I also have a second 8tb server.  That server physically goes into the fire safe and is brought out during backups.  The fire safe is in a closet with 6" of concrete under it, it has a Steel closet door, 1.5 inch thick granite counter tops on all sides and top.  It is a fire safe in a fire safe closet.  I do not use offsite backup, but can consider it.  Are you recommending I also do a software backup?  See below...


                          EVERYTHING on my development system can be reloaded. I dont need  anything over Raid 0, unless whatver you recommend is faster. I want performance, performance, performance...And some performance...  :-)

                          Jim B: ************************************************************

                           

                           

                           

                          D:  remainder of space on RAID 0 SSD array - just checked and this is empty  now; I use it for various things on a temporary basis. I tried using it  with Premiere Pro for media cache / media cache DB files but it just  slowed things down.

                           

                           

                          Jim B: ************************************************************

                           

                          I can see that. I/O still must go to this same device.


                          I will leave my os at 250GB and 2 SSD drives.  The jury is out for me on this setup.  I will re-evaluate it in 6 months.  If performance is still there, I will keep the OS on SSD..Otherwise it is Dual Velocirators.

                          Jim B: ************************************************************

                           

                          Data  1: 8x1TB RAID 5 on Areca - all kinds of data reside here including  Premiere Pro projects, media, media/media DB cache, scratch, etc. I did  lots of testing using PPBM5 and it seems that when your "data" RAID has  this many drives it can handle all of your files (for DV, HDV, AVCHD  editing). Adding additional drives for this and that seemed to bring  VERY little to the performance and it seemed to be more of a hassle. I  have 10 partitions on my RAID 5 array for organization purposes (home  data, work data, Photo editing, Video editing, image backups, etc.) and  while some others on this forum swear by single partition RAIDs, this  does indeed work for me.


                           

                          Jim B: ************************************************************

                          Aree you saying I should just set up a 6 drive Raid 0 array, and use that for all project and build (cache, encode files, etc?)


                          Your  partitions are for logical management to separate the temp data from permanent data...  Would the partitions carve out pre allocated physical space so I can place the temp area on the fastest part of the raid array?


                          My physical limit is Seven 3.5 inch bays, or I will have to set up external storage. I used up 1 bay of 7 for the dual drive OS SSD raid 0 boot.


                          I can also use 2.5 inch drive 2 per bay, but I have not found many 2.5 inch drives I would consider in this configuration. 

                          Jim B: ************************************************************

                           

                           

                          Notes:

                          -  RAID 3 or 30 would probably be better than RAID 5 if you are only using  your PC for Adobe (I'm using it for WAY more than Adobe) based on  Harm's findings

                          -  My first SSD was a total let down; I went from a 2x1TB RAID 0  OS/Programs drive to a single 120GB SSD and for the most part,  performance went down. Now, I'm very pleased with small SSDs in RAID 0  for my OS/Programs drive. If money were no object, I suspect that a  "latest generation" 256GB SSD would perform quite well as a solo drive,  but the larger SSDs like that are still very expensive.

                          -  for all my Adobe programs (Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Bridge, etc.) I  keep all temporary files (scratch, swap, preview, etc.) on a single  partition; this makes for easy cleanup and keeps all of the items that I  NEVER need to backup in one area

                          - Off-site backups - do it! I prefer to do mine using RAID 5 hard drive sets in Supermicro hot-swap trays

                           

                           

                          Jim B: ************************************************************

                           

                          Unless someone tells me there is somehting faster than Raid 0, I will stick to Raid 0.


                          Do you use a physical hard drive backup,  or a software backup tool that offsites to a public service provider?

                           

                          Jim B: ************************************************************

                           

                          -  Doing a full image backup of my C: (from RAID 0 SSD to 8x1TB RAID 5) is  blazing fast using ShadowProtect; this last time I did this my C: had  61GB on it and it only took 2 minutes and 36 seconds (23.3GB/min) to  save the whole image

                           

                           

                          Jim B: ************************************************************

                          I do this now.  I use Ghost 15 images for backups.  They are bootable.  I have booted them and put images back to OS drive when needed.


                          Jim B.

                          Jim B: ************************************************************

                           

                          Jim S.

                          • 10. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                            JEShort01 Level 4

                            Jim B.,

                             

                            Your data backup system sounds pretty nice! I would never think of having projects on a RAID 0 array, but it seems that you are counting on other methods to ensure your redundancy. I was doing a lot of playing with different RAID array sizes and configurations recently and I must say that the 1 second that it takes to "build" a RAID 0 array is rather convenient. Then, restoring from your data backup system is all you need to get back into business with your system.

                             

                            (Jim B.) Are you saying I should just set up a 6 drive Raid 0 array, and use that for all project and build (cache, encode files, etc?)

                             

                            As you really sound like you are on a quest for speed, I'd say at least 8 drives for the RAID 0. How about squeezing some more drives into your current case; could you fit 2 Supermicro CSE-M35T hot swap cages into your case? I added 1 into a Cooler Master 932 Black Edition case and love it - 5 drives in (3) 5.5" bays. I did have to bend down the guide tabs in my case as they interfere with the Supermicro cage and I also took the advice of Newegg reviewers and changed out the Supermicro fan with a much quieter one.

                             

                            (Jim B.) Your  partitions are for logical management to separate the temp data from permanent data...  Would the partitions carve out pre allocated physical space so I can place the temp area on the fastest part of the raid array?

                             

                            My "S_Scratch" drive is the first partition. I did some benchmarking of various partitions when I was using a 5x1TB RAID 5 on the same controller and from memory the first partition was the fastest, but they did not simply degrade slower and slower as one might envision when testing progressed down the line. On my latest build I did the Windows 7 formatting using 8k for the unit allocation size, but I can't say whether that is optimum for PPro or not (anyone have input on unit allocation size?). It is important to put your projects and media on a fast partition as well - possibly even more important than the scratch/cache area.

                             

                            (Jim B.) Do you use a physical hard drive backup,  or a software backup tool that offsites to a public service provider?


                            I use physical hard drives; offsite over the Internet sounds sooooooo slllllooooowwww to me!

                             

                            Jim S.

                            • 11. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                              jimbrandt2000 Level 1

                              Ok, here is the summary:

                               

                              Current NFS backup is adequate.

                               

                              There is not any room for additional boxes in the chassis, however, I do have a second DVD RW drive that goes with my Blure ray DVD burner.  I can leave the blue ray in and use it for everything DVD, and pull out one DVD. That gives me one 5.25 inch bay.  I will put a hot swap rack insert with internal fan in there so the drive can be pulled out from the front.

                               

                              This gives me 7 drives for the raid 0 logical drive.  Of this 21 TB, I will allocate the first 2TB for cache and encode files, 10TB for video and other files, and the rest unallocated for future use or not. With this design, the data will be on the fastest half of all of the disks.

                               

                              Stripping will be 8K chunks.

                               

                              I confirmed PCie 3.0 is downwards compatible with PCIE 2.0 http://www.pureoverclock.com/story.php?id=2174

                               

                              I can buy the future card and run it on a downrated 2.0 x16 slot until I buy a new motherboard and cpu.  I can either wait for this new card or buy the ARC-1880ix-12 and fully populate it with 4GB mem. I will need to confirm with Areca that their new card can be plugged into a 2.0 x16 slot when it is announced.

                               

                              My OS partition should move to Raid card as well, so move the 2 SSD drives to the card and get it off the Motherboard RAID.

                               

                               

                              I can only thank everyone for this advice.  It takes days to go through benchmarks, and starting with this should get me close to done when it is all set up.

                               

                              I will continue to tune the system I have and use it until it is to slow for me then replace the motherbaoard and CPU and keep everything else.

                               

                              Thanks again,

                               

                              Jim

                              • 12. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                                JEShort01 Level 4

                                Jim B.,

                                 

                                You will not be bound by a PCIe-2.0 bus, so I see no reason to wait; get the ARC-1880ix-12 now.

                                 

                                Your striping (Areca setting) should be much larger, 64k or 128k I'd say. Harm, Bill, someone, what stripe size would be best for a 7x3TB RAID 0?

                                 

                                Jim S.

                                • 13. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                                  I use 128K stripe size.

                                  • 14. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                                    jimbrandt2000 Level 1

                                    Ok, 128K.  I think I might do a simple test with this controller and the disks I have alaredy. IE 15.g and 1G drives, just use them and add a 7th drive.

                                     

                                    Benchmarks should be close to what I would get with 7 new 7k3000 drives.

                                     

                                    I will setup as Raid 5, benchmark, then delete it and re-try it at raid 0 to see what the overhead in % is for the empty logical drive.

                                     

                                    Jim

                                    • 15. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                                      Harm Millaard Level 7

                                      From a practical point of view, start with raid0 first, test and then create a raid5 and retest. If you then decide to keep the raid5, you will save significantly on the formatting time.

                                      • 16. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                                        jimbrandt2000 Level 1

                                        Excellent point...

                                        Any preferred benchmark tool?

                                        • 17. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                                          Harm Millaard Level 7

                                          The problem with a benchmark test is always the comparison database. Passmark, HDTune, HDTach, Atto are all well known. Passmark has a pretty extensive database but HDTach is easier and more directed towards disk testing.

                                          • 18. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                                            jimbrandt2000 Level 1

                                            Here is the data for the Areca improvements.

                                             

                                            First is cost:


                                            http://kaleidonet.com/ is the Areca rep in San Jose area.   They not only bundled the controller nad memory, but they had me hold off and get an early pre-ship of the 1880ix-12 that has the full board heat sinc. 


                                            Bundle price: 979.00 no shipping or tax (sent to out of state address)


                                            Disk Drives:

                                                 8 Hitachi 2TB Sata III 6GPS drives at 879.00 No shipping or tax through tigerdirect.com. Also used Discover online purchase and got 44.00 in cashback by using Discovers internal purchasing tools. Net price 105 each. 


                                            Bought 2 hot swappale enclosures,  cost trivial < 18 each.


                                            Total was 1850.00

                                             

                                            Performance numbers:

                                             

                                            Time to encode project reduced 3 minutes (from 15 to 12 minutes)..  Hard to bench mark this as everything is relatively fast at this point anyway.

                                             

                                            I did 1, 4 and 8 drive tests, write tests not collected, however, I now see 4x in every general category of improvement. I get almost 100% network utililization when copying files back to the system after setup.  I normally saw around 25-30 % on the 1GE Network Interface.

                                             

                                            I can easily restore 1.5 TB overnight, when it used to take most of a day to restore the drives.

                                             

                                            Here are the data:

                                             

                                            1 Drive, NO RAID:

                                             

                                            Untitled.jpg

                                             

                                             

                                             

                                            4 Drives Raid 0:

                                            Untitled.jpg

                                             

                                             

                                             

                                            4 Drives Raid 5:

                                             

                                            Untitled.jpg

                                             

                                            8 drives raid 0

                                             

                                            Untitled.jpg

                                             

                                             

                                            8 Drives Raid 5

                                             

                                            Untitled.jpg

                                             

                                             

                                            Conclusion:

                                             

                                            I will leave Raid 5 as the performance differences are not that significant over Raid 0.

                                             

                                            Performance 4x over software raid 0.

                                            CS5 10x perfromance over CS4.

                                            SSD Boot - noticeable improvements in performance....

                                             

                                             

                                             

                                            I did not move the OS 2 SSD drives to the Areca controller.   Here is OS raid 0 (boot from Intel motherboard controller) Dual Kingston 128GB read benchmark after over a month:

                                             

                                            Untitled.jpg

                                             

                                             

                                            That's it for now... The only improvemnts left are motherbaord and CPU, however, I now have plenty of life in what I have for quite some time.

                                             

                                            Thank you everyone for the help on these performance improvements.

                                             

                                            Message was edited by: jimbrandt2000

                                            • 19. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                                              Harm Millaard Level 7

                                              Jim,

                                               

                                              Those are great results. Thank you for reporting these detailed findings back to us. I have the older generation Areca and much older disks, and your results show that with current technology you can easily outperfom my system. Great work.

                                              • 20. Re: Choosing a RAID Controller
                                                jimbrandt2000 Level 1

                                                Harm:

                                                 

                                                Thank YOU, I would never had though this would make such a difference.

                                                 

                                                I would have also spent MUCH more time in trial and error on Configs.  With your help, I had the old stuff replaced and up in 24 hours WITH the data copied to them.  I was able to sell the drives on EBAY in 1 day... People still want the old 1 or 1.5 TB stuff.

                                                 

                                                FYI:  Areca is planning their PCIe 3.0 later this summer.  It WILL run on a 2.0 PCIe slot with downgraded performance. I would have bought that if it was available, I just did not want to wait all summer and chase this technology.

                                                 

                                                Kalidonet (Areca) tech reps in Fremont are really great.  They pre installed the memory upgrade, firmware, burned the card over a weekend before I took ownership.  They were really helpful.

                                                 

                                                This card does interface to external box (that they sell) that can manage 100 more drives, however, these external boxes and daisy chain  controllers all cost $$$.   You can add 4 drives relative cheaply with a single cable and one of their boxes. I, however,  think I am good for quite some time.

                                                 

                                                 

                                                Jim