In our last article we took a second look at Hitachi's new Deskstar 7K1000 and provided some RAID 0 performance results while proclaiming it to be the best 7200rpm SATA drive that has passed through our labs. We still think highly of this drive but our article seemed to have raised more questions than answers in our look at RAID 0 performance in general.

We are back today for a quick look at RAID 0 performance and hopefully our second round of results will answer more questions than it raises. However, we cannot guarantee this will happen based upon the numerous comments, suggestions, concerns, and heritage questioning emails we received on the subject matter. The vast majority of correspondence requested that we test additional RAID modes, stripe/allocation sizes, hardware RAID controllers, various chipsets, and different programs. We plan on providing the majority of this information over the coming weeks but for today's article we are going to concentrate on requests that seemed to resonate in the emails and comments we received.


Outside of additional testing, the number one request was that we update our test platform. The thought process being that any true differences between RAID 0 and single drive performance were masked due to our test platform being both CPU and GPU limited. The other concern is the perceived lack of performance with the NVIDIA chipset in RAID operation due to what appears to be an artificial cap on sustained transfer and burst rates. Fortunately for us, as stated in the last couple of storage articles, we were already working on implementing a new test bed.

Our new test bed is based on the Intel QX6700 Quad Core CPU and the DFI Infinity 965-S motherboard featuring the Intel P965 and ICH8R chipsets. Along with one of the fastest motherboard/CPU combinations available we also added 2GB of PC2-9200 memory from OCZ and a liquid cooled 8800GTX from MSI. The balance of components utilized is available later on in the article. We found during testing over the past few weeks that this particular system should provide enough performance to ensure the majority of our tests are not CPU or GPU bound for the near future.

Our tests today are very limited in scope and only provide results from our Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 and Western Digital WD1500 Raptor drives. The reason for this is that we are currently retesting our other drives on the new test platform and will fully roll out our expanded benchmark test suite in the upcoming 500GB+ roundup. However, the test results today should give a very good performance indication of RAID 0 without CPU or GPU limitations. There were a couple of surprises with the new test platform but overall you will find our opinion about RAID 0 did not change that much.

Our technical briefing on RAID 0 can be located here. Let's see how the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 drives perform in RAID 0 with a new test platform and a couple of revised benchmarks.

Hardware Setup
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  • sprockkets - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link

    Pic wanted of smoked drive. Reply
  • lplatypus - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link

    RAID-0 is not a general solution to improve disk performance. It solves a specific problem: it increases sequential disk bandwidth. If you're not doing sequential disk accesses, then don't expect RAID-0 to help.

    Of course if your application is doing random disk accesses unnecessarily, then that's a programming problem. But often an application really does need to do random disk accesses.

    Advanced filesystems attempt to make common file access patterns translate into sequential disk accesses, so poor RAID-0 performance might be a symptom of a poor filesystem design in your OS. Yet there is a limit to how much the filesystem can produce sequential disk accesses.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link

    quote:

    However, the test results should give a very good performance indication of RAID 0 without CPU or GPU limitations.


    GPU limited HDDs eh ? Come on guys, this statement is starting to sound as though you think using RAID0 in a gaming system is going to increase FPS or something . . . which, we all know is wrong(or should know).

    Gee, a Raptor smoking its platters, this aught to quiet those people who think the Raptors are impervious to melt downs. Seriously though, how much was this HDD used ? How old was it ? Personally, I think the answers to both the two questions above, would be worth well more than about 20 AT articles . . . and I must say I rather enjoy reading the articles.

    Looking forward to you adding Seagates fastest of their SATA line, and would like to know if you have plans, or would consider testing the NL35 line as well. From what little I have read, the NL35 line are supposed to be geared towards Video, so I would assume the sustained throughput would be higher, but thats why the request for a test of these drives.
    Reply
  • nullpointerus - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link

    quote:

    GPU limited HDDs eh ? Come on guys, this statement is starting to sound as though you think using RAID0 in a gaming system is going to increase FPS or something . . . which, we all know is wrong(or should know).

    As the article itself says, they did so to answer readers' (IMO ridiculous) objections to the previous RAID article. So you should poke fun at the gamer RAID crowd instead.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - link

    That was not my point, I am fairly confident that AT staff doesnt believe this, but it only leads to confusion, for the less tech savvy. I can hear it all over the wanna be 'geek' 'channels' already . . . 'OMG RAID0 increases FPS in <insert first person title name here>, becasue AT said so . . .'. Even though we all know, this is not what was said. Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link

    hopefully our second round of results will answer more questions than it raises answers. Reply
  • johnsonx - Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - link

    quote:

    We are back today for a quick look at RAID 0 performance and hopefully our second round of results will answer more questions than it raises answers.


    The last word in that sentence just needs to go away. Then it makes perfect sense: "... answer more questions than it raises."
    Reply
  • joex444 - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link

    I don't find it confusing, but then again I passed grade 4. Reply
  • vailr - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link

    Could you comment on AHCI mode? Comparing enabled in bios vs. disabled?
    The AHCI "hot swap" feature, for example. Seems to work fine when connected to a SATA JMicron controller, yet DO NOT when connected to an Intel port. On the Gigabyte DS3 board, for one example.
    Also: there are newer Intel Inf and Matrix drivers.
    Used for this report:
    System Platform Drivers:
    Intel 8.1.1.1010
    Intel Matrix RAID 6.2.1.1002
    vs.
    Intel Inf Driver Version 8.4.0.1010 Beta
    http://www.station-drivers.com/page/intel%20chipse...">http://www.station-drivers.com/page/intel%20chipse...
    Matrix Storage Manager drivers version 7.0.0.1020 WHQL
    http://www.station-drivers.com/page/intel%20raid.h...">http://www.station-drivers.com/page/intel%20raid.h...
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link

    AT yet again proves the RAID-0 freak'tards wrong. Reply

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