Software vs Hardware RAID
If your motherboard doesn’t support RAID you can opt to create a software RAID array from inside your operating system. Windows does impose a few limitations, you can’t have Windows installed on on RAID 0 software array, you can split up your disk in different partitions and then RAID 0 the none-windows partition on DISK 1 with the complete DISK 2. RAID 1 in software doesn’t have this restriction.
So we set up the two Vertex drives in software RAID 0, comparison with hardware RAID 0 (128k) in the following two charts. Why only 2 benchmarks? The other benchmarks didn’t see the software RAID array.
(#we’ll repeat the benchmark descriptions, for quick reference and to help those jumping through random pages to find their way#)FC TestFC Test
, or File-Copy Test is a small straight forward application. You can measure the time it takes to create files of different size, then measure how long it takes to copy them between volumes, and also measure how long it takes to delete them. For our test we were interested in the write/creation speeds. So we used the PROG,WIN,MP3 and ISO templates to measure the disk speed.
It seems the software RAID is a bit faster on average in this mostly sequential write test.PassMark
The last benchmark used in this article is PassMark
, a system benchmark tool which sports a quite complete HDD performance test. Allowing you to define different “worker” threads that can replicate “real world” drive usage. We used PassMark patterns: Database, FileServer and Workstation, we also created a custom random write thread.Database: 10% Sequential / 90% Random IO, 90% Read / 10% Write, 2k file chunks, Asynchronous 128 queue
FileServer: 0% Sequential / 100% Random IO, 80% Read / 20% Write, 16Kb file chunks, Asynchronous 128 queue
Workstation: 20% Sequential / 80% Random IO, 70% Read / 30% Write, 16Kb file chunks, Synchronous
Custom: 0% Sequential / 100% Random IO, 0% Read / 100% Write, 4k file chunks, Synchronous
Here we see why you should opt for a hardware RAID solution, random read/write is noticeably faster on the Intel array, the Software RAID 0 is up to ~47% slower in some test!
Single Disk vs RAID 1
RAID 1 on SSD would not be a very interesting option, but we tested it anyway, since RAID 1 writes the same data to all the RAID array members, read speed tests might be interesting.
AS SSD Benchmark
AS SSD Benchmark. A raw translation of the German details below:
The synthetic tests to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are carried out without the use of the operating system caches. In the program Seq-test measures how long it takes to read a 1 GB large file, respectively, to write. In the 4K test will determine the read and write performance for random 4K blocks. The 4K-64-THRD-test corresponds to the 4K procedure except that the read and write operations are spread across 64 threads (typical start of a program).
In all three synthetic test is the test file size of 1GB. Last, still determines the access time of the SSD, the access of which is determined to read through the entire capacity of the SSD (Full Stroke). Write access test only to be met with a 1 GB big test file.
First up are READ speeds:
Sequential read speed doesn’t start of very promising, it’s not until you add multiple threads to the 4k tests that there is a noticeable advantage for the RAID 1 setup.
We expected the write speeds to be lower, a ~20% performance penalty is noticeable.
Next up the “normal” copy/paste tests, which don’t bypass the OS cache;
In the copy test (menu Tool-copy benchmark) the following test folders are created: (ISO) two large files, programs) (typical program folder with many small files) and games (folder of a game with small and large files. These three folders are copied with a simple copy command of the operating system. The cache is turned on for this test.
Also in this write test the performance is noticeably lower compared to a single disk setup.
The synthetic benchmark HD Tune is more widely known.
Quite interesting results in the sequential read test, the minimum read speed increase with RAID 1 is larger than going from single disk to RAID 0! (172% boost vs 156%)
Sequential write takes a large hit, up to 63% slower!
The Random Access tests display average throughput using different size file chunks:
RAID 1 is not very good for random read/write, up to ~84 slower in some cases!
Software RAID and RAID 1 is not the what this article is about, they can be interesting to “play around with”, but it’s time we check out the impact of stripe size on a RAID 0 array ->