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Author Topic: Advice on adding Hard Drives  (Read 2018 times)
NigelC
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« on: May 11, 2011, 06:34:47 AM »
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HI

I have an ASUS P5Q motherboard with 2 x Hitchi 640GB Sata II hard drives working in a Raid 0 configuration, without any partition. I do my backup to an external hard drive and also back up image files to DVD (not a commercially robust arrangement I know, but I'll add that when needed) (Intel Quad Q6600 2.4 overclocked to 3.0, Nvidia9800GT 512 and 8GB RAM). This was assembled by a custom PC builder, my ability is limited to adding RAM and I once installed an internal DVD burner.

Just been reading the Adobe CS5 White paper and thinking I should do a few things to improve system. I imagine it's a bit difficult to partition a Raid 0 2 disc configuration when its got quite a lot of data on it, so I was thinking of; a) adding an internal drive for scratch disc, to keep it separate, and; b) possibly another one for start-up

Is this feasible/difficult - would I be better advised taking it into a PC specialist to do this? Running Vista Home 64bit BTW
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NigelC
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2011, 06:38:51 AM »
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Just thought is there another solution which involves configuring 4 hard drives in a Raid 10 setup, and putting scratch disc on a partition? Would I have to save all date/programs and start all over again?
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degrub
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2011, 07:14:27 AM »
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you would be better off getting a small disk for the scratch disk and leaving it alone on a different controller unless the bus is saturated. you can check for that by running some disk test software that reads to / from disk and memory and see what bandwidth is used of the total available. Do it for each individually and then at the same time ( if the software will let you).
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NigelC
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2011, 07:26:49 AM »
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What sort of size for scratch disc?
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degrub
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2011, 08:39:55 AM »
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i have a 74 gb WD raptor that i use.  i expect pretty much any of the 7200 rpm drives would work well enough that you wouldn't notice. just keep it defragged. One that you have already will be the cheapest bang for the buck.
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John.Murray
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2011, 12:31:43 PM »
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Using RAID 0 for your *system* is really risky!  Do you need all the 1.2 TB space right now???  RAID 0 is ok for swap, or other temp duties where the loss of a drive will not result in loss of data.  Partitioning also does no good, as you still end up with one drive head reading two separate areas on disk.

You might want to reconfigure things a bit:

1 ) Backup your system using the (image based) Windows Backup Utility.  I've done bare metal restores using this, it works everytime (I recovered a Windows 2008R2 (server equiv to Win 7) last week in less than 2 hours...).

2) Break the RAID 0 array and restore to a single disk.  You now have an extra disk to put the swap file on.....

If you think you might need the extra space, use the 2nd drive for data and get a 80gb SSD for swap.....
« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 12:46:49 PM by John.Murray » Logged

NigelC
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2011, 12:11:07 PM »
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I don't see why RAID 0 is more risky if everything is regularly backed up? I do a mirror backup using Acronis True Image (to external hard drive)
And I am past 640GB of data so a single HD is not feasible. I undrestand form the guys that built the computer that I can install 2 further hard drives, (assuming there are 2 spare bays) one as a start up whiich would be the boot disc and one for scratch disc, leaving the RAID array untouched. Assuming I have to install windows on the 2 new HDDs. I wonder whether it would be worth moving al programs to the start uo disc, just using RAID array for data, and how difficult that woulds be - presumabley I would have to delete everything and re-install all the programmes and data? I think I would get my local computer tech to do this for me!
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degrub
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2011, 12:47:03 PM »
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quick question  - is this machine getting its power through a UPS ? If so , has it ever been required ? ( ie power voltage dipped  or off and the machine kept running ok ) so that you know it works fast enough ?

If you don't have, or it doesn't, then get a decent UPS. Otherwise what is on your disks may be scrambled on a power droop or loss.

When you add a disk to a machine already running windows, usually you can just mount the drive in a slot, connect the power and data cables, and power the system up. You may need a y power splitter cable and you will need the controller data cables to plug into the motherboard and drive. Make sure the external power cord is unplugged when you are installing the drive and connecting cables ! Also, touch the bare metal portion of the case to discharge any static from your body. Most disks are already formatted, so the OS should see the drive right away and you can use it.

If you are going to move the OS and programs to a single disk, you may notice a slight slow down in responsiveness over the raid 0 array.

i have my data files on a one disk ( some are on external eSATA drive), OS and programs on one disk, and scratch on the 3rd disk.  Separating this way makes it easy to keep my backups organized as well as give some speed improvement. Some suggest placing programs on their own disk, but i haven't felt the need. What can help some is making sure they are on different controllers, particularly the OS/program disk and the scratch disk if possible. In your case, i would think about moving the data files off the raid 0 to a separate "data" disk, keep the OS and programs on the raid array where you want speed, and have a separate small scratch disk on a different controller if one is available on the motherboard. You could try a partitioned disk with data in one partition and scratch in the other and see if that is fast enough before you add yet another disk.

Getting the separate scratch disk will likely help the most on speed with PS.
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John.Murray
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2011, 01:19:49 PM »
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Nigel:  Raid 0 is more risky in that if one of your drives fail, you lose everything - effectively you are doubling your chance of failure over having your operating system on a single drive.

Acronis is great, but you have to re-install windows to be able to be able to access the acronis restore utility......  Windows Backup (starting w/Vista) is image based and can be started from the Windows Installation media (bare metal restore).  I use a USB thumbdrive for Windows installs as it's 3-4 times faster than installing from a DVD, using it I can begin an actual restore to a bare drive within 5 minutes - I have an article on my site on how to make one:

http://imagesbymurray.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47:install-windows-from-usb&catid=6:technology&Itemid=21

You *do* get a modest performance increase using RAID 0, for sure....  obviously it's up to you to assess risk vs: performance.  

I think an 80gb SSDdrive would be the easiest and most effective solution for you


« Last Edit: May 12, 2011, 01:25:31 PM by John.Murray » Logged

NigelC
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2011, 03:11:37 AM »
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Think what I would want to do is keep the 2x640GB drives in Raid 0 for data only (can always change to Raid 1 or"unraid" if decide Raid 0 too risky) and put OS and all programmes on 1 x 80GB SSD and then another 80GB SSD for the scratch disc - not sure if I've got room for that - case data refers to 3x 3.5"HDD slots. Is 80GB likely to be enough for operating systenm and programmes? - alternative would be to get fastest HDD available for boot disc - SSDs are pretty expensive above 80GB

(Zirco AX ATX midi-tower
Specifications:
Supported mainboards: ATX and micro-ATX
Drive bays:
-5.25" x 5
-3.5" x 2 (1 visible, 1 internal)
-3.5" HDD x 3
Expansion slots: 7x full-height)
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NigelC
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2011, 03:32:38 AM »
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Well I think I've aswered my own question - case only has room for 3x3.5"HDDs. So what I think I should do is ditch the exicting HDDs and get  2x 80GB OCZ Vertex SSDs, one for start-up, OS and programmes and one for PS scratch, and then a decent 2TB 7200 HDD for data. Don't know how that would compare in speed with what I have now. Sometimes it seems easier to start again, especially when limited by essentially a 50 box, but used computers seem to have almost zero resale value.
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NigelC
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2011, 04:00:10 AM »
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According to Adobe website, SSD wasted on photoshop, other than speed in opening programme - most cost effective solution is to use SSD for  scratch disc and max out RAM
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degrub
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2011, 07:08:23 AM »
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one can always mount a 3.5 device in a 5.25 slot - it just takes the adapters which are readily available.

Let us know how it works out !

Frank
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NigelC
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« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2011, 03:24:14 AM »
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Not there yet! Have ordered new drives from Amazon
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NigelC
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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2011, 08:13:18 AM »
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one can always mount a 3.5 device in a 5.25 slot - it just takes the adapters which are readily available.

Let us know how it works out !

Frank

Decided not to do it - sent new drives back to Amazon! Risks of messing up RAID array seemed high. Rather get some more use out of what I've got and then get replacement box when I can also get more up to date processor and graphics card.
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tived
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« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2011, 12:47:09 AM »
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NigelC,

If you are wanting to add hard drives to improve the bottleneck presented when doing image editing, you need IMHO to look at storage as a three stage process within the computer. This is regardless of it being a Mac, PC or *nix machine.

We have the following, which can be one or a group of disks (arrays)

1) OS and Applications
2) TEMP disk space (e.g. srcatch disk)
3) Data Storage

Externally, you will have your Backup.

You can break this up even further, to have Data Storage with RAW files and then Data Storage with Processed Files or work in progress.

The idea is that instead of data going back and forth to the original location, you move the data through as it is being process to eliminate the Hard drive bottleneck which I think the concensus here is the biggest bottleneck in our current modern computers regardless of OS!

To improve speed you can use SSD's instead of Hard drives, you can make RAID-x (arrays of stripe sets, with or without redundancy), you do get to a point where the return of the investment vs the speed gains start to deminish. However, more is always faster.

However, with more also comes more complications ;-) ....there is no such thing as a free lunch here.

I hope this helps

Henrik

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