Topic Title: Optimal Configuration for SSD's in RAID0
Topic Summary: QB is back and doing reseach again :)
Created On: 01/09/2013 05:40 PM
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 01/09/2013 05:40 PM
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QB the Slayer
Master Looter

Posts: 329
Joined: 11/27/2012

UPDATE February 1st, 2013:

If you would like to skip ahead to the RAID configuration please jump to post #2

 

So it's been a while and since my last foray into SSD setups and RAID0... my Hardware has changed and so too have many of the assumed settings that people are always promoting around the net.  Gone is my SB750 replaced with a SB950 (GA-990FXA-UD7) and gone are my dual Kingston SSDNow 40GB SSD's (Intel controller) replaced with Dual Mushkin Chronos 60GB (Sandforce 2281 controller).

 

I still have my 4x500GB Caviar Black RAID0 and I use it to it's full potential all the time...  I do a lot of encoding and extracting and the very fast sequential read/write speeds of this array makes all the tasks I do on the 300GB short stroke complete in no time at all.  Because of this, I will always use RAID setups.

 

So lately I have been pondering if my SSD RAID is actually the best setup for performance and whether or not switching to AHCI might in fact be a better option.  My current board has 8 internal SATA3 ports (6 AMD and 2 Marvell) however in order to use my 4xRAID0 it means I need to keep the AMD SB950 controller in RAID mode and unfortunately this limits my options for going over to AHCI since ports 4 & 5 can only be SATA type or IDE type.  That leaves the Marvell SATA3 ports which can be set to AHCI...  so I decided to see how one of my SSD's performs on the Marvell ports under AHCI.  After a fresh install these are the results using the default MSAHCI driver:

 

 MSAHCI Marvell IOPS

 

MSAHCI Marvell

 

MSAHCI Marvell ATTO

 

Results are not bad and the system runs like a champ...  however the Read speeds are nowhere close to my old Dual Kingston SSDNow 40GB in RAID0 and the write access time is actually quite horrible...  Here is a shot of my old SSD's in RAID0:

 

2xKingston_SSDNow_40GB RAID0

 

So maybe installing the Marvell AHCI drivers will help...  here is the results:

 

Marvell AHCI Marvell

 

Marvell AHCI Marvell IOPS

 

Marvell AHCI Marvell ATTO

 

Only slightly better!  Okay so now what?  Maybe I can see if making a Striped Dynamic Volume in Windows and running the SSD's that way will be good...  So I pull out my very old 120GB SATA1 drive that is 9 years old and install windows onto that (wow does she ever make a racket!) and then go about creating my striped dynamic volume using the two Mushkins...  here are those results:

 

Striped Dynamic Marvell AHCI IOPS

 

Striped Dynamic Marvell AHCI

 

Striped Dynamic Marvell AHCI ATTO

 

Wow...  AS SSD show a very nice improvement  Access times take a hit and 4k writes show zero improvement...  and ATTO is behaving like it is just one single disk...  very very odd.  Now if only I could get the OS on this Volume and see how it runs.  But Try as hard as I could using many different applications and tricks...  there is just no way to get a bootable Windows install on a Dynamic Volume.   Grrrr  time wasted for nothing!!

 

So it's back to the RAID0 option for the SSD's and these are the results:

 

AMD RAID0 IOPS

 

AMD RAID0

 

AMD RAID0 ATTO

 

As you can see this does indeed seem to be the best performance for both sequential and 4k as well as access times (the read access times throws up an error after you restore an image using acronis, but it was 0.085 or less for sure!)

.

.

.

cont. next post...



-------------------------

The MONSTER HTPC:

CPU: AMD FX-8350.||.Cooler: Corsair H80i
MB: Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7.||.RAM: 8 GB Mushkin Blackline DDR3 2000MHz (7-10-8-27-1T)
Case: CoolerMaster HAF 932.||.PSU: Corsair HX750
GPU:Asus R9 270X DirectCU II TOP.||.Audio: Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro w/ Logitech Z-5300e (5.1, 280W-RMS)
System Drive: 2xSamsung 840 Pro 128GB RAID0.||.Working Drive: 2xMushkin Chronos 60GB RAID0



Edited: 02/01/2013 at 02:21 PM by QB the Slayer
 02/01/2013 02:17 PM
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QB the Slayer
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Posts: 329
Joined: 11/27/2012

Now to the meat of this post... It is not as straight forward to get these results as many on the net will lead you to believe. First and foremost is the Write-caching Policy in Windows... as many of you have read about SSD configuration (myself included) it is best to enable this for added performance and some even go as far as to turn off the buffer flushing on the device as well. And while this may in fact be true for a SINGLE SSD under AHCI it is far from the case for a RAID0 array of SSD's. It is best to DISABLE Write-caching Policy in Windows. I just realized I do not have my results of this and will have to edit this after posting (no way I am starting over right now! LOL). So here is a screenie of the windows write-caching policy and how it should be set (same goes for HDD's in RAID0 as well):

 

Write-caching Policy

 

 

Okay I am back... just ran some tests with Write-caching Enabled in Windows to prove I am NOT talking though my hat! So here is some comparison shots... Enabled is on the right side (although I am sure you guys could figure it out since the results speak for themselves!)

 

Write-caching_Comparison

 

Write-caching_Comparison_IOPS

 

Write-caching_Comparison_ATTO

 

Another benefit since I stoped doing this on my RAIDed SSD's... my Sound Card does not disappear periodically after a reboot (forcing me to do a re-install of the drivers) If you look around the net many have this issue and some have narrowed it down to a common link, SSD's... I am wondering if turning off the buffer flushing was causing this problem all along... hmmmm food for thought... anyway back on track....

 

Next very important setting is NCQ. SSD's support NCQ and as such one must make sure it is enabled for each drive. To verify it's enabled for each drive you can use RAIDXpert and go to this screen:

 

NCQ

 

Do this for each of your SSD's in your system... it's funny how my Mushkin SSD's are actually Toshiba's

Next is making sure the Read/Write Caches are properly set. Even if you goofed in the RAID BIOS when setting up the drives you can change the settings with RAIDXpert. Optimal performance will be achieved with Read Ahead and Write Back like in this screen shot:

 

Read-Write Cache Status

 

And the last and final setting that must be enabled for me (Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7) is the RAID5 option in the BIOS... it makes ZERO sense and seems wrong, especially if you do NOT use RAID5, but without enabling this option in my BIOS my ATTO results were capped at 500 MB/s. I am not sure if this affects any other brand of boards, but I was banging my head on this for weeks until I stumbled upon a Gigabyte thread that mentioned how enabling this might help... and sure enough it did! I did have to do a fresh install, the OS would not boot after it was enabled. It definately does something to the hardware and made the installed driver useless. But it was well worth it to do a fresh install with RAID5 enabled, even if I never use RAID5, to ensure I am getting the full potential out of my hardware.

 

So there it is... how to configure your SSD's in RAID0... at least on a SB950.

 

QB



-------------------------

The MONSTER HTPC:

CPU: AMD FX-8350.||.Cooler: Corsair H80i
MB: Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7.||.RAM: 8 GB Mushkin Blackline DDR3 2000MHz (7-10-8-27-1T)
Case: CoolerMaster HAF 932.||.PSU: Corsair HX750
GPU:Asus R9 270X DirectCU II TOP.||.Audio: Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro w/ Logitech Z-5300e (5.1, 280W-RMS)
System Drive: 2xSamsung 840 Pro 128GB RAID0.||.Working Drive: 2xMushkin Chronos 60GB RAID0

 02/01/2013 04:11 PM
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Canis-X
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Posts: 719
Joined: 08/28/2012

Is the RAID5 option that you are referring to found in your motherboard's BIOS or your RAID Array utility "BIOS"?

Looks good though, nice thread.  I'm going to double-check the write caching on my SSD RAID 0 array and see if that fixes my sound card woes and also improves my AS SSD and ATTO results. 



-------------------------

The opinions expressed above do not represent those of Advanced Micro Devices or any of their affiliates.
Requiescat In Pace AMD Processor Forums | Member since: 1/19/2009 | Post count:
4142
Please don't PM me with questions, instead create a thread so that everyone can assist and benefit from the knowledge provided. Thanks in advance!

 02/01/2013 04:28 PM
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QB the Slayer
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Posts: 329
Joined: 11/27/2012

The RAID5 option is in the BIOS...  it may just be a Gigabyte thing, but for me it doubled my ATTO results since I was being "capped" at around 500MB/s without it being enabled.

 

So you too have soundcard issues where it just periodically disappears after a reboot?  Creative?  PCI-e?  I did read somewhere that all who have this problem have SSD's...  and now I don't since I stopped using windows write cache policy (write-through)

 

QB



-------------------------

The MONSTER HTPC:

CPU: AMD FX-8350.||.Cooler: Corsair H80i
MB: Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7.||.RAM: 8 GB Mushkin Blackline DDR3 2000MHz (7-10-8-27-1T)
Case: CoolerMaster HAF 932.||.PSU: Corsair HX750
GPU:Asus R9 270X DirectCU II TOP.||.Audio: Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro w/ Logitech Z-5300e (5.1, 280W-RMS)
System Drive: 2xSamsung 840 Pro 128GB RAID0.||.Working Drive: 2xMushkin Chronos 60GB RAID0

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