General discussion

Poor RAID1 array performance

I've been noticing lately that my newly setup system is EXTREMELY slow to respond at times!
for instance if i create a new document or photoshop file.. the moment i click anywhere on the screen the software wont respond.. and the windows performance monitor actually shows the process is waiting on disk operation (writing the temp file)

My system is based on the following:
MB: Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6(rev. 1.0) with Intel ICH8 RAID Controller, and Gigabyte SATA2 RAID controller
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 2.4GHz
RAM: 6GB DDR2 800
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Storage Setup:
Drive C: RAID 1 (Mirroring)
2x Western Digital 250GB SATA HDD (WD2500JS-00NCB1)
(The drives are physically connected to port 1 and 2 of the INTEL ICH8 chipset)

Drive D: Standalone SATA
1x Samsung 500GB SATA (HD502IJ 1AA01110), connected to port 1 of the Gigabyte storage controller

Drive E: RAID 1 (Mirroring)
2x Western Digital 1TB SATA HDD (WD10EADS-00P8B0)
(The drives are physically connected to port 3 and 4 of the INTEL ICH8 chipset)

i thought the additional array is adding an overhead, so i booted up with it disconnected (i physically unplugged both 1TB drives, and the volume E disappeared), i also unplugged the standalone drive D from the other controller, bascially leaving the main volume alone.
No change.. performance was still misrable.

i have enabled read/write cache enabled on all volumes, same result.

i ran a benchmark on the arrays (HD Tach) and the results seem pretty okay somehow:

C:, 250GB RAID1 Array:
Random Access: 13.6ms
CPU utilization: 4%
Average Read: 55.6MB/s
Burst Speed: 1908.1 MB/s

D: 512GB Standalone SATA Drive:
Random Access: 14.7ms
CPU utilization: 4%
Average Read: 77.3MB/s
Burst Speed: 166.4 MB/s

E:, 1TB RAID1 Array:
Random Access: 13.7ms
CPU utilization: 3%
Average Read: 83.8MB/s
Burst Speed: 2089.8 MB/s

Actually the reason i decided to post this, is today i had to copy a few files around 4GB in size to another machine
i plugged a memory stick, and the process took over 55 minute to complete!!!
i had the same misrable performance trying to copy the files over the network or even burn them on a DVD.
basically all read and write operations are extremely slow

(once done, the files took 4-5 minutes to be copied from the stick to the other machine running linux and a similar RAID1 setup)

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

Louie

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Comments
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Two thoughts

See if you can find the Intel Matrix management software for your motherboard either from Gigabyte or Intel. Next, from what I can gather, newer SATA drives designed for "self preservation" aren't recommended for RAID. You need to buy drives specifically for these purposes. It has something to do with some sort of deep cycling or such which happens in the background. RAID specific drives, as I understand, don't do this but are all about "full speed ahead and don't look back". They cost more too. Go figure.

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Re: Two thoughts

Thanks for the tips.

i already have the latest Intel Matrix Storage Manager (direct from intel's website) installed and running since i built this system.. that's how i maintain the arrays as the BIOS interface is pretty basic.

as for the drives.. funnily enough, the two drives hosting the C array were in my previous system with a 3rd drive (that eventually died) as part of a RAID5 setup.
performance then was just perfect

ironically, RAID1 is supposed to be even faster.. well not in my case Sad

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(NT) Actually, RAID 0 is for speed...RAID 1 is nominally slower
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RAID MIRRORING is not about speed.

Maybe you wanted RAID 0?

There is also some patch out to speed up Windows 7 copies done with EXPLORER. Did you try this copy at the command line?
Bob

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Re: RAID MIRRORING is not about speed.

i certainly need RAID1 for data redundancy.
i never said i built this setup due to its performance, but given a choice between RAID5 and RAID1, i believe RAID1 should be faster.

then again, i had the same hardware running a 3 drive RAID5 setup in the past and it was light years faster!

the file copy performance was just an example to illustrate the issue.
creating a new document with MS Word, or file with Photoshop causes the application to hang for 20-30 seconds, while the process (as proven by the windows performance monitor) creates the temporary file and dumps data into it!

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I read it again.

And the numbers are about right for an Intel chip based RAID 1.

If you need speed and you are absolutely convinced it is the RAID why not go to ADAPTEC and get a nice RAID controller?

As to the old faster RAID 5, we have to bring up the sad fact that the Intel RAID solution is a cost sensitive one and not about performance in all configurations. Look to Adaptec for performance.

-> I'm not convinced this is a RAID issue. Your tests proved that. Talk to those that support you and this OS about what's gone wrong.

What's odd is that comment about data redundancy. The problem with RAID 1 is not only that it's hard on users but when you corrupt your file RAID 1 automatically corrupts the second copy.

If I wanted redundancy or some sort of backup RAID 1 looks to be the wrong solution.
Bob

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