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Question Internal RAID Controller Card vs External RAID Enclosure

NathanShirley

Junior Member
Sep 24, 2021
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Hi, I'm trying to determine if there are significant differences between internal RAID cards and external RAID enclosures.

I will be setting up a computer to dual boot Windows and Linux (each on its own SSD). I want to make sure each OS sees the RAID as a single drive. I'm a little confused as some RAID controller cards say they are compatible with Windows, etc... I assumed any RAID card would handle the RAID in a way to make the computer see it as such, making the OS irrelevant. Perhaps I'm missing something here?

I will either use a simple RAID 1 with two HDDs, or a RAID 10 with 4. I don't really need NAS unless these are significantly more reliable.

Thanks in advance.
 

mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
6,190
898
126
Enclosure is just enclosure, nothing to do with RAID. RAID functionality is provided by PCIE plugin controller or onboard controller. The extra feature an internal or external enclosure can offer is hot-plug.

All RAID cards need drivers. No matter what OS. Whether the drivers come with the OS (the RAID controller has been on the market long enough), or the drivers come with new cards that just released by vendors. I don't think you need to use RAID, which is for system up time/speed. What you need is a backup, and just backup what you really need. RAID doesn't make much sense in a home environment.

SSD generally is fast enough for most people. If you want even faster speed (> 6Gbps) and if your motherboard has bootable NVMe slot, then use that instead of SSD.

By the way, dual boot is cumbersome, use virtual machine like VMware, VirtualBox, KVM or Hyper-V instead.
 
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NathanShirley

Junior Member
Sep 24, 2021
10
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Thanks for the info.

Oh drivers, right. So in that sense an internal card vs. external enclosure would make no difference? They would all need drivers compatible with both Windows and Linux I suppose?

I currently have an internal RAID 10 via Intel RST which I've used for video editing for many years now. This has worked quite well--4 slow HDDs in a RAID 10 which is then fast enough for editing work. I figured I would either use the same RAID 10 drives (5400 rpm) with this new machine, or just two much larger and slightly faster (7200 rpm) HDDs in a RAID 1--possibly upgrading to a RAID 10 down the road.

I don't need extreme speed for this, but I do need a lot of space. The RAID 10 speed over a non-RAID HDD seems to be just fast enough.

My new motherboard will have two M.2 slots, but based on some reading I got the impression for most things other than boot time, NVME wouldn't have a significant advantage over SSD for most things. Is that not right? My processor will be an AMD 5600X, my GPU is an older Radeon RX 580. I've already got two 2.5" SSDs, but would need to buy an M.2 (or two) if it's really worth it.

I'm wanting to transition most of my work to Linux, so the dual boot (instead of a VM) is so that I can have full power in both Linux and Windows. Editing video and needing low-latency audio in both.
 

mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
6,190
898
126
Internl / external enclosures don't need drivers. They do not have protocol related chips. Absolutely no performance difference.

Again, all RAID controllers are internal, either PCIE plugin or on board ports, you can connect to internal or external enclosures.

One single SSD speed is over 500MB/s, 2 5400 RPM HDDs in RAID 0 probably is just over 200MB/s.

NVMe is even faster than SSD, (2X faster) if you do a lot of video editing, it definitely will help,

You already have SSD, then try it first.

Nowadays NVMe is not much more expensive than SSD however, if you can afford it, why not?

NVMe drive alone will make you don't really go back to dual boot.
 
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NathanShirley

Junior Member
Sep 24, 2021
10
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Okay thanks for the info. In my old system the CPU (i7 3770) was definitely the bottleneck when editing video. I suppose with this new system even four 7200 rpm in RAID 10 would likely become a bottleneck. Of course for more complex projects I can always move footage from a RAID to an SSD temporarily to edit as needed.

So now I'm wondering if I should get two NVMe drives, one for Windows, one for Linux. Or do you think a VM running from an NVMe would be just as fast as using a dedicated drive for each OS?

Regarding the RAID issue, I think I mostly follow what you're saying, but I'm trying to wrap my head around what it implies regarding how the various RAID controllers would be seen by Windows and Linux... Having a hot-swapable external RAID would be nice, but I'd be happy just to have any RAID that showed up in both Windows and Linux as a single drive as opposed to 4 individual drives...or nothing at all.

I've been using this RAID for well over 10 years now, so I'd be totally open to ideas of a better solution for video editing. Basically I have about 14 TB worth of storage on HDDs. I'd like it automatically backed up (doesn't need to be fire-proof, which is why I went with RAID) and it's been nice to have it in the RAID to get speeds good enough for 1080 editing, and for light 4k editing. I'm not ready to buy 14 TB of SSD storage at the moment.

Thanks again for all the information.
 
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mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
6,190
898
126
I don't do video editing. I use virtual machine every day but most of the tasks are about network configuration. Disk performance is not an issue for me.

If you do tons of video editing, then video performance in a VM probably will be a problem for you, not disk.

Since you insist only one drive letter for your system and not ready to buy big volume SSD/NVMe drives, PrimoCache probably is what you need.


But AMD comes with free StoreMI technology for some models.
 
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mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
6,190
898
126
I don't know why it's 2X ~ 3X faster in the VM

Crucial 1TB SSD benchmark in physical machine.

1.png

pre-allocated empty 60GB disk ATTO benchmark in a VM created on the same SSD

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60GB VM disk after filling with 50GB data

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NathanShirley

Junior Member
Sep 24, 2021
10
0
6
Thanks, I haven't heard of PrimoCache but will definitely look into it.

Your benchmarking is interesting, and a little surprising, but my technical knowledge isn't enough to understand the implications, besides thinking maybe a VM on a fast drive would be a good option after all?

I hadn't even thought of the issue of Linux accessing an NTFS drive...yeah, maybe I'm getting in over my head with the dual boot idea. Of course I could get in the practice of transferring media I need to work on to the drive Linux is installed on...if reading video files from an NTFS drive proves to be a bottleneck. Oh, and from reading that link you posted it sounds like Linux could alter the NTFS files in a way Windows wouldn't like. Yeah that might not be worth it.

Thanks again.
 
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damian101

Senior member
Aug 11, 2020
283
101
76
Enclosure is just enclosure, nothing to do with RAID. RAID functionality is provided by PCIE plugin controller or onboard controller. The extra feature an internal or external enclosure can offer is hot-plug.

All RAID cards need drivers. No matter what OS. Whether the drivers come with the OS (the RAID controller has been on the market long enough), or the drivers come with new cards that just released by vendors. I don't think you need to use RAID, which is for system up time/speed. What you need is a backup, and just backup what you really need. RAID doesn't make much sense in a home environment.

SSD generally is fast enough for most people. If you want even faster speed (> 6Gbps) and if your motherboard has bootable NVMe slot, then use that instead of SSD.

By the way, dual boot is cumbersome, use virtual machine like VMware, VirtualBox, KVM or Hyper-V instead.
many multi-drive USB enclosures offer hardware RAID, although I only know small two-drive ones that offer RAID 0 and RAID1 aside JBOD
 
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NathanShirley

Junior Member
Sep 24, 2021
10
0
6
Oh right, I figured I was missing something when reading all that.

Here's one of the external RAID enclosures I've been looking at (which does RAID 10):


I would be fine with a less expensive internal RAID card, but I'm kind of confused by them, there are so many with prices all over the place. Some aren't actual RAID cards, just passing the individual drives to the motherboard, but many seem to be full hardware RAID cards. Why some are $20 and others $400, with everything in between, I can't figure. A recommendation for a good basic/reliable one that would support RAID 10 on an AM4 motherboard would be great.

I just read that a new Linux kernel is expected out soon (if not already out?) which should have better NTFS support. Could be promising.
 
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