Mirroring through Disk Management

Hardware based RAID setups are usually able to get double the read speed during a RAID 1 array (or triple or whatever depending on the number of hard drives in the RAID). Windows 7's disk manager has RAID drivers built into it allowing you to setup RAID 0/1/5/10 without the need of BIOS tweaks.

I hear only some software based RAID arrays actually obtain extra read speed, so I am wondering whether or not I might be getting some of this by doing a redundancy RAID 1 with two caviar blacks.

Please and thanks,


Noob Whisperer
You need to spend just a little more time researching raid. Raid one is mirroring and seldom if ever results in any speed enhancements since it always writing twice mirroring the data to the second hard drive also means a prompt duplication of bad data, virii, malware etc in two locations instead of one. I think you may be talking more about disk stripeing. Will often produce minor performance enhancements but requires a fair amount of overhead for parity bits. If you're really looking for I/O boosts you should probably be looking at hard drives with better performances specs or even SSDs. You only need to search some forums to find issues with software raid solutions and dynamic discs. If you're looking for fault tolerance, maybe you could use one of the extra drives and store your backup images there, imaging is a pretty safe way of recovering from some type of catastrophic failure. If you're looking for speed, then maybe buy better drives. Just one person's opinion, YMMV.

I think you haven't heard of the extra read speed from RAID 1. Hardware and some software based RAID 1 has extra read speed due to being able to read in two separate places. Yes they both write the same thing, I know that. I know very well how RAID 1, 0 and 10 work, but the concept of extra read speed on 1 is well founded.

Of course the extra speed isn't entirely linear in the respect of speed like RAID 0, but RAID 1 should provide a moderate speed increase since you have two disks worth of read speed (as long as you have the proper hardware or software controller.

Currently since I have Caviar Blacks, they are pretty much the fastest HDDs you can get without buying raptors or SSDs (though I may be minorly incorrect on them being the fastest, from benchmarks I read, the difference may be extremely minor). Both of which are awfully expensive and provide very little space. I am not dying for performance in any respect, but I was just curious whether Windows 7's Disk Management RAID 1 will provide this ability or not (currently I am more concerned with protecting my data than performance).

EDIT: Sorry if I am sounding like a dick, I have heard this numerous times on forums and even on wikipedia that RAID 1 has the potential to provide extra read (not write) speed.

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Noob Whisperer
Not at all, and since I am here in this forum as much to learn as to help, probably more to learn...I did some research and I did discover, as you said there is some potential for increased read speeds because of the dual data locations, however; I don't suspect that Windows 7 software raid solution would support that, but I just can't say with any degree of certainty. There actually doesn't seem to be a whole lot of broad support for this even in some of the more sophisticated hardware solutions. I did spend some time on the WD Community forums and between those posts and some referenced Knowledgebase links, it seems that it may not be a good idea to use anything that is not WD Enterprise Class in a raid environment (probably more importantly a Windows dynamic disk, software raid environment). Seems to have something to do with no longer being able to use the WD-TLER utility with these drives to speed up the process by which the internal drive diagnostics handle errors and it's generally reported that because of that the raid system (software or hardware) may often drop the drive from the array. There are also a lot of customer reviews on Newegg, from customers who purchased these drives specifically for what you had in mind and they're reporting problems with their raid configurations. Seems to be a very well regarded drive across the board for single drive environments, Tom's Hardware only report the Hitachi Disk Star as a possible rival, some noise issues seem to be a consistent report. However, since you said that performance is not really your number one concern. And data protection, is, as it should be I would simply refer back to my original suggestion, image your drive and or backup your data, no raid configuration will beat it for ultimate data protection. Also, and I know you probably know this already but it's never a good idea to mirror a drive that contains your operating system, so disk imageing is really a very good solution and the built in backup in windows 7 seems to do a very good job of this.

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