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Worlds most ordinary RAID 5 - all helped out


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I've probably made roughly 3000 mistakes setting up this array, but I'm pretty new to RAID 5. My good 'ole file server is starting to worry me as it now contains 650GB of important data and its all single disks. So I bought a cheap raid controller off the net, a LSI Megaraid I4 . My HDD collection consists of..

2x 250GB Hitachi

1x 200GB Maxtor

1x 200GB Samsung

1x 200GB Western Digital

I popped all the drives into the array with 4 Masters and 1 Slave. Set up with a RAID 5 config with 2 logical drives, 1x 10GB and 1x760GB. Uptime is not 100% important to me (being a home server), so I whacked the OS onto the 10GB drive.

First time round it took 3 hours to install Windows Server 2003. So I browsed the net for a while and found out that the card was also a Dell CERT ATA 100, and Dell had newer firmware and drivers. So on a bit of a risk, I updated the card with the Dell firmware and installed Windows with the Dell drivers and it only took 20 mins this time round.

I'm trying to copy the data back (from the O/B IDE) and its barely writing back at 1MB p/s, at this rate, its going to take close to 2 solid weeks to fill the hard drives.

My question is, why is it so damn slow, is it...

The crappy budget card

Mixed hard drives

Wrong stripe size (64KB)

Too many logical drives

The server is running 2 Athlon MP's @ 1.6GHz and 1GB ram. If it means having to buy new matched HDD's I don't mind, as long as it works!

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According to Tom's Hardware, performance should be reasonable.

Don't know where you got the drivers from, but this is what you should be using.

The slowest drive in the raid sets the pace for all the others. The slave drive will kill performance on that IDE bus. You should put your fastest drives in that master/slave combo, or better yet, try using just 4 drives. I would suggest kicking out the WD one. I've had dreadful results with WD in RAID configs.

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Thanks for the quick reply, I used the original drivers the first time round - but they were so damn slow, so I found Dell's card (which is basically the same) and nicked their firmware and driver because they were much newer! It performs much better on the Dell drivers anyway, the bottleneck must be the drives then.

So you think I should run my two 250's in the M/S config (they're the newest). If I could sell the mixed 200GB's I would gladly buy 2 more Hitachi 250GB's, but the trouble is, theres no real market for 2nd hand drives. And I'm pretty sure that if I run them all as slaves it will kill the overall performance. And if I just keep them, I'm not sure I need 1.3TB of storage.


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Lol, maybe its not that slow, I kicked off a couple of file transfers from the 1TB disk backup, I left it overnight and it managed to comfortably copy about 350GB in <7 hours, which equates to roughly 50GB per hour, which is about 14MB p/s - I suppose thats not too bad.

Guess I won't buy any more hard drives after all, I'll stick with these until 1 fails :D

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