RAID stands for redundant array of inexpensive disks or now commonly redundant array of independent disks. It’s basically a way to tie hard drives together to make them faster or redundant. These are the most common flavors:
Raid 0; 2 HDD, Two engines, up to twice as fast read and write speeds.
Raid 1; 2 HDD, mirrored, 1:1 copied 24/7. Faster read speeds, not faster
Raid 5, 3-4 HDD, with 3 drives, 2X faster read, 4 drives 3X faster read.
Raid 10:4 HDD, it’s Raid 0 + Raid 1. Twice as fast read and write AND the redundancy of RAID 1.
For you, all you need to know is if your motherboard supports it (Most top-end chipset’s do) These are the flavors of RAID that are included in Intel/AMD motherboard/chipsets for the motherboard.
You can read about what is technically a RAID anywhere.
Raid 0 – Speed
I have two 128 or 256GB SSD and RAID them for 1GB/sec read and write speeds. I use Samsung 8X0 Pro. They are the longest-lasting drives, have the longest warranties(10 years), are usually the fastest, and indeed they are the most expensive.
If you need 256GB, you might want to at least look into getting two SSD half the size of yours and RAID 0 them. SSDs are stupid reliable and you don’t need to worry much for them breaking as you are just putting easily replaceable OS/APPS on it.
Here you will see that in 27 of 31 benchmarks, two smaller SSDs in RAID 0 is faster than a single larger (even larger SSDs are faster) SSD.
Raid 1. I preferred it over over Raid 5. It’s more inefficient, but no complex parity calculations.
This is mirroring your drive.
Do you like the speed that Raid 0 gives and like the redundancy Raid 1 gives? Then take 4 drives and RAID 10 them. (1+0, or 0+1) As you can expect, it’s costly but fast and redundant. I have done this before. It worked as intended.
Yeah, it doubles the cost of the hard drives.
Raid 5: It’s less “inefficient” than RAID 1 but if you need more space than budget/Raid 1 permits, you can go RAID 5. Here is a calculator. (Use TB instead of GB.). Here are some examples for the lazy: It can operate while loosing 1 drive.
3TB x 3 = 5.58TB Useable
3TB x 4 = 8.38TB Useable
4TB x 3 = 7.44TB Useable
4TB x 4 = 11.17TB Useable
3TB x 3 = 5.58GB Useable
5TB x 3 = 9.31GB Useable
5TB x 4 = 13.96GB Useable
6TB x 4 = 16.76GB Useable
8TB x 4 = 22.35GB Useable
With THREE drives (minimum for RAID 5) you get no write performance upgrades, but you get 2X read performance (what you care about). With 4 drives you get 3X Read performance. It uses something complex called parity. I call it black magic.
Sidenote: Once you install the bare drives, it goes through “Initialization” which it’s setting up the parity. It goes about 200GB/hour based on my own estimates.
Beware the whiners that complain about Intel/Nvidia/AMD “onboard” or “software” raid not being as fast as a 3rd Party $800 hardware RAID card. (Facepalm). For $800 you can buy more performance anywhere else.
Setting up a RAID is simple, just add the drives, enable RAID in Bios and boot. You will see a new screen to the boot screen asking you to press CRTL+I or something to enter the RAID setup. Setup the RAID and you’re done, Windows will treat it as a single drive.