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To RAID or not to RAID?


Caulk Sucker
"Opponents of RAID will often say that any modern disk is fast enough for video editing and they are right, but only to a certain extent. As fill rates of disks go up, performance goes down, sometimes by 50%. As the number of disk activities on the disk go up , like accessing (reading or writing) pagefile, media cache, previews, media, project file, output file, performance goes down the drain. The more tracks you have in your project, the more strain is put on your disk. 10 tracks require 10 times the bandwidth of a single track. The more applications you have open, the more your pagefile is used. This is especially apparent on systems with limited memory."

The following chart shows how fill-rates on a single conventional disk will impact performance:

I'm not talking SSD here; the idea would be large drives for games or data/video editing.

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I think it depends on a few things first.

  • Your setup first matters. Do you keep all your data on one computer or do you have another computer to backup to or a NAS?
  • If you keep your important data somewhere else then speed is more important than data and worse comes to worse and your drive dies you can bring back over your data.
  • If not then you will want some sort of backup, offsite, NAS, server, external drive, something else.
I think most modern day motherboards support Raids right out of the box, Raid 1, Raid 0, Raid 5, and Raid 10 seem to be the most common Raids arrays coming stock on motherboards these days. I would at least do a 1 if data is extremely important. Also, most modern day chips/motherboards can handle raids just fine with virtually no impact on performance. It's up to your budget as well since you will lose a drive with most of the Raid arrays for redundancy. If your doing video editing a lot of people use a server or NAS device for storage etc. Just make sure to have a fast network connection as well (hardwired and full gigabit connection).