Gateway E-6500D Quick Start Manual

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About RAID

About RAID

RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive/Independent Disks) lets your computer use multiple hard drives more efficiently. Your computer supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10.

RAID for performance

RAID 0 lets your computer see multiple hard drives as a single drive. This type of RAID can increase file access speeds, which is important if you work with video editing, sound editing, and high-performance games. RAID 0 is also an affordable way to increase your total file storage capacity.

How it increases performance

The more drives you have in your RAID 0 array, the faster the potential drive reading performance. All hard drives have limitations on how fast they can read and write files. If half a file is stored on one RAID 0 drive and the other half on another RAID 0 drive, each drive only has to read half of the file. So, the entire file is accessed by the computer up to twice as fast (using a two-drive RAID 0 array). In a three-drive RAID 0 array, if the file is evenly distributed among the drives, each drive must read only a third of the file, and so on. If the entire file happens to be stored on only one of the drives, the file is accessed at the same speed as if it were on a standard hard drive setup. Dividing up files between multiple hard drives like this is called striping.

How it makes file storage cheaper

Because RAID 0 lets your computer see multiple hard drives as a single drive, you can install several lower capacity (less expensive) drives and have the same single-drive storage simplicity and capacity as a larger, more expensive hard drive.

Drawbacks

Unfortunately, RAID 0 lets multiple drives behave as one in another way. If part of the array fails (such as a hard drive crashing), the entire array fails. Because the drives are treated like a single drive, parts of files (including operating system files) can be spread across several drives, leaving the computer with only file fragments if one drive fails. Regular and frequent backups are critical.

Another drawback is that RAID 0 treats each hard drive as if it has the storage capacity of the smallest drive in the array. So if you have three drives (300 GB, 250 GB, and 200 GB) in a RAID 0 array, your computer only recognizes 600 GB total capacity.

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About RAID

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RAID for security

RAID 1 maintains a complete copy of a file set on each physical hard drive in the array. Because each hard drive has a full copy of all files, your data and applications are completely backed up. Maintaining simultaneous, complete copies of files across multiple hard drives is called mirroring. If a drive fails, the mirrored drive takes over and acts as the primary drive.

File reading performance (seek time) is increased using the same methods that RAID 0 uses, although writing speed is the same as if writing to a single hard drive.

For maximum reliability, you can use a separate hard drive controller for each drive (called splitting or duplexing).

Drawback

RAID 1 treats the entire array as a single drive with the storage capacity of the smallest physical drive in the array. So if you have three drives (300 GB, 250 GB, and 200 GB) in a RAID 1 array, your computer only recognizes a single drive with 200 GB total capacity.

RAID for both: performance and security

RAID 5 uses mirroring across the drives, and striping (at the block level) with on-the-fly error correction across all drives. Because of this error correction, small file read/write errors can be quickly and automatically fixed without a significant drop in system performance. RAID 5 offers good performance and data redundancy. This array preserves your files if a drive fails.

RAID 10 (also called RAID 1+0 or RAID 1&0) contains sets of RAID 1 mirrors acting as drives within a RAID 0 striping array. With this setup, all but one drive in the array can fail, and the RAID would still be providing necessary data to the computer.

Drawback

A RAID 5 array is treated as one drive with capacity of smallest physical drive.

RAID 10 treats the entire array as a single drive with the storage capacity of the smallest drive in the array. So if you have four drives (350 GB, 300 GB, 250 GB, and 200 GB) in a RAID 10 array, your computer only recognizes a single drive with 200 GB total capacity.

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