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Intel 520 Series 240GB Solid State Drives in RAID 0

Two is better than one, but can the performance outpace the cost of this setup? (NASDAQ:INTC)

By: | RAID in Storage | Posted: Feb 15, 2012 1:43 pm

Introduction

 

intel_520_series_240gb_solid_state_drives_in_raid_0_01

 

I'm a bit surprised no one has asked why Intel sampled most media outlets with two and in some cases three identical 520 Series 240GB drives for review. As a consumer I'd rather have seen performance numbers from both 240GB (our single drive review is here) and 120GB drives since these are the capacity sizes that make the most sense for computer users today. As you can imagine, no one is going to complain about getting dual 240GB drives especially media folks who are generally power users with PCs on steroids.

 

A few months back we looked at the OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 and learned that OCZ figured out how to get TRIM working on the drive's RAID controller. The hardware is ready, but Windows is now the roadblock we were told. Months later we started finding hints that Intel was getting ready to release software that allows TRIM to work in RAID as well.

 

I would call that a pretty big hint, RAID 0 TRIM doesn't work on this one, but the next one will enable the feature.

 

intel_520_series_240gb_solid_state_drives_in_raid_0_02

 

intel_520_series_240gb_solid_state_drives_in_raid_0_03

 

Now we are moving past hints and screenshots like this one are starting to pop up online from those luckily enough to have access to the software. Here we see TRIM is now working on RAID 0 in some validation labs. This changes the landscape of SSD RAID entirely, all of the good and less of the bad.

 

RAID 0 still has one important flaw, it isn't a redundant system so your data is less secure than it would be with a single drive (since you are doubling the risk of a failure) and a lot less secure than a RAID 5/6 array. RAID 5 has a built in redundant feature where you can lose an entire drive in a three or more drive array and still keep your data. With RAID 6 you can lose two drives in a four drive system.

 

Still, TRIM in RAID 0 is a good start and just what we need to push solid state drive technology to the next level. Sadly today we are not testing a RAID 0 array with TRIM enabled. We will get our baseline numbers with our RAID 0 array today so we can compare the performance today to a future article where RAID 0 TRIM is enabled.

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