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Step By Step Guide To Ordering A Dell PC: This Is A RAID!

Updated on January 17, 2009

Part 6

RAID 1 wisely writes simultaneously to both drives so no matter what happens to one drive, the other one is just happily humming along, preserving your data. In order to maximize security I do at least monthly full backups onto my Fujitsu 160 GB 2.5 inch USB external portable drive and keep it off site. Should a fire or a burglar make my PC disappear, at least I know that any data prior to the latest backup is nice and safe in another building!

However, the whole idea of getting a Core i7 920 system with a whopping 12 GB of RAM is to make Photoshop zoom along at Mach 10, so the two relatively garden variety drives that Dell provides for their RAID 1 setup aren't exactly the speediest solutions available on the market.

Enter SSDs. Solid State Drives have recently hit the market, and although they are all overpriced, they fall into two general categories:

  • The majority of SSDs with the first generation JMicron which... in a phrase... stink more than an overflowing sewer in July.
  • The Intel and Samsung (and possibly Memoright if you can find them) SSDs which haul serious buttocks.

I lust after Intel's X-25 series, but there is no way in the world that I can justify an expenditure of nearly $700 for an 80 GB drive, even though its speed is off the scale. Therefore, if I had to swallow a bitter pill and settle for the good ol' fashioned spinning platter technology, at least I was going to get a rocketship, and I settled on the Western Digital VelociRaptor 150 GB. Although more than three to four times as expensive as a conventional 7200 RPM drive of similar capacity, the VelociRaptor's 10,000 RPM design and various tweaks allow for a very close to SSD performance level without completely breaking the bank. By shopping around I found that newegg.ca (Canada) had it for CDN$214, so the Gold Visa took a hit and the VelociRaptor started making its way to Chez Hal.

Having a wildly fast drive like the VelociRaptor allows me to install this as the C: drive, relegating the twins on the RAID 1 configuration as archive and storage drives alone on D:. I can just use Dell's Vista Home Premium CD to install the operating system on the VelociRaptor, go into the BIOS to change the boot up sequencer to let the speedy dino go first, and then I can just reformat the RAID 1 geminis to leave me 500 GB of wide open and fully mirrored space to take care of my storage needs well into the next decade.

Sure, my current measly fifty something gigabytes of data including operating system would barely take up a third of the VelociRaptor's 150 GB, therefore a case could be made that I don't need a storage drive system at all. However, keeping in mind that I want to have this system be just as capable and zoomy and current two or more years from now, I have to anticipate that my data storage needs will escalate exponentially with larger and more complex applications in the future. That's why the 500 GB twins alongside the 150 GB VelociRaptor boot and application drive are the way to go for my particular needs.

Next: Blu Who Ray?

Or Start From The Beginning Again

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