Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Which is better in terms of performance first and reliability second, the onboard bios RAID on an Intel 1156 P55 motherboard or using the built in RAID options in Windows 7 Ultimate.

I will be using 2 HDD's in a RAID 0 configuration.

I plan on having at least 3 partitions, 1 bitlocker encrypted system volume, 1 bitlocker encrypted storage volume, and 1 unencrypted volume for silly things like music and videos.

Edit: If I don't care at all about reliability, which way should I go? I've got a Core i7 so CPU overhead isn't so big any issue in the big scheme of things. Also, all data that is not already redundantly stored in 2 other places I don't really care about.

share|improve this question
If it makes a difference, use a i7-870 cpu and ASUS P7P55D-E mobo as a reference point but this should be applicable to any high performance rig. – wag2639 Oct 11 '10 at 7:21

Performance differences aside, remember that hardware-specific RAID implementations may not transfer as easily to another platform in the event of an emergency - that is: if you use something motherboard-specific and then that motherboard dies, you may not be able to whack the RAID disks onto another mobo and fire everything up. On balance, a software RAID implementation is likely to be more friendly in that respect unless you play to keep a spare, identical motherboard (or RAID controller) for contingencies.

share|improve this answer

With today's fast CPUs, the difference in performance of software vs. hardware RAID does not usually justify the extra cost of hardware RAID, especially if your computer is dual-core or if you are using RAID0.

See an in-depth comparison in Software Vs Hardware RAID.

share|improve this answer
They're both software RAID, so you've failed to answer the question. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Oct 11 '10 at 7:55
Onboard BIOS RAID usually means a RAID controller. – harrymc Oct 11 '10 at 8:54
not anymore. A lot of cheap raid controllers out there farm the work back to the cpu in the same way modern network cards do. We call it FRAID (Fake RAID). And you also better believe that real hardware raid can make a real performance difference for disk I/O -intensive workloads. – Joel Coehoorn Oct 11 '10 at 13:38
Whatever, I still stand behind my statement that software RAID is good enough for any home machine, and hardware RAID is only required for a heavy load (mostly for a server). As we don't know what kind of disk controller the OP has, this answer is still a possibility. – harrymc Oct 11 '10 at 14:33

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.