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My question is indeed quite simple but I didn't find a clear definite answer by the usual method (aka Google), so I turn to this great community

I have an asus P6T-SE motherboard which includes an intel chipset X58/ ICH10R

If I understand correctly, those support hardware RAID1. Actually I managed to setup one with 2, 1TB hardrives. It's correctly detected during the POST, so before loading the OS (windows 7 home premium x64) .

I also installed intel rapid storage technology (IRST) on windows. I'm not sure, but I feel like the overall system poerformance has decreased since. For example, boot up is noticeably slower even after cleaning up the startup programs to leave only the necessary ones, making IRST the prime suspect.

Also, I feel that the RAID array is pretty slow in general, comapred to the setup I had before (same setup but 2 drives and no raid)

Can I uninstall IRST safelly without loosing the data on my RAID ? Is it a good idea ? Please note that my primary disk, used for OS and programs, is a 128GB crucial M4. The raid array is just for data

Less important but related questions : * Is RAID1 supposed to have a big impact on performance ? * Is cluster size important on an SSD drive ?

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I tried that and the Intel Software Raid was a nightmare. Now I did a Windows 7 Software raid and it's working perfectly. You don't even know it's there –  Dinaiz Apr 17 '13 at 14:35
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First of all: Intel rapid storage technology is also known as fake RAID. It is a form of software RAID with support in the BIOS but it tends to limit your options if something goes wrong because you can not just swap to any other random motherboard. Most people seem to prefer regular software RAID for this or prefer a HW RAID card.

Skipping the big question for the less important question: RAID 1 is mirroring. If you write something to the virtual disk it will get written to both disks and there will be no speed gain. If you read something from the virtual disk then the reads can be spread out over both real drives and you can gain up to twice the read performace.

SSD questions:

  1. Try to do something with cluster size which aligns itself with the format the SSD uses. If these are wrong then you will hurt performance*
  2. Often mentioned: TRIM on a SSD is nice. TRIM does not work unless supported and will not work with most RAID configurations.
    Having written that: My Intel postville G2 (76GiB) on my 3ware 9750 HW RAID card still seems fine after 2-3 years of heavy use. Things might not be as bad as some review sites seem to make them.
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In theory, you can potentially gain speed from reading. In practice with Intel RST RAID 1, I am currently experiencing reduced read speed (HDD). This might be case by case, but read speed benefit from RAID 1 is definitely not universal. –  Bob Jul 21 '12 at 4:08
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