Hard Drives in RAID for Ortho4XP Scenery

OTG Blog Forums Construction Hard Drives in RAID for Ortho4XP Scenery

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  • #2279

    Peter
    • Posts: 11

    Hi BFG,

    I notice you have a 2TB 7,200RPM Hard Drive.  Is this for your Ortho4XP Scenery?

    The reason I ask is that I intend to make about 8 TB of Ortho4XP Scenery.  Yes 8 TB !

    Do you think it would be a benefit for performance (smoothness and speed) to have 2 x 4TB hard drives in RAID Zero for this scenery or do you think a single 8 TB hard drive will suffice?

    Thanks,

    Pete

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  Peter.
    #2329

    Basement Fly Guy
    • Posts: 228

    Hi Pete. I don’t know RAIDs from Adam, so you’re on your own there. I do believe SSDs are superior to HDs, and I have two of them: a 400 gig one that runs Win10, and a 1TB drive just for X-Plane and which has all my custom scenery on it. The 2TB HD is a backup drive where I have copies of everything stored. And I have another 4TB HD that I’ve not hooked up yet (it’s external) and I’m not sure what I may use it for.

    I prefer SDDs because I believe the failure rate is lower, and that they are faster. Regardless of the type of drive, if you’re using Windows I believe you can create symbolic links which will let your Custom Scenery folder “see” your ortho files on a different drive. See this here:

    http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/forums/topic/80332-shortcut-or-symbolic-link/

    Note that I have NOT done this myself, but I probably will in the future. That drive is getting full!

    N15JG On PilotEdge

    #2338

    John
    • Posts: 29

    Hi Pete,

    I do not know specifically what would be best for X-Plane and Ortho4XP Scenery, but I would assume the scenery file access while flying would be 100% reads with little or no writes necessary.

    In general:

    SSD will perform best, but at 8TB will be very expensive.

    A RAID Zero (stripe) performs best with multiple drives; perhaps 4 2TB striped.  Also, if you go with RAID you will get better performance with a stand-alone RAID card rather than using the motherboard RAID, because the MB RAID will use MB RAM.  This option can also be expensive.

    There are “hybrid” HDD’s with large cache that can outperform standard HDD’s and are less expensive than SSD’s.

    Another option is using a single 8TB 15k  rpm drive.  The fast 15k spindle speed will greatly increase read access over a 7200 rpm HDD.

    You also want to match the transfer speed of the drive to the MB/controller  interface.  6Gb/s is pretty standard now, but will do you no good if the MB only supports 3Gb/s.  There are also 12Gb/s drives now.

    All things considered I think a single hybrid and/or 15k 6Gb/s drive would work well and save money overall.

    N916PP

    #2340

    Peter
    • Posts: 11

    Thankyou both BFG and John.

    As one creates more scenery with Ortho4XP, it can easily exceed the capacity of an SSD if you store the scenery on the same disk as X-Plane.  For that reason I have Ortho4XP scenery set up as symbolic links to a larger, standard drive.  Now for performance, I think the read speed to the storage drive needs to be fast, hence the RAID question.

    John, your answer is what I suspected, a dedicated RAID card is the best but most expensive solution.  My motherboard (ASUS Z170-AR) has 6GB/s interface for all SATA ports.

    I am leaning towards a single 8TB drive with a 15k spindle.  Can you post a link to one of these 8TB 15k drives.  Do they come in SATA or are they SAS only.  If SAS, how does one connect them to one’s motherboard?

    Many thanks,   Pete

     

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  Peter.
    #2343

    Basement Fly Guy
    • Posts: 228

    I always learn something here. Thanks for your contributions, guys.

    N15JG On PilotEdge

    #2353

    John
    • Posts: 29

    Hi Pete,

    SATA will work on SAS ports, but SAS drives will not work on SATA ports, so you would need a SAS controller like this one:

    LSI Logic Controller Card 05-26105-00 MegaRAID 9341-4i Single 4Port SATA/SAS PCI Express 3 12Gb/s Low Profile Bracket Retail

    And you could use this drive: Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD 8TB 7200RPM 12Gb/s SAS 256 MB Cache Internal Bare Drive ST8000NM0075

    The spindle speed is 7200 rpm, but SAS, 256MB cache and 12Gb/s will outperform 15k!

    If you want to still use RAID you could use 4 of these drives instead of the single 8TB:

    Seagate HDD ST2000NM0115 2TB SAS 12Gb/s Enterprise 7200RPM 128MB 3.5 inch 4Kn Bare

    John

     

    N916PP

    #2359

    John
    • Posts: 29

    Hello Pete,

    Great experiment!

    I never even considered NAS due to network latency.

    A discrete card will be faster than the NAS, but very interesting that it ran so well over the network.

    John

    N916PP

    #2368

    Peter
    • Posts: 11

    Hi John,

    My Motherboard (https://www.asus.com/au/Motherboards/Z170-AR/overview/) has three PCIEx16 slots.

    Slot 1 has a graphics card in it.

    Slot 2 is vacant

    Slot 3 has a Lycom M.2 PCIe SSD to PCIe 3.0 x4 adapter to which I have attached an M.2 card and in which I have X-Plane installed.

    The motherboard manual states that if you have a Dual VGA/PCIE card in both slots 1 & 2, then the speed is x8 instead of x16.

    If I buy a SAS controller card, and plug it into Slot 2, will the performance of my graphics card decrease?

    Thanks,

    Pete

    #2370

    John
    • Posts: 29

    Hi Pete,

     

    It is hard to say whether you will notice the difference, but if you already have an x16 graphics card it will drop down to x8.

    The LSI is only x8, so there won’t be any performance hit there.

    John

    N916PP

    #2378

    Peter
    • Posts: 11

    Hi John,

    I found this article here:   https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Titan-X-Performance-PCI-E-3-0-x8-vs-x16-851/

    It suggests there is very little difference ( < 2% ) in single card performance between x8 and x16 @ 4k resolution, which is my screen resolution, and it depends on the application/game.  In fact there is a performance increase ( 1% ) in one title at 8x over x16 !

    They use a TitanX Pascal – I am getting a 1080 Ti which has similar if not better performance.

    Of course they did not test X-Plane/DCS World /Prepar3D  which is what matters to we flight-simmers !

    So, maybe putting in a SAS controller will have negligible effect, or perhaps an increase !

    Anyway, thought you may find it interesting.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  Peter.
    #2381

    John
    • Posts: 29

    Hi Pete,

    Thanks for the article link.

    At 1 to 2% I don’t anticipate you would be able to recognize any difference.

    Please let us know what you finally do.

    John

    N916PP

    #2382

    Peter
    • Posts: 11

    Ok, will do.

    #2387

    Basement Fly Guy
    • Posts: 228

    Hi all. The system ate one of Pete’s posts for some reason, so I’m posting it for him here.

    ***

    John, your response has caused me to go on a wild adventure.

    I have a 6TB NAS and I copied the Ortho4XP files across to it to see if I could stream the files over the network from the NAS.

    I then set up symbolic links to the folders on the NAS using the /J command but it wouldn’t let me as it wanted local disks only.

    I then used the /D command and the symbolic link was created but when I loaded X-Plane, it would not load the Ortho scenery, just the default X plane scenery.

    So then I tried the old standard Windows shortcut method to the NAS drive and boom ! it worked. To prove it was streaming from the NAS I deleted the Tile and Overly folders from within the Ortho4XP directory and sure enough it loaded the scenery from the NAS.

    I noticed some hesitations in loading the scenery, but nothing too bad.

    Now, my NAS is fairly old and uses slow disks I think, the read speeds over the network are only 41 MB/s. I have seen some NAS stream at about 110 MB/s which is close to the theoretical limit of 125 MB/s on a Gigabit network.

    So, do I now upgrade my NAS to the latest and fastest available or do I go with your suggestion of a SAS controller and a SAS drive? I think your suggestion would have to be faster.

    BTW, if you want to go the NAS route, your scenery config would have to look like this:

    I
    1000 Version
    SCENERY

    SCENERY_PACK_DISABLED Custom Scenery/YBMK_Scenery_Pack/
    SCENERY_PACK_DISABLED Custom Scenery/43_Scenery/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/KPAE_Scenery_Pack/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/KSEA Demo Area/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/Global Airports/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/w2xp_America/
    SCENERY_PACK_DISABLED Custom Scenery/w2xp_uswest-RL/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/AEHD_Ramps/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/AEHD_Taxilines/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/CDB-Library/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/ff_library/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/MisterX_Library/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/OpenSceneryX/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/R2_Library/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/world-models/
    SCENERY_PACK Z:\yOrtho4XP_Overlays/
    SCENERY_PACK Z:\zOrtho4XP_+47-123/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/zzz_hd_global_scenery3/

    Note the two lines:

    SCENERY_PACK Z:\yOrtho4XP_Overlays/
    SCENERY_PACK Z:\zOrtho4XP_+47-123/

    These are the shortcuts I created to their respective NAS folders (I mapped the NAS drive as a network drive and called it “Z”, hence the the Z:\ notation.). Note they are in a different format to the other entries in the scenery file.

    Regards,

    Pete

    N15JG On PilotEdge

    #2487

    John
    • Posts: 29

    Hello Pete,

    Just curious if you made a decision yet.

    John

    N916PP

    #2497

    Peter
    • Posts: 11

    Hi John, sorry for the delay but insanity has taken hold and I decided to reinstall Windows, X-Plane, DCS World and Prepar3d which has been quite a challenge.

    I don’t really want to compromise the performance of my brand new GTX 1080 TI by lowering it’s speed to 8x, even if it’s only 2% as I run P3D at 30 FPS locked on my 4k monitor which I can set at 30 Hz.   Even a 1-2 FPS drop from that 30 FPS target can induce the stutters. Even with my rig at 4.8 GHz overclocked and a GTX 1080 TI, 4K at 60 Hz in P3d is out of the question.  DCS World, on the other hand, runs like a dream at 4K @ 60 FPS !

    So at this stage, I won’t be going down the SAS controller/SAS drive route.

    I will probably just end up getting a new, fast SATA drive with 256mb of cache and see how it performs as well as re-think how much scenery I actually need to make.

    Best Regards,

    Pete

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