RAID by hardware vs. software, which is better?

RAID by hardware vs. software, which is better?

At the time of make a hard disk RAID or SSD, we have several options to do it. We can do it with the motherboard controller, which would be considered by hardware, with a dedicated hardware controller, or we can also do it for software through the operating system. But which option is the best and safest? Then we will explain the advantages and disadvantages of doing so with each method, and which is better.

RAID disk hardware

With the motherboard controller

Configure RAID volume of hard drives or SSDs using the PC motherboard itself It is the most comfortable way to do it, since the whole process is done through the BIOS and in a few minutes we will have everything ready without complications. In addition, we will be using the RAID controller of the motherboard itself, so it will be independent of the software and, therefore, greatly reduces the occurrence of a configuration failure or that an error causes a disaster.

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The advantages of this method are the following:

  • Easy setup
  • Very good reliability.
  • It allows RAID for the operating system volume.
  • It doesn’t matter what we use the volume for.
  • No additional costs.

This method has no disadvantages.

With a dedicated RAID controller

This other method of doing RAID is less widespread because it requires acquire a separate RAID controller, and it also has the disadvantage that we will need to install the drivers for this expansion card. In return, we have a more reliable RAID system still doing it with the motherboard BIOS.

RAID hardware controller

The advantages of this method are the following:

  • The highest reliability.
  • It allows RAID for the operating system volume.
  • It doesn’t matter what we use the volume for.

And these are its disadvantages:

  • We have to buy the controller card separately.
  • It is more complicated to configure, and it depends on the manufacturer of the controller.
  • It is necessary to install the drivers of this card.
  • If the card fails, the RAID may be disabled.
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Make a disk RAID by software

There is also the possibility of making a disk RAID by software, either with third-party software or with the operating system itself, including Windows 10. This method is also very simple to configure, but it has many disadvantages, being the main one that we cannot do the RAID in the operating system volume and will only serve us for secondary volumes.

As an advantage of this method, it should simply be mentioned that it is very easy to perform, and logically that it has no additional cost. However, the disadvantages are the following:

  • Little reliability, since it depends on the operating system.
  • It cannot be done on the system volume.
  • If the operating system gives us problems, or if we need to format, we will lose the RAID.
  • We load the PC with a “virtual controller”, so the processor will always be managing data and the performance will depend on its load.
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Therefore and according to all this we have told you, if you need to do a RAID of disks we strongly recommend you to do a hardware RAID, and dispense with the software as much as possible given that although it is easy to configure, its reliability is very low and we really will not be earning almost anything.


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