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Intel and Laptop RAID?

CmdrTaco posted about 9 years ago | from the well-my-laptops-do-always-lose-hard-drives dept.

Intel 366

Might E. Mouse writes "The next version of Centrino, codenamed Napa, will support RAID. Intel is pushing it as a great way for business users to have added reliability and data backup on their work notebooks. Should boost gaming performance too. Anyone for 2.5GHz Pentium M, GeForce 7800 Go graphics and a 200GB RAID array? "

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WTF for? (1, Insightful)

HEbGb (6544) | about 9 years ago | (#13398874)

Forgive my ignorance, but why on earth would anyone want RAID on their laptop? If you really need to protect your data, nightly backups should be quite sufficient.

Re:WTF for? (3, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | about 9 years ago | (#13398921)

Um... redundancy? A backup is great until your hard drive dies, then you have a useless hunk of metal while you source a new drive, restore from backup, etc.

BTW, I'll humbly mention that I predicted this a year and a half ago [] , so at least there's prior art should they patent "RAID on a laptop".

Re:WTF for? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13399045)

RAID is all well and good for a machine sitting in a nice, secure data center that employs off-site backups, but it seems stupid for laptops.

If you have data that important on a laptop, it should be backed up to something else-- DVD, thumbdrive, pocket-size USB HDD, etc. Having a second drive in the laptop means that whatever ills befall your laptop, also befall your backup:

Laptop stolen? The thieves have 2 copies of your data, you have zero.
Laptop physically FUBAR'd? A lot of good that redundant internal drive did you, it's toast along with the rest of your laptop.

Re:WTF for? (4, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | about 9 years ago | (#13399125)

If you have data that important on a laptop, it should be backed up to something else-- DVD, thumbdrive, pocket-size USB HDD, etc. Having a second drive in the laptop means that whatever ills befall your laptop, also befall your backup.

RAID doesn't replace a backup. You still need to run backups. All it means is that if one drive fails, you can still keep working as it won't affect the entire machine.

Which would you rather have?
  1. A single hard drive, fully backed up, such that if it were to fail you would suffer a 100% loss in productivity on your system until you had a chance to replace the drive and rebuild everything. Or...
  2. Two hard drives configured in a mirror, also fully backed up, such that if one drive failed the other drive takes up the slack and you can finish whatever you were working on. Later, you take the laptop in for service to replace the damaged drive having lost zero productivity in the meantime.
I know which I would choose.

Re:WTF for? (4, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about 9 years ago | (#13398926)

Because people don't backup on the network once a night and you go to a normal person and you ask them to do that they will stare at you with a blank face. Then if you show them how to do it the face will become more blank.

Re:WTF for? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 years ago | (#13399119)

Because people don't backup on the network once a night and you go to a normal person and you ask them to do that they will stare at you with a blank face. Then if you show them how to do it the face will become more blank.

And Heaven forbid, the single drive on their computer goes 'ERK!' or 'EEEEEEEEE!' and that blank face will become very animated about how it's someone elses fault that they are screwed.

Automation (1)

PhYrE2k2 (806396) | about 9 years ago | (#13399182)

Welcome to the trend towards automation!

Windows XP updates itself, installs updates, and reboots on its own if you don't click in a minutes notice. It also takes over the 'shut down' button and makes it 'shut down and install updates', doing it only at the times where you just need to bolt (there's a bypass option but habit takes over sometimes).

Backups should be scheduled on all corporate laptops for example. Plug them into the Internet and they check if the speed is worthy (broadband) and starts backing up if it hasn't been done in >2 days for example. Process probably takes a matter of minutes to back up just the changes in user data, filing it onto a NAS box for later backup to external storage.

Why is this so complicated? What the user doesn't know about or have to do won't hurt them and will instead help them.


Re:WTF for? (2, Interesting)

slughead (592713) | about 9 years ago | (#13398929)

What if you're traveling? If you do it a lot, it's likely one of your drives will fail.. But you have an up-to-the-second backup with you at all times.

Not everyone will need/want it. Personally I'd keep mine in a RAID-0 config because laptop drives are low RPM.

Re:WTF for? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 9 years ago | (#13398978)

Laptop drives are available in 5400RPM (Up to 120GB) and 7200RPM (Up to 100GB). They are not low RPM, and have not been since 2002 or 2003 when the first 7200RPM drive was announced and released.

4200RPM drives are still available, but I'd wager are now quite a bit less popular since 5400RPM drives tend to cost the same.

Re:WTF for? (3, Informative)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about 9 years ago | (#13398987)

Some folks will do it for speed. RAID0. Laptop drives are usually pretty slow, and usually what makes a laptop significantly slower than an desktop with an equivalent CPU speed (I buy 7200 RPM ones for my laptops myself, but 5400 is more common). RAID0 can add some needed speed. If your just doing word processing/email, that speed isn't needed, but some folks do serious computations on their laptops, others have their laptop do dual duty as their game rig. Not everyone is going to use their computer like you do.

Others will do it for the extra reliability. Nightly backups might be good enough for you, but as I said, not everyone uses their laptops for the sort of work you do.

Re:WTF for? (2, Informative)

mikael (484) | about 9 years ago | (#13399000)

Because Murphy's Law predicts that things will always go wrong at the worst possible time.

If you have backups and keep them at the home/office then you will be screwed if you are away at a conference and your hard disk drive fails on the night before you have to make a Powerpoint presentation.

Having a RAID Level 1 architecture, gives you the chance to have two hard-disk drives with identical copies of the same information. At least if one fails, you still have the other.

Although, I would hope that both hard disk drives are kept away from each other within the laptop, as if one overheated, it could very well fry the other one.

Re:WTF for? (4, Informative)

dsginter (104154) | about 9 years ago | (#13399034)

Forgive my ignorance, but why on earth would anyone want RAID on their laptop?

I've got an $1900 bill from Ontrack Data Recovery sitting next to me that would explain the situation nicely. In the business world, not everyone is a tech-savvy geek with a broadband connection or a secure backup technique.

Re:WTF for? (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 years ago | (#13399051)

Forgive my ignorance, but why on earth would anyone want RAID on their laptop? If you really need to protect your data, nightly backups should be quite sufficient.

Because people want convenience (read: are lazy) and want to just turn on and off and never worry about until smoke comes out, but a tech (with a big S on his blue Spandex) says, "Nothing to worry about! Thanks to RAID!"

The extra drive will just make your battery last a little less longer, so you can turn your snarling, foaming visage to purchasing and rant about how you need a $*&@#! laptop with a bigger battery.

"phenominal cosmic power, itty-bitty battery"

raid (0, Offtopic)

Tyten (726456) | about 9 years ago | (#13398878)

RAID?! but will it run linux? ;)

Works for me... but... (1, Insightful)

MSFanBoi (695480) | about 9 years ago | (#13398881)

I'd rather an ATi video, but it all sounds good to me. I think in the next 2 years we will be witnessing the death of desktop PC's and replacement with laptops in most circumstances as costs get closer and designs merge.

Laptops not reliable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13398953)

You may be correct, but laptops just aren't reliable. They break far too easily.

My compnay switched from desktops to laptops for everyone, but they have a large IT department to support the repairs. Since our X thousand employees all have 1 of 3 models of laptops, IT has become veyr adapt at rebuilding a working laptop out of the parts of dead laptops.

Now home users don't have that ability. Granted most of them don't repair their desktop either, but the desktop just sits there and doesn't take too much abuse (aside from the odd Coke). Laptops are thrown (yes, thrown) around, and generally banged up. They fail more frequently than desktops and cost twice as much.

So, I don't see deskotps going away for the home consumer. But who knows, they are conventient and retails are often in the mode of "We know what the consumer wants and we'll shove it down their throats."

Re:Works for me... but... (5, Insightful)

the_mighty_$ (726261) | about 9 years ago | (#13399040)

I think in the next 2 years we will be witnessing the death of desktop PC's and replacement with laptops in most circumstances as costs get closer and designs merge.

I, for one, will not welcome our laptop overlords until laptop manufacturors come up with a single set of standards. I want to be able to customize my laptop the same way I can customize my whitebox PC.

Re:Works for me... but... (1)

doskir (894079) | about 9 years ago | (#13399091)

dont forget you cant really update a laptop ok you can upgrade ram and hdd but cpu graphics card and all the stuff gamers need high end are non upgradeable and you have to buy a new laptop everytime you see your getting low frame rates. a new laptop with good hardware costs more than 1000$ on my desktop pc i can just upgrade the thing that sucks and keep the other nice stuff thats still good

Re:Works for me... but... (1)

ND4SPDR (841029) | about 9 years ago | (#13399136)

Desktops are for games. They are supposed to be big so you can put nice expensive stuff in them that makes them go fast. Laptops should be the same size as my ThinkPad X41. Small, good for mobile tasks and the occassional round of cs. Putting a RAID array in a laptop seems illogical...just get a tiny laptop for mobile work and a good desktop if you want hardcore reliability and performance. Laptops are too easily dropped, spilled on, or stolen for them to be a truly reliable system, regardless of how they store data. Now, of course, if laptop size == desktop size, (like about half the "desktop replacement" laptops available) then yes, that would aid in theft prevention.

1st post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13398884)

1st post!

Laptop RAID.. AWESOME. (0, Redundant)

keilinw (663210) | about 9 years ago | (#13398890)

Funny I was just thinking about this the other day! Wow, I'm getting all excited about LAPTOP RAID NOW.... matt wong

Re:Laptop RAID.. AWESOME. (2, Funny)

shredluc (805905) | about 9 years ago | (#13399130)

Funny I was just thinking about this the other day!

You were thinking about it huh? A couple of days ago you say? It's a good thing i got to the patent office first then... MUAHAHAHA!

Work backups (5, Insightful)

kevin_conaway (585204) | about 9 years ago | (#13398894)

In a workplace environment, you should not trust your users (or their machines) with their own backups. I like the situation at my workplace:

If we're plugged into the corporate network, we have software running that will periodically backup everything you place in your 'My Documents' folder or some other such folder. Users know that if they want something backed up, they put their data there.

Re:Work backups (5, Insightful)

bombadillo (706765) | about 9 years ago | (#13398935)

Raid is not for backups. Raid is intended to keep the machine running in the event of a hardware failure.

Re:Work backups (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13398998)

...Intel is pushing it as a great way for business users to have added reliability and data backup on their work notebooks.

Summary is misleading.

Re:Work backups (2, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | about 9 years ago | (#13399073)

Actually, with mirroring and a system that can be brought up/down whenever, mirrored raid can be used for backups: you can shut down, swap out a drive, and be holding a copy of the entire drive in your hand (takes a while to remirror the new drive though, but many systems can do this while the computer is running, just a lot slower). Whether that is a great way to take backups or not is a different issue.

Re:Work backups (3, Interesting)

fire-eyes (522894) | about 9 years ago | (#13399135)

Raid is not for backups. Raid is intended to keep the machine running in the event of a hardware failure.

Indeed. I learned this in an important, almost "hard" way.

I had my home system on a 2x120GB raid1 setup, with no spare. I made daily full backups to another stand alone disk.

Imagine my surprise when they both started acting up, in the same way, at the same time. Eventually, they both completely died on the same day.

What had happened was my power supply had gone bad, though not died. It was outputting dirty power, and slowly damaged both drives. It also smoked the on board IDE controller, requiring an add on replacement.

Why it did not damage the disk i had backups on, I am not sure. The only thing I can think of is that I always spun the drive down after backups.

So, excellent point you have there.

Re:Work backups (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | about 9 years ago | (#13399183)

There is some overelap. Raid is not a reliable backup but one can think of it as a continuous local backup that will mostly prevent against downtime in case of a disk failure. Plus it might provide some increased disk read performance

But if lightning strikes your laptop, raid might not help much. If someone steals the machine, raid won't be there to save your data. That is what remote backup is for. But then, of course, some data between backup and the moment of failure will be lost.

So the best bet is to have a backup server (that will mostly likely have raid) and have raid on the laptop (or workstation for that matter) too.

Why do this? (5, Insightful)

dreold (827386) | about 9 years ago | (#13398895)

More weight, more things to break, less battery life...

Nothing beats proper backup and/or syncing tools and procedure.

Re:Why do this? (1)

Idealius (688975) | about 9 years ago | (#13399018)

Don't forget more heat from extra harddrive(s).

Which, in the example the editor posted, is a big concern with that hardware.

Some generation of laptops with fast CPU's and crappy everything-else still generate too much heat to be considered reliable. USB ports will stop working, etc. And don't even bring up those cooling pads, cuz if your laptop overheats to the point of freezing or crashing chances are that cooling pad will not make up the difference.

Re:Why do this? (1)

nizo (81281) | about 9 years ago | (#13399157)

And thus we see the need to make people work better as heatsinks. This is the excuse I use to fly naked (plus the full body cavity searches at the security checkpoints go faster).

Re:Why do this? (1)

dsginter (104154) | about 9 years ago | (#13399071)

More weight, more things to break, less battery life...

How is this idea:

Take a single hard drive and do a RAID1 on opposite sides of the same platter. You'd have half of the storage but twice the integrity.

Re:Why do this? (1)

Loren_Burlingame (787768) | about 9 years ago | (#13399159)

and half the performance.

Interesting... somewhat (4, Insightful)

digitalgimpus (468277) | about 9 years ago | (#13398898)

I have a Pentium 4M in a Thinkpad.

I have had 2 HD's (non-raid) for a couple years now. One of which is a 7200 RPM drive.

I don't think this would work as a RAID for power reasons. Unless some new battery technology really takes off... how could this be viable? I couldn't imagine if both drives were used at the same time. My laptop is normally plugged in (that's when I use the 2nd HD). But unplugged... it would be a nightmare.

Until nuclear batteries are perfected... this is vaporware in my mind.

Re:Interesting... somewhat (2, Insightful)

cerelib (903469) | about 9 years ago | (#13398931)

I totally agree. The power and noise generated by this extra spinning of the hard drive just sounds contrary to the whole Centrino=MoreBatteryLife scheme. On top of that not many people have huge amounts of storage on their laptop to facilitate a good RAID config.

Re:Interesting... somewhat (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 9 years ago | (#13399028)

Modern hard drives (even 7200RPM models) don't use a terribly large amount of power. Having both drives active at the same time would shorten battery life, yes, but not significantly.

You can set your drives up in software RAID right now without any trouble, if I'm not mistaken.

Re:Interesting... somewhat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13399111)

nuclear batteries are well known and understood, allowing anybody to use them without paranoid people going nuts, nearly impossible.

Re:Interesting... somewhat (1)

Botia (855350) | about 9 years ago | (#13399146)

I have to agree that battery life is a concern. The harddrive is typically the bottle neck for me in my laptop. However, it is normally in an off state to conserve power (see power options in the control panel). Imagine spinning up two hard drives everytime you have to access the disk instead of one.

I do like the option of having a RAID configuration though. Not that it needs to be used, but manufactures can now easily include a second hard drive in RAID configuration for desktop replacements.

About Time. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 9 years ago | (#13398900)

It is about time they started putting Raid on Laptops. I don't care about any split second improvement in games but just to be able to have a way to keep the data backed up and running so when mr. Marketing goes to his clients and his drive crashed he is not yelling at you that he couldn't do the presentation and he wont yell at you even more when the project he was working on for 3 months is suddenly gone, and he ignored your requests to backup his data on the network when he has the time.

Re:About Time. (2, Informative)

superpulpsicle (533373) | about 9 years ago | (#13398983)

The title really should be HARDWARE RAID. Software RAID has always been possible on laptops.

Re:About Time. (2, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 9 years ago | (#13398995)

More than likely it will be a controller failure or software failure that destroys his data. RAID won't protect you from that. It's important to install automatic backup software on all of Mr. Marketing's computers. There are some remote back-up packages for Windows that even work over dial-up. (although more than likely Mr. Marketing will be in a hotel with broadband when he's on the road).

Re:About Time. (1)

rholliday (754515) | about 9 years ago | (#13399060)

And performance is only increased depending on the RAID levels available. Most likely they will be simply 0 or 1. With 0 you'll get performance, with 1 you'll get security. The article implies you'll get both, which really isn't accurate.

WOW (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13398901)

wow, first post

Don't forget... (4, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | about 9 years ago | (#13398903)

...a 10lb. addition because you have 4 disks attached to the bottom of your laptop, and I hope you can strap the battery to your back because its going to go quick spinning more than one drive.

Re:Don't forget... (1)

donaldgelman (730958) | about 9 years ago | (#13399107)

Everyone is complaining about battery life and performance, but the article is very vague. This "RAID" technology may be used for creating a Raid of 4GB micro drives. I don't know a lot about power consumption and the like, but maybe a 5 microdives consumes less power than a 20GB HDD. I would assume the access time would be much lower if the data were striped across these drives. To me there just does not seem to be enough evidence that Intel is going to want 2 drives in a laptop with data mirroring. In my experience this is not a backup solution in an office enviornment, so why should it be a backup solution for a mobile computer. Heck, most of the time that coporate laptops break is because someone spilled coffee on the keyboard, or dropped the laptop. anyway, just my 2 cents

The thing is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13398910)

I am, but only if they ship it with a small nuclear reactor to keep it juiced.

issues (4, Funny)

fuelvolts (852701) | about 9 years ago | (#13398913)

Sounds great, but what about battery life? That hing would eat a 6 or 8 cell Li-ion battery for breakfast. Why would a businessman want a laptop that is heavy (2 HDs and bigger battery) low battery life and bulky? Sounds good in theory, but doesnt work - like communism. In summary - that is the laptop for communists.

Re:issues (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 9 years ago | (#13399068)

I do work where I would love a RAID 1 setup (presentation). I really only need a portable computer, but a Laptop has built in UPS, built in RAID would be great too.

I do of course use redundant Laptops and an AB switch, but sometime space does not allow the second laptop to be opened, so you need to find your place in the case of a crash. Also I make changes right up until I need it sometimes, so I would lose stuff (either content or at least orginizational) in the event of a crash.

Currently I use 2 laptops, each gets a local backup at the end of the day and each plugged into a raid 1 snap server that is live, but the snap server has a few points of failure (power drop without UPS, small cord into the machine easy to kick out har to tape in, Ntwork hub is a point of failure, power to the network hub has problems).

A laptop is unplugging immune (With the UPS built in) and if it could be raided as the primary with an external HD as the backup along with a small light laptop as a backup life would be real good for me.

I can't be the only person where the risk of losing half a days work once over the course of three years at a critical time would be willing to spend $500-$1000 and a few pounds of weight.

p600m w/ 16 hour battery life? (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | about 9 years ago | (#13398923)

That's all you need for XviD or DivX and more than you need for older games.
Eventually they'll come to terms with the fact that laptops CANNOT play the newest and greatest games, and they will start releasing laptops that can play strategy/RPGs/Emu's just fine and offer substantially higher battery life.
Transmeta started trying to do this but weren't successful perhaps we'll see it in the coming generations of >$500 laptops.

Re:p600m w/ 16 hour battery life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13399116)

Not true, I'm playing Farcry and Chaos Theory just fine on mine (2Ghz Centrino, 1GB of ram, ATI Radeon 9700 128MB) and it's 6 months old!

Re:p600m w/ 16 hour battery life? (1)

jolar (905312) | about 9 years ago | (#13399143)

In communist Russia, laptop raids you!

not quite yet (1)

rnd() (118781) | about 9 years ago | (#13398924)

Maybe laptop RAID would make sense w/ some kind of solid state storage device, but not with laptop HDs. Wouldn't it make more sense just to use a 10K RPM 3.5" hard drive?

RAID isn't all about redundancy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13398928)

Slow hard drive speeds are one of the chief bottlenecks to performance on laptops. Setting up a RAID 0 configuration would give you some added speed.

Re:RAID isn't all about redundancy (1)

241comp (535228) | about 9 years ago | (#13399127)

RAID 1 would give you better speed improvements unless all you do with your computer is large sequential reads. And a bonus of redundancy.

Re:RAID isn't all about redundancy (1)

beaverbrother (586749) | about 9 years ago | (#13399142)

Much of the reason hard drives for laptops are slower is because of the power consumption issue. I fail to see how 2 drives running slowly in raid will use up less power than a faster single drive.

Um .... (1)

Knightfall (558914) | about 9 years ago | (#13398930)

Hasn't Falcon-Northwest offered this on their Fragbook line for a while now?

Re:Um .... (1)

ph4te (901242) | about 9 years ago | (#13399013)

Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Yes, but it's using a seperate controller. I think the big fancy thing here is that the chipset will have integrated SATA RAID support.

Re:Um .... (1)

blinkless (835747) | about 9 years ago | (#13399023)

I think alot of the luxury laptop manufacturers offer it currently.

Sounds unnecessary .. (2, Insightful)

guacamole (24270) | about 9 years ago | (#13398933)

If I needed to backup a laptop, I'd just buy a $30 external USB or Firewire enclosure and a hard drive and look for software that can do incremental backups. Having an additional hard drive inside of laptop spinning all the time only adds more cost, weight, and power consumption..

Laptop RAID ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13398936)

... a solution in search of a problem.

Battery life (2, Insightful)

toadgee (744814) | about 9 years ago | (#13398941)

So basically any power that may have been saved from their new chipsets (IIRC they were better on power consumption) can now be bypassed by adding another hard drive. And with networked docking stations at the company that routinely perform network backups, I wonder how big the target audience is for mobile RAID devices. Pretty soon we'll see notebook computers that are just as big as desktops -- multiple hard drives, huge monitors, etc. I was sitting next to a lady on a flight about a year ago that reached under her seat and after about 5 minutes of thrashing about, pulled out this 17" widescreen notebook that must have weighed about 20 lbs, as when she put it on the "tray table", it looked like it was about to snap from all of the pressure. I'm quite content with my 12" laptop for travel use, as it only weighs about 5 lbs.

Re:Battery life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13399061)

I dunno. My Dell 17" kicks ass. It is damn light and I have a backback cary case. My biggest gripe about laptops on flights in not tray space but the angle that you are forced to put your monitor when mr/mrs. fatass in front of you decides to lay their seat back.

a RAID array? of course! (-1, Flamebait)

ferrocene (203243) | about 9 years ago | (#13398947)

I just need to go to the ATM machine and type in my PIN number so I can get some cash to pay for this thing.

Does the laptop also have a NIC card? I could use one of those...

Sure! (1)

sH4RD (749216) | about 9 years ago | (#13398948)

Anyone for 2.5GHz Pentium M, GeForce 7800 Go graphics and a 200GB RAID array

Sure, but that definately depends on battery life. RAIDs are old news, go see Hypersonic [] . But I wouldn't exactly consider those lugs laptops.

question (1)

justforaday (560408) | about 9 years ago | (#13398949)

How many of the people that get these are gonna end up striping their disks instead of mirroring them, thereby negating the entire "data reliability" argument?

Re:question (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | about 9 years ago | (#13399120)

I can't imagine these set-ups are going to be marketed to your average consumer though. This is great if your working on something important and need to keep working ,, but these will just be on top of the line business machines and perhaps some odd gaming laptops.
Other than that i can see it adding a fair premium over models without the capabilities

what's wrong with... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 9 years ago | (#13398954)

software raid?

It's easy to setup and only requires access to the media [e.g. P/S ATA, SCSI, USB, whatever].


Why not? (3, Interesting)

keilinw (663210) | about 9 years ago | (#13398957)

I saw in some of the postings that people DID NOT like the idea of laptop raid. Well, I'm wondering WHY NOT? Any customer who is likely to care about RAID probably isn't the most mobile user (hence not caring quite as much about batterly life). But, I'm afraid of doing certain things on my laptop for fear of it crapping out or worse, getting stolen. For me DATA redundancy is a MUST.

Additionally, Intel's new chips are supposedly VERY power efficient. If they can make future laptops with RAID sans the power problems... great.

But the real issue is probably COST. If you don't know what RAID is you aren't going to buy it....and its not going to increase cost THAT MUCH. But for those of us who DO know what raid is and either want increased performance or reliability.... there is a market! I don't really like having limited options when I'm making a choice, so having the OPTION of RAID is exactly what I WANTED. --Matt Wong

Re:Why not? (1)

ajlitt (19055) | about 9 years ago | (#13399046)

If you're afraid of it being stolen, I don't believe that the RAID is going to help you.

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13399065)

But, I'm afraid of doing certain things on my laptop for fear of it crapping out or worse, getting stolen. For me DATA redundancy is a MUST.

How on earth would RAID stop your laptop from being stolen? Are you living in fear of a giant bug robbing you?

Laptop Raid (2, Interesting)

vermicious (533005) | about 9 years ago | (#13398963)

I have a laptop with RAID right now. Sager has a model or two with Promise Raid support. I don't use it since the second harddrive failed, but I was using it before that in a striped RAID config - it did boost performance a bit.

Whoa (1)

cached (801963) | about 9 years ago | (#13398968)

Since when are there redundant array of inexpensive disk arrays? This is one "uber" multidimensional array.

Nice! (2, Interesting)

BrookHarty (9119) | about 9 years ago | (#13398969)

IO on laptops is still one of the worst problems about using a laptop. What good is a 2+ ghz cpu when you have to wait for IO all the time. And with newer laptops having 2 HD's, might as well raid em.

Sure lots of "dont need it" posts today, only downside is battery life.

Screw games, work on some server logs and try to do some statstics, give me faster HD access now. (I upgraded my 5200 to a 7200 HD, night and day difference.)

Ass Backwards (3, Insightful)

Bobartig (61456) | about 9 years ago | (#13398979)

To increase the reliability of your data backup, you need to move it to a medium that is more stable than the original copies. It also needs to be remote from the original. If you're working on a laptop, having the data striped on your laptop is of hardly any use. Flood, fire, electrical surge, theft, accidental damage will all happily destroy both copies of your data, since they're in the same place.

Now where would I like to see a laptop raid? In a mobile media workstation! Video editors, sound guys, they'd love the extra throughput of a raid 0 that fits in their briefcase.

So... (1)

Trip Ericson (864747) | about 9 years ago | (#13398992)

Are future Centrino codenames going to be 'Advance,' 'AutoZone,' or 'Pep Boys'?

I don't get it? ; onboard ; memory ; solid state? (5, Insightful)

PhYrE2k2 (806396) | about 9 years ago | (#13399014)

First off, RAID-1 (I imagine they won't have >2 drives in a notebook) will not increase speed, as it's just a mirror- a write takes the same time, writing to both drives equally. A read generally only pulls from one drive at a time. If they have >2 drives, you could get some increased speed from the drive to the controller.

Second, won't this be bad for battery life having a second 4200RPM drive in your notebook? Not to mention weight?

Third, any money says it'll use the onboard memory for its RAID controller or maybe even software RAID, meaning it, like onboard video will slow your computer down.

For an argument for it, lets turn to my former partner:

Any video card must keep the monitor refreshed. That means reading the entire video buffer at whatever the refresh frequency is.

Let's say you're running 1024x768, 16bpp, 75Hz. This is quite conservative, obviously. Bandwidth consumption? Well the video buffer is 1024x768x2 bytes = 1.5MB. Read it 75 times per second and you are eating 112.5MB/s of your main memory bandwidth. You just lost 14MHz of your RAM clock speed.

Picking some more realistic numbers: 1280x1024, 32bpp, 85Hz. This is a much more typical configuration. Bandwidth consumption here... video buffer is 5.0MB, read 85 times per second == 425MB/s. You've now lost about 53MHz of your RAM clock speed.

These numbers assume that the video card is doing nothing but refreshing the screen. Obviously that's not realistic. If you're just typing a document then you're likely pushing about 10MB/s thru the video card. But as soon as you start scrolling the screen, running Flash applications or anything with any animation to it (and we know WinXP is FULL of CPU-hogging animations) the memory bandwidth loss skyrockets.

This doesn't seem to make much sense. In an age of GBe and 10GBe ethernet, wi-max, storage of files across corporate networks over the Internet, why is RAID in a laptop useful?

Personally, I'd like to see more money put into developing SOLID STATE hard drives that use less power, produce less heat, and have no moving parts- such as a flash drive, only bigger


Actually sounds like a bad idea (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | about 9 years ago | (#13399024)

We are talking about putting 2 or more HDDs in a machine, right? For a business user, it is going to be bad because of the increased weight, heat, power consumption, noise, et cetera.

For the gamer (or other individual who would set them to striping instead of mirroring), if one drive has a 20% chance of failing after three years, then two have a 36% chance of failing. It would almost double the likelihood of a castrophic loss!

Plus, I haven't seen a laptop in years that has quick-swappable drives, which you would want on a RAID machine. It is far less useful if you have to send the computer back to Lenovo to get a new drive installed.

typical intel (1, Interesting)

AceJohnny (253840) | about 9 years ago | (#13399026)

Intel has a goal of centralizing functions in their CPUs.
MMX and SSE came in to boost the CPU's multimedia performance, so that people would be less tempted to take an extra, non-intel, chip to do that (for which they failed...).
The Centrino was an all-in-one Intel bundle so that you wouldn't buy somewhere else to get Wifi on your laptop.
Now it's RAID. I'm surprised, though, that they'd consider RAID a big enough market to include it in their chip. Or is it rapidly expanding with home-users?

Boost gaming performance? (1)

AceJohnny (253840) | about 9 years ago | (#13399052)

Praytell how RAID in the CPU could boost gaming performance?

Ok, sure, RAID can help the loading times in the game, but they aren't so prevalent compared to the actual gaming time.

Has "gaming performance" become such a catch-phrase?

Or are people so jumpy now that they can't stand the load time at the beginning of the level?

Re:Boost gaming performance? (1)

AceJohnny (253840) | about 9 years ago | (#13399145)

Praytell how RAID in the CPU could boost gaming performance?

Ok, sure, RAID can help the loading times in the game, but they aren't so prevalent compared to the actual gaming time.

Has "gaming performance" become such a catch-phrase?

Or are people so jumpy now that they can't stand the load time at the beginning of the level?

(obviously, I'm a bit jumpy on the submit button...)

Furthermore, what does RAID and gaming have to do with laptops?

What is a laptop supposed to be used for? Computing on the move. Important aspects: weight, battery time, comfort.
But power for gaming? and RAID for god's sake? RAID has nothing to do with laptops!
If this chip was also intended for the desktop market, I'd have an inkling of understanding. But here? No.

They're nuts. Or maybe they're right, and the market's nuts.

and the batt life will be ... ? (1)

PureCreditor (300490) | about 9 years ago | (#13399032)

dismal ?

a T42 that normally yields 4.5hrs of productivity will now be more like 3hrs...

good if u're using it as a desktop replacement

for road warriors, might be a bit heavy....

You're All Crazy! (1)

Roguelazer (606927) | about 9 years ago | (#13399033)

I don't understand it. People buy laptops with desktop graphics cards, hard drives, and sometimes even desktop processors! Then they complain when they get horrible battery life, 15 pound machines, and third degree burns on their laps. Give me a light laptop with 5 hour battery life and I'll take it any day over the latest 3.0GHz "desktop replacement". My PowerBook 12" weighs next to nothing and gets literally 5 hours+ of battery life, even after several years with the same battery. Bah and humbug is what I say to the proponents of overpriced, overpowered desktop replacements!

Oh w00t... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13399054)

No thanks, I'd rather have a 3400+ Turion with a 256mb Mobility Radeon x850 with 2 Gigs DDRAM, courtesy of Athlon, bitch.

Easy - Get a Mac! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13399063)

A Mac laptop can mount two firewire drives as a RAID array.

Security issues (1)

bassakward (823721) | about 9 years ago | (#13399067)

Now you can take a drive out of the laptop with a complete copy of all the data, and the user might not even realize it. Just think of the possibilities!

I already have wireless RAID on my laptop (1)

eric_brwn (910202) | about 9 years ago | (#13399077)

Of course I'm running Linux and AoE on the laptop. Instead of adding the hardware to the laptop, just add the RAID storage via wireless. Now, when I bring up the network my Linux laptop automatically connects to the Coraid storage blades and mounts the RAID locally. I can even dump DVD iso images to the RAID and mount them for video playback. Check them out at

Waste of resources (0, Redundant)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 9 years ago | (#13399086)

You can carry multiply 256MB sticks with you [or a CD] and just have alternate sources.

When I give a presentation the slides are on a USB key, a CDR, two different websites and my email account. That way the likelyhood of me showing up with nothing to show is next to nothing.

A second hard disk won't help you if the laptop won't boot. You need copies of the material you can access without the laptop otherwise what's the point?


In the future... (1)

pcnetworx1 (873075) | about 9 years ago | (#13399094)

Back in my day sonny, we used to have these "portable" laptops like the Sony Vaio! I loved my PCG-505TX. With the right battery & management, it would run for 3-4 hours! Maybe it was a little slow, but we used Desktops for the heavy work damnit!

Now you today have your laptops with them triple screens that unfold, octo Intel P64's, 28 TB of RAM, and a 1 Petabyte RAID array! Jeez, you kids have to work in teams of 3 to move them, and 2 to set up the legs on the bottom!

I laugh once again that everything old is new again! (think 1980's)

Mac OS X disk utility image but on hardware (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13399096)

So, people this is or may not be a raid solution when running on batteries, but also a dynamic array creation. Once in the office, the docking station with the second hard drive could start building the mirror of the primary hard drive just in case.

If the hard drive crashes, at least you can be up and running by just using the docking station. Data not backed up and of vital importance could be recover in the meantime.

Reliability yes. Gaming performance? No. (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | about 9 years ago | (#13399097)

RAID doesn't do a thing for "gaming performance" short of maaaybe loading. If you're swapping to disk you've already lost the battle.

Intel, you make cheap fast chips, stick too it. (1)

fsterman (519061) | about 9 years ago | (#13399099)

Windows Laptops have a need to be protected from coffee spills, viruses, and general disk errors.

RAID isn't a backup, its a performance tool. It makes a system more resilliant to _a_single_rare_ failure but NOT the majority of data failures. Having a redudant drive just sucks battery life.

RAID is great on a server where the disks are being used a _lot_ where high redudancy is needed becuase downtime is expensive but there still needs to be an offsite backup solution.

If someone is worried (as they should be) they should have an external HD with an automatic backup everynight. If they have a really important buisness meeting they should be carrying an external USB drive, not a second HD.
Speaking of which why doesn't Dell offer an external HD with an auto recovery system? A clean and updated copy of Windows, nightly backups of their applications, documents, and preferences checked against an anti-malware scanner? Something goes wrong, boot into the Dell branded Norton CD and autorecover from the external HD.

This sounds like Intel's Centrino with WiFi, no one cares. All the vendors turned it off and eventually Intel backed off. They show charts of before and after Centrino with WiFi, bleah. WiFi is super proliferated becuase every damn DSL and Cable providers modem comes with WiFi running unsecure by default, on top of those who went and bought routers for it.

The battery argument? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 9 years ago | (#13399112)

I see that response a lot. "It would take more power! We need to improve battery technology before we move on this..."

I don't know about anyone else, but it is a rare moment indeed that I would use a laptop on battery power for any serious work. Browsing the internet at a coffee shop or something... sure. But serious work requiring concentration? I'm reaching for the power adapter and looking for an outlet.

I think a laptop mirror RAID is a nice idea. When in battery mode, only the main drive stays active and when AC powered, the 2nd drive should come on and start syncing the mirror. This should be 100% hardware implementarion, however and managed in the BIOS under power management. I wouldn't consider anything but mirroring in this fashion on a laptop. Striping or concatenating drives would be a ridiculous waste IMHO.

Reliability or Performance (1)

courtarro (786894) | about 9 years ago | (#13399137)

On a laptop, RAID would improve reliability (mirroring) or performance (striping), not both, since you're not likely to have more than 2 HDs in that little case.

Quit asking why they're doing it (1)

Brento (26177) | about 9 years ago | (#13399138)

You could say the same thing about all kinds of niche features on today's laptops:

Who needs firewire? I mean, really, if you're going to edit video, why would you do it on a laptop with its miserably small, dim screen, slow internal drives, and short battery life?

Who needs a TV tuner? Why fork over $2,000 for a laptop that can't show a decent picture with a DirecTV tuner or a satellite box, and even then you're looking at a tiny screen? You can get a bigger and better TV for $150 from Wal-Mart.

The answer to all of these questions (and the RAID one) is that more people are ditching desktops for laptops as their primary machines.

Intel's doing the right thing by offering RAID support at the chipset level because it really doesn't cost them much. What if vendors suddenly came out with dramatically better battery life, or hard drives that required less power? We're already seeing smaller hard drives. Intel's just getting their own part of the work out of the way - in business, you never want to be the weak link in the chain.

This is not about laptops (2, Insightful)

ocelotbob (173602) | about 9 years ago | (#13399139)

The laptop market right now is all about making things as small as possible. A RAID setup would require a system that is much larger than current offerings to work. IMO, this is more about the server market. Small, low power consumption servers, maybe even fitting two mobos in a single 1u chassis. Such a market obviously exists, but up until very recently, there hasn't been a chipset that could realistically do the job of a server. This is what this product is really about, not the laptop market.

Raid Array (1)

Chaotic Spyder (896445) | about 9 years ago | (#13399148)

Redundant Array of Inexpensive/ndependent Disks Array.... Wow that is Redundant..

/. Editors to the rescue of editing

Redundant (0, Redundant)

gdave (910205) | about 9 years ago | (#13399156)

Redundant Array of Independent Disks Array? Isn't

Where It's At (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 9 years ago | (#13399161)

I always figured that RAIDs would become SAN storage servers, because their redundancy sucks power and weighs a lot. While notebooks would carry only a smallish cache for current data, frequently autosync'ed with a RAID over a network. It looks like that strategy is finally being pursued, only by mobile phones which sync to desktops in multiple locations. Is that just more proof that the real development action is in the mobile "phone" sector?

Just what I need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13399174)

Another spinning drive (or more) sucking the life out of my already too puny battery, and adding to the heat that is keeping my nether regions toasty.

Not a good idea at all.
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