RAID 0 VS RAID 1: Introduction, Deployment and Configuration

RAID, redundant array of independent disks (also called redundant array of inexpensive disks) is a method of logically combining two or more physical disks into one (logical) storage unit. The main advantage of using RAID technology is to speed up hard disk performance and redundancy (Automatic protection against data loss in case of hard disk failure). This array of drives appear as a single drive to the computer operating system. Hardware RAID controller were very expensive and hard to configure; But due to recent advancement in technology, now most entry levels motherboards has a built-in RAID controller. RAID deployment and configuration is now a matter of a few mouse clicks.

What Level of RAID Technology do I need?

Several types of RAID are in use called RAID levels. Commonly used RAID levels are RAID 0 through RAID 6. RAID level 0 and RAID level 1 are common in home or business desktop PCs.


RAID level 0 is common in desktop computers for increased hard disk performance. It is not a true RAID because no redundancy (automatic protection in case of disk failure).


RAID 0 is actually a stripped drive, spreading data over two drives so it can be read or write quickly. RAID 0 increases the chances of data loss because any Hard disk failure will bring loss of all data on both drives.

Use RAID 0 for speed up hard disk performance, not for mission critical data storage.


RAID 1 also called mirror, best for redundancy because each hard disk in the array is an exact copy or mirror of the second drive. Your system will simultaneously write the same file or data to both or all drives in the array.

RAID 1 provides no or little performance gain. It is best for automatic protection in case of physical hard disk failure.

Use RAID 1 to reduce the risk of data loss due to hard disk failure.

Deployments and configuration

For RAID deployment, you need a RAID controller card and two physical hard disk drives (not two partitions in a single drive). Most mid range motherboards have a built in RAID controller card supporting RAID level 0 and RAID level 1. Check your motherboard documentations or simply look into BIOS setup under integrated peripheral section.

Step by step instructions:

1-      Make sure that your motherboard supports RAID 0 or RAID 1, onboard disk drive controller is enabled and operating in RAID mode.

2-      If built-in RAID controller is not available install a RAID controller card available under 100$ from most computer stores.

3-      Install two physical hard disk drives, can be different in size and manufacturer.

4-      Turn on your computer and make sure that both hard disk drives are available and detected by the BIOS setup.

5-      Launch BIOS setup, go to integrated peripherals and make sure that SATA or IDE controller is enabled and in RAID mode.

6-      If you are using RAID controller card, ignore step 5. In addition, make sure that your hard disks data cables are plugged into the RAID controller card and not to the motherboard.

7-      Save any changes, you may have made in the BIOS and restart PC.

8-      Step 8 varies from computer to computer but usually during computer boot process, you have to press Ctrl+J or Ctrl+I keys for RAID configuration. Just follow on screen messages.

9-      From RAID setup menu, choose RAID 1 or RAID 0 as desired and select drives and space you want to assign to the RAID.

10-   The exact procedure slightly varies from manufacturer to manufacturer but easy to follow, just read the documentations of your card or motherboard manufacturer in case of trouble.

11-   Your RAID is ready; you now can install operating system. The RAID of two or more drives will appear as a single volume to the computer operating systems.

By: Raza Ahmad Bhatti MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer Since 1999)