RAID 0 vs RAID 1: An In-Depth Comparison Between the First Two RAID Levels

When it comes to computer storage, you would normally have 1 hard disk drive in a personal computer for the majority of users. However, for those who run web servers, online gaming services, or for those who store and access a lot of data at once, may need more than 1 hard disk drive. To make it easier, RAID or Redundant Array of Independent Disks was created to allow you to combine numerous hard disks into a single unit called an array. There are 6 defined levels of RAID and a few nested or hybrid options. In this RAID 0 vs RAID 1 article, we are going to look at 2 of the base levels of RAID, and provide a comparison of their features and use cases.

If you are interested in other RAID level comparisons, we also cover the following pairs that are most often compared:

What Is RAID 0: Speed Over Safety

RAID 0 was designed to read and write data as quickly as possible, without worrying about having any sort of backup system to slow things down. Using a process called striping, a computer will separate data into evenly sized chunks and spread them sequentially across several disks.

RAID 0 disk setup


Let’s say you have a 100 GB file, two disks to put it onto and have dictated the computer to create ten 10 GB portions to allocate, numbered 1 through 10. What you would see is the odd numbered portions on Disk 1 and the even numbered ones on disk 2. Since the portions are in sequential order, this allows the computer to load portions 1 and 2 simultaneously, then 3 and 4, and so on, effectively cutting all load times in half. This can be further compounded by adding more disks to the array.

Advantages of RAID 0

  • The data is written and read extremely fast.
  • There is no parity check system. This allows you to use the full capacity of each drive for storage.
  • RAID 0 is supported by all types of RAID controllers.
  • It is the easiest to implement/setup.
  • It is the least expensive to purchase.

Disadvantages of RAID 0

  • RAID 0 has no fault tolerance. This means that if your data is lost or corrupted, you cannot retrieve it, making RAID 0 unsuitable for critical data storage.
  • If one drive fails in your RAID 0 setup, it causes complete loss of data as information in this type of setup is not mirrored. No data backup is available.

What Is RAID 1: A Race in Redundancy

RAID 1 was created for situations where important data is involved, creating as many backups as possible at the cost of speed and storage space. To do so, a computer will “mirror” the data of one drive onto another, creating an exact replica and a perfect backup.

RAID 1 disk setup


Using the 100 GB file example, this time the computer will duplicate data instead of breaking it apart. This will occur as the data is being written, so any changes made on one drive will be simultaneously made on the other. This will cause write times to be increased, however, the computer will be able to read from both drives at the same time, allowing it to load files more quickly. The mirroring process can be repeated on as many drives as the user adds to the array for extra security.

Advantages of RAID 1

  • With RAID 1, there is mirroring. This means that data is replicated across two or more disks, creating data redundancy.
  • RAID 1 has fault tolerance. If one drive fails, a reboot of the RAID 1 system will have the second disk take over. This means that the end user will not be impacted by a disk failure.
  • In RAID 1, data is available when needed. This is due to the data being replicated across multiple disks. Data loss is negligent. This also means that the performance level is high since data can be read from more than two drives simultaneously.

Disadvantages of RAID 1

Because data is replicated across more than one drive, the storage capacity of each drive is reduced. This gives you about half of the storage capacity of a similar setup using RAID 0.

RAID 0 vs RAID 1 Comparison Chart

Basic Function/Key FeatureDisk StripingDisk Mirroring
Storage Disks Required22
Storage Capacity100%50%
Parity Check SystemNoNo
Fault ToleranceNoYes
Data RecoveryNoYes
Overall CostLowMore Expensive Than RAID 0
Disk Read PerformanceHighHigher Than a Single Disk
Disk Write PerformanceVery HighVery Slow
Write Penalty?NoYes – Moderate
Appropriate PurposeSpeedily Accessing DataData Security

RAID 0 vs RAID 1 Critical Distinctions

  • RAID 0 uses striping, while RAID 1 uses data mirroring.
  • RAID 0 is the cheapest to set up, while RAID 1 can be expensive.
  • RAID 0 storage is excellent, while RAID 1 can achieve only half.
  • RAID 0 has fantastic read/write performance. RAID 1 is moderate.
  • RAID 0 has no write penalty, whereas RAID 1 does.
  • RAID 0 data organization is easy to understand, RAID 1 is more complicated.

Use Cases: When to Use RAID 0 in Real Life Scenarios

RAID 0 is ideal for scenarios where critical data is either not involved or not a concern. Due to its low cost, it is generally seen in personal computers.

Gaming and Gaming Servers

Gamers will implement RAID 0 for a better experience and decreased load times, while servers will do so in order to provide quicker speeds for online games. This only works well for online games, where data information is stored in the cloud though.

Live Streaming Audio/Video

Since live streaming doesn’t rely on data redundancy whatsoever, RAID 0 can be used to help eliminate stutter and other performance issues.

Capturing Uncompressed HD Video

When recording high-definition video and saving it directly to a drive in an uncompressed format, you want a hard disk that has a large capacity and a comparable speed that will write the information to the disk quickly. This way, you don’t have to wait forever to access your video files.

Image and Video Editing

Large, graphically intensive files require high speeds in order for them to be worked with effectively.

Use Cases: When to Use RAID 1 in Real Life Scenarios

RAID 1 is a must where critical data is being stored and the risk of loss has to be minimized. For this reason, it is generally used by businesses.

Electronic Records or Archives

Databases that are frequently accessed by multiple users can easily deal with the extra traffic using RAID 1.

Financial Systems

Accounting and payroll, where data loss can be catastrophic.

Enterprise Web Servers

The infrastructure of multiple key tools of an enterprise, where data loss can severely cripple operations.

Frequently Asked RAID Questions

Is RAID 0 faster than a single disk?

Yes, RAID 0 is faster than a single disk because it can read multiple points of data from multiple disks at the same time, whereas a single disk is limited to reading one data file at a time.

Can RAID 1 be used as a data backup?

No, RAID 1 is not a good substitute for a backup.

How safe is it to use a RAID 1 setup?

It is very safe to use a RAID 1 setup because it has built in fault tolerance. It protects you if one drive fails because data is replicated across multiple drives. You can also access data while another drive is in the midst of failing.

Can you use different drive sizes in RAID 0?

Yes, but the storage space that is added to the array will be equal to twice the size of the smallest disk. For this reason, it is generally better to use disks of the same size in a RAID 0 setup.

Why choose a RAID 0 setup over an SSD?

A RAID 0 setup is going to be just as fast as a single SSD setup, but the configuration cost will be lower than an SSD per gigabyte.

Should you choose RAID 0 or RAID 1?

Both of these RAID levels come with their own distinct uses and drawbacks. The one you choose to use greatly depends on what you plan to use it for and what you hope to accomplish with it. RAID 0 will cater to those looking for a performance boost, while RAID 1 offers extra security to anyone working with mission critical data.

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