What is RAID 5 and 10? Choose RAID 5 or RAID 10? What are the differences between RAID 5 and RAID 10? This post from MiniTool will answer to these questions and elaborate on RAID 5 vs RAID 10.

Redundant Arrays of Independent Disks (RAID) is a data storage virtualization technology that combines lots of disks into a logical unit in order to offer more storage space or improve hard drive performance.

RAID configurations are organized into several levels such as RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 and RAID 10. Different RAID levels need different number of hard drives and offer diverse redundancy, fault tolerance and performance.

So, RAID 5 vs 10, what are their differences and which one is better? This post shows the answer.

What Are RAID 5 and RAID 10?


RAID 5 is made of block-level striping with distributed parity and it needs at least three hard drives. Unlike in RAID 4, parity information is distributed among the drives. It requires that all drives except one can be presented to operate. When one drive is failed, subsequent reads can be calculated from the distributed parity. In this way, data can be recalculated and recovered. The structure of RAID 5 is shown as the following picture:


Compared with RAID 4, RAID 5’s distributed parity takes the stress off a dedicated parity disk among all RAID members. In addition, write performance will increase because all RAID members participate in the writing requests.


RAID 10, also known as RAID 1+0 or RAID 1&0, is a RAID configuration that combines disk mirroring and disk striping to protect data. Briefly speaking, it combines two RAID levels: RAID 0 and RAID 1.

Related article: RAID 0 VS RAID 1: What’s the Difference and Which Is Better?

If you are planning to make a RAID 10, you need to create two RAID 1 mirrored volumes first and use these two RAID 1 mirrored volumes to create a RAID 0 striped volume. So, it needs at least 4 hard drives. The structure of RAID 10 is configured as the following picture:


After knowing some basic information of RAID 5 and RAID 10, what are their differences? So, the next part will further introduce them.

RAID 5 vs RAID 10: What Is the Difference?

RAID 5 vs RAID 10: Disk Utilization

For RAID 10 vs RAID 5, the disk utilization would be the first topic.

RAID 5: Its disk utilization is more than 50%. There is a formula to calculate the disk utilization of RAID 5. It is N-1/N(N represents the number of disks). If the number of disks in RAID 5 is increasing, the disk utilization increases, too.

RAID 10: No matter how many disks the RAID 10 comprises, it can only use half of the disk space, because everything is duplicated for backup. Hence, its disk utilization is 50%. To be honest, it is a bit of waste of space.

So, as for RAID 5 vs RAID 10 disk utilization, RAID 5 will be better than RAID 10.

RAID 5 vs RAID 10: Redundancy and Fault Tolerance

Both RAID 5 and RAID 10 have fault tolerance, but there are still some differences between them.


RAID 5 can tolerate the failure of 1 disk. If one of the disks fails, the data on that hard drive can be recovered by using the parity information and using the data on the remained hard drive.

In fact, data is accessible and reads are possible from a RAID 5 if one of the disks failed and is being rebuilt. Yet, the read speed would be slow because part of the data is being calculated from the parity block rather than simply being read from disk. In addition, if a hard drive fails, data recovery is also slow.


RAID 10 provides excellent fault tolerance and it has 100% redundancy. So, it is much better than RAID 5. Here is an example to help you understand. Only when all disks in RAID 1 group in RAID 10 are failed, the data will lose. However, the possibility of 2 disks in the same group failing is much lower than the possibility of any two disks in the RAID failing. So, the RAID 10 provides better fault tolerance than RAID 5.

In addition, recovering data is also faster because data just needs to be copied over from another hard disk of RAID 10.

All in all, for RAID 10 vs RAID 5 fault tolerance, RAID 10 is better than RAID 5.

Related article: RAID 6 vs RAID 10: Which One Performs Better and Faces Lower Risk

RAID 5 vs RAID 10: Performance

As for RAID 5 and RAID 10, the read and write performance should also be taken into consideration.

To make discussing performance easier, we need to define a few terms to help us easily understand. We use N to represent the total number of hard drives, and use X to refer to the performance of each hard drive individually.

Write Performance

When writing data on the RAID 5 disk, the process would be a little complicated since parity RAID is added. In other words, RAID 5 array has to read the data, read the parity, write the data and write the parity. Four operations correspond to each effective one. This gives us a write penalty on RAID 5 of four. So, the formula for RAID 5 write performance is N*X/4.

When you are writing data on RAID 10, the formula for RAID 10 write performance should be N*X/2. It is because RAID 10 is a RAID 0 stripe of mirror sets, and it cuts the write performance in half compared to a RAID 0 array of the number of drives.

Read Performance

Both RAID 5 and RAID 10 provide good read performance because of stripping.

As for RAID 5 vs RAID 10 performance, the write speed of RAID 5 is slower because parity information needs to be calculated. In addition, RAID 10 provides fantastic performance for random reads and writes performance because all operations occur in parallel on separate physical drives.

Here, we summarize the differences between RAID 5 and RAID 10.

Key feature Striping with parity Stripe of mirrors
Minimum hard disk requirement 3 4
Disk Utilization N-1/N 50%
Fault Tolerance

Single-drive failure

Up to one disk failure in each sub-ray

1. Good read performance because of stripping

2. Write performance lower than RAID 10

1. Good read performance because of stripping

2. Write performance better than RAID 5

From the above part, you can know what RAID 5 and RAID 10 are, and what the differences between RAID 5 and RAID 10 are.

After reading this post, I knew what RAID 5 and RAID 10 are and had a better understanding of the differences between them. Click to Tweet

There is no doubt that the main purpose of RAID hard drive is to combine more logical disks into a unit to offer more storage space. But if one of the disks fails, you may suffer data loss. For example, if one of RAID 5 hard drives fails, data recovery would be difficult.

Besides, any RAID level will not protect you from multiple disk failures. When one disk is offline for any reason, your disk array is not fully redundant. Therefore, atraditional file backup or hard drive backup is recommended.

How to Protect Your Data Effectively

To backup hard drive, the professional backup software – MiniTool ShadowMaker is recommended. MiniTool ShadowMaker is designed to back up the operating system, disks, partitions, files and folders.

MiniTool ShadowMaker also enables you to sync files to other locations and clone OS to SSD to boost PC performance.

Now, we will show you how to back up hard drive to protect your data effectively.

1. Download MiniTool ShadowMaker from the following button.

Free Download

2. Install it on your computer, and then launch it.

3. Click Keep Trial to continue.

4. Click Connect in This Computer to enter its main interface.

choose Connect in This Computer to enter its main interface

5. After entering its main interface, go to the Backup page.

6. Then click Source module to choose the backup source.

7. Choose Disk and Partitions.

choose Disk and Partitions

8. Select the hard drive you want to back up, and then click OK.

9. Next, click Destination module to select a hard drive to save your backup image. It is recommended to choose an external hard drive. Do not click the source disk as the target disk. Then click OK to continue.

choose backup destination

10. After selecting the backup source and destination, click Back up Now to perform the backup task immediately.

click Back up Now to perform the backup task

Once all steps are finished, you have successfully backed up the hard drive and the data on it. If the hard drive fails, you can use the backup image to restore your data. You can also read the post [Guide] How to Back up Your Computer to an External Drive to learn more ways.

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Best Method of Data Recovery from RAID | Easy Step By Step Guide
Best Method of Data Recovery from RAID | Easy Step By Step Guide

The RAID recovery work may be easy for some people, but it is actually difficult for most ordinary users. Here, we'll make it easy for you.

Read More

Bottom Line

To sum up, this post shows what the RAID 5 and RAID 10 is. As RAID 5 vs RAID 10, this post shows their differences focusing on disk utilization, fault tolerance and performance. After reading this post, you may have known which one is better.

Given that any RAID level will not protect you from multiple disk failure, it is recommended to back up hard drive or files to protect them. So, you can also try the above method.

If you have any different opinions of RAID 10 vs RAID 5 and MiniTool program, please do not hesitate to contact via the email [email protected] and we will reply to you as soon as possible.


Why is RAID 5 not recommended?
RAID 5 consists of block-level striping with distributed parity. RAID 5 does not have mirroring or redundancy. It can only tolerate the failure of one disk and the tolerance is achieved by calculating and storing parity information. If one of the hard drives fails, it will put the array at high risk and data recovery would be a little complicated. In addition, compared with RAID 10, its write performance is lower than RAID 10.
Does RAID 10 improve performance?
Yes, it does. RAID 10 combines the features of the RAID 0 and RAID 1. It is a configuration that combines the disk mirroring and disk striping to provide good protection for your data. With these features, RAID 10 is able to provide optimization for fault tolerance and increase performance by stripping volume data across multiple disk drives. It also has a fast write speed.
How many hard drives do you need for RAID 5?
To set up a RAID 5 drives, the minimum number of hard drives is three. The maximum number of hard drives in RAID 5, in theory, is unlimited.
Is RAID 5 safe enough?
RAID 5 is one of the common secure RAID levels. It consists of at least 3 drives and data blocks are stored across the drives along with parity blocks, which have the checksum of other drives data. By using these parity blocks, computer can recalculate the data of the other blocks which is no longer available. But RAID 5 can only tolerate one hard drive physical failure. So, in order to protect your data well, it is recommended to use the traditional way to back up data again.
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