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RAID 1 vs. RAID 5 — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 11, 2024
RAID 1 mirrors data exactly on two or more disks; RAID 5 distributes data and parity across three or more disks for redundancy and better performance.
RAID 1 vs. RAID 5 — What's the Difference?

Difference Between RAID 1 and RAID 5


Key Differences

RAID 1, also known as mirroring, duplicates the same data across two or more hard drives. It provides data redundancy since if one drive fails, the data can be retrieved from another. RAID 5, alternatively, spreads the data across three or more drives along with parity information which allows for data recovery in case of a single drive failure.
RAID 1 requires at least two drives and offers no increase in read and write speed over a single drive. RAID 5 requires a minimum of three drives but provides increased read speeds and improved write speeds over a single disk due to its striping. However, RAID 5 has a write penalty due to parity calculations.
In RAID 1, if a drive fails, the system can continue to operate from the remaining mirror(s). RAID 5 can also withstand the failure of one drive, but rebuilding the array after replacing a failed drive takes longer due to the complexity of the parity calculations. RAID 1's simplicity offers a quicker rebuild time.
The cost per gigabyte of storage in a RAID 1 array is higher since each byte is stored twice. RAID 5 has a more efficient storage capacity utilization, as parity requires less space than full mirroring, effectively offering more usable space for the same number of drives.
RAID 1 is often used where data integrity is crucial, and performance demands are lower, like in critical database systems where downtime must be minimized. RAID 5 is more commonly found in servers and performance-oriented storage where both data redundancy and improved performance are desired.

Comparison Chart

Minimum Disk Requirement

Requires at least 2 disks.
Requires at least 3 disks.

Data Redundancy

Data is mirrored on all disks.
Data and parity are striped across all disks.


No significant performance gain over single disk.
Better read performance, with some write penalty.

Storage Efficiency

Lower, due to mirroring.
Higher, due to parity instead of mirroring.

Recovery Time

Typically faster rebuild time after failure.
Slower rebuild time due to parity calculations.

Compare with Definitions


RAID 1 provides redundancy by duplicating data.
RAID 1 ensures redundancy, so a single disk failure won't cause data loss.


RAID 5 offers a balance of performance and redundancy.
RAID 5 improves read performance while ensuring data is recoverable.


RAID 1 creates an exact copy of data on two or more disks.
Our server uses RAID 1 to mirror critical data across multiple drives.


RAID 5 combines data striping with parity for redundancy.
Our storage array uses RAID 5 for efficient parity-based redundancy.


RAID 1 allows simple and fast recovery from a disk failure.
Recovering data after a disk failure is straightforward with RAID 1.


RAID 5 can tolerate the failure of one drive in the array.
Even after one disk failed, our RAID 5 array kept functioning normally.


RAID 1 is less storage-efficient, doubling the storage requirements.
To store 1TB of data, we need 2TB of drives due to RAID 1's mirroring.


RAID 5 provides more storage capacity compared to RAID 1.
With RAID 5, we maximize disk space while still protecting against data loss.


RAID 1 is simple to implement for redundancy.
We implemented RAID 1 for its simplicity and immediate data redundancy.


RAID 5 incurs a write penalty due to parity calculations.
RAID 5 writes are slower due to the overhead of calculating parity.

Common Curiosities

Is RAID 1 or RAID 5 better for performance?

RAID 5 typically offers better read performance than RAID 1.

What is RAID 5?

RAID 5 is a storage setup that stripes data and parity across three or more disks.

How many disks are needed for RAID 1?

RAID 1 requires at least two disks.

What is RAID 1?

RAID 1 is a storage setup that mirrors data across two or more disks.

How many disks are needed for RAID 5?

RAID 5 requires at least three disks.

What happens when a disk fails in RAID 5?

The array can still function, and data can be rebuilt from the remaining disks and parity.

What happens when a disk fails in RAID 1?

The system continues to operate using the remaining mirrored disks.

Is RAID 1 good for data-intensive applications?

RAID 1 is best for critical systems where data loss cannot be afforded, not necessarily for data-intensive purposes.

Can RAID 5 rebuild data automatically?

Yes, but only if one disk fails; it uses parity to reconstruct lost data.

Which RAID level is more cost-effective?

RAID 5 is more cost-effective in terms of storage space utilization.

Are RAID 1 arrays faster to rebuild?

Yes, RAID 1 arrays are typically faster to rebuild than RAID 5 arrays.

Does RAID 1 use parity?

No, RAID 1 does not use parity; it uses mirroring.

How does RAID 1 handle write operations?

Writes in RAID 1 are written to all mirrored disks, which can be a bottleneck.

Can I expand a RAID 5 array easily?

Expanding a RAID 5 array can be complex and typically requires rebuilding the array.

Is RAID 5 suitable for large databases?

RAID 5 is suitable for databases where a balance between performance and redundancy is needed.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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