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Fastest HDD?


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#16
stettybet0

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I find it odd that warriorscot praised how important aerial density was, then recommended a hard drive with (relatively) poor aerial density. A 500GB 7200.11 drive has a rather pedestrian aerial density of 250GB/platter, while the 640GB WD hard drive I suggested has an aerial density of 320GB/platter. This is shown in benchmarks, as the 640GB WD is routinely the best 7200rpm hard drive other than 333.3GB/platter 1TB hard drives in some situations.

RPM has a much bigger impact than warriorscot suggests. A 10000rpm hard drive will boot up Windows noticeably faster than a 7200rpm hard drive. You ask which has a bigger effect on speed: RPM or aerial density? The answer is that they each affect speed in different ways. A higher RPM leads to faster access times, which in turn leads to things like shorter load times and an overall "snappiness". Higher aerial density leads to faster read and write speeds, which is most noticeable in transferring large files.

Also, 10000rpm SATA drives are not less reliable than 7200rpm drives. In fact, they are typically more reliable as the only 10000rpm SATA drives available (Raptor and VelociRaptor) are all meant to cater to the enthusiast and server markets. In order to cater to the server markets, the Raptor and VelociRaptor both have enterprise-class MTBF (mean time between failure).

On the rest of your build:

The 7950GX2 has become very outdated. If you already own it, that's okay as it is still capable of running most games at decent settings, but it should not be considered for a new purchase. A much cheaper card, such as an 8800GT, will offer superior performance.

I agree with warriorscot that the 3800+ is not a desirable option. If a 5000+ is an option, I would definitely go with it.

I also agree that using an internal hard drive as removable backup storage is also not the best way to do it. I don't think that optical media is the way to go either, though. If you have large amounts of data, it can be very time consuming to make backups on optical media, and they are prone to scratches. It is also annoying to have to burn a new CD/DVD each time you make changes to a file. I would use a USB flash drive if you have small amounts of data needing backup, or an external hard drive if you need large amounts of data backed up.
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#17
DA IMP

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warriorscot:
You say Raptors are expensive. I've been explaining I can get Raptors for cheap, since I'm only looking for small-size drives. 74GBs...tops...maybe just maybe 150GBs, but not quite, really...

I have them in my budget 'cos they're fast *and* cheap. I'm not buying on retail stores, I'm doing this through ebay mostly. Building a system based on bargains I can trust (that is, hardware that is thoroughly tested by people I trust, before it's sent my way).
I know all due risks for buying online, and I keep an eye on safeties and precautions...I've dealt with the computer market for 11-12 years now, so I feel pretty confident that I know what I'm getting into...and when I feel I'm running short, I ask others, like this very conversation.

What I ended up getting, is SATA 1.5, not SATA 3. But since its speed is 10k RPM, and it's average seek and latencies are notoriously lower than both HDDs I have been using, I'll get to see the increase in speed...

Just like stettybet0 said...if it's noticeable, I take it's more than 5%. I mark 15% as the minimum for the "noticeable" (to the naked, keen eye) category.

And I got it for the same money I'll get from reselling my old 40GBs HDD. And I'm still way in time to resell both to buy something else if I change my mind, as with the CPU...

Core 2 Duo technology is markedly better than AMD's dual-core, 'cos both cores share one big cache, that is allocated by demand...while AMD's cache is permanently split in two, so it's a lot more prone for one of the halves to sit idly.
Or this is what I've learned, at least...

But while a new 5000+ here costs around 80 dollars...a new 2.66 E6750 Core 2 Duo is almost triple...230. Thanks but definitely and absolutely no thanks...
I seriously doubt the "shared cache" thing makes it three times faster and stronger a CPU than the AMD's equivalent.

On checking, I can get it for U$S150 on ebay...really checking around and aiming for an excellent bargain, I could lower that...but you have to remember, as I said a while ago...everything I ship in, gets a 50% tax. So, 150 becomes 225, and 100 would become 150...

stettybet0:

It looks like I cannot choose both RPM and aerial density without going way out of my budget. And it also seems that I cannot get the best aerial density without spending on big (and expensive) disk.

So, I've found an excellent bargain on a 10k RPM 74GBs SATA WD Raptor. I'll run thorough benchmarks, then use those to compare with the other options out there. If it looks interesting enough, I may sell both the Raptor and my old 40GBs, in favor of buying something else, since I can make U$S100 or maybe even more with those put together.

I'll be booting up and facing loading times, a lot more than transferring large files. So it sounds like cashing in good access times is the way to go, at least for now.

And I agree that Raptors are supposed to be top-notch on such demands...meant for high-end needs.

Everything I mentioned, has been obtained at quite low prices, even for your market. The GX2 cost me U$S60. I cannot even buy a decent (as in, DDR2/3) 512MBs card here, for that money.
So, again, looking for strength with a special eye on budget.

I suppose I COULD resell it as well, and try to get another card, with a focus on core technology. I just supposed that something so vast as 1GB, dual-core, dual-RAM, and DDR3 RAM at that, would be great for nearly everything...

Is the GX2 SO bad, compared to newer stuff that is considerably shorter on all other specs (RAM, single-core, RAM speed)?

I can get a 5000+ for 78 dollars. I can sell my current CPU for U$S25, then make another U$S40 or so from the 3800+... Those numbers make it pretty tempting.
It's a matter of really deciding if it's all worth the hassle of even more extra work...I suppose I'll end up doing it. Otherwise, the CPU will be haunting me as the weakest link of the build...

Back to backups...

Optical media == Forget about it. I'm 100% with you there, stettybet0. Scratches, fragile, short lifespan, totally lacking flexibility, awfully slow, gotta go buy blank DVDs all the time...and it's not like the DVD burners are eternal, either. Burning dozens of extra DVDs every month is gonna make the burner reach its own lifespan's end several months sooner...

With another HDD as backup, I just routinely make images of my main HDD. It doesn't get any simpler than that. Safety for every last file, and knowing I can restore the entire system to working order, just the way I like it, in an hour or two.

USB is out of the question. It's so much slower, and external USB HDDs cost a lot more than their equivalent internal.

What's so bad about having an HDD that isn't plugged all the time? It's not even hot-swap or something...when I wanna use it, I turn off the computer, plug its power and data cables, boot up, make use of it while remaining offline, and that's it.
I don't do this more than twice a month, really. It's not like the HDD is gonna suffer damage from being powered off and on a lot. It actually sees a LOT less power on/off than the main HDD, which is powered on/off dozens of times a month.

warriorscot: I'm willing to doubt my knowledge here, but how exactly can I toast something by unplugging it when the entire system has been turned off already? I even give it a minute or two to cool down, most of the time...

And it's not like the plugging/unplugging is gonna do something awful to the plugs. I do it with all due care and a gentle hand.

I know there are several ways to keep things safe from viruses and power surges...I've dealt with nearly every computer malfunction in the book, so I'm far more resourceful in front of those, than your average user. Viruses and other malicious programs stopped being a threat to me over a decade ago. When antiviruses fail, I get rid of them manually.

But, honestly...tell me if there's anything safer for your data, than storing it physically away from the rest of your computer? Not even a lightning-caused power surge (more common than you'd think, I've personally been witness to the consequences a bunch of times), could make you lose your vital data then. Not even a virus that ruins everything. Nothing short of your entire place being demolished.

About powering on/off...I sometimes wonder if the HDD going to sleep/suspend, is a bad thing. I don't do it a lot, but I do it now and then...and sometimes it kicks in automatically.
It's a sort of special, more immediate power on/off, after all, no? I tend to feel it has all the risks of normal powering on/off, but kinda increased...
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#18
stettybet0

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I have them in my budget 'cos they're fast *and* cheap. I'm not buying on retail stores, I'm doing this through ebay mostly. Building a system based on bargains I can trust (that is, hardware that is thoroughly tested by people I trust, before it's sent my way).

Any thought that involves "ebay" and "trust" is fundamentally flawed. How do complete strangers have your trust? Most computer hardware that you buy on ebay will come without warranty (since most warranties on computer hardware are non-transferable) and in uncertain condition. Keep in mind that a hard drive typically lasts 3-5 years, though since a Raptor is designed for server environments, it may last 5-7. However, the 74GB Raptor was released in 2004, nearly 5 years ago. That means any used Raptor you buy may already be on its last legs.

Just like stettybet0 said...if it's noticeable, I take it's more than 5%. I mark 15% as the minimum for the "noticeable" (to the naked, keen eye) category.

I recently read a benchmark which showed the 150GB Raptor booting up Windows in 50.72 seconds, while the 640GB WD Caviar (the one I've been recommending) booted up windows in 56.67 seconds. That is an improvement of approximately 10.5%. You will probably notice 6 seconds, but would waiting those 6 seconds really be that much of a problem?

Core 2 Duo technology is markedly better than AMD's dual-core, 'cos both cores share one big cache, that is allocated by demand...while AMD's cache is permanently split in two, so it's a lot more prone for one of the halves to sit idly.
Or this is what I've learned, at least...
But while a new 5000+ here costs around 80 dollars...a new 2.66 E6750 Core 2 Duo is almost triple...230. Thanks but definitely and absolutely no thanks...
I seriously doubt the "shared cache" thing makes it three times faster and stronger a CPU than the AMD's equivalent.

The Core 2s are better in many facets of microarchitecture, not just cache. While an E6750 may be expensive where you are (especially since they are no longer produced), how much does an E7200 cost? The E7200 is the entry level Core 2 Duo, but it will still be a huge increase over any AMD X2.

The GX2 cost me U$S60. I cannot even buy a decent (as in, DDR2/3) 512MBs card here, for that money.
So, again, looking for strength with a special eye on budget.

I suppose I COULD resell it as well, and try to get another card, with a focus on core technology. I just supposed that something so vast as 1GB, dual-core, dual-RAM, and DDR3 RAM at that, would be great for nearly everything...

Is the GX2 SO bad, compared to newer stuff that is considerably shorter on all other specs (RAM, single-core, RAM speed)?

I think there is a little confusion here. The 7950GX2 is dual-GPU, not dual-core. Each G71 GPU used in the 7950GX2 has 32 processing units (cores), for a total of 64. In contrast, the single-GPU 8800GT uses a G92 GPU which contains 112 processing units (cores). Not only this, but the G92 is simply much better in most aspects of microarchitecture.

As for data backup, have you looked into an eSATA external hard drive? They are much, much faster than USB external hard drives. You have to make sure your motherboard has support for it, though.

But, honestly...tell me if there's anything safer for your data, than storing it physically away from the rest of your computer?

Yes, it is very safe. This is the point of just about every backup device. External hard drives, USB flash drives, and most other backup devices all operate by physically storing the data away from the computer. However, they are all a lot more convenient and safe than using an internal hard drive. Opening up your computer every time you need to do a backup must be a hassle. You are also running the risk of zapping a component with static electricity while working inside of your computer.

Edited by stettybet0, 13 September 2008 - 10:35 AM.

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#19
DA IMP

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eBay and trust
To clarify as final note on this one part of the topic: You have a point. It's my decision to go ahead with it, and I know the risks.
As I explained too, the hardware gets thoroughly tested first thing. And I didn't buy unless there was a return policy.

Indeed, whatever's still working, may not work that much longer. Again, I take the risk. The money I'm saving will be enough to cover in case 1-2 pieces of hardware malfunction relatively soon.

I say final note, 'cos I personally don't think we're gonna get much out of keeping that part of the conversation. Nothing personal, I just noticed it's not a tech issue at all, thus it makes us digress from this forum's purpose, I believe :)

Benchmark on HDDs
I assume the difference in speed will show up through all loading times, not just the OS'.
And, once again, as time passes, and loading times get longer, this will help compensate to some extent.

It doesn't sound like I can get anything noticeably faster than a small-size Raptor, anyways. Not without spending big.

CPU
U$S145 for a new E720, locally. Close to double the cost of the 5000+. Too much of a difference.

How about a quad-core AMD? 9500. I can get a bargain on one of those over here. Pay for it a chunk less than what I'd pay for an E720. I may be willing to stretch, for a quad-core. Being newer stuff and all, it's still within warranty (over 2 years left).
One of the advantages of living in a country that has less maturity on handling technology and business, is that warranties are virtually 100% transferable (spelling?). Basically anyone with the receipt and the original product can make warranty claims, regardless of what name shows on the papers.

It's often said that the difference between dual and quad-core is not as big as one would think (not a 100% improvement), but it still has to be significant. I haven't checked benchmarks, but I assume a quad-core has to beat an entry level Intel Core 2. And again, I get it for cheaper.

Video card

By dual-core I was actually meaning dual-GPU. Sorry for not being more exact in my wording.

I'm looking for 8800GT now then, considering it seriously as a change. Indeed, it's clearly a way better architecture. Thanks. Graphics are really not my field. Now I know that architecture comes first to other specs. If I can get a good RAM amount (512) at DDR3, all the better.

Then again, considering I'm gonna be an occasional gamer, I may just tone down my whole craze on the graphics part. Get a 320 or 384MBs card instead of 512. As long as it's 8800 or higher (DirectX 10), and has DDR3, I think I'll be doing ok.

eSATA and HDD

Does that have a difference with a simple external SATA? I thought it was just a normal SATA interface, except you get yourself a case that lets you plug it from the outside, either through a bay or through SATA plugs that stick on the back or front of the case... Which can be done either by having a motherboard with such plugs already, or with an intermediary SATA cable that reaches out to the case's back or front.

Am I making any sense?

Whatever it is you're aiming for, is it sheltered from static somehow, in ways that a normal, internal SATA HDD isn't?

Opening and closing the case is no big deal. I happen to do a lot of that for a living, so as far as hassles go, spending a few extra moments on that, a handful of times a month, is a pretty small inconvenience. I don't mind it at all.

Certainly not, when compared to spending extra on something external.
In case I didn't explain it before... the 250GBs HDD is in there all the time. It's mounted physically, screwed right, everything. I just don't keep it plugged unless I use it.

I must've stuck my hands in hundreds of PCs over the years. Mine has had my hands inside hundreds of times, as well. It has served not just as my main system, but also as a place to test hardware sometimes. I've never ruined anything with static so far.

I know the risk is there, so I take my precautions. Avoid clothes that build up statics. Discharge myself of any static by touching grounded metal. Treat any and all hardware with respect and a gentle hand. Touch it only by the parts that are allowed for touching (non-metal parts if possible). Keep everything in bags and boxes that don't carry static. Mostly, the boxing and packaging that the hardware comes in.

Can I get anything better out of an eSATA, then? Considering that the hassle and static risk are definitely marginal details...

Something that would be notoriously faster and/or safer, without making me spend way more? Both on a different motherboard, and an eSATA HDD (even when I'd get some money back by selling my current 250GBs HDD).
I'm assuming they're just as fast as a normal SATA, and that they would have a casing that makes them more suitable for being outside (the 250GBs is not really ever outside, anyways).

Thanks once again for the detailed help.
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#20
warriorscot

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Backups
On toasting a disk by just removing its electro static discharge, if you take precautions its fine but when you are in and out of your PC allot you sometimes forget to ground yourself out and it only takes one time and the drive or even worse the mobo or graphics card is toasted.

They also can be quite fragile and the controller boards can be damaged easily. Its only a minimal risk if you take precautions against it, its actually quite a big risk with electronics as its easy to get a human body charged with static and it doesn't take allot to damage electronics. An external drive is better if that is what you want, a caddy protects against physical and electrical damage.

I don't mind optical myself but its up to you, I find them superior for my long term storage but it depends on the data and how often you will be using it if its important I usually use both DVD and HDD storage and from experience I burned dozens of DVDs a month with a good Samsung drive for three years and its still going the drives are allot better these days.

10,000 rpm drives


Raptors aren't just expensive in buying, they are expensive in that they don't last very long the higher speeds wear out the components faster the bearings go very quickly meaning you need to replace the drives more often. And NEVER buy them second hand for just that reason they are not good choices for data storage or in anything mission critical, there was also a difference in the raptors that were sold for use in servers and sold to the home PC market. Getting faster than a raptor is easy, in fact most of the bigger brand high capacity 7200rpm drives beat the raptors it wasn't hard, synthetic benchmarks raptors one every time but when it came to load times for apps and OSs the normal drives got it done allot faster in many cases.

In terms of performance the classic example was with Far Cry, a raptor loaded the games biggest level in 14 seconds whereas the new Samsung 7200 of the time did it in only 7. That pattern was repeated again and again down the years, real performance in things like games was poorer with raptors than high performance 7200s. And if you look after your system your load times shouldn't degrade, its a myth that that happens, if you take good care and perform proper maintenance XP doesn't slow down and Vista doesn't seem to do that at all.

CPU
Look at newer hardware, because of the price wars you find newer hardware is often allot cheaper than the old stuff, an E6750 is an expensive CPU because they were expensive to buy at the time and people aren't so willing to take the loss. Newer CPUs that were cheap to make and sold cheap like the Q6600 are really cheap now because of that and the newer E series core2 chips are cheap as well. So just because its older doesn't equate to cheap at least not normally.

I take it you mean dual core Core2 processors not the quad core Core2s, it depends on what you do if its better for someone that does lots of multitasking the quad will make a big difference for someone who just runs one thing at one time and its only single threaded then you won't see the difference.

gfx
8800GT is a great choice, good performance and cheap price and there is allot of them kicking around. The ones with the 320mb are different cards and usually actually more expensive than the 512mb newer revision 8800GT cards. However you do seem to live in backwards computer land so who knows.


7200rpm drives

The 7200.11 is the drive I recommend because it has the best price/performance. They have lower Ariel density BUT they record data differently and use second gen perpendicular recording which gives better performance and because they can get away with the lower density platters the drives are cheaper and higher quality. You can see the difference in the price and the 5 year warranty compared to the more expensive and lower warranties on the western digital drives and the performance difference between the two is negligible if the western digital is top on the list for performance the 7200.11 is second and only by a tiny fraction which when you account for the low price is why they are my favourite at the moment the 5 year warranty is the big plus as the WD only has three years and you have to go up to black edition WDs to get a five year and they cost allot more.

An external accessible bay for your SATA drives is a good idea, you can pick them up either as a separate component to go in a 5.25 drive bay or some cases actually have ways you can set them up for a drive to be able to be accessed from outside.


Ebay

I'm with everyone else on ebay, its not just that you risk getting ripped off its second hand hardware in general. Electronics have a limited shelf life and are so easy to damage either in removal and packing or in shipping I don't think its a good risk but if you don't have any choice I suppose there isn't much else you can do. If you get stuff new or refurb from someone legit you know that just happens to use Ebay as a middleman that is a different story. We get plent leeway in here so don't worry about the wrong forum, to be honest this should be in SB&U in the first place.
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