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How can I configure Hard Drives for max performance?


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#1
magusbuckley

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Hello:

I've built countless PCs over the last ten years. When building my own systems, I usually purchase one small HD (approximately 150GB or so) and two large HDs. I use the small HD for Windows and installed programs. The two large HDs are configured in a RAID 0 stack for speed and are used for data (My Documents, saved game files, etc.).

I'm about to build a buddy a PC for Christmas (ha..lucky him...and he doesn't even know it's coming.)!

I'm wondering if there is a better way to configure the HDs for speed. Currently, I'm thinking of using the 150GB WD Raptor drive for Windows and two 500GB drives at RAID 0 for storage of his data. I know that's good, but I'm wondering if I can do something better.

Your thoughts and comments will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Magus
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#2
Neil Jones

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Performance on RAID 0 is no more noticeable than a stand alone drive but with the added danger that when one of the drives die, you'll lose the entire data that's stripped across both of them. If you do use this have a very regular back-up plan in action before there are tears at bedtime, so to speak.

Hard drive performance is generally throttled either by software (drivers), the state of the drives mechanically and data structure wise (fragmentation, if bad enough, will slow any drive down) and Windows. At the end of the day these are still mechanical devices and at this point in time performance is about as good as its going to get realistically until solid state memory becomes mainstream.

Solid State memory, the same stuff that's used in countless USB pen drives and what not, can be a lot faster than mechanical units, however it only has a finite life of a few thousand reads and wipes so it'll eventually wear out. Any recent version of Windows that writes to the drive countless times every session will wipe out of these out within no more than a year if that.
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#3
magusbuckley

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Neil:

Thanks for the reply. I guess I'll wax the RAID 0 idea.

Are the 10,000 RPM drives fast enough to justify the cost difference?

Someone is telling me that a fast drive for Windows and programs just means fast boot times and quick program loads, but all else will run normally. Logically, it makes sense, it's just that those fast drives don't offer enough storage for this guys data and I can't afford enough of them to stack up to his needs. He works with Videos a lot and needs a large HD. In my previous post, I mentioned two 500GB drives. 1TB might be a little overkill for this guy, but regular drives are so cheap I don't know why I wouldn't go ahead and load him up with this much storage.

Thoughts anyone....

Thanks,

Magus
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#4
Troy

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Hi Magus,

If this is for a Video Editing machine, you could try two 500GB drives in RAID 0, as well as something like a 10,000rpm drive for the OS and programs. This would be a high-end setup, but I've seen them before and they do work good.

Otherwise just a simple setup would be fine, if he's working with large files then make sure you compensate for this.

Troy
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