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Raptor System Drive worthwhile?

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April 26, 2006 7:51:49 PM

Hey everybody, I was planning on setting up a new system as follows:

Shuttle XPC SN25P Socket 939 nForce 4
AMD Athlon 62 X2 4400+
OCZ PC-3200 DDR400 Platinum Edition 2GB (2x1GB)
Asus EN7600GT nVidia GeForce 256MB
WD Caviar SATA 320GB 7200RPM 8MB buffer

My question is, would a 74GB Raptor system drive be worthwhile? I mean, would I get a substantial enough gain in XP and program loading times to justify buying an additional $200 hard drive just to run Windows and most of my programs/games?

Also, if you have any suggestions regarding the system setup in general, let me know.

Thanks
April 27, 2006 3:15:14 AM

I was thinking along the same lines. Anyone know an answer before I make my order to NewEgg?
April 27, 2006 3:35:33 AM

Holy Sh@t Wusy! Dost mine eyez deceive me...27,000 + posts? 8O 8O 8O

Sorry to go off topic but with that many posts...I feel like dropping on my hands and knees and doing an "I'm not worthy"!
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April 27, 2006 5:25:16 PM

Quote:
I mean, would I get a substantial enough gain in XP and program loading times to justify buying an additional $200 hard drive just to run Windows and most of my programs/games?

No

Hahaaa

Okay... well I was hoping for a little more detail than that, but I guess that will have to suffice.

Can you even see an appreciable difference in load times with a Raptor drive?
Or are the hard drives even the limiting factor at the moment?
April 27, 2006 6:21:42 PM

that is a good question, i would really like to see some thoughts on this subject. i'm also looking into buying a raptor. just not sure if it will help my overall performance in booting OS and games, and just plain smoother browsing my computer.
April 27, 2006 6:29:41 PM

Hard drives are one of the most limiting parts of a computer, compared to NV RAM they extremly slow; they have several spinning platters that need to be searched for for free space and information.

Although we probably won't see a computer that just uses NV RAM for storage, there will be hybrid hard drive that have RAM built into them.

This will hopefully boost load up times and will allow information to be stored without writing it to the drive straight away, which means there will be no slowdown while the computer searches for free space on the drive.

Hope this clears things up, raptors are the fastest available consumer hard drive available; only because of the rpm of the drive though. In my opinion (I have two) they are not worth it but others will argue, I would just buy one or two WD Caviar SE16 250GB drives.
April 27, 2006 6:57:13 PM

I have a Raptor WD740 as system drive.

OS and programs Loading times differences aren't big if you keep your drive defragmented, but a little difference of course it's noticeable.
Where the Raptor makes difference in swap and temporary files access: swap and temps are often very fragmented and in that condition the fast seek time of this drive is impressive.

It's also very good if you do graphics & video editing and of course if you use large databases: with mysql & Oracle it is as fast as a good IBM 10k SCSI U320 (that costs nearly double).
April 27, 2006 7:40:44 PM

I have two 36's on a raid and see a SIGNIGANT differance compared to your standard 7200 RPM SATA/PATA HDD, honestly if you're not going raid i probably wouldn't buy them. Just 1 seems pointless to me imo
April 27, 2006 7:57:05 PM

I love my Raptor. Seems fast and responsive. Maybe all in my head but I swear I noticed a difference in OS responsiveness when I upgraded. IMO
April 27, 2006 8:09:27 PM

Quote:
I mean, would I get a substantial enough gain in XP and program loading times to justify buying an additional $200 hard drive just to run Windows and most of my programs/games?

No

I don't know where your're getting that price of $200 but newegg has them right now for $130.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

They are nice drives but for the price/per GB of storage any other 7200 WD or Seagate with higher storage capacity and lesser price would work just as well. I find the Raptor to be fast and it's a good quality drive but if I didn't have the $$$ to burn I would certainly be just as happy with a 7200rpm drive with more storage.
April 27, 2006 8:09:27 PM

Quote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

wusy wrote:
Quote:
I mean, would I get a substantial enough gain in XP and program loading times to justify buying an additional $200 hard drive just to run Windows and most of my programs/games?

No


Hahaaa

Okay... well I was hoping for a little more detail than that, but I guess that will have to suffice.

Can you even see an appreciable difference in load times with a Raptor drive?
Or are the hard drives even the limiting factor at the moment?

Wusy is correct for $200 you can buy 2Giga of ram and software to setup a solid state drive. Ram being about 80X faster than any hard drive makes it worth while for programs needing only a small space like games. please dont use solid state drives for databases or large video captures for faster hard drives do better jobs on them.
April 27, 2006 8:12:49 PM

Quote:
I have a Raptor WD740 as system drive.

OS and programs Loading times differences aren't big if you keep your drive defragmented, but a little difference of course it's noticeable.
Where the Raptor makes difference in swap and temporary files access: swap and temps are often very fragmented and in that condition the fast seek time of this drive is impressive.

It's also very good if you do graphics & video editing and of course if you use large databases: with mysql & Oracle it is as fast as a good IBM 10k SCSI U320 (that costs nearly double).


Ok, well most of what I was going to be doing was playing games and internet stuff, so it seems like the Raptor isn't really necessary, or at least isn't worth $200 for a one or two seconds loading time here and there.
April 27, 2006 8:22:54 PM

Quote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

wusy wrote:
Quote:
I mean, would I get a substantial enough gain in XP and program loading times to justify buying an additional $200 hard drive just to run Windows and most of my programs/games?

No


Hahaaa

Okay... well I was hoping for a little more detail than that, but I guess that will have to suffice.

Can you even see an appreciable difference in load times with a Raptor drive?
Or are the hard drives even the limiting factor at the moment?

Wusy is correct for $200 you can buy 2Giga of ram and software to setup a solid state drive. Ram being about 80X faster than any hard drive makes it worth while for programs needing only a small space like games. please dont use solid state drives for databases or large video captures for faster hard drives do better jobs on them.

Yeah, but I forgot to mention that I live in Canada, so we pay more for everything here as our currency is currently about $0.88 to the US dollar.

And the best price I've found so far for a 74GB Raptor is $199 from CanadaComputers.com.

http://www.canadacomputers.com//index.php?do=ShowProduc...
April 27, 2006 8:56:26 PM

Listen, I've got a dual raptor system. Let me just say this:

I don't regret spending the extra $$$ to have a RAID 0 Raptor system.

Need I say anything else?
April 27, 2006 8:57:48 PM

I love my setup with a single 74 GB Raptor and two 400 GB WD RE2 in RAID 1. I notice a bit of performance gain in some area's due to the Raptor. I like the reliability of RAID 1.

However for most uses the Hard Drive is simply not the bottleneck.

You will never see any FPS benifit. Even loading large levels in games is not significatnly improved as more time is typically spent decompressing the levels that loading them from the HD.

$130 is for most people too much to pay for a bit of performance boost here and there.

Then again I tend to keep hard drives about 4 times longer than video cards, and they don't become obsolete nearly as fast. I bought my Raptor for $150 and its seen three video cards and two motherboards. So I don't in any way regret my purchase.

But for most people its probably not worth the $130 extra.
April 27, 2006 10:09:05 PM

Quote:
Quote:

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Wusy is correct for $200 you can buy 2Giga of ram and software to setup a solid state drive. Ram being about 80X faster than any hard drive makes it worth while for programs needing only a small space like games. please dont use solid state drives for databases or large video captures for faster hard drives do better jobs on them.


Don't know what type of RAM your using, cause either you have really crappy RAM or a bloody good HDD. RAM is roughly 1x10^6 times faster to access than a HDD.
April 27, 2006 10:27:13 PM

If you have the money to burn, I'd suggest getting one. Instead, I think you might want to spend that money upgrading other things first. I'd probably change the X2 4400+ to an opty 165 or 170 and maybe the vid card to a 7900 GT or an 1900XT before I bought a raptor. Even though they're cool and faster than all other normal hard drives right now, I don't think it's worth it to spend that much more when you could upgrade your proc or vid card instead.

Oh and; didn't they come out with some kidn of ram hard drive that you plug into a pci slot? If it wasn't so bloody expensive to get 16 gigs of ram, it would be pretty sweet to have one of those. there would be no such thing as load times, only unpacking times. There'd be no such thing as lagging due to page filing as well. *drool*
April 27, 2006 10:32:00 PM

Elbert is right, you confused the peak burst time that is 2.5ns @DDR400 with the real average access time, that is about 20ns with the lowest timings possible in random access test patterns of 512B (one sector equivalent).

20ns / 16B (in dual channel) equals to ~800MB/s and the fastest SCSI drives have an average 10MB/s trasfer rate with the same test patterns.
April 28, 2006 12:54:14 AM

Quote:
Don't know what type of RAM your using, cause either you have really crappy RAM or a bloody good HDD. RAM is roughly 1x10^6 times faster to access than a HDD.


You are missing the point.

Large Databases and Video Capture are inappropriate for solid state devices simply because they are often involve files too large to fit on the Solid State Device.

Anyway there is significant overhead turnning RAM into a virtual hard drive,Making a SSD "only" about 6 times faster at I/O than a raptor.

Plus the hardware based solutions connect via SATA 150, meaning you "only" get 150 MBps transfer rates.

So the transfer rate is twice as fast and the access time is probably only about 10 times faster using something like Gigabytes i-RAM.

Battlefield 2 loads in 20 seconds instead of 25 on the Raptor. Splinter cell its 8 vs 10.5 seconds.

Given the expense involved in filling the iRAM with large DDR modules there really are only a few applications where it makes sense to replace a hard drive with RAM.

---
BTW I know nothing about non-hardware based RAM drives. But given that every GB you use would take a GB away from system memory its easy to see you wouldn't want to use it to install a 4 GB video game.

---
April 28, 2006 12:09:52 PM

Quote:
Don't know what type of RAM your using, cause either you have really crappy RAM or a bloody good HDD. RAM is roughly 1x10^6 times faster to access than a HDD.

Quote:
Elbert is right, you confused the peak burst time that is 2.5ns @DDR400 with the real average access time, that is about 20ns with the lowest timings possible in random access test patterns of 512B (one sector equivalent).

20ns / 16B (in dual channel) equals to ~800MB/s and the fastest SCSI drives have an average 10MB/s trasfer rate with the same test patterns.

Thanks maury73 for answering him.

Quote:
Large Databases and Video Capture are inappropriate for solid state devices simply because they are often involve files too large to fit on the Solid State Device.

Databases are an odd thing its true that the faster harddrive should be purchased first due too size that no SDD can hold but an SDD would be perfect for the key table of most databases. SDD's could also help increase the over all performance of video capturing but harddrive or SSD question in these matters the harddrive should come first.

Quote:
Anyway there is significant overhead turnning RAM into a virtual hard drive,Making a SSD "only" about 6 times faster at I/O than a raptor.

80X is the correct number for software SDD solutions but 6 times is correct for a SATA 150 SDD setup.

Quote:
Plus the hardware based solutions connect via SATA 150, meaning you "only" get 150 MBps transfer rates.

Hardware based solutions also come in a PCI setup but are very expensive and also transfer 80X times of a harddrive.

Quote:
Given the expense involved in filling the iRAM with large DDR modules there really are only a few applications where it makes sense to replace a hard drive with RAM.

Software based SSD with 2Giga of ram and the program should cost only about $200 and no game is large enough not to take better advantage of SSD, even at 2 Giga, than a $200 dollar harddrive.

Quote:
BTW I know nothing about non-hardware based RAM drives. But given that every GB you use would take a GB away from system memory its easy to see you wouldn't want to use it to install a 4 GB video game.

True but also false due to 2Giga is all he has in his system at the time and not all programs games included makes good use of the memory you can install. Fear is a good example it will only make use of about 1 to 1.5 Giga's and even with a 4 GB game if you place 2 GB in a Software SSD you'll come out with 40X that of a raptor or more due to the speed of his current hard drive.
April 28, 2006 10:05:14 PM

So if you have 4 GB of RAM and create a virutal drive out of 2 GB, and install a Game to that virtual drive what difference in level loading times should you expect.

The benchmarks with the iRAM SSD suggest that the resulst will simply not be that dramatic.

Has anyone done any benchmarks with a faster SSD or a Software based solution?

I am guessing that for gaming the results will be minimal because most of the work loading a level isn't being done by the hard drive.

Doubling the hard drive speed only cuts the time in BF2 loading time from 25 to 20.

So lets say with the Raptor 10 seconds is needed to copy files and the other 15 seconds is work being done by the CPU/GPU.

Doubling the HD speed would then cut the time down to 20 seconds.

Quadruping the HD speed would cut the time to 17.5 seconds.

An infinately fast hard drive would cut the time to 15 seconds.

Considering the diminishing returns involved I hesitate even recommending a Raptor to Gamer, let along a SS HD.
April 29, 2006 2:44:21 PM

Quote:
So if you have 4 GB of RAM and create a virutal drive out of 2 GB, and install a Game to that virtual drive what difference in level loading times should you expect.

The benchmarks with the iRAM SSD suggest that the resulst will simply not be that dramatic.

Has anyone done any benchmarks with a faster SSD or a Software based solution?

Techtv done a project on this and for the games they showed the loading took only about a half a second.

Quote:
Doubling the hard drive speed only cuts the time in BF2 loading time from 25 to 20.

So lets say with the Raptor 10 seconds is needed to copy files and the other 15 seconds is work being done by the CPU/GPU.

Doubling the HD speed would then cut the time down to 20 seconds.

Quadruping the HD speed would cut the time to 17.5 seconds.

Think about doing this 80X times but deminishing return of the hard drives would bottle neck at the teens.
April 30, 2006 7:40:04 AM

Anandtech did a through review of Gigabytes iRAM with 16 GB for fast DDR.

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2480&p=8

You could create an HD bottleneck by using uncompressed levels that require no additional processing, which is often done by games that use small levels. No need to optimize when the came loads fast enough anyway.

How long did the same games take to load using a regular hard drive?

Was the story a fair and balanced attempt to show how SSD drives would effect your typical gammer or was it a story showing off cool technology using extreme examples?
April 30, 2006 8:05:20 AM

I have both WD Raptor and Caviar. I used the Raptor for OS and games while the Caviar is for my data, files, musics,back up and other general storage. I have 2 Raptors in raid so I don't know the difference of just one compare to a Caviar. So instead of getting one Raptor (74Gb/$160), I think it's better to get two Caviar (250Gb/$80each) and raid them.
April 30, 2006 9:26:54 AM

I have 2 X 74GB Raptors at at RAID 0. It is brilliant for all work. My PC has the fastest boot up Ive ever seen.
April 30, 2006 10:21:41 AM

Everything is faster using my Raptor 74gig. Load time into Windows xp pro you don't even see a boot screen.

Really, if your getting a complete system as you are. Why not wait to play around on your regular 7200rpm drive, then upgrade to the raptor! Otherwise, how are you going to every know what kind of gain the Raptor has done for you?

Like other have said, spend your extra money on another upgrade like a video card. JMO
April 30, 2006 5:47:42 PM

Quote:
Anandtech did a through review of Gigabytes iRAM with 16 GB for fast DDR.

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2480&p=...

You could create an HD bottleneck by using uncompressed levels that require no additional processing, which is often done by games that use small levels. No need to optimize when the came loads fast enough anyway.

How long did the same games take to load using a regular hard drive?

Was the story a fair and balanced attempt to show how SSD drives would effect your typical gammer or was it a story showing off cool technology using extreme examples?

Do understand the data transfer occurs by SATA and is a limiting factor.
http://www.giga-byte.com/Products/Others/Products_Overv...(Rev%201.1)
I-ram is the slowest of any SSD and is, to me, no more than a large hard drive cache. In the link i-ram beats raptor so even the slowest SSD is faster than raptors. I suggest buying 2Giga of memory and make a fast software base SSD with more than 10X the transfer of i-ram. Note the fact Battlefield 2 needs more than 4 giga yet beats the raptor so guess what the faster mother board ram can do? http://www.cenatek.com/product_rocketdrive.cfm
Quote:
I have 2 X 74GB Raptors at at RAID 0. It is brilliant for all work. My PC has the fastest boot up Ive ever seen.

While most SSD's want help any on boot do we want faster boot or faster level loading? I like getting in on the pistal round in HL2 every map change. Thats right I get in every pistal round and its all about load time unless you have sucky internet access. Understanding the games your running is important to getting good performance and or load times. Putting windows swap file on SSD can greatly increase performance and part of programs not needing loaded every round, loaded into memory and keep in memory, helps make better use of a limited sized SSD.
Quote:
Really, if your getting a complete system as you are. Why not wait to play around on your regular 7200rpm drive, then upgrade to the raptor! Otherwise, how are you going to every know what kind of gain the Raptor has done for you?

The only things a raptor does better is databases and video capture due to shear size only.
!