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What's a really fast, but good size hard drive?

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August 11, 2006 12:43:11 AM

Hey, I'm orderin my pc online, but I'm not sure what hard drive to get.

I kinda want a hard drive that's FAST, but has a lot of hard disk space. I have a 200 gig right now, but that isn't enough space for me. What's the best out right now?

Thanks alot.
August 11, 2006 1:08:55 AM

Well Crew,
Ya want fast??? and lots of hard disk space? ok heres what I would do...
Keep your 200 gig now...is it a SATA? or IDE?
Western Digital has a 10 K Raptor 150 gig SATA that is pretty sweet. Pair that up with your existing 200 and you got more space.
If you want some extra advice, do this. ....Don't put all your stuff on ONE MASSIVE HDD. Why? ....well, if THAT big drive fails, you in the POOP house ma bratha.. :oops: 

This is what I got... I have a WD 74 gig Raptor that I use for my apps and O/S. I have a second Maxtor 250 SATA II for my games, mP3's, movies. Then on my third drive I ONLY use for my back up files, (my Documents etc). I EVEN leave it unplugged. That way if I get a virus, or a serious problem, I just wipe out my hard drive, reformat, and put my docs back where it belongs......an AHM back in bizz :wink: And also in case you didn't know, SATA drives are "hot pluggable" (ie you can unplug one drive and plug in another without restarting.

Now you will undoubtedly get a million other suggestions on how to go about it, but that's what I would do. When I have to replace on e of my back up hdds I will DEFINITELY go with Western Digital.

Hope this helps bro.

RIG specs
Antec P180 PerformanceSeries Mid-Tower Case
SeaSonic S12 600 watt power supply
Asus A8N32 SLI mobo AMD N-Force 4 SLIX16 (bios 1103 V02.58)
RealTek 97 onboard digital 5.1 Surround
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Toledo Core, 2 X 1mb L2 cache (AMD driver 1.3.1.0 w/MS hotfix & AMD Dual Core Optimizer)
2 gigs of Corsair TwinX3500LL Pro @ 437Mhz 2-3-2-6-1T
2- BFG 7900 GT OC 256mb in SLI (nvidia driver 91.31)
Western Digital RAPTOR 74.3 gig 10-K rpm HDD for XP & Apps
Maxtor SATA II 250 G HDD for gaming, movies, MP3's
Maxtor SATA II 250 G HDD for document backup (unplugged)
Sony CDrom 52X
Plextor 708-A DVD/CD rom
Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 THX 500watts
August 11, 2006 1:35:09 AM

ah sweet. Totally forgot about the raptor. I'll have to see how much employee discount I get at bestbuy tomorrow off of it.

Is there a BIG difference between the raptor and others? What changes will I see?

And how much does it usually run?

Thanks alot dude, that was a lot of help.
Related resources
August 11, 2006 2:10:12 AM

Hey Crew,
As far as performance goes, if you are comparing it to an IDE drive... you will DEFINTIELY see a performance boost.

If you compare it to a standard 7200 K SATA or SATA II drive, it won't be a NIGHT AN DAY difference, but you WILL notice that your apps and system performance will be alot snappier. Apps will load quicker and seek times will be faster. Before I got this raptor I was using one of my Maxtor drives for my O/S. When I bought the WD raptor, I definitely noticed a difference in system performance. Boot times seem to be quicker as well, but as I said earlier, it's not a night and day thing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not downing the Raptor's, and remember, you use your rig for different things that I do so you will notice performance gains where I may not. In addition to this, you will encounter arguments as to "why spend the money on a raptor when you can get this.. or get that" .

The bottom line is if you want a high performance hdd that is reliable, SCSI server speed, lots of space, and give your rig a "lil shot of adrenaline" then take a real GOOD LOOK at the WD Raptor 2 150 gig hdd.
I must say if I was able to spend a bit more coin, I would have gotten this piece of eye candy for my rig.

RIG specs
Antec P180 PerformanceSeries Mid-Tower Case
SeaSonic S12 600 watt power supply
Asus A8N32 SLI mobo AMD N-Force 4 SLIX16 (bios 1103 V02.58)
RealTek 97 onboard digital 5.1 Surround
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Toledo Core, 2 X 1mb L2 cache (AMD driver 1.3.1.0 w/MS hotfix & AMD Dual Core Optimizer)
2 gigs of Corsair TwinX3500LL Pro @ 437Mhz 2-3-2-6-1T
2- BFG 7900 GT OC 256mb in SLI (nvidia driver 91.31)
Western Digital RAPTOR 74.3 gig 10-K rpm HDD for XP & Apps
Maxtor SATA II 250 G HDD for gaming, movies, MP3's
Maxtor SATA II 250 G HDD for document backup (unplugged)
Sony CDrom 52X
Plextor 708-A DVD/CD rom
Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 THX 500watts
August 11, 2006 1:18:25 PM

Outside the Raptor 150 category

The Seagate 7200.10 320 GB fits the big & fast & affordable category. The 7200.10 750 GB is even bigger, but not as affordable. Both have higher-than normal density, and the new-fangled perpendicular recording format.

Their sequential transfer rates are among the best -- even in PATA. STR approaches 80 MB/s! That's a good 10-20 MB/s higher than what you might see in a comparable sized Maxtor for example. Definitely fast.

However, I'm pretty sure that it's overall desktop performance is not the best -- there's much more to overall performance than just the STR, in electronics, firmware, etc. However, if you want do HD Tach graphs / other sequential transfer benchmarks (and tasks) well, then the new Seagate will do that very well. I'd suggest them for a two or more drive setup.
August 11, 2006 1:27:51 PM

Hey Mad,
What exactly IS this perpendicular rec format thingy :?

I have seen this mentioned in other related articles. Do you know anything about it? If not I can always google it....just thought I'd ask... :) 

RIG specs
Antec P180 PerformanceSeries Mid-Tower Case
SeaSonic S12 600 watt power supply
Asus A8N32 SLI mobo AMD N-Force 4 SLIX16 (bios 1103 V02.58)
RealTek 97 onboard digital 5.1 Surround
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Toledo Core, 2 X 1mb L2 cache (AMD driver 1.3.1.0 w/MS hotfix & AMD Dual Core Optimizer)
2 gigs of Corsair TwinX3500LL Pro @ 437Mhz 2-3-2-6-1T
2- BFG 7900 GT OC 256mb in SLI (nvidia driver 91.31)
Western Digital RAPTOR 74.3 gig 10-K rpm HDD for XP & Apps
Maxtor SATA II 250 G HDD for gaming, movies, MP3's
Maxtor SATA II 250 G HDD for document backup (unplugged)
Sony CDrom 52X
Plextor 708-A DVD/CD rom
Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 THX 500watts
August 11, 2006 1:33:30 PM

Nice reply guys, good info for all.
August 11, 2006 1:58:34 PM

Quote:
Hey Mad,
What exactly IS this perpendicular rec format thingy :?


I always wanted an excuse to link this flash animation from Hitachi on the subject..

http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/research/recording_head/p...

Pretty easy to follow. Perpendicular is basically the HD industry's way of squeezing more storage into HDs -- for very small higher-capacity drives, for large very high-capacity drives (e.g. 750 GB), and for faster drives altogether.

When you increase the data density, more data flies by the read/write heads at the same platter speed (RPM), and you have to seek less to get to data the same number of bytes away (roughly speaking). So higher density is very good, and perpendicular tech is a good step ahead.

Seagate and Hitachi were at the public forefront in this. WD has also recently announced that it's in the game.

But in the end, you're much better off looking at actual performance numbers than the tech labels on the HD, and in this the new Seagates actually do well.
August 11, 2006 2:23:09 PM

Quote:
Hey, I'm orderin my pc online, but I'm not sure what hard drive to get.

I kinda want a hard drive that's FAST, but has a lot of hard disk space. I have a 200 gig right now, but that isn't enough space for me. What's the best out right now?

Thanks alot.



You could do all of the above, or you could just get one huge 7200 RPM SATA drive and partition it. That would be the equivalent of having two or three hard drives. Use one partition for games (if you want your games to run as fast as they can with just one drive, place them in the very first partition). Put your operating system in the second partition, and use however many other partitions you think you might need but place your pictures, music, etc. in them. Leave one large partition for last so you can use it to back up those files you can't afford to lose.

hball
August 11, 2006 2:35:05 PM

Quote:
you could just get one huge 7200 RPM SATA drive and partition it. That would be the equivalent of having two or three hard drives.


While partitioning is useful, it's not really a replacement for multiple drives for performance. Multiple drives will generally perform better, because (a) there will be less seeking than on the single drive and (b) because data can be pulled from two drives "simultaneously".
August 11, 2006 2:48:14 PM

Quote:

I have a WD 74 gig Raptor that I use for my apps and O/S. I have a second Maxtor 250 SATA II for my games, mP3's, movies.


Ya, this seems to be the best way to go. For many reasons.
August 11, 2006 5:37:39 PM

Thanks for the link Mad, I was always curious aobut that area of technology.

RIG specs
Antec P180 PerformanceSeries Mid-Tower Case
SeaSonic S12 600 watt power supply
Asus A8N32 SLI mobo AMD N-Force 4 SLIX16 (bios 1103 V02.5
RealTek 97 onboard digital 5.1 Surround
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Toledo Core, 2 X 1mb L2 cache (AMD driver 1.3.1.0 w/MS hotfix & AMD Dual Core Optimizer)
2 gigs of Corsair TwinX3500LL Pro @ 437Mhz 2-3-2-6-1T
2- BFG 7900 GT OC 256mb in SLI (nvidia driver 91.31)
Western Digital RAPTOR 74.3 gig 10-K rpm HDD for XP & Apps
Maxtor SATA II 250 G HDD for gaming, movies, MP3's
Maxtor SATA II 250 G HDD for document backup (unplugged)
Sony CDrom 52X
Plextor 708-A DVD/CD rom
Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 THX 500watts
August 11, 2006 5:59:16 PM

Paybax that's one huge signature, do you copy and paste that every time or is that really in there? I makes it look there is more data in the post than there really is. lol
August 11, 2006 6:10:30 PM

for speed (other than a 15k SCSI) the raptor is king, but with a capacity of only 150GB it's really only financially feasible as a boot drive. For capacity and good speed performance the segate 7200.10 series are pretty decent (i have one)
August 12, 2006 2:09:49 AM

Hey PC,
Lots o sig cuz there's lots to ma rig... :) 
I put it in there particularly when there are subjects dealing with system specs.
August 13, 2006 3:47:41 PM

The only thing that sucks for Raptors is the price per Gigabyte. Your paying nearly $2 per gig.
August 18, 2006 3:38:16 PM

thx for the replies. I've come to this conclusion:


what about the YS? I'm buyin today! last component, so cool!!

Which do you think is better?

The WD5000YS 500GB SATA or a 7200.10 SATA 320GB Hard Drive.

I'm going to be playing games, lots of applications... well everything a pc's used for.

ps: in the future I'm going to save up and get the 150 raptor.
August 18, 2006 3:49:22 PM

320GB is alot of space, are you gonna use most of it? If so, get the 500GB. Or check the price difference and if the 500GB is like only $10-20 more, get it.
August 18, 2006 3:51:57 PM

but as for speed, they're both just about the same?
August 18, 2006 4:06:57 PM

Yeah, the Seagate has a lower latency but not by much.
August 18, 2006 4:25:09 PM

I use a 150GB Raptor for OS and installations (games, software) and 2x300GB + 1x200GB for storage. Hard drives in the 150-300GB range are getting really cheap nowadays.

Use Toms HDD charts to figure out the ones you would like and could live with, then get the one which you can find online for the cheapest price per GB (dont take toms benchmark for that, go find prices you want to pay).

But for speed in a non-RAID setup, you cant beat a Raptor. In general, the 150GB raptor has better benchies than the 74GB and the 36GB versions.

If i get around to purchasing another, Raptor RAID 0 ftw =D
August 18, 2006 4:33:36 PM

yeah. I'm going to hold out on the raptors until I can find the 150 for cheaper.

But for now, I did look at toms charts. That's why I came here and asked. I can't decide between the two (WD5000YS GB and the 7200.10 )

I think I'm readin the charts wrong...
August 18, 2006 4:39:22 PM

IMHO, in the benchmarks I look at (Random Access, XP Startup, File Writing Performance, Cost per GB), they are almost equal but the WD5000YS just edges it.
a b G Storage
August 18, 2006 4:46:20 PM

Quote:
Hey, I'm orderin my pc online, but I'm not sure what hard drive to get.

I kinda want a hard drive that's FAST, but has a lot of hard disk space. I have a 200 gig right now, but that isn't enough space for me. What's the best out right now?

Thanks alot.


I have three suggestions for you:

1) Buy a Raptor for your OS and programs. (Expensive for what you get)

2) Buy one really big (320, 500, or 750GB) Seagate 7200.10 drive and maybe keep your old drive for backup or swap file drive. (Middle of the road solution, probably the most sensible though).

3) Buy another 200GB hard drive and set up a RAID 0 with your current HDD for a total of 400GB with bettter performance. (Lowest cost option, but must accept the risk that comes with striping disks)

Do you have a budget?
August 18, 2006 5:28:52 PM

If to you they're the same (seriously, like maybe 1-2% difference), go price per GB.

For the price of 1 WG5000YS, you could get 2x 2700.10 and get 140GB more and save $30.

Plus, if you split your software between them, if one breaks your other one will have about half your stuff on it. Or RAID 0 them and get faster throughput than 1 raptor (throughput, not random access time - this is still limited by the physical spinning itself @ 7200RPM). Though you have increased chance of losing all your data, given that if one breaks you'll lose it all (unless you have a storage). Chances of it going belly up are more than double than normal, in case your onboard RAID controller goes bonkers too.
August 18, 2006 5:59:04 PM

Bear in mind that Hard drives lose performance in 2 common scenarios.

1) Over fragmentation (you write/erase/rewrite to the drives often without defragmenting it)
2) Over filling. Hard drives write on the outside in. That's why in the performance charts that the drives lose performance when they are close to capacity. The inside doesn't spin as fast as the outside. It has the same RPMs but since it's a smaller circle it's not as fast.

Hope this helps,

John
a b G Storage
August 18, 2006 7:10:23 PM



That looks like a very good choice, especially with a low budget. I'll have to think about getting one of these myself.

With a higher budget, I'd seriously think of starting with three of these in a RAID-5; I could always add drives to it later without redoing the whole RAID.
August 19, 2006 12:05:04 AM

Two of those in RAID 1 or 0 would be very nice.

RAID 0 would be faster for longer, but you would need to resist the temptation to fill them up, since 640GB of data can be a pain to backup.

Enjoy.

John
August 19, 2006 12:42:20 AM

I went ape $hit and bought 3 of the 320GB 7200.10. I've had them for a few weeks now, but still haven't gotten around to the RAID 1 thing yet. the 3rd one, for another PC, seems very snappy though. a little noisy but not too bad for the Price\performance. Before I purchased these drives, I was condsidering a 150GB raptor, but they're WAY too expensive for the space. I wonder which is faster: two 320's in RAID 0 or one 150 GB raptor? The two 320s are still cheaper though, and more than 4x the space.

Also, I have an old 74GB 8mb Raptor, the 7200.10 feels faster and HDTach confirms it too. I not exactly sure where the new 16mb raptors fit in, but it doesn't matter to me considering their price.

I highly recommend the 7200.10
though I've heard that seagates 5 year warranty is a refurb unit. see newegg comments. I have no experience with this personally.
August 19, 2006 6:25:02 AM

Quote:
Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 750GB hard drive with perpendicular recording is as fast as a Raptor 150 while holding 5x as much data.


In what benchmark?

ANY pair of RAID 0 7200RPM drives will knock the socks off any Raptor in all benchmarks for reading and writing, except one benchmark, which is the random access time.

If random access time is not a problem for you, go RAID 0 as many 5400 RPM drives if you so wish - again you'll beat the Raptor in every benchmark (with enough drives), except random access time.

If you want to beat that benchmark, get a SCSI PCI card and buy a 15k RPM SCSI Cheetah, but you'll be paying A LOT more $$ per GB.

If like me, you like to be a performance whore, who upgrade to the best whenever you upgrade (even if it means you can only upgrade one bit at a time). Ergo with respect to HDDs, I went for storage, then speed. I've still got one SATA port free for when I get that second raptor, to be even more of a whore. Some time down the line I'll put my storage into a NAS box so I can fill up the 4 SATA ports with more items to whore over. Being a student, we're looking 5/6/7 years down the line here! There are also upgrades I need to look at too, more important than HDDs atm.

If you really want the best and dont care about space or money, get the iRAM. Raptor = 8.5ms access time, iRAM = 0.05ms access time =P But that equates to around $200 for the card, $400 for the RAM, for 4gb space. If you're mad with money, get two and RAID 0 them :p 
August 19, 2006 4:30:53 PM

Quote:
That looks like a very good choice, especially with a low budget. I'll have to think about getting one of these myself.


Something else about these drives that doesn't get near enough play IMHO is that they are "Near Line" drives rated at 1,000,000 hours MTBF.
August 19, 2006 5:57:09 PM

Quote:
yeah. I'm going to hold out on the raptors until I can find the 150 for cheaper.

But for now, I did look at toms charts. That's why I came here and asked. I can't decide between the two (WD5000YS GB and the 7200.10 )

I think I'm readin the charts wrong...


I'd probably go for the WD. Here is a comparison where the WD is included. Good read.

http://www.storagereview.com/articles/200607/500_1.html

My only concern about the WD is that this particular model seems to have a higher than usual initial failure rate (if you are to believe the reviews found at newegg).

HTH.
August 19, 2006 6:15:07 PM

In access time yes, but take a look at some of the others. There is no reason to pay $200 for 150GB when you could get 750GB at nearly the same speed for less than $400.

August 19, 2006 9:08:43 PM

Do you really expect that you'll still want the Raptor 150 5-7 yrs down the line?

I doubt it if you are really as performance hungry, and top notch hungry.

The iRAM has it's issues too. For consumer use, it's probably not really worth it. Other than initial load times, most consumers won't see an appreciable difference, since with windows file caching, once the file was opened recently, it's cached anyway.

If you can justify spending $400 or so on a 750GB hard drive, that's probably a good one. Otherwise, just spend $200 on 2x300GB or so drives, and RAID 0, and get a bare metal restore of when you first install & load drivers. Then do a data backup for your important stuff later on every so often.

There comes a point when counting nano-seconds is not really worth it. I doubt it's really going to make your life that much better to spend another $200-$300 or something crazy to make a game open 10 seconds faster the first time you open it.

Just my two cents,

John
August 20, 2006 12:15:01 AM

Quote:
In access time yes, but take a look at some of the others. There is no reason to pay $200 for 150GB when you could get 750GB at nearly the same speed for less than $400.


Reason 1) If you already have enough space already
Reason 2) Looking for the best of the best
Reason 3) The more you have on a drive, the closer it is to the middle of the platter the slower the read speed is. If you plan on 500GB of info, that last 10GB is going to be slower to load than the first 10GB. This is when compared ot if you already have multiple other storage drives.

Quote:

I doubt it's really going to make your life that much better to spend another $200-$300 or something crazy to make a game open 10 seconds faster the first time you open it.


Most modern games - FPS, MMOs - have rapidly changing scenery and environments, and thus require a lot of small files to be loaded every time you go from area to area. i.e. Oblivion, Prey. If you need to load lots of small files into memory, a small random access time also helps.

I also draw your attention to Battlefield 2. I already have a decent processor, 2GB RAM, and run the settings at 1280x1024 on high. To load a map could take upto 140-150 seconds on a 7200RPM, even more when it was recalibrating the graphical display to a change. With the Raptor I can happily be in a map in 30-40 seconds. This is the biggest advantage to a Raptor I have a use for, and I find it worth it.

Quote:
Do you really expect that you'll still want the Raptor 150 5-7 yrs down the line?

I doubt it if you are really as performance hungry, and top notch hungry.


Compared to most 7200RPM drives, yes. As I'm currently a student I can only upgrade one part at a time, and I'm sure there are people in my position. Maybe 5-7 years down the line, the WD150 will be very cheap, and I'll be able to RAID a few, and I'll still have more performance than the majority of the drives used in the market.

If solid state drives, similar to the iRAM, become an all in one product with equivalent space for the price of a WD150 by then then I may at that point get one, but the HDD market isnt growing in leaps and bounds like the GPU market.

For the past 5 years, in general people have been happy with 7200RPM, and the only people who want the speed get the 10000RPM. For the past 5 years, the only thing that has been big in the market is Size (roughly double every two years), NCQ (which in most cases lowers drive performance) and perpendicular recording. I dont invisage much happening over the next 5-7 years, except 1TB+ drives coming to the market for those who want to store HD films or run NAS.

Quote:
Now back to the original post


There will always want to balance speed and size. For something large, there will be a speed deficit (i.e. data and the end of the drive, random access time). For something fast, there will be a size deficit (150GB vs 500/750GB). All you can do is look at both ends of the spectrum and in the middle. Or take one of each and get the best of both worlds but end up with 2 drives. It all depends on your personal priorities now, and whether you want your HDD to remain the same over the future, or if you will upgrade.

I still run large 7200RPM drives, but for storage and media, where loading times are in the single digits of seconds.
!