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Fastest Hard Drive(s) Needed For Under $250

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January 26, 2007 2:22:29 PM

I'm looking for the fastest Serial ATA hard drive I can buy for under $250 that gives the best disk read/write performance. I am a speed demon and download gigs at a time. I work with ISO's and archive (RAR/ZIP) files on a daily basis and need a drive that can handle a beating when it comes to archive and ISO extraction and copying/moving thousands of files at a time from folder to folder and drive to drive. I was looking into the RE/RE2 models from WDC but have read that those are best used on a server in a raid configuration. I will be using the drive(s) in an AMD Athlon XP or Athlon 64 based desktop system. I also want the most bang for the buck.

I've concluded that getting (2) WD2500KS model drives from WDC for $145 (ZipZoomFly) would be a decent choice. I know the number of platters, size of the platters and number of heads has an impact on performance and temperature. Any input? Thanks.


-- MaSoP
January 26, 2007 3:13:32 PM

You've made the right choice as the raptor is an impressive performer.

I've just been installing one, and getting the old floppy drive out and trying to get it to work, so windows can F6 and read the read & recognize the sata controller is a joke at best.

Does anybody know how much of the 16mb cache the raptor uses as a look ahead buffer? As raid 0 will increase your transfer but it does nothing for your initial access time.

gareth
January 26, 2007 3:29:43 PM

I'd personally go with 2x Seagate 7200.10's in RAID 0. It's (arguably) faster than a single raptor and you'll get 5x the drive space.

There are a ton of articles on Raptor versus RAID tho. I'm a big fan of RAID.
Related resources
January 26, 2007 3:46:09 PM

Good option of the 15k scsi, I checked it out and the card is 50 pin & the drive is 80 pin, all though don't really understand scsi so I'm probably making a newbie comment.

I've had two 7200 rpm drives in raid 0, and I can honestly say raptor runs a feels much better.

I like raptor 150 Gb as boot drive, then with second large 7200rpm.
January 26, 2007 3:50:33 PM

Quote:
This is the fastest drive you can get on the market for under $250, no questions
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...
but you'll need one of these to get it to work, and the space is small
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...


that controller card is a 50 pin scsi adapter that only works with up to scsi-3

the hard drive is a scsi u320 80 pin

scsi is an awsome recomendation, im not so sure he can keep in the price range he wants with the proper scsi controller card - best question would be what are you doing with the system and what kinda of storage requirements does the OP have, before making recomendations on a different hard drive platform. he might not even have room for extra cards....

not trying to hi-jack your post Taco, but scsi, she aint so cheap.........
January 26, 2007 3:56:15 PM

well i re-read the OPs original post - i can honestly say you would be alot more happy with a 15k rpm scsi drive. not so sure you will be happy about the cost though. with that said a 10k rpm raptor will indeed work well for you i do believe.

personally i use 2 10k rpm scsi drives and I wont be looking to getting any ata type drive for a lil while now. I am just overly impressed with the speeds of the scsi interface and the drives themselves, not to mention CPU load is much much less. Cost was higher but I do not regret it.
January 26, 2007 4:15:50 PM

for the least amount of hassle - trust me on this one

i reccoment the Adaptec SCSI Card 29160 (not cheap might be better to find a used one)

if cost is a worry for the 68 pin drives - they have adapters for 80 to 68 pin, I personally use the adapters cuz the 80 pin drives are indeed alot cheaper and it works great - just HAVE to make sure the adapters are LVD(low voltage differential) capable. the adapters cost me like $5 new.

the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681... that you recomended is not LVD capable (only supports up to scsi-3) and tranfer rates on card are only up to 40mb a sec...

even though the card i outlined is ony only a u160 card its a much better option because it will fit into a normal PCI slot (almost all u320 cards are PCI 64 bit, otherwise known as PCI-X not to be confused with PCI Express)

any questions just ask, i'll be back later tonight.

All in all i still think the OP will be happier with SATA - lots cheaper and less hassle.....
January 26, 2007 5:17:43 PM

Correction: 64-bit PCI is different than PCI-X.

You still can, however, install the PCI-X into the PCI slot. Just keep in mind that it's unlikely you'll ever see PCI-X on the desktop, and there's a good chance that PCI will be missing from motherboards in the next couple of years (as soon as Creative starts making PCI-E sound cards :roll: )

*edit* note that PCI is limited to 133MB/s, and that doesn't include overhead. You'll likely cap out at ~80MB/s with single drive reads, but you'll quickly bottleneck the bus as soon as you add another 15k drive.
January 26, 2007 7:36:09 PM

Quote:
I think the raptor combined with the 250gig is the best bet for speed and stability, as the faster the drive spins at and the higher the bandwidth, the shorter the lifetime and the less the stability

Trust me, I do more than just mess with tacos :mrgreen:


What about 2nd best? Since I'm capped at $250 and have 2 drives to replace, I was considering 2 of the WD2500KS (SE16) models and getting a Raptor later once funding is a bit eased. I'll be replacing 2 WD1200JB models to give you an idea of the performance difference. I'm definately staying away from RAID for the time being. The boot drive is going to be one of these drives. Thanks for the input!

-- MaSoP
January 26, 2007 8:07:03 PM

150 MB raptor was $189 on newegg special last week (with rebate)

Two raptor's is nice (one booter & one for the swap file) if you have the $'s.

But I personnally wouldn't try to future proof yourself by planning on Raid 0'ing these drives, The 10k rpm been around for few years now, the 15k has to be round the corner soon? (anyone got any inside details on this?)

Just a side thought - everyone likes the fastest CPU, but am I alone in believing the hard drive is the bottle neck 80% of the time?
January 26, 2007 8:49:24 PM

Quote:
Correction: 64-bit PCI is different than PCI-X.

You still can, however, install the PCI-X into the PCI slot. Just keep in mind that it's unlikely you'll ever see PCI-X on the desktop, and there's a good chance that PCI will be missing from motherboards in the next couple of years (as soon as Creative starts making PCI-E sound cards :roll: )

*edit* note that PCI is limited to 133MB/s, and that doesn't include overhead. You'll likely cap out at ~80MB/s with single drive reads, but you'll quickly bottleneck the bus as soon as you add another 15k drive.


PCI-X = 64 bit
link - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI-X

not agru'n just the facts...

EDIT - when a SCSI card has listed specs as a 64bit card it often means a PCI-X card, yes i know there are PCI 64 bit slots in higher end systems....

although it seems like an awful lot of reading concidering the OP isnt likely to go with a scsi solution anyway :p 
January 26, 2007 9:01:01 PM

Quote:

...almost all u320 cards are PCI 64 bit, otherwise known as PCI-X not to be confused with PCI Express...

PCI-X = 64 bit
link - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI-X

not agru'n just the facts...

EDIT - when a SCSI card has listed specs as a 64bit card it often means a PCI-X card, yes i know there are PCI 64 bit slots in higher end systems....


I just want to straighten it out a bit, as not to confuse anyone ;)  Even though PCI-X is 64-bit, 64-bit PCI is different, and they shouldn't be confused :) 

It's either 64-bit PCI or PCI-X, as 64-bit PCI and PCI-X are different standards.
January 26, 2007 9:16:26 PM

Taco Dude :) 

Please 'splain what da' F yer talkin' about regarding WD1500's w/o transparent top being ECC deficient vs. transparent top? ... and, where did ya' get the info you are citing? :roll:
January 26, 2007 9:37:13 PM

Quote:

...almost all u320 cards are PCI 64 bit, otherwise known as PCI-X not to be confused with PCI Express...

PCI-X = 64 bit
link - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI-X

not agru'n just the facts...

EDIT - when a SCSI card has listed specs as a 64bit card it often means a PCI-X card, yes i know there are PCI 64 bit slots in higher end systems....


I just want to straighten it out a bit, as not to confuse anyone ;)  Even though PCI-X is 64-bit, 64-bit PCI is different, and they shouldn't be confused :) 

It's either 64-bit PCI or PCI-X, as 64-bit PCI and PCI-X are different standards.

and i shoulda pointed it out to start with, indeed....

simply put though most 64 bit cards and some pci-x cards will dumb down to a 32bit slot... if it's a pci-x card that will plug into a pci slot, you will have a good bit of card hanging out the back and possibly bumping into things you dont want it to=big hassle heh. and yes its pretty easy to saturate the bandwidth of a single 32bit PCI slot

currently im looking at LSI21320-IS which is a u320 card at a decent price used.... just as a note to the OP it can be had for $40 on ebay if yur comfortable with buying from ebay anyhow. personally ive had good luck.

cheers

cheers
!