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Building new system, and lost chosing the HDD(s?)

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February 6, 2007 3:11:53 PM

I am building a new computer, with the following parts:

* Core 2 Duo E6300
* Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3
* Asus X1950Pro
* OCZ 2x1Gb. PC2-6400 System Elite Dual Channel Kit

After a lot of reading, that was meant to clear my mind and make a decision, I have to admit I am more puzzled than before, hereby a few questions I look forward to find an answer to.

1.- Raptor, or not to Raptor? I was thinking about getting a Raptor X or the cheaper, regular 150Gb Raptor version. Are they significanlty more noisy than other drives, like the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10.16Mb.320Gb? Is their performance really noticeable for the everyday gaming? And that leads me to questin #2 :) 

2.- Single Raptor vs. 2xSeagate RAID 0 setup? I take the raid setup would yield a higher performance, and seeing that 2xRaptors on RAID 0 is out of reach for my budget, would the "cheaper" raid option be the best option?

3.- 2xSeagate RAID 0 vs. 1 single Seagate drive: will the double cost, agan, give a noticeable performance boost?

4.- The Seagate model I mentioned before, or a WD Caviar SE16WD3200KS? For any of the previous setups, that is.

To sum up, I'll add that I live in Spain and that I can get the Seagates much easier than the Raptors (no idea why shops don't include them in their catalogues, guess they are too expensive for regular customers?), and the prices are something like:

* Raptor X: 210€ - need to order at online shop, so add delivery.
* Raptor 150Gb: 205€ (so for 5€ I wouldn't mind getting the X... just that I don't really know the difference ^^) - again at online shop.
* Seagate Barracuda 7200.10.320Gb: 96€ - available at local shop.
* WD Caviar 320Gb: 97€ - available at local shop.

Sorry if this was too long and/or boring to read, any comment or information -maybe also related to the whole build- is more than welcome.
February 7, 2007 12:34:54 PM

Quote:
Let the numbers do the talking:

http://anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2628&p=9
Thanks for the link Rockyjohn. But... the models in that article are not those I am uncertain to get. Still, it's good to see that the Raptor is not that noisy compared to other drives, but the performance difference is not that clear either -so I have mostly discarded that option, unless someone points me in the other direction.

I've read an article like that -cannot find it again- when they came to the concluion that both the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10.320 and the WD Caviar SE16WD3200 drives had a virtual "draw", where only the extra guarantee provided by Seagate put it on the lead. Any personal experience can confirm this point?
Related resources
February 7, 2007 1:14:22 PM

What are you going to be using your computer for?
February 7, 2007 1:44:42 PM

Quote:
What are you going to be using your computer for?
True, forgot that bit: it's my home coputer, and even if I mostly use it for non-hardcore gaming (WoW, mostly), also do sporadic video edition and office work on it.
February 7, 2007 1:49:34 PM

I've been in the pc business over 25 yrs, and my best advice for RAID is: u only need RAID if you plan to use the pc for a business or static website.

Static website meaning that you host your website on your pc, instead of paying a hosting company.
February 7, 2007 1:57:38 PM

I have the raptor 150GB, this article is wrong the drive is noticeable noisier, and head seek is 2x to 3x as loud as a typical 7200rpm drive. It's fast, and gives your system good response - but I doubt I would pay the premium for it again.

Just buy two 7200rpm drives, boot off one, and put your swap file on the other one, I won't bother with raid 0, just set your applications to read off one and write to the other one.
February 7, 2007 2:43:57 PM

Quote:
I am building a new computer, with the following parts:

* Core 2 Duo E6300
* Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3
* Asus X1950Pro
* OCZ 2x1Gb. PC2-6400 System Elite Dual Channel Kit

After a lot of reading, that was meant to clear my mind and make a decision, I have to admit I am more puzzled than before, hereby a few questions I look forward to find an answer to.

1.- Raptor, or not to Raptor? I was thinking about getting a Raptor X or the cheaper, regular 150Gb Raptor version. Are they significanlty more noisy than other drives, like the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10.16Mb.320Gb? Is their performance really noticeable for the everyday gaming? And that leads me to questin #2 :) 

2.- Single Raptor vs. 2xSeagate RAID 0 setup? I take the raid setup would yield a higher performance, and seeing that 2xRaptors on RAID 0 is out of reach for my budget, would the "cheaper" raid option be the best option?

3.- 2xSeagate RAID 0 vs. 1 single Seagate drive: will the double cost, agan, give a noticeable performance boost?

4.- The Seagate model I mentioned before, or a WD Caviar SE16WD3200KS? For any of the previous setups, that is.

To sum up, I'll add that I live in Spain and that I can get the Seagates much easier than the Raptors (no idea why shops don't include them in their catalogues, guess they are too expensive for regular customers?), and the prices are something like:

* Raptor X: 210€ - need to order at online shop, so add delivery.
* Raptor 150Gb: 205€ (so for 5€ I wouldn't mind getting the X... just that I don't really know the difference ^^) - again at online shop.
* Seagate Barracuda 7200.10.320Gb: 96€ - available at local shop.
* WD Caviar 320Gb: 97€ - available at local shop.

Sorry if this was too long and/or boring to read, any comment or information -maybe also related to the whole build- is more than welcome.


I'm not an expert, just a guy who wants the best bang for the buck.

Here we go:

1) Don't worry about the Raptors. On the one hand, they are nice if you have the extra money. On the other hand, IMHO, their added expense is NOT worth the slight speed increase if you are on a budget (which you said that you are).

I believe that the Raptor X is like the regular non-X Raptor except that it has a transparent cover allowing you to see inside the hard drive. Who cares unless your PC's case has a window?

I think that the Raptors, even the newer ones, are noisier than the Seagate 7200.10 hard drives.

I think that the Raptors' performance is noticeable if you have large files being transferred, such as during Windows XP startup, gaming startup, and video/audio editing.

2) A Seagate 7200.10 RAID setup will almost definitely beat a single Raptor drive...and be cheaper (assuming that the RAID controller already came imbedded in your motherboard and that you don't have to buy a separate RAID controller).

The Raptor RAID setup is VERY FAST, but very expensive. The best RAID bang for the buck is a Seagate 7200.10 (or other moderately fast drive) RAID setup in a RAID 0 (not RAID 1) configuration.

There are other RAID combinations (RAID 1+0, RAID 0+1, RAID 5, RAID 12). I'll let the experts comment on them; but, those other combinations seem too extravagant and expensive for the typical user.

Yes, the "cheaper" RAID option is the better option.

3) The Seagate 7200.10 RAID option (with 2 drives) will double the cost and give a large performance boost (not double, but still good). This extra cost is, IMHO, well worth the money. Remember, on the typical PC, the hard drive tends to be the slowest component (after the CD/DVD, USB/Firewire, and the old floppy drives). The hard drive system will be your PC's bottleneck 99% of the time. Anything you can do to speed it up is a good thing.

4) I don't know the performance/price difference between the Seagate 7200.10 and the Western Digital Caviar SE16WD3200KS. All I know is that I have a Seagate 7200.10 and love it.

RECOMMENDATION - Buy two (2) Seagate 7200.10 320Gb Hard drives and put them in a RAID 0 configuration.

* Don't do this unless you need the extra speed. You may find it better (and safer) to spend the extra $ on a slower, larger hard drive for backup purposes.

* Make sure that your motherboard already has the ability to do RAID. Otherwise, you'll need to buy a good RAID card to add to a free slot in your motherboard. Do not use software RAID. Use only hardware-based RAID.

* Think about buying three (3) 7200.10 hard drives. Place two (2) in a RAID 0 configuration and install the operating system (OS) and applications on these RAID drives. Use the 3rd drive by itself to store user files which you won't need to load very quickly like the OS and applications.

* If you are using RAID 0, and even if you are not, buy another hard drive solely for backup purposes...and use it regularly.

Your post was NOT too long. I find that it is better to err on the side of including too much information than not enough.

If I have posted any inaccuracies, I am sure that the experts here will comment quickly. :) 
February 7, 2007 3:32:05 PM

Thanks for the replies, specially JimSpaza :)  Was exactly what I was looking for, and I really appreciatte the effort you took with that long and ellaborated reply. Now my mind is clearer, maybe not 100% but way better than before.
!