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Cheap RAID Ravages WD Raptor

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March 12, 2007 10:53:58 AM

A quick hard drive such as Western Digital's Raptor noticeably accelerates your PC, but is it still the best choice for enthusiasts?
a b G Storage
March 12, 2007 11:31:15 AM

Nice article. Thanks for the link.

I thought this was informative and interesting considering there have been a number of threads debating the use of RAID0 over a single drive. But, when you consider the intent and purpose of RAID in general, it's not a real surprise that a cheap RAID0 array can outpace a fast single drive.

Raptor or not, Western Digital all the way!
March 12, 2007 11:48:02 AM

I remember several threads here where many supposedly knowledgeable posters told me I was wrong when I said there's a noticeable performance gain on a desktop PC by using raid 0. Well I guess this article massively proves they're wrong.

However, the real point is missed in the article. I doubt if hardly anyone is really making a buying choice between a single raptor and two other hard drives as if you need tons of space you wouldn't even consider a single raptor in the first place.

The real point that they missed in the article is how good the case is for putting 2 raptors in raid 0, that way you get both large and crazy fast storage.
Related resources
March 12, 2007 11:59:33 AM

Quote:
I remember several threads here where many supposedly knowledgeable posters told me I was wrong when I said there's a noticeable performance gain on a desktop PC by using raid 0. Well I guess this article massively proves they're wrong.


RAID is a very context dependent technology which is entirely dependent on the RAID controller used. You see a much more significant increase in performance with a high end controller vs. onboard on an enthusiast motherboard. RAID does a very good job in proper applications, but certain instances it doesn't do jack. Something to keep in mind is that several of these benchmarks were synthetic and won't mimic what you see in an average day by an average user.

People who use large files, have little RAM (ergo use the page file constantly), work with scratch disks in adobe, etc. will see noticable improvements with RAID 0. In gaming load times, day to day access of the internet, M$ office files, etc. will see little improvement (if any).

As for the article.... Anyone notice the Raptor's write speed being capped at 150MB/s in the first set of benchies? Doesn't that strike yall as odd? I realize the interface of the Raptor 150 is SATA 150 and therefore limited to 150MB/s, but SATA is a point to point connection. So if you are using 2 SATA connection you have a theoretical bandwidth of 300MB/s (150MB/s for each drive). Unless, going through the RAID controller merges these two lanes and is then capped by the resulting SATA 150 spec...

Any thoughts?
March 12, 2007 1:00:26 PM

What I find interesting is that a Raid 0 setup with Raptors is about the only setup that is fast enough to warrant SATA2-300, and yet they're about the only drive that's still using SATA-150. D'oh!
March 12, 2007 1:07:23 PM

Quote:
Well I guess this article massively proves they're wrong.

The only thing this article proves is how the quality of reporting on THG has declined through the years. Of course a RAID array is going to trounce a single drive in STR (sustained transfer rate) and related benchmarks. For desktop use, its still going to be slower, however. The article recycles the same old misconceptions about RAID, its intent and purposes, and its performance implications.

The first hint the author is clueless is his statement that, "Though a RAID 0 array doesn't reduce access time." A Raid array doesn't reduce access time true...but it doesn't leave it untouched either. It increases it. A single drive has mean rotational latency of 1/2(1/rpm)...whereas for a three drive array, the figure is 0.875(1/rpm) for writing and 0.75(1/rpm) for reading.

RAID 0 massively boosts STR, but it increases rotational latency as well. For server usage patterns, STR tends to trump latency...especially on wide arrays as STR increases linearly, but latency increases logarithmically. But for desktop usage patterns and narrow arrays, the situation is different. In nearly every possible situation, you'll get better performance out of a two-spindle independent disk setup, rather than by linking those two drives into a RAID 0 array.

Another hint the author doesn't fully understand RAID is when he compares a "fast" RAID 0 array to "slow" RAID 1. For writing, this is invariably true. However, for reading small-to-medium sized files, RAID 1 with a savvy controller can exceed the performance of RAID 0. The reasons why lie in rotational latency again. RAID 0 must meet the expectation value of all drives in the array, whereas RAID 1 can take the first drive able to answer the request.
March 12, 2007 1:35:49 PM

Quote:
I remember several threads here where many supposedly knowledgeable posters told me I was wrong when I said there's a noticeable performance gain on a desktop PC by using raid 0. Well I guess this article massively proves they're wrong.


I think the conclusion in the article is a little off base, as is your statement. The article does show that RAID has noticeable results, especially when manipulating large files. 100+MB/sec reads and writes is amazing. If you do large file manipulation, or work with large files in the form of videos, music, CAD, etc. etc., the RAID setup will double the speed of transers and halve your wait time. However, if seek time is your biggest concern, like with DB access or booting windows, then spindle speed is your only concern.

Going to a high speed spindle like the Raptor or a high throughput setup like the RAID 0 configuration will lead to noticeable results over a single 7200 RPM drive no matter what, but which is best depends on what you're doing with your computer.
a b G Storage
March 12, 2007 1:52:23 PM

Quote:
I remember several threads here where many supposedly knowledgeable posters told me I was wrong when I said there's a noticeable performance gain on a desktop PC by using raid 0. Well I guess this article massively proves they're wrong.


I have never owned a Raptor. If they dropped in price by 25%, I would consider pruchasing 2, and I would run them in RAID 0.
The 2 $40 drives I have in RAID 0 absolutely make a huge difference over any other single drive I have ever owned. No doubt about it, the performance is there, and can be felt.

No matter what kind of drive setup you choose to run, backup, backup, backup cannot be stressed enough.
a b G Storage
March 12, 2007 2:37:15 PM

Quote:
The only thing this article proves is how the quality of reporting on THG has declined...

and...
Quote:
The first hint the author is clueless is...


Wow! 8O

Maybe you should write for Tom's then... :roll:
March 12, 2007 2:42:14 PM

Quote:
Aside from access time, which can be managed
and minimized with NCQ and regular defragmentation,
the most important limiting factor, overall, is the rate
at which raw data passes under the read/write heads.

Since the binary digits are passing under the
read/write heads at less than 100 MB/second,
even on the Raptor, an interface speed
of 150 MB/second is still more than adequate,
overall.

I believe this is the reason why WD has not
increased the Raptor's interface speed,
even though this product has been on the
market for several years now.

It's only when a file is small enough to fit
entirely within the HDD's cache that
the faster interface speed begins to
make a noticeable difference. Seagate's
website has a few documents which explain
this phenomenon in detail.

On the margin, a 16MB cache should be
mandatory in any SATA-2 HDD that also
has a 300 MB/second interface. A 32MB
cache would be even better (but not
currently available in a single HDD).


We've come to believe that adding more RAM
and configuring the additional RAM as a
RamDisk or SuperCache is a much
cheaper way to accelerate regular
disk I/O, like browser cache and
swap file access. Just compare
10 ms access times with the speed
at which standard DDR2-6400 oscillates
i.e. nanosecond cycle time and
NO READ/WRITE HEAD MOVEMENT
-AND-
NO ROTATIONAL LATENCY!

And, Windows XP/Pro will still "swap"
a program even if there is unused RAM
available for that program to use.

Why force a "swap" to use a relatively slow HDD
when so much unused RAM is available?

RamDisk Plus configures a region of RAM
to operate like any other letter drive,
without requiring BIOS changes.
It also saves and restores the contents
of each RamDisk between shutdowns
and startups: very slick implementation!


Sincerely yours,
/s/ Paul Andrew Mitchell
Webmaster, Supreme Law Library
http://www.supremelaw.org/


Cheers for that. It's always been a bit of mystery why you can add more RAM and XP responds by using an even bigger swap file. Do you think it would be ok to sacrifice 512k of 2gb to a ramdisk, or are we talking about getting another 2gb and ramdisking that?
March 12, 2007 2:52:09 PM

As someone who needed to make the same choice a few weeks ago. My requirements were performance and reliability. I wasn't particularly concerned about capacity as I have another drive for those purposes.

I had my system hard disk crash, which resulted me being off the air for almost a week while I got a replacement.

I chose 2 x 400GB WD RE2 drives but I have connected them using RAID 1 mirroring instead of RAID 0 striping.

Sure I lose 400GB of disk space but I gain in read performance, get slightly worse write performance, and I have the best reliability as I can keep on running even with 1 of the disks failing.

Considering I was comparing 1 x 150GB Raptor vs 2 x 400GB RE2 disks, I think the RAID1 solution was the best for me considering my requirements.
March 12, 2007 2:58:05 PM

Quote:
Wow! Maybe you should write for Tom's then... :roll:

Sorry if you felt it was overly harsh, but the old THG never would have released a steaming pile of doggie doo like this. It's bad enough for the article to announce that RAID increases STR and latency like it's the discovery of fire or something. But then to conclude from that-- without a single real-world application benchmark-- that RAID is "faster" is worse than outrageous. It's criminally inept.

There is nothing in this article that couldn't have been deduced from a pencil and paper alone, without testing. Nothing but its conclusions, that is...conclusions that are wholly and completely incorrect.
March 12, 2007 3:14:58 PM

Quote:
Sure I lose 400GB of disk space but I gain in read performance, get slightly worse write performance, and I have the best reliability as I can keep on running even with 1 of the disks failing.


I think this will depend on your controller. The cheap onboard ones I doubt will take advantage of that opportunity, but the high end dedicated cards should (at least any worth their money). I don't know what you use as a controller so you could very well be right, but it is worth pointing out.
March 12, 2007 3:19:53 PM

Quote:
A Raid array doesn't reduce access time true...but it doesn't leave it untouched either. It increases it. A single drive has mean rotational latency of 1/2(1/rpm)...whereas for a three drive array, the figure is 0.875(1/rpm) for writing and 0.75(1/rpm) for reading.


I don't necessarily disagree. However, I do wonder where you get this formula from.

I understand the first one (that is easy), but where does the 3 drive array formula come from (and the read/write formulas)?

I see what you're driving at, but haven't seen it documented before.
March 12, 2007 3:26:13 PM

Quote:
I remember several threads here where many supposedly knowledgeable posters told me I was wrong when I said there's a noticeable performance gain on a desktop PC by using raid 0. Well I guess this article massively proves they're wrong.

However, the real point is missed in the article. I doubt if hardly anyone is really making a buying choice between a single raptor and two other hard drives as if you need tons of space you wouldn't even consider a single raptor in the first place.

The real point that they missed in the article is how good the case is for putting 2 raptors in raid 0, that way you get both large and crazy fast storage.


Like some noted above, the article is a bit misleading (and yes, a little below the standard we have come to expect fro Tom's over the years).

If you notice in the only benchmark that resembles real-life scenario for desktop (as in NOT sequential transfer) single Raptor beats 7200RPM Raid. Furthermore, the single Raptor beats the Raptor RAID in windows start-up time bench. Like you are so rightfully noted, this HAS been talked about, and the point it the real world on desktop does not justify the use of RAID.

Now, if you like running synthetic benches time and time again and getting off on the results, be our guest. Come to think of it, be our guest either way. People that have said something about RAID0 in these forums simply try to explain to people that "your mileage may vary," and quite dramatically, depending on the usage scenario. If you notice the same people that advocate against the use of RAID0 for typical desktop scenario recommend it for people who intend to do a lot of multimedia work, where sequential transfers are utilized quite often. It's hard to recommend RAID0 for servers; you would really like some redundancy there.

Now, going back to the article, it is quite a shame that the focus was on synthetic transfer rate benches. More real life benches would have been great.
March 12, 2007 3:32:36 PM

Quote:

I don't necessarily disagree. However, I do wonder where you get this formula from.

I understand the first one (that is easy), but where does the 3 drive array formula come from (and the read/write formulas)?
Its basic statistics. The expectation value is the series:

Summation(k=1,n) [1/2^k * f^-1]

Where n is the number of drives in the array.

And actually, I made a slight error in my first post...I was thinking of RAID 5 (not 0) when I gave those values, hence the difference between reading and writing (Raid 5 doesn't need to access the parity disk on nonerror reads).
March 12, 2007 3:39:59 PM

It would really be interesting to see the the 150's verses the 36, or the 74 gig drives. Smaller drives = faster.

I run a raid 5 with 36 gig Raptors...and its the hotness!
March 12, 2007 3:42:50 PM

Quote:
Its basic statistics. The expectation value is the series:

Summation(k=1,n) [1/2^k * f^-1]

Where n is the number of drives in the array.

And actually, I made a slight error in my first post...I was thinking of RAID 5 (not 0) when I gave those values, hence the difference between reading and writing (Raid 5 doesn't need to access the parity disk on nonerror reads).


It's been a good while since I had "basic" statistics. We didn't do much more than probability, so I don't have a working knowledge of statistics other than basic probability (which is sad :cry:  ).

That makes sense, RAID 5 should have different speeds on read/write for that reason.

I guess this RAID article got you motivated to register and post here :wink:
March 12, 2007 3:45:10 PM

Quote:
It would really be interesting to see the the 150's verses the 36, or the 74 gig drives. Smaller drives = faster.

I run a raid 5 with 36 gig Raptors...and its the hotness!


Depends which version. The smaller drives aren't any faster. The 150GB raptors use 2 74 GB platters, the 74GB raptors use 1 74GB platter and the "new" 36 ones use 1 74GB platter with 1/2 of it disabled.

The old 36GB raptors used 1 36GB platter.

Smaller != faster, higher areal density = faster (*in general*)
March 12, 2007 3:57:46 PM

I agree, the absence of real-world benchmarking, aside from winxp load time, makes the article misleading. The title itself is ridiculous, it should read, Cheap RAID Ravages WD Raptor In Certain Circumstances That Few If Any Of Our Readers Will Encounter.

RAID 0 is great for certain server/video/imaging applications. For gaming and general use the performance gain is minimal if there is one at all, in many scenarios you will encounter a performance hit due to increased seek times. There's been a number of forum discussions about this lately, and this article is only going to cause more confusion on the topic. Seriously THG, think of your audience, real-world benchies are a must. Otherwise, people will dump their money into RAID0 and miss out on more important components, and incur a performance penalty for doing so.
March 12, 2007 4:09:14 PM

I would have to agree with the comments about the poor quality of this article:

(1) The article doesn't include any real world performance comparisons. These are the only comparisons that count! To draw any conclusions without these is pointless.

(2) The performance compromises of single drive vs Raid 0 vs Raid 1 are quite well known and generally agreed upon. To not summarise these at the beginning and not properly take them into account in the rest of article is a mistake.

(3) IMO, the quality of the writing is also poor.
March 12, 2007 4:12:39 PM

I love how at the bottom of the article they post a link to an earlier review, in which they declare:

"The Raptor-X's performance is even good enough to beat a RAID 0 array consisting of two modern 7,200 RPM drives, except in terms of pure throughput, of course."

Raptor-X tends performance lead

Contradiction anyone?

So which is it THG?

And killian101, the 74GB raptor is actually the fastest of the three in most benches, it has the advantage of a single platter over the 150, and better interface than the older 36.
March 12, 2007 4:13:39 PM

Quote:
I agree, the absence of real-world benchmarking, aside from winxp load time, makes the article misleading. The title itself is ridiculous, it should read, Cheap RAID Ravages WD Raptor In Certain Circumstances That Few If Any Of Our Readers Will Encounter.

RAID 0 is great for certain server/video/imaging applications. For gaming and general use the performance gain is minimal if there is one at all, in many scenarios you will encounter a performance hit due to increased seek times. There's been a number of forum discussions about this lately, and this article is only going to cause more confusion on the topic. Seriously THG, think of your audience, real-world benchies are a must. Otherwise, people will dump their money into RAID0 and miss out on more important components, and incur a performance penalty for doing so.



aaaah...
some more proof of how useless raptors are.
There is a difference between innovation and empty calories:p 

I will wait for main stream solid state drives.
Who are raptor drives for realy?
Enthusiast?
Big pocket books?
Corporations?
I dont think so!

I just cant help but think raptors are the windows equivalent of Win ME.
March 12, 2007 4:21:14 PM

Quote:
I love how at the bottom of the article they post a link to an earlier review, in which they declare:

"The Raptor-X's performance is even good enough to beat a RAID 0 array consisting of two modern 7,200 RPM drives, except in terms of pure throughput, of course."


Brilliant! Well for me, that neatly encapsulates the current state of TH. Articles with opposite conclusions, both lacking in real world application performance tests.
March 12, 2007 4:21:57 PM

I have a Raptor 150 and love it. The reason? I do lots of small to medium size reads spanning my entire disk, so the Raptor's 10K RPM helps alot. In terms of game load time and port point load time (in my MMORPG, not necessarily BF2142, etc) the Raptor is king. There was a very noticeable improvement in load times/responsiveness. The lag spikes on the load zones aren't nearly as bad now.

I agree the Raptor is losing its "market" with 7200 RPM drives able to catch up in STR, but in small frequent I/O's they are still lagging, and for good reason.
March 12, 2007 4:38:08 PM

Quote:
I have a Raptor 150 and love it. The reason? I do lots of small to medium size reads spanning my entire disk, so the Raptor's 10K RPM helps alot. In terms of game load time and port point load time (in my MMORPG, not necessarily BF2142, etc) the Raptor is king. There was a very noticeable improvement in load times/responsiveness. The lag spikes on the load zones aren't nearly as bad now.

I agree the Raptor is losing its "market" with 7200 RPM drives able to catch up in STR, but in small frequent I/O's they are still lagging, and for good reason.



You dont justify the 6x cost of the raptor in anyway in your post...
I'm glad loading 3 sec faster is worth your money.
HDD access time is nothing compared to DRAM for example. SO why bring out inferior technology at a higher cost and call it "new". I dont even consider raptors to be an upgrade.
March 12, 2007 4:53:30 PM

Quote:
A quick hard drive such as Western Digital's Raptor noticeably accelerates your PC, but is it still the best choice for enthusiasts?


I know this is a bit off topic, but why hasn't SCSI (SAS to be exact) been the topic of HDD enthusiasts? Seems to me these destroy the X Raptors in many (not all mind you) categories.

Any comments on why SCSI isn't so popular ( other than price point )?
March 12, 2007 4:54:04 PM

Quote:
I'm glad loading 3 sec faster is worth your money...I dont even consider raptors to be an upgrade.

I don't know what passes for logic in your head. You admit the Raptors are faster, then claim they're "not an upgrade"? What do you consider an upgrade, if not additional speed...pink ribbons and little bells?
March 12, 2007 5:06:23 PM

Quote:
I'm glad loading 3 sec faster is worth your money...I dont even consider raptors to be an upgrade.

I don't know what passes for logic in your head. You admit the Raptors are faster, then claim they're "not an upgrade"? What do you consider an upgrade, if not additional speed...pink ribbons and little bells?

Something with a sizeable increase in speed and capacity, without being expensive for what it does?
March 12, 2007 5:15:26 PM

I agree that this article could have been a lot better with some real world comparisons. I'm trying to build a WinXP or Vista box to process all the video we've got of our new kid. How much faster will the transcoding take with these drives?

Besides, if money really wasn't a problem, I'd buy 4 or 6 of the 74 GB Raptors & throw them in a RAID 0+1. It would be stable and fast (on the read side, at least). One can dream....
March 12, 2007 5:37:03 PM

Well, it depends on the file size. You would probably see a benefit with RAID0. You can get 2 160GB WD AAJS's on newegg for $100. Pretty sweet deal there.
March 12, 2007 5:40:29 PM

Quote:
I have a Raptor 150 and love it. The reason? I do lots of small to medium size reads spanning my entire disk, so the Raptor's 10K RPM helps alot. In terms of game load time and port point load time (in my MMORPG, not necessarily BF2142, etc) the Raptor is king. There was a very noticeable improvement in load times/responsiveness. The lag spikes on the load zones aren't nearly as bad now.

I agree the Raptor is losing its "market" with 7200 RPM drives able to catch up in STR, but in small frequent I/O's they are still lagging, and for good reason.



You dont justify the 6x cost of the raptor in anyway in your post...
I'm glad loading 3 sec faster is worth your money.
HDD access time is nothing compared to DRAM for example. SO why bring out inferior technology at a higher cost and call it "new". I dont even consider raptors to be an upgrade.

The technology of the Raptor isn't inferior, it's just not a revolutionary change from current tech. They're the best single HDD's around, period. If you can afford them, why would you not buy them? The warranty is better than almost any other commercial HDD, they improve system response time noticeably, and they transfer and write faster. What's your beef? When better technology is released, the Raptor will disappear or change. Until then, it rules the roost.
March 12, 2007 5:41:57 PM

Quote:
I have a Raptor 150 and love it. The reason? I do lots of small to medium size reads spanning my entire disk, so the Raptor's 10K RPM helps alot. In terms of game load time and port point load time (in my MMORPG, not necessarily BF2142, etc) the Raptor is king. There was a very noticeable improvement in load times/responsiveness. The lag spikes on the load zones aren't nearly as bad now.

I agree the Raptor is losing its "market" with 7200 RPM drives able to catch up in STR, but in small frequent I/O's they are still lagging, and for good reason.



You dont justify the 6x cost of the raptor in anyway in your post...
I'm glad loading 3 sec faster is worth your money.
HDD access time is nothing compared to DRAM for example. SO why bring out inferior technology at a higher cost and call it "new". I dont even consider raptors to be an upgrade.

Hmmm volatile vs. nonvolatile. Yes a DRAM drive is faster but it loses data when it loses power, thus you have to set it up again. To achieve the results you want, I would have to install the game to the DRAM drive and either never lose power, or reinstall it every time I do lose power. You know I don't see that happening. For all the headaches it would cause, not to mention I would have to attempt to find the same exact RAM I have in my system (not sig rig, don't ask lol) which is nearly 2 years old unless I want even more headaches.
March 12, 2007 5:52:06 PM

Quote:
It would really be interesting to see the the 150's verses the 36, or the 74 gig drives. Smaller drives = faster.

I run a raid 5 with 36 gig Raptors...and its the hotness!


Actually all the benchies I've seen show that the 150 is around the same as the 74's, and a lot faster than the 36's.
March 12, 2007 5:56:37 PM

Quote:

I'm glad loading 3 sec faster is worth your money.
HDD access time is nothing compared to DRAM for example. SO why bring out inferior technology at a higher cost and call it "new". I dont even consider raptors to be an upgrade.


Yep 3 sec faster is definately worth it to me.
Sure DRAM would be nice, but the storage costs are factors of thousands more.
How much would 300GB of DRAM cost in comparison to the cost of 2 raptors? (then also factor in the cost of the battery and refresh-scan electronics to keep it persistent when the PC is off).
March 12, 2007 6:15:44 PM

Depends which 36 and which 74 (there are 2 version of each, see previous response) :wink:
March 12, 2007 6:42:03 PM

I'm sad to see 3x and 4x drive RAID 0 benchmarks missing from this article.

2xRAPTOR X = ~$440 (0.3 TB)
4xWD 320GB = ~$370 (1.2 TB)


I bet you that the results for the 4x WD raptors would be amazing (again, with the Raptors retaining the small margin in seek time).
March 12, 2007 7:14:46 PM

Quote:
A quick hard drive such as Western Digital's Raptor noticeably accelerates your PC, but is it still the best choice for enthusiasts?


I know this is a bit off topic, but why hasn't SCSI (SAS to be exact) been the topic of HDD enthusiasts? Seems to me these destroy the X Raptors in many (not all mind you) categories.

Any comments on why SCSI isn't so popular ( other than price point )?

I think price point covers it, along with limited availibility. Start with the controller price (only 1 available at newegg, 2 connectors and RAID support) $730. Add in a decent 15K HDD ($570 for a 147 GB HDD) and you've already blown $1300. Once you consider the fact that the drives are probably not any more reliable than a most othe HDD's and it makes you think twice before even testing it.

You'd pretty much ahve to be a die hard enthusiast with no budget to go for SAS... You cna probably get the parts for cheaper but its still too expensive compared to Raptors due to the additional controller price.
March 12, 2007 7:31:28 PM

It's more of a combination of price versus bus.

Consumer boards have PCI and PCI-E. PCI is not really a viable solution for enthusiasts because it's capped at 133MB/s. Enthusiasts don't like bottlenecks, and I personally would have a hard time justifying to myself the purchase of a PCI-card (That will likely soon be obsolete).

The PCI-E cards out there are > $600. Now if there was a PCI-E SCSI RAID card in the range of, say, $200, you might see more interest.

It's really the price of the controller that's prohibitive.

An SATA controller with 2GB flash for cached reads and 512 MB RAM for write-back cache would offer BLAZING performance. It amazes me that MS integrated it into the OS before HD controller manufacturers.
March 12, 2007 7:57:08 PM

Quote:
It would really be interesting to see the the 150's verses the 36, or the 74 gig drives. Smaller drives = faster.

I run a raid 5 with 36 gig Raptors...and its the hotness!


Actually all the benchies I've seen show that the 150 is around the same as the 74's, and a lot faster than the 36's.

no. all 3 ADFD raptors are virtually identical in speed, due to having identical specs practically... all 3 ADFDs have 74GB platters, 16MB cache, NCQ as well (i believe the 36GB is actually the fastest, even if marginally, due to the half disabled platter, followed by the 74GB, and then the 150GB, which has 2*74GB platters)... but, the older 36GB raptor your referring to, the GD version, only had a single 36GB platter, 8MB cache, no command queing to speak of, and is missing a few other current features even im sure... either way though, THG needs to get the 36GB raptor in as well, so they can add it to their benchmarks (if im not mistaken, its already been available for a few months)

as far as raptors not being worth the cost premium, over other slower hdds... it can be equated to a top of the line cpu, from either intel, or amd... almost never are they balanced for price/performance, even when OCing is taken into account, but they are no doubt the fastest, regardless... in this instance, raid 0 with 2 slower hdds, can be likened to OCing, to match and surpass the performance of a single faster hdd (and just like OCing, it doesnt always benefit every situation either)
March 12, 2007 8:16:50 PM

Quote:
It would really be interesting to see the the 150's verses the 36, or the 74 gig drives. Smaller drives = faster.

I run a raid 5 with 36 gig Raptors...and its the hotness!


Actually all the benchies I've seen show that the 150 is around the same as the 74's, and a lot faster than the 36's.

no. all 3 ADFD raptors are virtually identical in speed, due to having identical specs practically... all 3 ADFDs have 74GB platters, 16MB cache, NCQ as well (i believe the 36GB is actually the fastest, even if marginally, due to the half disabled platter, followed by the 74GB, and then the 150GB, which has 2*74GB platters)... but, the older 36GB raptor your referring to, the GD version, only had a single 36GB platter, 8MB cache, no command queing to speak of, and is missing a few other current features even im sure... either way though, THG needs to get the 36GB raptor in as well, so they can add it to their benchmarks (if im not mistaken, its already been available for a few months)

as far as raptors not being worth the cost premium, over other slower hdds... it can be equated to a top of the line cpu, from either intel, or amd... almost never are they balanced for price/performance, even when OCing is taken into account, but they are no doubt the fastest, regardless... in this instance, raid 0 with 2 slower hdds, can be likened to OCing, to match and surpass the performance of a single faster hdd (and just like OCing, it doesnt always benefit every situation either)

So.. in summary.. 74 and 150 are virtually identical, except the 36 doesn't have NCQ and other stuff.. Isn't that what I just said?
March 12, 2007 8:19:34 PM

except there are 2 different 36s available... the one released 3 years ago (which is also the only one THG has listed, so needless to say, its way out of date, and not available in retail anymore that im aware, though i could be wrong on that part)... and then the other 36GB, released late 2006, which THG has no trace of on their site (which would be much more appropriate to compare to)... not sure which 36GB raptors hes using, but, either way

also, the price of the newer 36GB is only ~$100 anyhow... certainly cheaper than the 150GB version, and, i believe it is faster, even if only marginally, again... and in my mind, making it the best price/performance raptor available, except where capacity is concerned... so you can get 2 of them to put in raid 0 if you wanted, and it would still come out to less than the cost of a single 150GB anyhow, or just about, depending on where you shop
March 12, 2007 9:26:04 PM

Does no one listen to me(i know you do chior)? I said that in a very brief version. I didn't give the model number and of course chior gave a more thorough explanation, but I tried to point that out twice!

Grr. :?
March 12, 2007 9:37:34 PM

hmm... i dunno, i mean, i just hope THG does a review on the newer raptors too (and then includes the results in the interactive benchmarks for people to see)... they could have reviewed it months ago, but, for whatever reason they didnt (maybe availablility or some other reason), but as a result, most people still dont even know about it...

like, heres the newer 36GB for $105 at newegg
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

and heres the 150GB for $210 at newegg
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

the 150GB is 4 times larger, and twice as expensive, but its also not as fast as a single 36GB, lol... so, heres the links for people anyhow, if theyre interested...

raptors are server grade hdds anyhow (it was their original target market after al)... which is why they dont offer sata300, prm, and still have the legacy molex connector
March 12, 2007 9:46:52 PM

How do you know the new 36 is faster than the 150? I haven't seen any benches on it anywhere.

One important consideration is drive-slowdown caused by the drive filling up. Although this is far less pronounced in Raptors, it still exists, so the 150 or 74 would still be the best bet as far as I'm concerned. 36 is just too darn small anymore, what with games reaching 8-10GB each and HD video becoming more common.
March 12, 2007 10:01:02 PM

benches are sparce too, TBH... googling youll be able to find some though... i did find one that someone ran in a forum using HDTACH 3.0.1.0, putting it about on par with my 74GB ADFD (he was running winxp i believe, and im running vista rtm, if that makes any difference for performance)

logically, since half the same sized 74GB platter was disabled (the same sized one the 74GB and 150GB versions use), and only the faster half is in use, youd think it was faster anyhow... not necessarily the max transfer rates (they should still be the same), but the average and minimum would certainly be higher (its only half platter, after all)... at the very worst, it would offer virtually identical performance to the 150GB, so that shouldnt really be in question

considering that in virtually every way its the same as the 150GB as well (same firmware revision, same rpms, same cache size, same capacity and same 2.5" platters, i believe 2.5" anyhow, same sata150 interface)... its basically the exact same hdd... except with 1 74GB platter, instead of 2 (like the 150GB has)... and one was released at a later date as well, so it may have a slightly different ADFD firmware revision too, which might aid in improved performance as well

all in all though, it does certainly lead to the 36GB to 'at least' being on par with the 150GB, for roughly half the cost... but as far as usable capacity for a single hdd, i agree... but thats why putting 2 of the 36GBs in raid 0 (for the same price as a 150GB), is very much an option also, if youre wanting raid 0 performance that is (which goes in line with this article too)

ideally though, where a single 36GB ADFD raptor would be best used, is as an OS hdd (by itself its too small for much else, as you pointed out)... and a larger slower hdd for storage... and if you had 2 36GB ADFD raptors on hand, all the better for hosting your OS, and for gaming and whatever (again, raid 0)
a c 179 G Storage
March 12, 2007 10:45:49 PM

I have used dual raptors in raid-0, and it did NOT noticeably improve my pc performance. Why not? Well first of all the single user desktop usage pattern is quite different from the synthetic benchmarks that were run. Only the windows boot time runs were realistic.
The NSQ runs were totally untypical of the average desktop user. Rarely will you see more than 1 i/o queued, certainly not 10+. Check your own usage pattern using the windows performance monitor. Got to storagereview.com. There they show the raptor as the best performing device for the single user environment. In fact, performance is slightly better if NSQ is turned off!
March 12, 2007 11:47:44 PM

It's nice to see familiar nicknames around here, and even more so the great quality of posts!

Well, I have been among the initial THG readers back around a decade ago when THG quickly became the PC Magazine replacement, and rightfully so. Early Tom Pabst was very professional and thorough. Right about Omid Rahmat joined the team, things started to slide, with this article being one of too many examples why THG is not being taken seriously any longer. I sure hope that THG will regain its reputation among the technology savvy.

And yes, the article is terribly wrong in its conclusions... except the obvious elementary school statement about the Raptor's cost factor. Well, it is a classic case of supply and demand, really. See, the next closest step is SCSI/SAS or SSD territory where 150GB might cost you several Raptors. From this perspective, the current Raptor's price is not extraordinary.
March 13, 2007 12:06:59 AM

I agree totally, I find it hard to believe that THG can, with a straight face, declare that RAID bests Raptors when just a few months ago they came to the opposite conclusion using many of the same benchmarks. It's laughable.

Now people are talking about setting up RAID0 system drives and using them for gaming, both of which are exquisitely poor choices. If THG has any integrity, they will retract this article or modify it immediately.
March 13, 2007 5:08:15 AM

The single most critical component in the modern PC is the hard drive. You can replace any other component in a few minutes with no after affects. The reliability of your data should be most critical, and as such, quality drives have always been my focus. RAID and regular backups notwithstanding, most users want something "That just works."

With the recent massive hard disk studies completed being devoid of manufacturer data, they haven't really helped us much. I have been using two Raptor 36's in two different systems, and neither has failed to impress. Barely audible, warm not hot, but smokin' performance. And one last thing... Two is hardly a study, but neither has failed yet. I have had Seagate, Maxtor, IBM, Quantum, and more WD's, and other than the single Quantum, all had drives that failed on me, except the Raptor. Being made more reliable for servers pays off.

Speed and storage space has always been puzzling to me. I have no need of a fast and big drive. My storage requirements can be satisfied with 50MB/s and with access times nearly irrelevant. The OS drive is the Raptor, the scratch data is stored there. I have a second drive for applications and games, been wanting to make that a Raptor as well for some time now. Then I have two storage drives. I couldn't care less how slow they are, they are not thrashed. They don't ever get fragmented, except the thumbnail files when I copy over new data.

Saying the Raptor losses in price/GB is like saying a corvette cost 4 times that of an Ford F-150, and can't haul sh*t. How many people run an HTPC? Why is the assumption that we must always use a SINGLE drive?

Without firm data for manufacturers from these studies, and knowing that anyone can have a bad "lot" of drives at any time, I can only choose by the warranty, then the performance. Though since Raptors only have a very few "lots" and they are more extensively tested, I think they avoid most of the common failures among other desktop drives.

So, Seagate for storage, Raptors for performance, RAID if you've got the case for it, the time to set it up, the money for the drives, and the expertise to make it work well.
!