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Raptor alternatives

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  • Hard Drives
  • NAS / RAID
  • Raptor
  • Storage
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June 11, 2007 10:02:06 PM

Ok, I'm looking at building a gaming rig soon, and have considered using a Raptor to reduce game loading times. However, they're quiet expensive and very loud, so I've been considering some alternatives.

I'm considering getting a pair of Samsung SpinPoint drives in RAID 0 as they're uber quiet, but their performance seems pretty weak. So, I've also looked at RAID 0 with two Seagate ST3250820AS 250GB drives. These perform better, but I'm not sure about how loud they are.

I'm leaning towards the Seagate drives as I figure that my current Maxtor drives I'll be carrying over (can't remember the model names, but one is a MaxLine II, another a DM9, and the last a DM10). My suspicion is that the Samsung drives would be drowned out by the Maxtors anyways, so perhaps there is little point to them over the Seagate drives.

Finally, the case I'm using (NZXT HUSH) has HDD dampening, so do you think this would bring the noise of a Raptor done to a low level?

More about : raptor alternatives

June 11, 2007 10:51:48 PM

Quote:
Ok, I'm looking at building a gaming rig soon, and have considered using a Raptor to reduce game loading times. However, they're quiet expensive and very loud, so I've been considering some alternatives.

I'm considering getting a pair of Samsung SpinPoint drives in RAID 0 as they're uber quiet, but their performance seems pretty weak. So, I've also looked at RAID 0 with two Seagate ST3250820AS 250GB drives. These perform better, but I'm not sure about how loud they are.


I have configured from sometime two Western Digital Caviar SE 80GB Sata150 in RAID0 and the performance is really good so far and i believe it approaches a single Raptor performance. The initial windows XP boot is fast (not instantaneous but fast) and the application launch is fast also.
PCMark05 windows boot benchmark result almost doubled.
Notice that i only use 25GB which means perhaps i only access the first sectors on each physical disk which are the fastest.

Anyway, i will give Raptors a chance and configure in the next couple of month a RAID0 array.
June 11, 2007 11:01:56 PM

Raptors are faster than your alternatives - there's no getting around that I'm afraid. However, the Seagate 7200.10 is very fast for a 7200 RPM drive and very good value.

RAID 0 is widely accepted to show little if any real-world improvement in speed, and don't forget you would be doubling your risk of data loss.

The sound that you will hear from a Raptor is not the whine of the drive spinning, but the noise of the actuators when the drive seeks (sounds a bit like a coffee grinder). Dampening will help, but not completely eliminate it - certainly not as effectively as suspending the drive.

In a nutshell if you're worried about cost and want a lot of storage space, get the 7200.10 - if you want the best speed then the Raptor reigns supreme.
Related resources
June 11, 2007 11:25:57 PM

If you can't take the price, don't do the raptors! :p 
SAS attached Seagate Cheetah 15kRPM are faster..
The drives themselves aren't that expensive, but the controller cards costs like an entire rig >_<
Raptors aren't loud btw, most drives I've had have been louder.
Liquid bearing drives included, not counting when they do some workout though :p 

You could raid just about anything 80gb+ and should get relatively close to a single raptor, or exceed, depending of size of raptor..

Get "raid edition" drives from WD, shouldn't be terribly expensive.
They have 5yr warranty, and I suppose are intended to be raided?
Small premium, but much less than a raptor drive.
June 11, 2007 11:39:21 PM

Quote:
Seagate Cheetah 15kRPM


Yes they are the fast ones....and you can buy two new cars for the price of one HD.

The Seagate 7200.10 have a substained read speed 1mbpm above the Raptor and the 320GB model was selling for $59 a few weeks ago and the 500GB was $98 (Fathers Day sale).

If it was myself I would get two 320's and NOT raid them as I have had raid 0 fail.

Install OS and all updates on "C"...deleat the page file and install it on the other drive. That way both are located at the fastest part of the drives.
June 12, 2007 9:13:31 AM

RAID 0 performance increase seems to be something that's massively debated. The space that I'd gain with two Seagates isn't an issue, as I already have 800GB worth of Maxtor drive space. If the sound dampening will help, then I'm probably leaning more towards the Raptor now. That said, if anyone has any benchmark results for RAID 0, I'd be prettyinterested to hear.
June 12, 2007 9:35:15 AM

Quote:
Ok, I'm looking at building a gaming rig soon, and have considered using a Raptor to reduce game loading times. However, they're quiet expensive and very loud, so I've been considering some alternatives.


How can they be quiet and loud at the same time?
a b G Storage
June 12, 2007 9:41:56 AM

One of the fastest, non raid, non Raptor solutions I know of, is using a WD1600AAJS as the boot drive, and a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 as a data drive. The 250 and 320 sizes seem to be the best.

The WD1600AAJS is on slightly slower than the Raptor due to using only one platter. The Seagates are fast in larger sizes due to the perpendicular recording tech they use. Both drives are also cool and quiet. I could not tell any difference between this setup and SATA 150 raid 0.

The Raptors are indeed the fastest, but you know the cost of this.
June 12, 2007 9:46:12 AM

Sorry, typo. Should be quite, not quiet.
June 12, 2007 9:57:48 AM

Good. Now that we have the fact that you can't spell out of the way, can you run hdtach?

SAS SCSI's are faster than raptors, but quite expensive on the whole. Some of the newer Hitachi's are almost as fast as the raptors, in some apps faster. (bettter ncq / caching, no doubt)

All of the above being said, is it really worth it to spend that kind of money for a few percentage points in a game or two?

If you have the kind of money to worry about the price of a raptor, I think not.
June 12, 2007 10:44:46 AM

...
June 12, 2007 10:51:49 AM

to be honest, in my opion for a compromise between sound and performance (odviously excluding raptors) wester digiatal are the best again, you can look for 2 raid edition HDD, put them into a active array with no redundency (raid 0 for example) then you might just meet the same read speed.

But you could aleways by an older raptor like 74Gb modle, then when you have the money buy another and RAID 0 them together and you got raptors, (look on ebvay for second hand modles as they are top of the line they are built well.
June 12, 2007 12:52:03 PM

Thank you, evongugg! I was looking for that article earlier, but couldn't find it. Oh, and on the subject of the RAID edition drives: I've read some reviews on them that actually find a pair of Maxtor DM10 outperform the RAID edition drives in most areas.
June 12, 2007 10:42:57 PM

Sorry to be a downer, but before you get excited about that poor article from Toms and go the RAID route, you should read this much better researched article from Anandtech:

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2101

Here's the closing line:

"Bottom line: RAID-0 arrays will win you just about any benchmark, but they'll deliver virtually nothing more than that for real world desktop performance. That's just the cold hard truth."
June 13, 2007 6:34:54 AM

Cheers for that, ethel. I think I'll stick with the Raptor then, as I already have adequate storage space.
a b G Storage
June 13, 2007 12:24:57 PM

I agree with your decision to go with a Raptor as long as you don't need the extra space of a Raid 0. For an entusiast a Raptor is the way to go.

I have not read the full article from Anandtech, but I do need to point out the date: 2004. A lot of things have changed in the hardware world since 2004. Tom's article is more up to date.
June 13, 2007 12:34:18 PM

Quote:
Sorry to be a downer, but before you get excited about that poor article from Toms and go the RAID route, you should read this much better researched article from Anandtech:

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2101

Here's the closing line:

"Bottom line: RAID-0 arrays will win you just about any benchmark, but they'll deliver virtually nothing more than that for real world desktop performance. That's just the cold hard truth."


As already said, this is a 2004 article with older technology. Do they really used a stopwatch to measure performance or i get it wrong?

As i said in first place, i have a RAID-0 set and the extra speed is really noticeable. Everything is faster. So that bottom line conclusion cannot be correct at all per my experience.
June 13, 2007 1:00:29 PM

I've used RAID for years now and I can tell you that RAID-0 will make a very noticeable difference, I'm not sure why there's so many people that will try to tell you it won't make a difference or what their motivation is to want you to not have RAID, but it will make an improvement on almost everything...windows will boot faster, programs open faster, zip files are compressed and decompressed almost twice as fast, games load quicker, etc.
If you already have a good system there's no reason not to invest in a better hard drive setup, considering the hard drive is the slowest part in any system.

I personally would go RAID-0 over the raptors, I have a lot of experience with hard drives and I can tell you that the raptors are overrated.
June 13, 2007 1:07:39 PM

lol. I realise that Raptors are over-priced for what they are, but I'm still undecided on RAID 0, as there seems to be very mixed responses to it. The main thing I want to know is do games show an improvement in loading times?
June 13, 2007 1:35:06 PM

Quote:
lol. I realise that Raptors are over-priced for what they are, but I'm still undecided on RAID 0, as there seems to be very mixed responses to it. The main thing I want to know is do games show an improvement in loading times?


In my case, yes they do. That is my (good) experience with 2x WD Caviar SE 80GB 7200-rpm SATA150 configured in RAID 0.

Anyway, in July, i'm moving to 2x Raptor 74GB 16MB 10K-rpm SATA150 in RAID 0 for an additional improvement in performance. Before i took this decision, i thought also in adding two more identical Caviars and setup a 4 disk set in RAID 0. I believe that would give also a pleasant performance at a cheap price.
a b G Storage
June 13, 2007 2:08:41 PM

I'm a RAID fan. On my current home machine, I was running 2 100gig Maxtors in RAID0, till one of the drives starting making noise, so I imaged everything over to a single Seagate drive, which I am running now. There is a VERY noticable difference, on my system anyway.
I see lots of opinions from people who say it is not worth it to run RAID0. From my own experience running both ways off and on over the years, I just don't understand the nay-sayers. There is a substantial difference that you see in everyday use. I am not talking about benchmarks, I am talking about booting, opening and closing common apps, games, video editing, Photoshop, Illustrator, multitasking between 3 or 4 open programs. I have always just used the on-board controllers.
As for reliability, with any system RAID or single drive, drives and controllers can fail, not to mention viruses and spyware can make life very unhappy. If you don't want to lose important data, a good backup is a must.
June 13, 2007 2:45:32 PM

I'm getting an external drive for backup, so that shouldn't be so much of an issue. Plus, I'm looking at getting two 400GB Samsung SpinPoints and using the Inetl Matrix RAID setup so that I have 150GB of RAID 0 and the remaining could be put into RAID 1. Although this is only about 220GB of storage space, I'll carry over my 200GB and 300GB SATA drives from this system (I'll leave the 300GB IDE for my mum).
June 13, 2007 3:02:27 PM

On the subject of sound, I bought a 74GB Raptor a couple of years ago and in order to make it quiet I stuck it in a Quiet Drive disk enclosure, can't remember the exact model. I can honestly say that I can barely hear it, the only way I can tell its doing anything is by watching the HD LED. The Quiet Drive also acts as a cooler and it works well, the drive rarely exceeds 42C. You do need a spare 5.25" drive bay for it though.

I bought mine from QuietPC, they have a large range now.
June 13, 2007 3:06:56 PM

Quote:
Plus, I'm looking at getting two 400GB Samsung SpinPoints and using the Inetl Matrix RAID setup so that I have 150GB of RAID 0 and the remaining could be put into RAID 1.


Errr... is this possible with only 2 disks? Is this RAID 0+1?
a c 187 G Storage
June 13, 2007 3:38:44 PM

Go to www.storagereview.com for good information on hard disk performance. The bottom line is that the raptor150 is the best performer in real life single user environments. Why the 150 and not 74g if you only need 74g? The 150 will have more data under the faster outer cylinders of the drive. My raptor is not loud, my fans make more noise. I have to look at the HDD activity light to be assured that it is running.
June 13, 2007 3:57:09 PM

Two model numbers for some good sustained read/write speeds...

WD1600AAJS
WD3200AAKS

That should help ya some...
June 13, 2007 4:39:37 PM

The main factor that makes Raptors fast is not the data transfer rate , but seek time. For example , when you copy a file from one disc location to another, the heads must jump very fast because data is read and written in small chunks. So even 4 or more standard HDD's in RAID 0 may not reach the performance of a single Raptor in some cases.
Thats my personal opinion - i have had no ability to try Raptors , but tried Raid 0 - and saw no significant performance improvement.
June 13, 2007 4:50:52 PM

You sound like you know something about hard-drives.
What's the "click" sound (from the 7200.10s) ?
Some drives click, some don't. Seems to work OK though.
Any worries?
thanks!
June 13, 2007 6:27:06 PM

Yeah, it is possible with the Intel Matrix RAID setup (it's not the same as RAID 0+1). I think most new Intel based motherboards support it as standard, and from what I've read on the net, it seems to be fairly simply to do.
June 13, 2007 6:33:40 PM

Quote:
who the hell told you they were noisy? they are no worse than any other drive, I got one and a 500gb samsung storage drive and they are no louder/quiter than each other.


Not so much told me, but I put a raptor in my friends PC that I built him recently. I suspect it's mainly the fact that his case is pretty lame, but still seems excessively loud.

Bazukaz - seek time obviously isn't affected by RAID 0 (as I'm sure you know). I think it's just through put that's affected, so large amounts of data can be transferred quicker. I'd imagine copying files between RAID 0 and other drives would be limited by the non-RAID drive, if that's what you were referring to.
June 13, 2007 10:02:22 PM

Wow, I stirred up a hornet's nest with my comments about RAID 0, eh?

RAID 0 with an onboard controller is not worth it for the small benefit that you may get (my links above and PETEvsDRM's show you the proof of that) and you are taking a bigger risk with the data side of things, so why bother?

If you're worried about the noise (and I agree that Raptors are a little noisy), just get a 7200.10 - these are fast, cheap and quiet. You won't be disappointed.

Personally I run a Raptor and a 15K SCSI drive - but my drives are suspended so they're extremely quiet.
June 13, 2007 11:06:51 PM

Built a system for a friend using a single of those seagate 250gb drives and was very impressed with speed and load times. You will not be dissapointed with two in Raid 0.

Raptors at this point seem too overpriced when I could just get two 80gb SATA2 drives Raid 0 and still be faster than a singel raptor and cheaper.

And if you do go raid 0 don't be a bonehead and put important documents on it since if one fails they all fail.

I've been running various raid configs on onboard raid controllers since SATA2 came out and have had no issues even in RAID 0 (maybe I'm just lucky)

Last system built I had 4 SATA2 drives in raid 0 (very fast 200+mbs) Never had a glitch, problem or failure.

Just back things up properly and don't be paranoid.
a c 187 G Storage
June 14, 2007 2:45:22 AM

Sorry to say, ethel is right; raid-0 shows well in artificial benchmarks, but this does not translate into any real benefits for you and me as single desktop users . I have used raid-0 with the original raptor, SCSI 15k drives, and their performance is not noticeably different from a single 150gb current raptor. Do the research. Why might this be? If a data record is split up into two parts and put on two drives, then it takes two i/o operations to read it in. The positioning(seek) is independent and the reads might happen concurrently. For big sequential reads, this is good. For short random reads, this is bad. If you are using that second core of your C2D, you might be doing i/o that steals the actuator and negates this nice sequential scenario.
While we are at it, NCQ(non-sequential queueing) sounds nice, but for the single desktop user it can actually hurt. It is designed for a server environment with many concurrent random reads.
None the less, do not fear your data exposure in raid-0 for two reasons:
1) The Mean time to failure of a raptor is supposed to be 1.2 million hours. At 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, that is 136 years. Even with several, you are not going to fail often.
2) If you have data that you don't want to lose; BACK IT UP! Raid-1 and the other variants just reduce the recovery time.
June 14, 2007 9:41:37 AM

As I've said before - I have an external HDD for back up, as well as a flash disk drive for seriously important stuff. I think I'm gonna go with a Raptor, just to see how it compares to my current drives. Plus, RAID 0 improvements seem to be so debated, at least I know for sure that there will be a slight performance improvement from the raptor due to the lower seek time. Yes, they're overpriced for what they are, but I can actually afford one, considering the recent price drops in memory due to the release of DDR3. Hopefully, the dampening in the case should be sufficient. If not, I'll look at some of the solutions on QuietPC.com.
June 14, 2007 10:18:54 AM

We're not done comparing yet. This just in... checkout this one at the egg

WD1600YS

BUT!, you MUST download the firmware revision, else the HDD might drop out of RAID.

Read thoroughly and stare at the specs. Reviews are important.
SIXTY BUCKS.

f61
a b G Storage
June 14, 2007 1:08:11 PM

You are correct, you cannot put 2 dics into a RAID0 and RAID1 at the same time. It has to be one way or the other.
June 14, 2007 3:03:26 PM

That's exactly what I was referring to :) . Cheers for backing me up on that, PETEvsDRM.
June 14, 2007 3:58:31 PM

Quote:
Actually with Intel matrix raid, you can have different types of arrays on the same two disks.

Check it out.
http://www.intel.com/design/chipsets/matrixstorage_sb.h...


Ok, interesting. Wonder if i could change 'on-the-fly' the volumes and resize my RAID 0 volume to get free unused space to create a new RAID 1 volume....
June 15, 2007 11:04:24 PM

Ive tried both Raid 0 using a pair of WD "raid edition" drives and the 74gig Raptor. I agree the Raptors are alot of money, but they definitly felt faster in everyday use compared to the Raid0 setup. To be honest though the Raptors are to expensive for the small increase of performance they offer, they are only for those that want the best of everything. Your better off spending that extra money on components that can make a significant differance in performance like the cpu, gpu, memory...etc
!