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Is it worth using a 36gb Raptor as a Vista 64bit drive?

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June 19, 2007 2:49:17 PM

Im building a new computer and in an effort not to have to worry about setting up a raid I am planning on buying one of the relativley cheap 36gb raptors and using it as a Vista x64 bit dedicated drive.

My main drive will be a cheap as chips 250gb Se16 Western digital, Im assuming the 250gb one is just as fast as the 500 - 750 gb one right? I dont need loads of storage and just want a cheap drive with a 16mb cache, will the se16 do okay?

My main question is, for my purposes, mainly gaming, internet use and music will the 36gb raptor noticabley improve general desktop responsivness?

Im not all that bothered about having to wait awhile longer to load game levels which Is why I didn't go for raid-ed 150gb raptors but I do like a responsive desktop with minimal document opening times and slowdown..

Also is it simple enough to use multiple hard drives when installing operating systems ect because I have to admit, I have never used more than one hard drive in a computer before :p 

Thanks alot and sorry for the all over the place post and grammar, Im in a rush!

-Cheers

Liam
June 19, 2007 7:28:44 PM

Anyone? :( 
June 19, 2007 7:56:46 PM

I don't know a great deal about Raptors, but I can tell you that multiple HD's shouldn't give you any trouble with your OS.
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June 19, 2007 8:23:53 PM

Hi spoleto,

I've had the 36gb raptor for a couple of years as my primary OS drive. It's been great!

Just recently, I bought a 500 Seagate 7200.10 perpendicular drive, and it really impressed me (the 250 and the 320 versions will do the same thing).

I ran HD Tune 2.53 on both drives, and here are my results:

Raptor 36 GB Transfer Rate:

Minimum: 25.4 MB/s
Average: 47.4 MB/s
Maximum: 55.0 MB/s

Access time: 8.8 ms
Burst Rate: 92.1 MB/s
CPU Usage: 5.2 %

Seagate 7200.10 500GB Transfer Rate:

Minimum: 37.9 MB/s
Average: 64.4 MB/s
Maximum: 79.9 MB/s

Access time: 13.3 ms
Burst Rate: 82.5 MB/s
CPU Usage: 5.0 %

I was really impressed with the 7200.10. I decided to buy 2 more.

The secret to a better running windows, is to have 2 drives. One with the operating system, and the other with the Program Files, My Documents, and the Pagefile.

This way, your computer can load the needed OS files, and load the game, music, doc, video files, from the other drive, at the same time. And honestly, once the drive has accessed the file, then it's the Transfer rate that becomes important. Notice how the 500gb seagate is almost 50% faster than the raptor.

So, depending on price, newegg sells the Raptor for 99.99, or you could buy 2 Seagates, or Se16, for 69.99 each (or just one for that matter).

Summary:
So, most 250, 500, and 750 drives perform similarly.
The Se16 is a great drive, I like the 7200.10.
You will NOT notice much of an improvement with your raptor and newer drives. (is it worth the $30?).
Ram will improve response time in windows, 1 gig for XP, 2 gigs for Vista.

Final Thought
Get the Se16, and you'll be happy. Put the extra $30 towards ram, or GPU, or mods, for that matter.

Another question comes to mind, are you an enthusiast?
If so, get the Raptor for bragging rights.
a c 175 G Storage
June 19, 2007 8:59:29 PM

My 2 cents:
If you need under 150gb, just get a 150gb raptor.
When you need more than 150gb, add a drive with 16meg cache, and the appropriate amount of storage. Use it for bulk storage and for backup.
Don't worry about page file issues, just get enough memory. Vista-64 will nicely make use of 4gb.
Research at www.storagereview.com for some good comparisons.
I think we have to wait for hybrid drives or 15k sata for anything better.
June 19, 2007 9:37:36 PM

36GB are considerably slower than the 74GB and 150GB counterparts. Raptors are still the fastest SATA desktop drives out there. I have a 74GB and it is fast. also the random access time is considerably shorter which is a real plus on a desktop computer. Get the 74GB or 150GB if you can swing it. Also the WD Caviar doesn't use Perpendicular Magnetic Recording so get the Seagate 7200.10 or another PMR drive they are much faster. Check the link below to Tom's Hard Drive Charts. Ignore "Interface Performance" because it doesn't mean anything. Check the other categories to get an idea of overall drive performance.

http://www23.tomshardware.com/storage.html?modelx=33&mo...
June 19, 2007 9:53:18 PM

Quote:
Hi spoleto,

I've had the 36gb raptor for a couple of years as my primary OS drive. It's been great!

Just recently, I bought a 500 Seagate 7200.10 perpendicular drive, and it really impressed me (the 250 and the 320 versions will do the same thing).

I ran HD Tune 2.53 on both drives, and here are my results:

Raptor 36 GB Transfer Rate:

Minimum: 25.4 MB/s
Average: 47.4 MB/s
Maximum: 55.0 MB/s

Access time: 8.8 ms
Burst Rate: 92.1 MB/s
CPU Usage: 5.2 %

Seagate 7200.10 500GB Transfer Rate:

Minimum: 37.9 MB/s
Average: 64.4 MB/s
Maximum: 79.9 MB/s

Access time: 13.3 ms
Burst Rate: 82.5 MB/s
CPU Usage: 5.0 %




My system's relevant facts:

Chaintech VNF4 Ultra S939
Opteron 165 @ 2.7ghz dual core
2x1 gig Patriot DDR500
WD Raptor 36gb

Raptor scores:

HD Tune: WDC WD360GD-00FLA2 Benchmark

Transfer Rate Minimum : 43.4 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Maximum : 62.6 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Average : 55.6 MB/sec
Access Time : 7.6 ms
Burst Rate : 111.5 MB/sec
CPU Usage : 51.3%


I highly recommend even the 36gb raptor, because it makes everything seem so much quicker. When I sold my old setup I kept the raptor and the and motherboard, and the new rig i built with the old parts had everything the same (comparable motherboard and same everything else) except for the hard drive. It was nowhere near as responsive.
June 19, 2007 9:56:30 PM

Quote:
36GB are considerably slower than the 74GB and 150GB counterparts.


hes most likely referring to the WD360ADFD 16MB raptor (since you cant get the WD360GD 8MB version in retail anymore, both sides of single 36GB platter)... which is based on the WD740ADFD and WD1500ADFD raptors (which both have 74GB platters and NCQ), so the 36GBADFD (single side of 74GB platter) offers the same speed as the 74GB (both sides of 74GB platter) being as how theyre both only single platter (87MB/s max, 75MB/s avg, 56MB/s min, 8ms a/t)...

though its probably not recommended to run the 36GB for vista... a default install of the OS will occupy about a third of the drive by itself, and only leave about 15-20GB left over (which is slower than the first 15GB)... ...i really would recommend to instead get at least the WD740ADFD version (simply for os capacity reasons)

if you were running XP however, the 36GBADFD would probably make more sense as an OS hdd... since XP only needs 1.5GB for a default install

(post was a bit jumbled, hope it makes sense though)
June 19, 2007 10:05:52 PM

Well thanks very much for everyones posts, especially DrMaV because I have decided to go for one of the drives you mentioned, the 7200.10 seagate barracudda drives, Im going to use two of them and one for the OS on its own, it may be a terrible waste of space but at £46 pounds each it still works out cheaper than a raptor!

Im not bothered about bragging rights and all I want is a fast, responsive set up without the use of a raid array so im going to install vista on one, and use the other for all my games and apps ect!

Thanks for everyones help!
June 19, 2007 10:23:02 PM

Best of luck to you, if you ever have a chance to play on a friend's computer that has a Raptor, do it. It might change your mind. The Raptor is the number one enthusiast hard drive for a reason, pretty much everyone that argues against it doesn't have one. Probably 95% of people that have one say it's the fastest drive they've ever used.

DrMav is probably using a first generation raptor, or didn't defrag or has a slow system, either way his performance is suboptimal. As you can see in my results I had 51.3% CPU Usage, as one of my cores was occupied with something else, so CPU Usage for the raptor was really only 1.3%. DrMav had a 5.2% CPU Usage, so with that in mind I would approximate my system to be 4 times faster in CPU tasks. Most likely it's not really 4 times faster but my point is that his raptor is not performing at par with a normal 36gb raptor, as you can verify my scores against the ones in the THG hard drive charts. As such you should take his view with a grain of salt, since it is slanted by his slow setup.

I would highly suggest getting a Raptor if you can afford it, and install your OS and games on the raptor, everything else (programs, music, etc.) on the second storage drive (seagate would do well here).
June 19, 2007 11:00:31 PM

The Raptor should run good.
If you are getting low on space sometime later, you can get a 2nd 36 gig Raptor and run in RAID 0. Then you get high-speed and high capacity!
Keep your valuable data on a seperate D: drive though.
June 20, 2007 5:49:54 AM

I think most people were under the impresssion that I was intending to use the 36 gig raptor as my primary HDD, thats not true, my intention was to use the 36 gig raptor as a os dedicated drive, and everything else to go on a 500 or 250 gigabyte barracudda but I was put off that Idea by choirbass who said that installing vista on a 36gb version would restrict its speed because of the size of the vista install...

Is that really going to be a problem, I was under the impression that vista would need 2 - 3 maybe 5 gigabytes max spare room to roam about so I thought sticking it in a fast drive with over 15gb of spare room would be just fine?
June 20, 2007 6:10:36 AM

im sorry that i gave that impression (im just pessimistic sometimes, so i probably came off that way, again, sorry)... a raptor in itself is the most ideal choice for an OS sata hdd, bar none... primarily due to its fast 7-8ms access times, seconded by its fast transfer rates (i own 5 myself; 4 36GB 8MB GDs and 1 74GB 16MB ADFD, so im by no means against them)... ...what i was meaning regarding speed, is not that it would be slow by any means... the issue with a decline in speed holds true for any mechanical hdd (less so of a decline for raptors than compared to other 7200s over the span of the total hdd capacity)

vista itself does occupy about ~9-10GB for a default install (the first ~43% of the raptor is above 80MB/s, peaking at a consistant ~87MB/s for the first 12%, 44%-70% starts at 78MB/s reaching to 70MBs at 70%, and the remaining 30% is at a high of 70MB/s to a low of 55MB/s at the last 2%, so transfer rates arent a problem)... (my concern was just that you *might* run out of space if you plan on installing a lot of other applications on it too, thats all)... 36GB is plenty otherwise, TBH
June 20, 2007 6:42:29 AM

Hi spoleto,

Vista uses from 8-12 gigs for the OS (as choirbass said, as much as 1/3 of the drive – 33% of the drive, leaving around 22-26 gigs for the remaining part of the drive - remember loss for formatting). With the average software installed, it could take 16-18 gigs (office, nero, windvd, photoshop, studio, etc…). This would be about 50% of your Raptor (still a very very efficient OS drive).

I’ve installed XP and Vista on the Raptor (on different occasions), and the Raptor ran both OSs just fine. And with your second drive, installing many of your programs, games, and data, will work great, and you’ll be happy.

Remember, ram can decrease your primary access time by as much as 50%. But on the second access time, once the primary information has been installed in memory (hence the more memory concept), you’re computer will be extremely responsive, whether you have a raptor or not.

I agree with all comments that bungsta stated.

Rule of thumb, the fastest part of the drive, is the first 65-70% of the drive, because, the information is at the outer limit of the drive (fastest rotational velocity). So, for a drive to be efficient, try to use only 65-70% of the drive, because after that, performance decreases much more significantly (ie, a 500 GB drive formatted gives 465 GB, thus, 70% of 465 is about 325 GB for maximum capacity for maximum efficiency). This would allow you to store about 80-4GB games comfortably; or around 50-4GB games on the 320 GB version.

With 2 drives, you can still install many Program, games, docs, suites, on either, or both if you like. So, you could have the basics, such as OS on one drive, Office, photoshop, nero, for example, and all your games on the 2nd drive, as well as music and movies.

You could as well, install Vista on your Raptor, and install XP on the 2nd drive and have a dual boot system, with 2 OSs, with pagefiles on both drives, or multiple drives for that matter.

Copying/reading/writing from one drive to the other is much faster then having 2 partitions, because, as one drive reads, the other writes at the same time; instead of reading, THEN, writing, on the same drive, but on separate partitions.

Confusing for you?

Simple terms:
- 1 drive with OS (Raptor or not), 1 drive for Progs,
- the 2x7200.10 or the 2xse16 will be just fine.
June 20, 2007 6:46:47 AM

I would not worry to much about your HD. I have had 4ea 36gb Raptors in RAID 0 and not seen much differance. Spend the money somewere else.
June 20, 2007 6:59:56 AM

@ JoeWho

raid 0 is a waste for the typical user... ill tell you right now, i did the same thing (that was actually the reason i purchased 4 36GB GDs originally, being convinced it would help a lot)... for synthetic benchmarks its fine, though awfully misleading (it is good for synthetics, large file transfers, media editing, constant disk thrashing/accessing, windows boot times, improving system responsiveness some), but for normal usage in windows, raid 0 is completely overrated, i agree. that doesnt devalue the raptors performance at all, it just means raid 0 isnt worth it for the average person (and that you possibly have 4 spare raptors you can make good use of too, if you still have them anyhow)
June 20, 2007 7:27:45 AM

I agree with you choirbass, and that was the primary reason why I bought the raptor in the first place (yes it is a first gen – ie 8mb – and yes, the new 36 gb raptors are faster) .

But honestly, other than benchmarking, I don’t notice much difference between Raptors and Seagates, raid 0 or 1, in everyday gaming and general windows use.

Hence the reason, why I bought 2-320 gb Seagates, and now, 3 additional 500 gb seagates, all 7200.10.

So, to finalize, and in response to the primary question,

“My main question is, for my purposes, mainly gaming, internet use and music will the 36gb raptor noticabley improve general desktop responsiveness?”

On first reads ... mildly, but on second reads ... no.

So, for your use spoleto, put the extra money towards a GTS, or GTX for that matter, better value for your money.
June 20, 2007 6:57:07 PM

Thanks so much for the clarification DrMav and Choirbass, I am going to go for one 36 gb raptor for the os drive and have Everything else on the second drive, Pagefile, programs, apps and games.

Im using a 64 bit vista with 4gb of corsair dominator ram so that should help aswell!

Im still undecided on using a 36gb raptor or just a 250 gb drive for the dedicated OS drive, the 250 barracudda is cheaper than the 36gb raptor :S

But I guess it will all come down to how much money I have when I buy the rig, thanks for all your help and I have learnt so much from this!

Thanks again -

Liam :D 
June 20, 2007 11:55:40 PM

Quote:
Im still undecided on using a 36gb raptor or just a 250 gb drive for the dedicated OS drive, the 250 barracudda is cheaper than the 36gb raptor :S


welcome :) 

im not sure how dense the platters on the 250GB seagate are, i would 'guess' it probably has 2*125GB (or so) 3.5" platters... which means its STR performance is that of ~125GB 7200 hdd (but you do get an extra 125GB capacity)... and the 36GB raptor offers STR performance of a 74GB 2.5" hdd (again, because its using a single side of a 74GB 10k platter)... ...but to coincide with what DrMav said, the performance difference usually isnt worth the price increase (only you can decide that for yourself really, if youre tight on money, and need to achieve a more overall balanced system, a raptor probably isnt the way to go)... ...the main reason raptors are relatively so expensive compared to most other 7200s ($/GB), is because theyre the only 10k sata hdd available, they have no real competition so to speak, so the price hasnt been driven down too much really (4 years ago the original 36GB cost ~$150, and now the newer one costs ~$100, so theres at least some improvement)... but theyre really 2 different target markets also (and priced accordingly), 7200s are more for consumers, and raptors were originally more for servers (which is the only reason they even have 10k really to begin with)
June 22, 2007 5:00:34 PM

I reccomend the 36gb raptor and JUST installing vista on it. That would work great.

Raided drives dont work too well unless you have a desenbt raid card.
!