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Raptor or RAID0? Please Critique this build.

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July 26, 2007 2:15:23 AM

It's time for a new build and I'd like to pick your brain. Short history: my current system is - AMD Athlon XP 3000+ Asus A7N8X-Deluxe, 1.5 GIG Corsair RAM, RADEON 9800 Pro, 34 GIG WD SATA 10K RPM, 80 GIG WD ATA/IDE 7200 RPM (storage), 16X PIONEER DVD-ROM, Audigy II ZS Platinum. This system will become my wifes and will not be scavenged for anything. I've been with AMD my last 4 builds, but the Core 2 Duo
benchmarks and pricing have made me decide to jump back to Intel this go-around. This new PC will be used mainly for online gaming and graphics work.

I have already bought an Antec Nine Hundred case.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129021&Tpk=Antec%2bNine%2bHundred

And I also already have a Maxtor SATA 200 GB 7200 RPM 8MB Buffer data drive. I want to keep the remaining parts below $1200 for now. I will use the on-board sound for a while and in a few months add in a XFI card.

I was originally looking at a C2D E6600 on an ASUS P5N32-E SLI motherboard. But the customer reviews and the number of RMA's listed for that board have steered me away from it. After some trolling the boards here I think I want to go with a GIGABYTE GA-P35C-DS3R. New Egg is listing one for $158.88 and I like the capability to upgrade to DDR3 and a quad processor down the line. I'm not that hot for SLI , so probably won't miss that. I need your opinion on the combination of board - RAM - and CPU.

GIGABYTE GA-P35C-DS3R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128048&Tpk=GA-P35C-DS3R

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz 4M shared L2 Cache
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115003

Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146565

Will this RAM work right with the GIGABYTE GA-P35C-DS3R? All I have read so far looks OK, as long as I tweak the RAM voltage a bit. NewEgg has the above Crucial available with a $45 mail-in rebate. I'm thinking of getting me 4 gigs of it while I can so I am set for Vista upgrade sometime next year when gaming might force me (kicking and screaming) to upgrade from XP. (Yes, I know XP will not use the full 4 Gig, but it's nice to have while I'm doing this.)

The Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 is being recommended in several post by different people. But New Egg has the below in stock for just 2 bucks more:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz 4M shared L2 Cache
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115029

Is this just a no-brainer upgrade from the E6600, or am I missing something? What are the cons to picking the E6750?

Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136012

I'm still debating if I should get one 150Gig 10K raptor, or get two slower 7200 SATA drives and run them in RAID 0. As stated above I run a 35 Gig Raptor in my current system, but I see a bunch of people state the 150's die early and are not the best. I love the fast boot up and game loading, but can I do almost as well for less $$ and gain more stability over the long run? I have never owned a RAID 0 system, so how would that compare to a single 150 Gig Raptor?

The remaining parts are:

EVGA 320-P2-N811-AR GeForce 8800GTS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130082

Or should I get this one for 10 bucks more? The difference seems to be this one runs at 576MHz core clock as opposed to 500MHz for the one above.
EVGA 320-P2-N815-AR GeForce 8800GTS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130038

ENERMAX INFINITI EIN650AWT ATX12V / EPS12V 650W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817194022

ASUS Black 18X DVD+R SATA DVD Burner with LightScribe
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135145

So, anny comments?. Anny advice and/or insight would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance. :hello: 
July 26, 2007 2:25:03 AM

The build you have is very close to what I'm doing. That ram will work and if you want to double check, it's on the compatibility list for the board (page 2, same board I'm getting, same RAM).

As far as the hard drives...I'm going with some WD 74's. The reason I chose these is because of where they stand on the current HD comparison charts. In most of the tests (at least, the ones that matter to me), they are in the top 4 most of the time.

Rest looks sharp, and I'm getting the same case, haha. I can't wait
July 26, 2007 2:37:52 AM

A pair of 7200 rpm hd's will beat out a single raptor for the same price, and will get you a lot more space. Do it if you're willing to accept the increased risk of losing data. I use Seagate drives with their 5 year warranty personally, cause i've had many of their drives last over 7-8 years (and counting) in my experience.
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July 26, 2007 2:50:22 AM

not to spark a debate, but i probably am anyhow... for increased application performance, a raptor will pull ahead. for higher STRs (when dealing with media editing and large files and such), raid 0 will. if you need more responsive applications and not a ton of extra capacity, go with a raptor. if you need the extra capacity more than the extra performance, go with a few larger hdds. in either case, its best to have at least 2 hdds anyhow, 1 for your os and applications, and at least one for your other data and backups
July 26, 2007 2:57:49 AM

Hey MrTechnoFreak,

I was just reading your build and noting how much alike they are. Thanks for the links. I just helped a friend build his new AMD system in that same Antec 900 case. It works real well and cools like a champ. The looks are not bad also. Just remember, it only has room for one floppy drive in the front (if you're going to put one in. I think I'll forgo the floppy this time.)

Any ideas on the E6750 over the E6600? The 2 buck difference just looks fishy to me. Is this too good to be true?

HPCE_Larry,

Yeah, I was looking at that. Never built a RAID 0 yet. You have any preferred drives in mind? I was hoping to get somewhere in the 150 to 200 Gig range for the combined total.
July 26, 2007 3:11:20 AM

Shame on you choirbass! You're not helping me make this decision any easier. (Thanks for posting though.) If it didn't cost so much, I'd go for the setup MrTechnoFreak is planning, two 74G Raptors in RAID and get BOTH RAID and the 10K RPM. (But the crash exposure of the two combined would also go up exponentially. Are the 74's that much more reliable than the 150G Raptors?

I would still like someone to comment about the my CPU choices and the difference in the GPU's above.
July 26, 2007 4:08:23 AM

redmax69 said:
Hey MrTechnoFreak,

I was just reading your build and noting how much alike they are. Thanks for the links. I just helped a friend build his new AMD system in that same Antec 900 case. It works real well and cools like a champ. The looks are not bad also. Just remember, it only has room for one floppy drive in the front (if you're going to put one in. I think I'll forgo the floppy this time.)

Any ideas on the E6750 over the E6600? The 2 buck difference just looks fishy to me. Is this too good to be true?


That's cool about the 900, I'm not going with a floppy this time. I just happen to stumble on that case today...looks sweeeeeet, and still quiet.

As far as the Raptors, I'll probably run them Raid 1 (mirror), although with some of the reviews I read on newegg, I'm seriously considering Raid 0 and setting up weekly system state backups to another drive. We'll see how it runs I guess.

In the CPU comparison charts, it seems like the E6750 stands above the E6600 in every competition, so if the price is only a few bucks more, I'd say go for it. Just make sure the place you get it from is decent (IE, not shady).

Good luck!
July 26, 2007 5:36:18 AM

sorry about that, havent had much sleep lately. as far as the reliability of raptors, in general you dont hear too much about raptor failures (but it does happen, just as with any other hdd). if it does fail anytime within 5 years after purchase though from a supported distributor (so ebay i imagine would be out of the question), it can just be sent in to WD for a same or upgraded replacement. as far as reliability between any of the 3 current ADFD raptors (36GB $100, 74GB $150, 150GB $180+), id say they should all provide roughly the same reliability, the 150 maybe a fraction of a % less, because it has more moving parts, but they all should be about the same in that way.

as far as practical performance though between raid 0 and a single raptor, seek times (rpms) are going to make the largest difference in actual application performance... but the reviews you usually hear about on THG dont test actual application performance... which ends up being very misleading to the end user, cuz its assumed then that raid 0 will be faster for everything just about (when they assume higher STRs then offer better application performance than faster drive accessing does from higher rpms)... which ive found out to be VERY untrue... ...in fact, a WD360GD raptor that i had hosted in an external usb 2.0 case (which was capped at 30MB/s max STR as a result), loaded nearly everything almost exactly as fast as a WD740ADFD that i have (which has STRs at nearly 90MB/s)... so, even though it would seem that the 74GB ADFD should blow away the hindered 36GB GD in practically everything, it really didnt, far from it actually, games took the same amount of time to load too, actually... and thats due to the rpms, which werent at all hindered, though theyre spec'd at 4.6ms for the ADFD and 5.2ms for the GD, but that aside, theyre the same 10K rpms... the only things that were really hindered by having winxp x64 on the usb 2.0 raptor, were windows boot times, and playing certain games that could really stand to benefit from the increased STRs during gameplay (the game would needlessly pause at times, which got annoying)...

anyhow, i guess that was kindof a pointless rant... but, if you can afford it, need a faster system, and dont mind the relatively small capacity, just go for a raptor (didnt notice you already had one, but, they dont need to be in raid 0, because as you see, it wont make much practical difference for actual applications. which reminds me... at one point a couple years ago, i had 4 WD360GDs in a raid 0 array... and suprise, it was still about as fast as a single WD360GD again, when it came to actual applications, didnt realize that at first, but after enough testing, it turned out to be the truth, even with STRs that exceeded 200MB/s)

or... if you do media editing (and such), that can directly benefit from the increased STRs of raid 0, then it would be worthwhile to get... otherwise though, youd be throwing your money away for the practically nonexistant improvement, and the increased probability of failure/data loss/data corruption. as far as data loss goes, be sure to make regular backups of your important data to at least one other hdd, because you never know just when a hdd may go out for a permanent vacation (theres usually warning signs in advance, but it does suck when it happens, especially when you dont have your data stored elsewhere).

raptors aside though, the newer 7200s with PMR are closing the gap in performance of STRs, and a few have even matched and surpassed raptors in that way (again, STRs can really benefit the graphics work youre doing, especially when in raid 0, and this may be the way to go for additional inexpensive capacity too if you need it), though for game loading, depending also on how the game was designed, the 7200s are still slightly behind raptors, which are only second to SSDs and 15k SCSIs, due to their even faster seek times


for the 2 8800GTS'... personally, i would go for the one with the 76MHz OC, since its only a $10 difference you said, that way at least its a guaranteed OC, that you 'might' not be able to get out of the less expensive 8800... beyond that, if the price was much different, i would just go for whichever one was cheaper, since i wouldnt think the difference in performance would really be worth it, at least to me, when its probably going to be OCd anyhow.
July 26, 2007 3:30:20 PM

MrTechnoFreak,
Remember, you'll need a floppy at least for that first boot where you need to load the RAID drivers for you HD setup. You should be able to disconnect it after that.

Choirbass,
Thanks for the lesson in Raptor -v- RAID. I guess for what I do the singe Raptor at 150G would be the most bang-for-my-buck. That helps make that decision. I appreciate all your information.

Any one have anything good or bad to say about my pick for the power supply for this rig? Since I'll only be running one GPU, 650W should be plenty, right? I'm all for trying to get this system as stable as I can get it.
July 26, 2007 6:20:20 PM

redmax69 said:
MrTechnoFreak,
Remember, you'll need a floppy at least for that first boot where you need to load the RAID drivers for you HD setup. You should be able to disconnect it after that.


Oh yea! That's right! Because windows only looks to the A: drive for the drivers...I almost forgot about that :fou: 

Another thing to remember boys and girls is to remake the directory stucture EXACTLY the same way on the floppy too, or else it won't find the files either (I remember getting heavily agitated a few years ago when I found that out after 2 hours of trying to get it to work).

Thanks Red, and I wish you luck on recieving good parts and building them up.

Thanks too Choir, Raid 1 it is...
July 26, 2007 6:28:36 PM

the problem with raid 1 is that oftentimes theres no real notification that a hdd failed, so sometimes you may still think you have 2, even if you only have one, and then to swap out the failed hdd when you find out about it (so temporarily there may be no redundancy even)... ...but aside from raid of any kind, be sure to make regular backups to other locations (other hdds, optical media, network etc)... because raid redundancy is really only good to reduce downtime, such as with servers, where its essential to be on 24/7.
July 26, 2007 6:33:54 PM

Yea, I teach server 2k3, just don't know all the latest and greatest hardware specs, hehe.

I'm going RAID 1 just for that (no downtime), and hopefully I can enable some sort of alarm that lets me know a drive is gone from the controller...something...I'll figure it out.
July 26, 2007 7:00:20 PM

redmax69 wrote :

MrTechnoFreak,
Remember, you'll need a floppy at least for that first boot where you need to load the RAID drivers for you HD setup. You should be able to disconnect it after that.
said:

MrTechnoFreak,
Remember, you'll need a floppy at least for that first boot where you need to load the RAID drivers for you HD setup. You should be able to disconnect it after that.


MrTechnoFreak said:
Oh yea! That's right! Because windows only looks to the A: drive for the drivers...I almost forgot about that :fou: 

Another thing to remember boys and girls is to remake the directory stucture EXACTLY the same way on the floppy too, or else it won't find the files either (I remember getting heavily agitated a few years ago when I found that out after 2 hours of trying to get it to work).

Thanks Red, and I wish you luck on recieving good parts and building them up.

Thanks too Choir, Raid 1 it is...


That's not true at all guys!! You can actually create a slipstream CD with certain software. I was able to create a Windows XP Professional CD w/ RAID0 drivers on a slipstream CD w/ a complete passive autoinstall so I wouldnt have to wait around to enter in the key cd number. I believe the application I used was nLite

http://www.nliteos.com/ <-- FREE

I now have 3 Windows XP slipstream CDs, customized for each PC..
July 26, 2007 7:01:13 PM

choirbass, as always, great points. Couldn't have said it better.
July 27, 2007 12:57:55 AM

Wow! Thanks for all in input guys. As for the slipstream CD...I made myself a slipstream XP Pro SP2 from my original XP SP1 disk. I wish I had known you could add the RAID drivers at the same time. I'll have to create me one. Thanks again for all the help. I have started the order...parts are in the pipe. *Crossing my fingers*
July 27, 2007 3:28:04 AM

double_helix said:

That's not true at all guys!! You can actually create a slipstream CD with certain software. I was able to create a Windows XP Professional CD w/ RAID0 drivers on a slipstream CD w/ a complete passive autoinstall so I wouldnt have to wait around to enter in the key cd number. I believe the application I used was nLite

http://www.nliteos.com/ <-- FREE

I now have 3 Windows XP slipstream CDs, customized for each PC..


If you were to spend some time to do that sure, but it's not like this is going to be a deployment or anything, and I'll be like a kid at Christmas putting in all the info, know what I mean? ;) 

I didn't think you could slipstream drivers into the text-UI section of a Windows install...learn something new every day. Thanks helix
!