Best hard drives for OS/apps & storage???

Hey guys- 1st post here. By the way, tons of great information and really smart posts, thanks!!! I've been reading a lot here lately.

I'm about to change out all of my workstation's hard drives and want to know what you guys think I should go with.

my situation...

I am a computer animator so I'll be using 3D apps, video editing/compositing and photoshop. (Not really gaming with this system)

old setup...

I was using 2x160GB WD hd's in RAID 0 for OS/apps, and 2x250GB WS hd's in RAID 0 for data. After 3 failures in 1 year, I've decided to change things up a bit. (2 hd failures and 1 RAID controller failure)

My new plan is....

I've ordered 4 new 250GB WD hd's (hoping the 1st set of wd's were just from a bad batch) and plan to run them in RAID 10. (WD2502abys's) These will be for data. I work with a good amount of semi-large files (120MB-10GB give or take), and it's pretty important stuff, so I can't trust the high risk factor of RAID 0 again, and I'm pretty sure RAID 5 is not as fast as 10.


I'm not sure what I plan to do for the OS/apps drive. SSD? 150gb velociraptor? Samsung F1? WD 7200? I think I'm limited to a single drive for the OS/apps since my RAID controller is only a 4 port. (3ware 9650se).
Currently, the OS and apps only take up about 45GBs so high capacity isn't necessary. Speed is the main factor.


If you have any suggestions for a better set up ( ie.. Use the 4 drives in RAID for the OS and a single drive for the data?) I'd like to hear that too.

fun fact...

I'm using XP 64 if that changes things like whether or not to go with an SSD or not.

In addition...

do you see any other areas of my current set up that could/should be improved.

BIG thanks in advance and sorry for the long read.

Here's my current specs.

2x 5345 2.33GHz 1333FSB Quad Core Xeons
Supermicro X7DAL mainboard with Intel 5000X chipset
8GB as 4x1GB, 2x2GB Kingston 667MHz ECC Reg DDR-2 Fully Buffered DIMM
3ware 9650SE-4LPML 4-port SATA-II RAID Controller
nVidia Quadro FX3500 256MB Dual DVI DDR3
XP Professional 64-bit Edition
4 answers Last reply
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  1. We took a quick glance at the manufacturers' websites
    for your motherboard and RAID controller:

    I'd recommend a 150GB VR for your OS and
    try RAID 6 with your 4 x WD2502ABYS.
    If that mode isn't fast enough for you,
    try other RAID modes.

    Since you'll be installing new HDDs, you will
    have an opportunity to experiment a bit
    before loading serious data.

    You'll get better performance from the
    larger cache on the WD1002FBYS, but
    that RE3 HDD is a lot more expensive.
    See Customer Reviews at Newegg:

    WIN64 shouldn't have any trouble
    addressing 4 x 1TB.

    Also, realize that your RAID controller
    uses only x4 PCI-Express lanes,
    instead of x8. This could make a
    measurable performance difference
    in high-volume RAID I/O.

    The 9650SE-12ML and up use x8 PCI-E lanes
    (see RAID controller's URL above).

    I hope this helps.


    Another option: WD7502ABYS is $150 each at Newegg x 4 = $600 for 3TB = $0.20 per GB

  3. Thanks for the replies!

    The price of the 9650SE-12ML is a bit much for me right now. I might have stay with the 4ML for now.
    What kind of increase could I expect to get out of the 8 PCI lanes the 12ML and up offer (vs the 4 from the model I have now)? Double....Might be worth it. 10%.... not so worth it.

    Also.. About the 32MB cached 1TB drives... Is the failure rate still low for the 1TB's? I've heard some bad things about those somewhere...

    And... why RAID 6 over RAID 10. I read the info from the 3ware 9650 link you posted, and I did see it had what they call Red Hot RAID 6. Does that seem to be that much better to you?

    I think I will go with the 150 VR for the OS. The 75 VR might be another option as well assuming they use the same 150GB platter and only allocate 75GB of it by limiting the arm or only using 1 of the 2 heads. If they did something stupid.... like making 75GB platters, I would assume the higher density of the 150GB platters would be faster. Any thoughts?

    I just checked out the other option (WD7502ABYS). Looks like that has 32MB cache also. What kind of increase is there with 32MB vs 16MB? Again, double... might be worth it. 10%... not so worth it.

    Thanks very much-
  4. The VR is definitely superior, because it uses perpendicular magnetic record ("PMR") and the interface speed is 300MB/second. To save money, consider the 150GB version instead of the 300GB version.

    There are now lots of review of the VR on the Internet.

    Also, if you shop around, wholesale distributors may sell you the VR without the 3.5" "Ice Pak" cooler. When we asked Western Digital if their on-line store would be selling the VR in 2.5" form factor withOUT the Ice Pak cooler, they said NO.

    I get the feeling, however, that HDD wholesalers and system builders may require a large minimum order quantity for the 2.5" version without the cooler: that version is intended for the high-density server market.

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