Okay... today I'm going to talk about the value of the WD Raptor 10,000 rpm sata drive. Or the lack of value there in. You see I know how fast technology changes and how quickly prices can change when talking about computer hardware, I've been in the business for over 14 years, and one thing I've learned is this... always wait. Wait till the next big thing wait until the new Graphics chip or new storage technology. Why you ask?? Because pricing always drops to much, much, MUCH lower than when new technology hits the shelves.
The Western Digital Raptor Series of Harddrives is a perfect example of such a situation where I waited.. and waited ..and waited until finally I had enough of the hype and enough of the great benchmarks being thrown in my face on all the websites including our very own Tom's Hardware. Well I decided that I would put these drives to the test, and test them I did.
First let me say that I am no stranger to "Raid" arrays. Every system I have built for personal or business use in the last 5 years has utilized a raid array of some form or another. So in saying that I am no stranger to performance systems as well, and I have always wanted to make my very own raid zero array utilizing 2 or more of Western Digitals amazingly "Hyped" WD Raptor 10,000 RPM drives.
Well my fellow tech heads let me be the first to say I was rather disappointed to say the least by these hard drives but not from a mere performance standpoint, but also a value standpoint as well. The story starts at BestBuy: Thats right folks..when I need something and don't want to wait 5 days for it, I go to the only store that sells Raptors in the Orlando area.. BEST BUY!!.. don't act like none of you haven't occasionally dropped in just to see how things are looking??
I was immediately suprised to find them only 30.00 usd dollars more than NewEgg.com had them listed.. I think NewEgg is slipping guys. So yes they were 199.99 each!!.. Okay thats 400.00 dollars just for 2 drives!! YIKES. Not to mention they are only 150 gb each.. So that leaves me with about a 280 gb raid zero array, once combined and setup. Okay I knew this going in though.. Be strong I said, we need to see if these are what everyone says they are. Are they really that good?? So I took them home in favor of the very nicely priced 500 gb drives from WD that had an 8.6 ms average seek time, and Sata II comparing to a 4.6 ms average seek time to the Raptors with Sata I technology.
I got home and immediately backed up my data and tore my old triple WD 250GB x3 Raid zero array apart. Installed the new Raptors on my 680i Sli motherboard, and configured 2 of my Old WD 250Gbs in a seperate Raid Zero for more storage and comparison purposes. I immediately installed Windows Xp Pro on the Reptiles and watched the fireworks. Installed good but not overwhelmingly fast, and loaded up Windows really quickly once completed. Data transfer and write times seemed on par , but not much better than what I had previously. So I ran HD TACH..(the latest version) and what I found was very disappointing. My 2 Raptors (which I have affectionately labeled Turtles!!) ran far under par to what everyone was saying they should be doing. My HD TACH measurements were time and time again disappointing:
An Average Read of 109 Mbps..
A MAX Burst Speed of 192 Mbps..
Average Seek Time: 8.6 ms
A Sequential read pattern which fluctuated from 100-110 Mbps.. (actually this is very consistant) Average raid arrays will show much more fluctuation in data transfer along the entire spectrum of the array.
All this plus the Extreme high cost (400) for less than 300 total GB... my jaw hit the floor..
Now for all of you wondering what my Three Hardrives (WD2500KS) @ 250Gb a piece performed at in Raid Zero:
Average Read of 140 Mbps..
A Max Burst Speed of 351 Mbps.. thats right (351 Mbps)
Average Seek Time: 12.2 ms
A Sequential Read Pattern which fluctuated from 95-157 Mbps
And a Whopping Cost of ..79.00 USD per drive. Thats 237.00 Dollars TOTAL!!
Now you guys see the numbers plain as day.. Why would any of you ever pay 400.00 dollars for a Raid Zero Array Striped With Raptors, when you could spend 237.00 and get much better performance. The difference in seek times is the only benefit and by a fraction of 4 ms?? that like the time it takes you to blink people.!!!
I will whole heartedly admit that if you are looking for the fastest single drive available to install Your Op System on, these are a viable option, but size compared to performance compared with money spent.. your still losing out.
Needless to say I will be returning my Raptors, getting my 400.00 Dollars back and investing in a new 9800 (G92) platform graphics Card when they are finally released.... Hopefully.. If I do not wait for another 6 Months.
Oh and heres my system specs currently:
(1) Quad Core Intel Q6600 2.4ghz. Overclocked to 3.2ghz per core.
(Cooled by A Zalman C9700 Cpu HeatSink) plus (2) Red Led 80mm Fans
(1) Soundblaster X-FI Fatality1 Professional series Sound card
(2) Sata//Samsung Dual Layer DVD-RW SuperMulti Drives with Lightscribe Technology
(1) 850 Watt Cooler Master PowerSupply
(1) 450 Watt PC Power and Cooling Power Supply (power for 7 Led Fans) on seperate power switch.
(can be switched off for stealth mode no lights and no sound (EX: Watching a movie
or just surfing the net)
"Installed the new Raptors on my 680i Sli motherboard"
The 680i motherboard is bottlenecked to 110 mb/sec sustained transfer, atleast by what is Reflected by HDTune and HDTach. It's your RAID controller that is the problem. I know because I have the same motherboard, and my Raptors flatline at 110 mb/sec transfer in HD Tune. I used a program called Nero, and when it measured my disk speed, it measured my raptor raid0 array at 160,000 kb/sec.
Just thought I'd let you know, try to unraid them, do the same tests, and see how many drives you need to raid to get the same performance as a raptor.
You said you got 140 mb/s on your 3 drive array, which doesn't seem consistent, but your 110 mb/sec sustained is a known problem for raptors on the 680i raid controller. You may need a dedicated raid controller to break it with 2 drives. That being said, two raptors will perform higher than 140 mb/sec in a raid0 array with a raid controller.
Nah, they don't outdo everydrive.
In raw data transfer, the drives with more cache ultimately win.
32MB 750GBs and 1TB's cost the same or just a little more as a Raptor and are within maybe 7% of performance.