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HDD speed question

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August 8, 2009 1:56:45 AM

I am looking at upgrading my OS hard drive and need a little info on specs. I have dont quite a bit of searching but cant quite find what i am looking for.

Hard drives i am looking at:

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3750528AS

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS

Western Digital Caviar Black WD7501AALS

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS

Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS

My main focus is on random access times and avg. read/write times. the 7200.12s lead on the read/writes, but the westerns seem to have faster random access. I am curious which will be better for running a primary OS and gaming on. Further i plan to short stroke the drive if its one of the larger ones. Last question would be which speed spec plays a larger determining roll on the overall speed of a hard drive for running programs

More about : hdd speed question

a c 415 G Storage
August 8, 2009 5:17:23 AM

It seems to be getting harder to get performance specs for hard drives. OS disks need to find and read lots and lots of relatively small files, so what you want is the shortest possible latencies (ie, "access times") - they're more important than the drive's transfer rate.
August 8, 2009 3:26:46 PM

its going to be negligible between the two drives even if one has a smaller latency than the other, best bet is SSD (and a good one, not some POS)
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August 8, 2009 5:40:28 PM

Given i am a college student and dont have $300 to drop on a SSD, i need something under $100. which is why i am looking at the models i listed. Currently my number choice is to get the Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS and short stroke it to either 250gb or 500gb.
August 8, 2009 6:24:04 PM

My vote on a budget is for the WD6401AALS 2 platter drive. Fast overall performance and none of the Seagate brick issues... If another $10-15 is important, the WD5001ALS will do the trick for you just fine. Most of the time you are not writing large programs/files to the disk, you are accessing (randomly) relatively small files and writing relatively small files.
August 8, 2009 6:57:21 PM

For an OS once its booted that is true, but i will also be playing games on it such as WoW that have large amounts of data that have to load. Also the 7200.12 does not as of now have the same issues as the 7200.11 series had. Further the seagates also run 2 platters of higher density then the westerns, except the seagate 500 gb which is a single platter. This is why i ask the questions of access times.
a b G Storage
August 8, 2009 7:55:23 PM

you aen't going to be able to tell the difference between any of those drives without a benchmarking program.

WD proven to more reliable in my experience
a b G Storage
August 8, 2009 8:48:33 PM

When they read just fine, but have 250ms (yes, that's 20 times as long as a decent 7200rpm drive) write access times, they aren't worth having. They are still WAY more expensive per GB too. IMHO, they are the worst of both worlds - really expensive, and not tremendously fast in many cases.
a c 154 G Storage
August 8, 2009 9:11:34 PM

dstanton33 said:
I am looking at upgrading my OS hard drive and need a little info on specs. I have dont quite a bit of searching but cant quite find what i am looking for.

Hard drives i am looking at:

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3750528AS

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS

Western Digital Caviar Black WD7501AALS

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS

Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS

My main focus is on random access times and avg. read/write times. the 7200.12s lead on the read/writes, but the westerns seem to have faster random access. I am curious which will be better for running a primary OS and gaming on. Further i plan to short stroke the drive if its one of the larger ones. Last question would be which speed spec plays a larger determining roll on the overall speed of a hard drive for running programs


I think your best option for <$100 is the WD caviar black 1tb drive. Don't worry about short stroking. When you load the os and initial apps, they will go on the fastest(outermost) parts of the drive.
Apart from a SSD or the velociraptor, the WD drive has the highest sata transfer rate. Go to www.storagereview.com and access their performance database. Look at the maximum data transfer rate tests.

But ..... you probably would not be able to tell the difference among your list.


August 8, 2009 10:08:17 PM

The problem with storagereview is that they are not up to date. They dont have any of seagates new drives listed unless i am missing the right area. They stop at teh 7200.9-10 which are years old. Is there by chance another good review site besides tomshardware i could check?
a c 154 G Storage
August 9, 2009 4:53:26 AM

dstanton33 said:
The problem with storagereview is that they are not up to date. They dont have any of seagates new drives listed unless i am missing the right area. They stop at teh 7200.9-10 which are years old. Is there by chance another good review site besides tomshardware i could check?

I think you are right about storagereview not being active and current.
Here is another review site I found with a review of the seagate 7200.12:
http://techreport.com/articles.x/16472
Check out the applicable tests. In general, I see nothing special about the seagate 7200.12 compared to the caviar black.
They only used the 150gb velociraptor which is a bit disappointing, because it is slower than the 300gb version.
August 10, 2009 1:58:13 AM

Yea i think it is looking like all the hardrives will perform about the same, however due to the lower access times the caviar blacks might be a little faster for a OS. however i may just get 2 seagate 500gbs, and put them in raid 0. all i need to do is figure out how to raid them without a floppy drive. Supposed to use a flash drive i suppose
a b G Storage
August 10, 2009 2:09:02 AM

You can run RAID 0 on any intel controller and not need any drivers at all (flash drive or otherwise) if you use Vista or 7. If you are on a non-Intel controller, you'll need drivers, but Vista and 7 support flash drives during installation, so a floppy should be unnecessary.
August 10, 2009 2:32:11 AM

We'll until 7 is out end of october i am on XP pro, and i dont even have a floppy drive in my system. so i think i need to use a flash drive
August 27, 2010 6:09:46 PM

The Seagate is much quieter than WD the difference between a quiet library and a noisey one.
Dom.
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