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Slow hard drive bottlenecking system?

Last response: in Storage
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September 19, 2009 9:26:22 AM

When I built my system earlier this year I kinda cheaped out on the hard drive, thinking a slower drive wouldn't bother me too much as I was just building a middle of the road machine to begin with. Original stats were

AMD Athlon x2 7750 Kuma @ 2.7ghz
Gigabyte GA-MA770-UD3
8gb Kingston Hyper x 1066
ASUS DVD burner
Sapphire Radeon 4830
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb
500w Antec Smartpower
Vista 64 bit Ultimate

at that time I honestly didnt even notice waiting for the drive to give me what I asked for, because the processor worked about the same speed. I have done a couple of upgrades since I built it in march

AMD Phenom II 940 @ 3.4ghz
Gigabyte GA-MA770-UD3
8gb Kingston Hyper x 1066
ASUS DVD burner
Sapphire Radeon 1Gb 4870 Toxic
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb
Western Digital Caviar RE WD2500YS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb
Western Digital RE3 WD5002ABYS-01B1B0 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0G
500w Antec Smartpower
Vista 64 bit Ultimate

My problem is now that my machine flies, I can feel the Caviar blue struggling to keep up and consistently find myself waiting for it to process, the other two drives I got used on craigslist, their manufacture dates are 2/2009 so they aren't too old and I have been using them for about a month for general storage so they are in good shape and they seem to process data quite a bit faster then ole 320gb Blue.

I guess my question is, I know you can do a full PC backup with vista ultimate and basically clone your hard drive and install the backup onto a new drive, would I see a significant improvement by say cloning my OS to the 250gb WD2500YS and using the other two for storage? or would the increase in speed be so marginal that its not worth the time? Or would it be even worse because of some variable that I am not taking into account? My instict tells me that its the right way to go about it, but I would like someone more well versed in storage to give me the right answer.

Also another question that is slightly off topic, my copy of vista ultimate was generously donated by a friend of my wife, he does IT for his company and is in charge of setting up peoples home computers for remote access so he has multiple copies of ultimate with I believe what he called Enterprise licenses meaning they could be used on an indefinite number of machines (Definately not something any of us want falling into the wrong hands, I wasnt even sure I wanted to take it just on principal but he assured me he spoke with his supervisor and all was ok). At his request because we dont see each other often I copied the disk to my hard drive just in case (stupid plan because if I need it, it will be in the one place I wont be able to get to, my hard drive) so obviously I want to put it on DVD but am unsure as to the correct file structure, currently its just data files sitting in a folder, do I just need to burn all that to a DVD basically making a data disk for it to work correctly say for a windows repair or do I need to code it a certain way to make it a bootable disk. I am pretty sure I didnt explain that well, optical media is definitely not my strong suit but I want to make sure my backup is in place in case something goes terribly wrong with this process.

Wow, longest post ever, if you made it to the end, thank you for your time, any assistance with either of my questions is greatly appreciated.




September 19, 2009 4:15:43 PM

If you didnt put the disc on your PC as a .iso theres no chance of making it to a DvD. They key is the hard part to get, I can ship you a DVD on Vista enterprise for $20.00. However in your post it also says you have ultimate. They make Ultimate and enterprise editions. I can get either.

Your idea about switchin drives isnt gonna do any improvements and will slow you down some most likely. Its time for SSD when a WD blue/black feels slow.
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September 19, 2009 4:33:32 PM

Ok cool, I guess that's what I was asking, there is no way to convert it into an iso at this point, same way you convert video files to .vob to make a DVD work correctly? I appreciate the offer, I am sure if it comes down to it I can have my buddy make me a better copy of the disk or just dl the retail version, as you stated the key is the hard thing, that I do have. It is Vista ultimate 64, when I said enterprise I was referring to the type of key it is and only then calling enterprise because I wasn't really sure.

Are we sure about the hard drive situation? Everything I have read indicates the RE and RE3 are both server grade drives that are significantly faster then that caviar blue.
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September 21, 2009 2:35:02 AM

Interesting, nobody else agree's/disagree's?
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a b G Storage
September 21, 2009 4:55:03 AM

You ask if using a faster hard drive will make your machine - which you say "flies" - fly.

I don't understand how to reconcile those two statements, and I don't know what kind of application makes your HD struggle. Is that drive full? Fragmented?

Generally speaking, a 16mb cache drive will outperform an 8mb cache drive, all other factors being sort of equal.
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a b G Storage
September 21, 2009 4:51:37 PM

The other thing is that hard-drives read anywhere from 50-120mbps depending on the model and circumstances. Your CPU and RAM will process multiple gbps. We're talking maybe thousands of times more performance from your CPU and RAM vs your HDD. I doubt your hard-drive ever "kept up" with your old rig, but there may be technological differences that make the other drives seem faster. First and foremost, the ones you got off Craigslist are RE drives, meaning they're Enterprise drives made for heavy-duty workloads and high I/O. I looked up the 320GB drive on Western Digital and it didn't mention having NCQ, while the RE drives do have NCQ. That technology may account for some of the performance differences you see, along with larger caches and other RE-specific features.
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September 22, 2009 3:09:08 AM

Thats basically what I wanted to know, would it be worth my time to change my OS to one of the RE drives. Based on everything I have read about the enterprise drives they outperform mainstream ones by a good margin. I am running western digital's scanner through the 250 right now to check for any error's or inconsistencies. Many thanks to all
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