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Boot Disk - OPINIONS PLEASE

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October 15, 2009 12:30:55 AM

Hey all, I'm having a real dilemma. I just built a new system that is as follows:

i7 920
Asus p6t Deluxe v2 mobo
6 gig ddr3 ram
gtx 275
seasonic 850w power supply
1tb seagate hd

I'm currently running 64-bit XP, and I really don't like it. I've already got Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit pre-ordered on Newegg. The 1 tb Seagate was not really meant to be my permanent drive. I was going to use it for storage and get a faster drive when I updated to Win 7. Well that's almost here, and I don't know what to do. I really would like to go SSD, but don't know a lot about them other than pepole say it's the single best upgrade you can do to your pc.

So, I'm asking you all for opinions. I could go Raptor, or SSD, but price is an issue. I do mostly gaming and regular internet surfing, email usage, business apps (Quickbooks, Microsoft Office, etc.). I'm not sure 80 gb will be enough, and the 128 gb SSDs are pretty high, but if I'm going to spend money I don't want it to be wasted (i.e. spending a lot on a 80 gig SSD and having it be too small). What should I look for in an SSD? Is there a speed difference between them, or are they all fast? I just don't know much about them, and would appreciate all the recommendations and knowledge you guys can give. THANKS!

More about : boot disk opinions

October 15, 2009 12:50:27 AM

What don't you like about 64 bit XP? Is it the 64 bit or XP? With 6GB of RAM the 64 bit should be an improvement.

I think SSD would be a great investment - I plan on it for my next build. At this point I would only go with Intel X-25M despite its $289 price tag. The others have not measured up yet.

I think 80GB should be adequate for OS and applications - unless you have a huge number of games or something. Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit requires 20GB. I would leave 40GB for buffer - updates, etc. - and use 20GB for applications. That would handle a lot more than I would need. If you need more - you can still put some of them on your "data" drive - prefereable things like Office that don't require much speed. I think the others should work as well on the data disk, although I have not read anything about the impace of having apps on a separate disk.

Like I said - I would stick with Intel for now - but others are getting better. Did you see this September THG article rating a host of SSDs?

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-x25-m-vertex,23...

In the conclusion, it states:

Even six months ago, it was easy to identify winners and brand the losers. But most of these SSDs will do great in your PC or notebook. Intel’s new 34nm X25-M isn’t very different from preceding drives. It still offers the same performance and hence falls behind in terms of writes, but the X25-M still stomps the yard on delivering high performance in I/Os, despite relatively high I/O power consumption.


We recommend you examine the individual benchmark results and find the perfect drive for your application.
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October 15, 2009 1:25:06 AM

There just doesn't seem to be a lot of things made for 64-bit XP. I think 64-bit XP was a bit before its time. By the time Vista was out 64-bit was more common and things were made for it. For example, I can't run iTunes on 64-bit XP, but if I had Vista I could. It's just compatability issues that are fixed for the most part with later versions of Windows. And I think the XP mode (which I think simulates 32 bit XP, if I understand correctly) on Windows 7 will take care of any compatability issues it may have.

From everything I've heard from friends and read on the internet, Windows 7 is just the best, and I've been anticipating its release since I built this rig.
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October 15, 2009 2:00:35 AM

I could swing an 80 gb SSD, but I'm scared that 80 isn't enough. For example, I've been extremely frugal with what I've loaded on this PC because I know it's going to be redone shortly after Win7 comes out. I've got games on my desk right here, with more to come, that require this:

Sims 3 - 6 gb
Crysis Maximum Edition - 26 gb
GTA 4 - 16 gb
Far Cry 2 - 12 gb

I'm sure I'll be getting many more in the future of which will be very large. I've already got 50 gb on this pc and haven't loaded all the programs that will get loaded when Win7 gets installed. And the 160 gb Intels are $500+. That's a bit steep. I may just have to either install Win7 and deal with it for now, or hold off until SSDs come down in price. But that could be a while.
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October 15, 2009 2:48:11 AM

You have a good point - you have a lot of games that will take up a lot of space and it would be best to have those on same drive as OS.

Todays drives are a lot faster than the old ones. You should still get good play using the Seagate HD. Did you get the 7200.11 or 7200.12? The newer model (7200.12) scores a lot better on most charts, but the 7200.11 outscores it on the workstation benchmark by quite a bit - and I would consider this the best measure for real world use. I have asked in forums for a reconciliation on this - but got no replies. If anyone else wants to chime in on this I would love to hear from them. I have not seen any HD reviews with actual game play statistics. Anyone have those?

Here are the THG charts on the two Seagate 1TB drives as well as the velociraptor and raptor.

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...

One interim step would be to spend $160 now on a 150GB velociraptor (or $173 for a 300GB one) then replace it with a SSD later. However I understand they can be quite noisy and suggest considering that first as well.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Here's some basic data I pick up on SSD drives for another thread now running similar to yours - I suggested they check into this thread as well.

This review presents the best information I know of about SSD vs, other drives.
http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3531&p=...

This THG review from May 2008 has some interesting and perhaps helpful data – although it does not include the Intel SSD which beats the others hands down – and even the others have improved substantially since then. Also the prices are way out of date.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-memoright,1926....

See also these two forum threads
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/272019-31-build
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/251043-32-raptor

Beyond that you can try to compare performance on the THG hard drive charts, but HDs, HDs in RAID, and SSD drives are on separate charts.


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October 15, 2009 3:11:28 AM

I do not know if it is a 7200.11 or 7200.12. I bought it at Micro Center back on August 20 something. I really wanted the WD Caviar Black, but they didn't have any and this was the last component to building the PC, so I just bought it. I threw away the box, but is there somewhere I can tell? Maybe device manager? It is a 32 mb of cache version. I just don't know if its .12 or .11.

You may be right though. I may just need to settle for a Raptor right now until SSD storage gets cheaper per GB. I'm not terribly concerned about noise as I shut my PC off at night and when I'm not using it for periods of time. When I'm gaming the video card is already screaming. I don't think heat will really be an issue either because it's all in the CoolerMaster HAF 932 case, which is a sweet case by the way and keeps everything ice cold. I'll try to convince myself to spend the money and get the 160 SSD, but that's just a little steep. It would probably be wiser to just buy the Raptor and save a whole bunch of money.
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October 15, 2009 3:32:03 AM

In Device Manager for the HD, you may find a long manufacturers ID "number" starting with "ST". Just google the number and you should get results at the top that take you to a page that will give the corresponding "7200" number more familiar to everyone.

And I agree, I definitely would not buy an SSD larger than 80GB because the cost is way too high. Since, strangely I think, neither WD nor Seagate has yet come out with an SSD. Surprising since in a few years they may all but replace the HD business the two depend on. I am hoping they both come out with something soon - and when they do it knocks the socks off the others - and off prices as well.
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October 15, 2009 12:10:36 PM

Ok, it is indeed a 7200.12 drive. Thanks for all your help. I guess another thing I could do is buy a small SSD for my OS and other programs (like 64 gb maybe), and then buy a 150 VelociRaptor for games. On my old computer I put my games on my storage drive and it worked ok. They were the same drive but one was a 160 and the other OS was an 80. The only problem with that is intel doesn't make a 64 gb SSD other than the ridiculously expensive E model.
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October 15, 2009 1:27:19 PM

Seagate making SSDs? Lol, that would mean selling all their assets and basically starting a new company. No SSD companies come from NAND market and the ones who are smart enough to make a good controller; HDD manufacturers largely will just disappear over time.

The SSD to look for now is Intel X25-M G2. Its unmatched in performance; there is no competition. The performance of SSDs is directly attributable to the controller used; and Intel made the best controller and uses it on their own SSDs. So Intel is pretty much the only choice for high-performance SSD now.

If 80GB isnt enough you have two options:
1) get 2x 80GB and put them in RAID0. This would allow 'write caching' option is you have ICHxR RAID chipset.
2) put some of your games on the larger HDD; so you have only part of the applications on the SSD. Ofcourse you'll have boot times and such.

Good thing about the SSD is that it should be useful for at least two genertions (10 years). So you can use it in your current system, and in the one who you'll be buying in 2-4 years. Like a monitor, investing in an SSD isn't a 'throw away investment' like when you do when you buy a videocard; that will be useful for a couple of years then its obsolete and nobody wants a 200W electric heater that doesn't perform.
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October 15, 2009 3:31:20 PM

sub mesa said:
Seagate making SSDs? Lol, that would mean selling all their assets and basically starting a new company. No SSD companies come from NAND market and the ones who are smart enough to make a good controller; HDD manufacturers largely will just disappear over time.


That HDs will dispear over time is precisely the reason that the HD manufacturers have to figure out how to dominate the SSD market as well - and I am sure they know that. They have a major incentive to master that market and have been working on SSDs for a couple of years. Seagate is slightly behind the schedule they announced over a year ago for entering the market. And I am sure Seagate and WD are smart enough - and know where to get the talent to make or buy a good controller. Off course Intel is a tough company to compete with in any chip market. I can only assume Seagate and WD have not felt the need to hurry to the market as small as it still is with high prices - they can afford to let the other smaller companies experiment - and learn from their mistakes - as they continue their own R&D.
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October 15, 2009 4:27:15 PM

The SSD market is totally different from HDD market. Anything they know or have is basically useless for SSDs. All their factories and assets won't produce SSDs, and their (lack of) knowhow won't be able to make them a good SSD controller.

All in all, its game over for the traditional HDD companies. They are not investing in their products anymore. For example the firmware in modern drives still has some 15-year old code there. No manufacturer ever attempted a complete re-write of their firmware; its just not worth it since HDDs won't be a profitable product in the near future. Its a declining product.

Why else do you think you see all kind of different companies when it comes to SSDs. Mtron, Memoright, those were pioneers into SSD controllers; then Intel thought they could do better and they did. There is no comparison to date.
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October 15, 2009 4:47:07 PM

SSDs may replace HDs in the near future - but it will still be quite awhile before it makes economic sense to be storing TBs of data on SSDs. Don't count Seagate and WD out. They are not just sitting back watching their business to transition to others.

And the knowledge that experts have in the SSD field rests with people - people that can be hired away. And I have heard of more than one tech companying obtaining critical knowledge by partnering and acquisition - or just purchasing specific key components from others. Even most of those in the market today are getting their controllers from the same limited source.
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October 15, 2009 5:24:31 PM

Sure i don't say they disappear and close their factories. But they won't be investing in the HDD technology with big amounts, like they do for new NAND flash factories. So its dying product; its sales will decline, the cost per unit will increase. The only reason they can keep going is because they can deliver high capacity for low cost. Because costs will only increase, this benefit will grow slimmer and slimmer; until HDDs are only found in PCs where people need alot of storage space. Virtually all PCs sold at that point will have a ~512GB SSD, many people don't need more storage. Besides i think alot of storage will go via networking/distributed systems and local storage will become less important in the future.

People can just be hired away? Sure just like Microsoft needed help from DEC Alpha engineers to make them a stable NT kernel. But who made the ultimate product; you or the hired guys? Besides i don't see Intel lending their top engineers to help their competition.
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October 15, 2009 7:08:09 PM

sub mesa said:
Sure i don't say they disappear and close their factories. But they won't be investing in the HDD technology with big amounts, like they do for new NAND flash factories.


I guess you forgot to tell Seagate that. Perhaps you should read this press release from Seagate about "Seagate To Showcase New Generation Of Retail Products, Storage Solutions For Small Business And World's Fastest Desktop Hard Drive At GITEX 2009 In Dubai" - the new products include the 2 TB SATA drive at 6GB/s. - seems like they are not standing still. GITEX starts in 2 days.


http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?locale=en-US&name...

sub mesa said:
Besides i think alot of storage will go via networking/distributed systems and local storage will become less important in the future.


And what do you think those distributed systems will be using to store large masses of data? Not SDDs. Further individuals data storage needs are growing exponentially - at rate likely to continue. I may get a home NAS - but I guarantee I won't pay to have expensive SSDs in it. And what I may send out for storage will just be a small volume of important information for a secure offsite backup - I am not about to pay someone a monthly fee to store my videos. I want to get an SSD to handle eventually maybe 200GB for OS and applications - a size that won't increase much over time - but I see no need to use it for my other storage needs which are growing much faster.


All expectations are for a huge growth in storage needs, at the individual level as video applications become more prominent and with world wide economic growth. And most of it will be met with mechanical drives for the forseeable future. SDD prices have a long way to drop before they become truely competitive - and that could take a long time. And I am sure Seagate and WDD will be part of that SDD growth as well.
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October 15, 2009 9:18:04 PM

6 gigabit? LOL.. thats marketing boy. And i'd say it worked pretty well in your case.

Let's see what their babble is all about...

"Barracuda® XT drive, a 7200RPM (yawn; get 5400) product featuring 2TB (didn't we had 2TB already?) of storage capacity and a blazing fast SATA 6Gb/second interface (WOW! i must buy this disk!) which meets the capacity demands (yes but.. does it meet the performance demands too?) of gaming, digital video-environments and other storage-hungry desktop computing applications while delivering the highest performance in its class (hmmm). Its introduction marks the shift to the next generation of desktop computing speed as Seagate doubles the storage bandwidth of current computers."

So because the storage is higher it marks a shift to the next generation of desktop computing speed? Doesn't make sense to me. I've seen much better non-sense written by marketing teams. Let me just translate their message for you:

"UltraFLOP(®) is the ultimate solution for your money problems. Because of the SuperSPIN(®) and NitroBoost(®) technology, it features an ultimate high best-in-class capacity of 2.88MB and 50ms access time, this floppy drive is not just a floppy drive, its a FAST floppy drive and has DOUBLE the capacity of normal floppies."

Performance and gaming? It sucks! Because HDDs can't seek. It will continue to suck even with the biggest RAID0 array of 15k SAS disks, a good SSD will piss all over them. Latency is key here; and alot of accesses are not sequential, so any HDD will have performance problems here.

R&D? What's there to research? Mechanical devices can never operate on the same level as micro electronics. There are just physical limits on what's feasible and accomplishable. And the SSDs are just starting to flourish, the big boom has yet to go when many notebooks will feature only an SSD and the production of NAND skyroofs; then its game-over for the big HDD manufacturers. Probably some will be merged, as happened in the past.

So basically any HDD coming out in the future, is still a HDD. Sure it'll have bigger platters, sure it'll have more cache memory, sure it'll feature some newer interface. But a HDD is still a HDD; nothing changes to the unreliability, high energy requirements when idling, vibrations, shock-non-resistance and of course extremely low random I/O performance. Its fundamental to the technology i'd say. The real question is, how soon can SSDs take over? Money is key here, but the production volume is the most important factor here, as its directly linked with cost of the product.

So it's only a matter or time; HDDs manufacturers realise that. They'll continue to use their marketing tools well to continue their sales because right now they are still selling well. But they realise this can change rapidly and they have to focus on areas where they still have a chance in the near future.
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October 15, 2009 9:33:13 PM

thebski said:
Ok, it is indeed a 7200.12 drive. Thanks for all your help. I guess another thing I could do is buy a small SSD for my OS and other programs (like 64 gb maybe), and then buy a 150 VelociRaptor for games. On my old computer I put my games on my storage drive and it worked ok. They were the same drive but one was a 160 and the other OS was an 80. The only problem with that is intel doesn't make a 64 gb SSD other than the ridiculously expensive E model.


The Raptor's just don't stand up to last year's 1TB drives, let alone this year's. Look at the THG performance charts .... the big performers DTR wise ate the Spinpoint F3 and WD 2 TB. But the WD 1 TB is a dog by comparison. Don't forget to look at temperature and sound levels....I'll give up 1% disk performance for a 5 Db drop of 5 degree temp drop anytime.
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October 15, 2009 11:00:56 PM

------------------------------
If a man speaks in the forest and no woman hears him, is he still wrong ?
Of course he is.

Nice to hear from you again Jack.

Here are some relevant selections from the chart:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...

I beleive the workstation I/O benchmark is the best overall indicator of application performance. This shows both the Raptor and Velociraptor as faster than the others though. If you think some other stats are more important I would like to hear about it. In the past I have been unable to find HD charts based on real application performance.

The new 7200.12 drive should be a lot faster than his old drives. TheBiski - how unhappy are you with its current performance? You ought to be maxing out a lot of games with that system - in which case the faster drive might make little difference except on booting and loading apps - unless you have a big monitor and are using high game settings.
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October 15, 2009 11:52:58 PM

I have a 23" Samsung that I run at 1920x1080 so it will run them at almost maxed, but not quite. I'm not terribly disappointed with it. I just feel that this is a really nice system and I'm not fully taking advantage of how responsive and instantaneous it could be. That said, I can deal with it. The main thing is I want to put my OS and apps on a separate drive from my data. This 1TB Seagate was originally bought thinking that when I upgraded to Win 7 I'd get a more permanent solution for an OS/app drive (that was probably going to be a more high performance drive) and this Seagate would be my storage drive. Right now my storage drive is my 500 GB external, and I'd really like to use that as a backup for all my digital files. I just don't want to clutter my OS drive with all the things that go on a storage drive, as I'd like to keep this thing fast.

So in summary, I'm going to get another drive to put the OS on. The thing I need to decide is do I drop the money for an SSD now, do I settle for a Raptor, or do I just buy like a 500 GB Caviar Black and save my money for an SSD down the road when they get more reasonable $/GB. That's what I'm trying to decide, and I'm a bad decision maker, haha.
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October 16, 2009 12:20:01 AM

I understand as I want to get an SSD when they drop a little lower in price.

Here's a question for which I don't have answer. Does it benefit to have OS and applications on separate but equal drives? Does having two drives sharing the work speed up performance, or does communicating between them slow it down?

I like to have my data on a separate drive - to simplify if I have to reformat and reload the operating system and also to make it easier to backup the data only by backing up the entire drive. But I can accomplish this by partitioning one drive. What are your objectives for splitting them and would this work?

Alternatively, what about just spending $90 to match up another 1TB 7200.12 drive?
Then the quesiton becomes - what is faster and better:
1. Drive and apps on one drive and data on the other - a traditional approach
2. Drive and apps on seprate drives (if that is faster) and then data on one of them - presmably the OS one would have more space but partitioning it from the OS?
2. Paritioning the Drives each in two. Use one partition on each drive in RAID 0 for OS and apps and the second partition on each drive in RAID 1 for data and a backup on the data.
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October 16, 2009 12:28:34 AM

Well, I've traditionally enjoyed having OS/Apps on one drive, and data on another. I like this for the reason you stated. When I go to reformat, I fresh install the OS/App drive. This gives me a clean install of Windows and helps get rid of a bunch of Apps that I don't use anymore like little programs I've downloaded. And I don't touch the storage drive. I haven't thought about the Raid 0 partitions.

Another thing I may do is buy a 120 GB SSD with an Indillinx (or however it's spelled). I know they aren't as good as the Intel's, but I think 120GB would be sufficient. They aren't as high as the Intel's, and once Trim comes out they should perform really well. I know Intel is top of the line, but I'm not shelling out 600 bucks for a 160 GB Intel, so I may have to settle somewhere.
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October 16, 2009 3:32:32 AM

You can accomplish what the same thing - have OS and apps on a separate logical drive - just by partitioning a single HD. Then you can reformat the one drive (partition) with the OS and apps just as if it were on a separate physical drive. Each drive will have its own drive letter in showing in My Computer - the OS and apps can still be the C drive and you assign another letter - D or E - or somehting to the other partition - just as if it were a separate physical drive - and it would function the same way.

The other (non-Intel) SSDs have been getting better and OCZ has some that would be a reasonable compromise.
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October 16, 2009 6:40:46 PM

rockyjohn said:
------------------------------
If a man speaks in the forest and no woman hears him, is he still wrong ?
Of course he is.



No one has ever answered that question any other way :) 

I have always thought of workstation performance as being related to a lot of small file I/O and though I use a "CAD Workstation", I have not noticed any correlation between CAD performance and those WS benchies.
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October 16, 2009 7:33:25 PM

Thanks.

I guess I need to focus more on the PCMark scores for gaming and video editing.

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