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SATA 3 - is it worth it?

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December 5, 2010 1:01:37 PM

Hello,

I am in need of a new HDD drive, as I had to give away 1 of my 2 250GB.

I don't know much about HDD drives, so...give me a hand here, please. I have been comparing several HDD's and to my surprise I found there wasn't such variety in the store I use to purchase my parts; I mean, compared to video cards and motherboards, so I don't have that much to chose from.

As someone that doesn't know much about HDD's I was immediately attracted to a "Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 64MB SATAIII (6GB/s)".
Why? The numbers, ahah. Well, it has 1TB which is just enough for me, then it has the highest "cache" (whatever that means), as most of them stay on 32MB, and obviously, the SATA 3 interface, which my main-board supports, which is a plus.

Now, I find the price very suspicious (being cheaper than some SATAII, 32MB cache HDD's) and I did some digging; it turns out the drive is not very quiet (which is one of the most important points for my new HDD, as it's the loudest component I have at the moment, and that disk seek'n'write sound is just 'aaargh'!).

So the whole numbers just got me confused, as I have come across very good feedback on the SAMSUNG HDD's despite having lower numbers.

It's just that there are too many numbers to compare and it doesn't seem to be a 1 variable comparison...just for reference here's what I am looking for (mainly):

at least 1TB capacity
very quiet
somewhat fast, but not necessarily an overkill


I'd be grateful if someone could enlighten to figure out if I should go with more RPM, more cache or the latest SATA 3 interface.

Thanks in advance.

More about : sata worth

December 5, 2010 1:13:35 PM

I'd get the samsung just for the good reviews, you won't notice any difference as no mechanical drive can take advantage of sata III yet.

WD has been going downhill for me lately, two 500gb blues failed on me in less than 6 months, I've never had a seagate or samsung fail on me, I have a seagate now, maybe I just had really bad luck... or maybe not.
December 5, 2010 1:54:42 PM

Hey wiinippongamer, thanks for your reply. Well, when I searched for the WD HDD, as usually I look for what's wrong with it, instead of what's so shiny about it, and unless you're into some other hardware forum, someone else said the exact same about how WD old disks were great in everything but now they're falling behind.

By the way, what do you mean by "no mechanical drive can take advantage of sata III yet"?

Still, if someone could say what is more important about a HDD I would really appreciate it.

Thanks
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December 5, 2010 2:01:16 PM

Sata III is primarilly for the SSDs which are 40+ times faster than mechanical HHD. Max data transfer speed for HDDs is limited to Platter density and Rotational speed. Even the 15K RPM drives do not saturate a Sata II interface.

On the WD Sata III drive, I bought one, and have it on a SATA III port - DON'T. the :SATA III 96) is for marketing. The only gain is in Burst rate.

My choice - Samsung F3 and or WB blacks (both sata II). Typicall useage will not show much diff so I'd go with reliability. Seagate -12s, Still not sold on reliabilty.
December 5, 2010 2:09:13 PM

Have you seen a mechanical drive going over 300mb/s?, most high end SSDs only get up to 250-275 mb/s. Sata 3GB/s is actually 3GBit/s which is 300MByte/s.

Look at acess times and cache, that accounts the most for the overall snappiness of the system, a meh-ish low capacity SSD that only gets up to like 120MB/s will feel much quicker overall than two fast HDDs in raid 0 getting over 250MB/s. All because of the very low access times of the SSD.
December 5, 2010 2:28:40 PM

Oh, now I get it...thanks for the help, really, it's things like this that the average user is not aware of.

So basically it's like getting a car with tires that ensure stability at 260km/h, even though it's engine only powers it to 120km/h...marketing, eh?

The SAMSUNG F3 is like half the cost of it, so I think I will go for it. 1TB SATA II, 32MB cache.

Is it quiet by the way?

Thanks again!
December 5, 2010 2:47:14 PM

From what i've heard the F3s are fast, cool and quiet drives. The WD is known to be louder
December 5, 2010 10:03:39 PM

I was just reading up on this topic as well, with the same question. Thanks for the initial comment, wiinippongamer - I got the same gist from a Tom's Hardware review of some drives. That is, that sata 3 hd's aren't really going to show much noticable improvement for sata 3 - its use is primarily for ssd.
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