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Are WD Caviar Black's a good choice for gaming?

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January 3, 2011 9:00:25 PM

All,

I am looking to obtain additional storage, more specifically for gaming. My current setup as is as such:

Mobo: Crosshair IV
Boot HDD: G.SKILL Phoenix Pro Series FM-25S2S-120GBP2 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC SSD
Secondary HDD: Some old 7200 maxtor drive

I keep filling up my primary HDD with game installs (steam) and want to move them to a new drive. However, that Maxtor drive is less than 300gb and not the best of drives. I can keep it for a small backup drive.

So, I was debating the WD Black Caviar drive, but had a couple questions. Is the Sata 3.0 vs. 6.0 really that much better? I ask because they have a 1.5tb 3.0 drive for $120 and a 1tb 6.0 drive for $90. Truth be told, 1tb should be plenty ... more than plenty for quite awhile, so I'd rather go for performance, which says I should go with the 6.0 yeah? This is what I'm looking at: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Edit: The more I think about this, the more I want to turn this into a RAID 5 with 3 drives for now ... I think my case can handle up to another 5, but gonna call it a day at 3. So now I need to decide If I go with the 1tb or 1.5tb drives ...

Thanks
a b 4 Gaming
a b G Storage
January 3, 2011 9:16:46 PM

I just picked up L4D2 yesterday because it was 66% off, so $6.80:D  I love steam/Valve.

Seeing as these are mechanical drives the interface doesn't matter. Spinning disks only spin so fast, and its impossible for either of those drives to fill the SATAII interface, let alone SATA3. The question you need to ask yourself is do you want 1.5TB for $120, or 1TB for $90.

I wouldn't bother with RAID of any form. Load times won't be that effected by it.

Have you seen the Steam move guide? I think its on this forum. I've moved my steam folder around a lot. I thought I was good at it until someone went and showed how to use these pointer things to have your steam folder point to different drives. You might want to do this to have your current favorite game on your SSD for the better load times, then move it back to the 1TB/1.5TB drive when you want to play something else. Not sure where the guide is on this forum, should be stickied someplace.
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a b G Storage
January 3, 2011 9:18:29 PM

WD Black is a good performance drive.

As for SATA2.0 compared to SATA3.0, keep in mind the speed mentioned is the maximum transfer rate. Actual transfer rate varies from zero UP TO the maximum. The catch word is UP TO. If you go with SATA3.0, be sure your mobo support it.

Personally I would not use RAID 0, unless your app is always getting data from HDD. With RAID 0 the chances of HDD setup failure doubles (for 2 drives). I would rather do regular backups instead of mirroring.
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January 3, 2011 9:21:10 PM

Thanks for the quick response 4b.

Yeah, I have the steam tool to move around the games, which is what I plan on doing. If anything "really" needs to be on SSD, I can move 'em back and forth, however for the most part everything is going on this new drive.

I mean, I know it won't be the same performance, but are these drives I'm looking at it worth it? They seem relatively cheap for what you're getting and have a mixed bag of reviews, most bad ones are simply DOA products due to poor shipping.

The more I sit here and ponder what I want/need to do ... part of me thinks I want to setup a raid 5 (assuming my mobo can handle it, pretty sure it can) and use this drive as everything minus apps/os ... ie, pics, videos, games, backups, etc. Obviously yeah, I'd have to get 3 drives, but I double my space.

I dunno, in the 10+ years of building PC's, I've never once had a HDD go bad on me, not once ... so do I really "need" redundancy? Hmmmmmmmmmmm
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January 3, 2011 9:22:55 PM

Thanks electrontau.

Yeah, my motherboard does support it. I still don't know If I fully understand If I want/need Sata3 6.0 ...

I think I agree about the whole RAID 0/1 ... so now to make a decision if it's worth it to go to 5 and buy 3 drives?
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a b 4 Gaming
a b G Storage
January 3, 2011 9:35:40 PM

I still say no. Not sure what games your playing but once they are loaded into ram thats it for the harddrive. No more reading/writing. I find the wait to load TF2 to be ok. Doesn't feel as fast as it once did when I moved from a single core to a dual, but it doesn't feel like to me that it takes a long time. And just last night I was able to load into the map and be the 3rd in there out of 24. (I have loaded as low as 10 or 12 out of 24.) I could probably use faster, but what I have is fast enough. My CPU is the now ancient E6600, and my disk is a 7200.10 Seagate. Not speedy by todays terms at all.
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January 3, 2011 9:39:32 PM

You may want to think twice about using Caviar Black HDDs in RAID. A lot of people have had issues where Caviar Black drives would drop out of RAID arrays because the drives took too long to correct for errors and thus were kicked out of the array.

WD RE3 edition drives do alot better in RAID arrays, and iirc, were specially designed for RAID usage and high reliability. Caviar Blacks are still excellent gaming drives, I've got one in my rig right now and I love it, but I'm not sure I would trust them in a RAID array given everything I've heard.

As far as SATA III, like 474 said, it won't make a huge difference. The bottleneck on HDDs is the rate at which data is read off of, and written to the platters, not the interface. The only time the faster interface would help is when the data being accessed is on the drive's cache.
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January 3, 2011 10:25:23 PM

Been doing a lot of random reading ... and what I'm thinking is the best bet is just sticking with two drives. One for my installs/apps/etc. and one for backups, or more preferably some sort of mirroring software (TBD).

Now just have to decide on the 1tb (sata 6) vs. 1.5tb (sata 3)...
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January 3, 2011 10:43:45 PM

Ok another question ... do you guys generally go with internal or external drives for backups? The WD USB 3.0 External is looking pretty tempting ... and they go up to 3tb's, which is more than I'd ever need.

Also, any reason why the WD2002FAEX (2TB Black Caviar) isn't available from Amazon nor NewEgg? I think this is the drive I want to go with, but it worries me that only 3rd party resellers on Amazon have it at the moment ...
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a b 4 Gaming
a b G Storage
January 3, 2011 11:01:36 PM

For a backup, external. Remember to unplug it when your not backing up.

For just data storage, internal. That way you have your music, movies, etc when you want them.
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January 3, 2011 11:06:22 PM

474, why do you say to unplug it? I thought with WD's software, it's more or less always backing up (based on delta's). Is it wear and tear on the drive that you want to avoid? Aren't externals with fans more ideal from a longevity/heating perspective?
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a b 4 Gaming
a b G Storage
January 3, 2011 11:17:41 PM

None of those. Proper backups are physically removed from the machine in case of damage. If the PSU fails and sends a voltage spike out that fries your hdd, if your backup is attached there is a change it could travel through the USB and fry your backup. Technically your backup should be stored off site in case of fire, flood, act of god, etc. Should be kept in your drawer at work and only brought home once a week/month, etc to run the backup. Once thats done, unplug and take it back to work.

This is the text book answer. Not everyone follows. For example, I don't. I do however keep copies of important things on my wifes computer. Its good in case one of ours fails but if lighten strikes our house and both computers die then there is a chance I/we'll lose everything.
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January 10, 2011 10:55:38 PM

Best answer selected by adambean.
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