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Hybrid SSD Seagate Momentus XT Drive Test Results Beating SSDs ?

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September 2, 2011 6:57:37 PM

Hello,

CURRENT HD SETUP
Hybrid SSD - Seagate Momentus XT 500GB | Two drives in a RAID 0 (Striped) = 1TB Storage | Cost $178

These 500GB 7200RPM drives have 4GB of SSD soldered onboard to boost speeds where it beats a lot of SSD drives in sequential read/write (and loses miserably on just about everything else).

WINDOWS INDEX SCORE FOR DISK = 6.2

I am testing these drives in new build:

i7-2600k
Asus P8Z68-V Pro
16GB Corsair Vengeance 4x4GB CMZ8GX3MXA1866C9B

The new build has been loaded with CS5 Master Suite, Office 2007, Sony Vegas Platinum 9, UltraEdit & UltraCompare, Audials One, Rhapsody, WinRAR, ESET A/V and a couple of other programs last night/today.

PRIMARY USE OF MACHINE
Photoshop CS5 & Premiere Pro CS5

PURPOSE FOR TEST
The reason why I am testing them in this machine is b/c it brought my Sony VGN-AR590e back to life when I put two of them in the same RAID 0 (striped) array with Windows 7 64-bit. The laptop now boots in 45 seconds (all processes loaded, no HD light flickering) which is something that can't be said for a client's HP Z800 $10,000 workstation with OCZ SSD drives (something like
1:15 load time).

BUDGET TO IMPROVE TEST RESULTS BELOW
I am looking to improve the results below and not drop any speed. I am willing to spend 1.5x-2x more to achieve higher ratings with the same storage = BUDGET $240-$320.

TEST RESULTS OF NEW BUILD

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CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 (C) 2007-2010 hiyohiyo
Crystal Dew World : http://crystalmark.info/
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* MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

Sequential Read : 174.443 MB/s
Sequential Write : 158.419 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 29.775 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 80.515 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 0.325 MB/s [ 79.4 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 1.629 MB/s [ 397.7 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 1.903 MB/s [ 464.7 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 1.728 MB/s [ 421.9 IOPS]

Test : 1000 MB [C: 15.1% (140.9/931.4 GB)] (x5)
Date : 2011/09/02 13:32:13
OS : Windows 7 SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)
]
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And for fun (note: no OC yet but I am willing to take advice on settings)


PLEASE HELP
I want to get the HD numbers as high as possible for $240-$320 with 1TB of total storage, no downgrade in speed. Please respond back with thoughts/comments on how to do this. Oh, and I don't care about HD's crashing and losing my work b/c it's in a RAID 0 (that's what backups and imaging are for).

Thank you!
a c 353 G Storage
September 2, 2011 8:03:27 PM

Read up on Shortstrocking a Raid0 setup to improve performance.
I did try it and it cut the access time for a pair of WD 640 Gig blk drives from approx 12.6 to approx. 9.5.
Basically: Adv - Improved performance DisAdv. Redused storage space as you only use about 20->30 % of the drive and leave the remainder unused.
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September 2, 2011 9:07:22 PM

RetiredChief said:
Read up on Shortstrocking a Raid0 setup to improve performance.
I did try it and it cut the access time for a pair of WD 640 Gig blk drives from approx 12.6 to approx. 9.5.
Basically: Adv - Improved performance DisAdv. Redused storage space as you only use about 20->30 % of the drive and leave the remainder unused.


Hi RetiredChief,
Thanks for the tip. I had researched this earlier and found that it did up the speed for small files considerably (see test results and review at http://bit.ly/gQht0N about short stroking the Seagate Momentus XT drives).

QUESTION
Are the smaller file size specs really that important? I generally work with large Photoshop files (3MB+), large video files (100MB+) and surf the internet.

SAME STORAGE SIZE REQUIRED
That being said I don't want to lose 500GB to increase the speed. I am willing to spend more ($240-$320) to get the same storage but with faster speed.

That being said I COULD purchase two more drives and add them to the storage array to make 1 logical drive which would fit inside the budget. But is that the best use of my money?

Thank you!
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a c 353 G Storage
September 2, 2011 9:25:44 PM

High small file random performance is the most important for a Boot/Program drive, Seq performance is the least important.

For Your LARGE files, loading them into memory to work with and the writing back to the HDD - Sequencials now become the most important.

What I find the best is a small 100->128 gig SSD for the Operating system plus programs and then a raid0 HDD setup for your data/files. You could still short stroke, but use a higher percentage of the drive. Myself I use 2 SSDs, one for operating system/programs and a ssd for a "Work disk" Files I normally work on daily are on this drive and then when I whant to work on a Large file I put on the SSD untill done, then Back to the HDD.

Mostly it will depend on your evaluation of cost effectiveness.
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September 2, 2011 9:35:26 PM

RetiredChief said:
High small file random performance is the most important for a Boot/Program drive, Seq performance is the least important.

For Your LARGE files, loading them into memory to work with and the writing back to the HDD - Sequencials now become the most important.

What I find the best is a small 100->128 gig SSD for the Operating system plus programs and then a raid0 HDD setup for your data/files. You could still short stroke, but use a higher percentage of the drive. Myself I use 2 SSDs, one for operating system/programs and a ssd for a "Work disk" Files I normally work on daily are on this drive and then when I whant to work on a Large file I put on the SSD untill done, then Back to the HDD.

Mostly it will depend on your evaluation of cost effectiveness.


Gotcha. Do you or anyone know what is the fastest non-SSD hard drive that I could use in a RAID 0 setup that isn't ridiculously over priced?
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Best solution

a b G Storage
September 2, 2011 9:48:20 PM

Your client with the workstation probably has a lot going on at boot up. I understand a bunch of programs in the startup menu will lead to long load times. I wouldn't count on your raided mechanical drives coming anywhere close to my Vertex III. Which is what I recommend you consider.

The OCZ Vertex III 120Gb is $250 with a rebate. That would be top o the line performance in that size.
The Crucial m4 series are a little cheaper and have newer firmware that increases performance. Priced here at $193:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here's the article from Anandtech regarding m4 improved performance:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4712/the-crucial-m4-ssd-u...

At $50 cheaper its quite appealing. Anyway at this size you could put windows, a few programs like Office, browsers, CS5, and even temporarily put files you wish to manipulate. As chief mentions you could use the raid array for data.
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a c 353 G Storage
September 2, 2011 9:49:37 PM

The difference in most HDDs will show up in benchmarks, but when it comes down to dat-to-day usage, you will not see much difference. Any more I'm more concerned with reliability than performance. I like the Samsung F3, both in terms of reliability and performance. NOTE Newer HDDs are not configured to use raid and live to tell about it, Well not that bad. I've used the WD blacks, but really should use ther enterprize drives, which of course are more expensive.
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a b G Storage
September 2, 2011 9:52:12 PM

computergiant said:
Gotcha. Do you or anyone know what is the fastest non-SSD hard drive that I could use in a RAID 0 setup that isn't ridiculously over priced?


I like the Samsung F3 1TB drives for around $50-60. I picked one up last week for $50 and its performing beautifully. They are as fast as any other mechanical drive, faster than most unless you count the tiny raptors.
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September 2, 2011 9:59:54 PM

buzznut said:
Your client with the workstation probably has a lot going on at boot up. I understand a bunch of programs in the startup menu will lead to long load times. I wouldn't count on your raided mechanical drives coming anywhere close to my Vertex III. Which is what I recommend you consider.

The OCZ Vertex III 120Gb is $250 with a rebate. That would be top o the line performance in that size.
The Crucial m4 series are a little cheaper and have newer firmware that increases performance. Priced here at $193:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here's the article from Anandtech regarding m4 improved performance:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4712/the-crucial-m4-ssd-u...

At $50 cheaper its quite appealing. Anyway at this size you could put windows, a few programs like Office, browsers, CS5, and even temporarily put files you wish to manipulate. As chief mentions you could use the raid array for data.


The OCZ Vertex III 120GB is VERY tempting at $200 from Buy.com http://www.buy.com/prod/ocz-vertex-3-vtx3-25sat3-120g-1...

Combined with the Samsung F3 1TB for primary storage that might do the trick.

The F3 1TB seems to be pretty quick http://club.myce.com/f138/samsung-f3-1tb-2tb-hd-tune-gr...
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a c 283 G Storage
September 2, 2011 10:29:01 PM

You mentioned the primary use is Adobe Photoshop CS5 & Premiere Pro CS5. Have you visited the Adobe forums? There's quite a bit of information there including an article about tweaking Adobe Photoshop products, tweaking Windows 7 for Photoshop products, and use of solid state drives.

Last time I looked the optimal configuration was one ssd for the OS and Photoshop applications, one ssd used as a scratch disk, and hard disk drives for storage.
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a b G Storage
September 2, 2011 10:30:19 PM

computergiant said:
Is it worthwhile to purchase the Performance Series OCZ Vertex III for $280? http://www.buy.com/prod/ocz-vertex-3-vtx3mi-25sat3-120g...

$80 more for the same capacity. I can't tell the difference.


OCZ came out with a max IOPS version of the Vertex III, I assume that's what you're talking about. It is faster at these IOPS, but generally it makes little real world performance. Its not worth the extra $80. Right now my Vertex III is boosting my overall system performance by 20% in benchmarks, and it receives a 7.9 WEI. That's coming from a 40GB Intel X-25 SSD (7.2 WEI). You won't be sorry!
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a b G Storage
September 2, 2011 10:39:10 PM

JohnnyLucky said:
You mentioned the primary use is Adobe Photoshop CS5 & Premiere Pro CS5. Have you visited the Adobe forums? There's quite a bit of information there including an article about tweaking Adobe Photoshop products, tweaking Windows 7 for Photoshop products, and use of solid state drives.

Last time I looked the optimal configuration was one ssd for the OS and Photoshop applications, one ssd used as a scratch disk, and hard disk drives for storage.


This echoes what was previously said. Sounds like a good course of action. Thanks Lucky.
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September 3, 2011 12:07:52 AM

JohnnyLucky said:
You mentioned the primary use is Adobe Photoshop CS5 & Premiere Pro CS5. Have you visited the Adobe forums? There's quite a bit of information there including an article about tweaking Adobe Photoshop products, tweaking Windows 7 for Photoshop products, and use of solid state drives.

Last time I looked the optimal configuration was one ssd for the OS and Photoshop applications, one ssd used as a scratch disk, and hard disk drives for storage.

That's a good point. I have been aware of their scratch disk recommendation for years but I have rarely used it as my primary computer has always been a laptop (way of a consultant's life...).

So trying to meet my target budget of $240-$320:

1 OCZ Vertex III @ $200
1 Samsung F3 1TB @ $60
----------------------------
$260 w/max budget of $320 = $60 for 2nd scratch disk

From what I'm reading it sounds like a larger drive might be better as a scratch disk (say a 2nd Samsung F3 1TB) than a smaller SSD drive that will have a lot of read/write cycles (providing it with an early death).

My guess is that I can purchase the above two and rely on the 16GB of RAM to use as my scratch disk space (allocated automatically at Photoshop launch).

Wait... I just peaked at my PS settings and allocated 3GB of RAM for it to use as launch (was set to 2.3GB) and optimized the images for Big & Tall (mostly photo editing). I also noticed that Photoshop had already decided to use the C:\ drive as my scratch disk. I didn't manually set that so it must have figured to go ahead and use it due to the RAID0 and large available size (731GB).

I wonder what real world advantage there would be to using a second SSD drive for the scratch disk over the primary storage Samsung F3 1TB....

Thank you all for your assistance. If anyone else has more tidbits I'd be glad to hear them. I won't be ordering anything until Tuesday as it won't ship until then anyway.
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September 3, 2011 12:08:41 AM

buzznut said:
OCZ came out with a max IOPS version of the Vertex III, I assume that's what you're talking about. It is faster at these IOPS, but generally it makes little real world performance. Its not worth the extra $80. Right now my Vertex III is boosting my overall system performance by 20% in benchmarks, and it receives a 7.9 WEI. That's coming from a 40GB Intel X-25 SSD (7.2 WEI). You won't be sorry!

I think I'll skip the missing $80 from my wallet and go with the $200 version. Thanks for the tip!
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a b G Storage
September 3, 2011 12:38:11 AM

Well, if there's a way to use the ram as a scratch disc that would be good. Even faster than an SSD. Also with 16GB, I wouldn't think you'd need to run a system cache either. I typically move mine to my data drive because SSD real estate is so precious. But I don't use more than 4 gb ram usually anyway.

I recommend visiting OCZ's forums for tips on SSD management. There's a lot of good stuff over there.

I like your plan, looks good.
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September 3, 2011 4:01:21 AM

Agreed with others, use an SSD for your boot drive and large drives for storage. I would ditch the raid 0 and do as such but it is your cash.

My personal drive is a single corsair gt 120gb which freaking rips it up speed wise. The same would happen with pretty much all drives using sf2280 controllers.

For a quick example, here is my drive compared to an old cheapy sata drive I had laying around.... A pair of these babies in raid zero would be ridiculous. However in raid with SSD's you loose trim which is not acceptable as I feel the garbage collection feature sucks.



Also for a boot up time example, check this out :o  This is without touching msconfig or blocking any of my numerous programs from running. Thing just hails arse. To note, scores 7.9 on the windows test thingy.
http://www.garage1217.com/NEWPC/19SECTODESKTOP.AVI




Edit: I think your mobo uses a marvel controller... scratch using an SSD, well any with an SF controller as you will have nothing bit pains with it.
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September 3, 2011 8:10:54 PM

There is a guy in the OCZ forums running two mirrored 240GB OCZ Vertex III drives on the same mobo (P8Z68-V Pro) using the Intel controller smoking...


If I don't use the Marvell controller (two dedicated SATA ports - dark blue) on the mobo and use the Intel ones instead (light blue) then I shouldn't run into any bottlenecking, right?
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September 5, 2011 1:30:05 AM

Best answer selected by computergiant.
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September 5, 2011 1:30:41 AM

Gonna go with an SSD on the Intel 6GB ports. I'll report back with speed tests once installed (at least a week).
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