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Advice on New HDDS

  • Hard Drives
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
April 27, 2012 7:33:10 AM

Good morning! I'm in the process of updating my computer and wish to fit newer, and larger, HDDs as part of my upgrade. At present I've got a 6-year old OEM 5400rpm 500GB SATA HDD which I think is Samsung. My motherboard is an Asus P5Q Pro Turbo which I supports SATA 3Gb p/s and it's all powered by a C2Q Q9650 with Windows 7 Home Premium.

I'm looking to get a WD Velociraptor 600GB 10k rpm to put my OS and games onto and a Seagate Barracude 1TB 7200 rpm for my documents, music and so forth.

Would thsi provide an appreciable increase in performance as, according to WEI, the HDD is what's slowing my system down. In total these drives willl cost about £250 but I don't want a SSD as they're too expensive IMO and I've heard they only last for a certian number of read/writes.

Any advice is appreciated! Thanks in advance, David

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a b G Storage
April 27, 2012 8:59:30 AM

You will see a performance increase for sure, as 5400rpm drives are slow as dirt. :) 
However, this day and age, Velociratptors aren't worth their money. They are no where near as fast as SSDs yet they are too close to the price of an SSD.
So, if you're dead set against SSD (but you shouldn't be :)  ), just stick with 7200RPM drives.
But if you really want to see a performance increase, SSDs are the way to go. Yes they do have a limited read/write. However, if you buy right, they'll last you several years. And in many studies, they will outlast any HDD (HDDs fail regularly because they are mechanical).
And by "buy right for an SSD", I mean buy a reputable brand (Intel, Kingston, OCZ), and don't fill the drive above 60-65%. If you buy reputable and keep some capacity available at all times, that drive will easily last you more than 5yrs. And the performance gain is almost like buying a completely new system.
April 27, 2012 9:33:43 AM

Thanks, I was looking to get the 600Gb Velociraptor for £168 from Amazon. Are there any SSDs of comparable size for similar prices? What would you recommend?
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April 27, 2012 9:56:10 AM

For some erason I can't edit posts but if SSD is better but I can't afford one large enough to get everything on and leave 35% or so empty, how owuld a hybrid drive sound? There's a Seagate one for £130 on Amazon that has 750Gb @ 7200rpm and 8GB SSD too. Opinions please?
a b G Storage
April 27, 2012 9:57:20 AM

SSDs will always be more expensive when it comes to price/GB. So @£168, you will only see 100-200GB SSDs. But again, the performance is well worth it (especially if you're going to have a secondary 1TB of other stuff).

My SSD suggestions: Kingston HyperX 120GB (£137), Intel 330 or 530 @ 120GB (£110/140 respectively), OCZ Agility 3 120GB (£94).

The middle of the road is the Seagate Momentus hybrid drive. This is a 500 or 750GB platter-based drive that has a mess of SSD-chips in it to cache. It loads frequently used files into the SSD side of the drive, giving your quazi-SSD performance. (amazon has a 750GB this @ £126)

Keep in mind all of these drives we're talking about are 2.5". Typical desktop computer cases use 3.5". This isn't a problem at all for SSD, I just let them hang anywhere out of the way. However iwth the momentus, you will want to get a desktop kit version (or separate desktop conversion rails (£3-7)
a b G Storage
April 27, 2012 10:00:49 AM

david1983 said:
For some erason I can't edit posts but if SSD is better but I can't afford one large enough to get everything on and leave 35% or so empty, how owuld a hybrid drive sound? There's a Seagate one for £130 on Amazon that has 750Gb @ 7200rpm and 8GB SSD too. Opinions please?

Posting in tandem. :)  As I said in my post, the hybrids aren't going to be as fast as an SSD, but it's more use of your money than a velociraptor.

In the SSD route, you're almost certainly not going to be able to fit everything on it. But you probably won't need to. Put your frequent apps on the SSD, and the other apps on the HDD (office, web browser(s), 1 or 2 often played games, etc, on SSD; burning apps, itunes, and infrequently used apps, etc on your HDD).
April 27, 2012 12:23:18 PM

Thanks again, how long does an SSD last? And I've got quite a few more regularly played games than 1 or 2 - it's a family computer!

Whilst I'm aware that a hybrid is slower than a SSD, I take it a hybrid would be an improvement over a Velociraptor? As well as being cheaper and larger capacity.
a b G Storage
April 27, 2012 12:59:35 PM

Your mileage will vary. But as I stated before, if you can keep the capacity 35-40% unused, with a reputable manufacturer, an SSD should outlast an HDD.
I have a system at home which still has an orginial Kingston/Intel M-series as the OS drive (circa 2008/9). I've replaced 3HDDs in that system because they've bit the bullet, but that SSD is still going strong.

Understanding that you will not get all your apps on the SSD, just install those less critical games/apps on the secondary HDD. :)  Even if you only have your OS and a browser (worst case scenario), you'll notice a dramatic overall performance difference between an SSD and a HDD just using it as your OS/base drive.

Regarding a Hybrid vs Velo, the hybrid can be faster and it can be slower. But with the average user, the hybrid will be faster, as well as it's a better value (cheaper + more capacity) and because it's running 7200vs10k, it'll stay cooler, therefore "should" last longer.
As well, 2.5" mechanical drives are inherently faster than 3.5" (mechanical), because the actuator arm has less distance to travel.