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What does your secondary HD do when not in use?

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August 30, 2012 6:35:17 PM

Hey all, I'm just curious since I'm looking at buying a 3rd hard drive - when you have a secondary drive that has data stored on it like pictures or specific applications which do not autoexecute when you're at your desktop does the secondary drive do anything? I know my main drive is always doing something since the OS is installed on it, but is the secondary drive doing any tasks at all or is it simply idling and doing nothing? Just so I have a full understanding as well, when you're running an application on a secondary drive - your main drive with your OS and the secondary drive are both in action then, correct?

I'm curious of this since I'm considering buying a 1 TB storage drive to internally mount in-between 2 other hard drives. I've been trying to decide if I should go with the WD Black 1 TB or their new Red 1 TB which is made for NAS setups. I'm thinking the Red could work fine for what I'm doing, but considering I will end up installing games and other things on this hard drive I'm not sure what the top RPM of the Red label is - it's simply listed as IntelliPower which varies. If the max speed is below 7,200 RPM then I think I'd be best served by the Black label, but again - I'm not sure. Anyone help me out?

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August 30, 2012 6:48:46 PM

Benchmark results indicate that the WD Red are most likely 5400RPM-ish drives.

As for "main drive always being active", that depends on whether or not you have enough RAM for all your commonly used data to fit in RAM. With enough RAM, even your main HDD will be idle most of the time once programs and data is loaded.
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August 30, 2012 8:02:13 PM

The red drive is a server type drive and is of the slow rpm speed because of that and t will only spin up to action when accessed. Most likely Windows will run a check on it occasionaly and that would cause it to spin up but otherwise it will just sit there waiting.
What are the sizes of the drives that you now have?

Western Digital Red WD10EFRX 1TB IntelliPower 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Of course when they are the same price it doesn't make sense to go with the Red.

An option that you should consider is to get a SSD for the OS drive and put your two current drives as the 2nd and 3rd drives.

SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC128B/WW 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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August 30, 2012 8:36:32 PM

My main drive is a 500 GB Western Digital Black label and my secondary is a 320 GB Western Digital - I think it predates the labels, I just know it's 7,200 RPM and 16 MB cache. I have heard many bad things about SSD's and do not trust them enough to use one instead of a standard platter drive. Too many issues about garbage collection, and other performance degradation issues and etc. Knowing how picky I personally am I've heard Intel is a top brand to trust for SSDs and would probably go with them if I ever did make that decision - but as it is I am content with standard platter HD performance, enough that I don't wish to wrestle with the mountain of issues that comes with SSD drives (I even heard some story long ago now, but that said the drive needed firmware updates and it formats the drive when you install said firmware updates).

I use Steam for my games so I need a really huge hard drive that can handle all the games I have now plus the ones I might buy in the future, and seeing Steam is eating up probably 350-400+ GB on my current 500 GB I really need a large drive to just dump all those into (Though one of these days I hope Steam lets you select where to install each game instead of putting all the games on the Steam installation drive).
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August 30, 2012 9:16:26 PM

I have been using SSD's as my OS drive since they came out and I don't know of any such mountian of issues. Not jumping on the first release and waiting for bugs to be resolved you can generaly avoid a lot of issues.
Firmware updates are done without loosing data and I have done this myself. As with ant technology there will be hickups and there will be your not so great companies that will try to cut corners with manufacturing and again all this can be avoided by doing your homework and researching a product before buying. I have also tried many things to get a better perorming Pc and most of the time they work out.
I'll never go back to a conventional hard drive unless they come out with some new technology that will enhance it to the performance level of a SSD. I currently use the Samsung 830 SSD and it works extremely well for me.
Another hard drive to consider is the Western Digital Veloceraptor and that is a conventional hard drive that spins at 10,000 rpm and is pretty quik for a regular hard drive. Although you may not want to pay $260 for a 1 tb hard drive.
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August 30, 2012 10:04:29 PM

I used to own a 10,000 RPM Raptor drive (The one I had was a 74 GB back when they sold the odd sizes). Personally, I wasn't that impressed with the speed. Compared to my 7,200 RPM hard drives it didn't seem to offer a noticeable improvement. To me I guess hard drives don't seem critical as other components mostly because I am not quite sure what they truly effect. I know with SSDs the boot up time for OSes is faster, but what does that do for you besides that? Windows pop up faster when you open folders?

What real appreciable difference does a faster HD do for me, as a gamer? Faster game load times at best, isn't it? I usually don't mind a few extra seconds for something to load since SSDs are trading speed for capacity. Once a game is loaded, your HD ceases to really matter doesn't it? I mean, if you're playing an FPS it's not like a faster or slower HD has an impact in-game does it? I'm genuinely asking here, for me it seems like any performance issues stem mostly from my CPU, GPU, Memory, and network more than anything else - so I'd rather have capacity for a lot more games than to have the handful of games installed load maybe 6-10 seconds faster.

I'll never give up my convential HD's until they make 500 GB SSDs that are under $100. I just never find myself going "Darn hard drive, you're just so slow!" it seems to be other things like taxing my CPU or memory too much that cause the computer slowdowns I get sometimes (I monitor through task manager's performance, some programs just max out my CPU and memory). SSDs are also silent and don't get as hot correct? My convential HD's are well cooled and are pretty quiet - true though they're mostly what I hear from my PC. Even now there's a low whirr my PC makes, but I'm fine with it as it's not very loud. Now 20k RPM SCSI drives...those suckers are the definition of noisy...
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August 30, 2012 10:27:28 PM

Sometimes. Not saying always. But when you see your CPU as 100% Used. What it's really doing is waiting on your HD to send the information it requested. So thats just one example of where a Hard Drive slows the performance. This would not happen with an ssd, however; that would be more typical in something like a huge photoshop, autocad, file or something like that where it's layers on layers of info.

Just thought i'd throw that out there as seeing your cpu at 100% in task manager is commonly confused as being at full use.
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August 30, 2012 10:58:23 PM

Hmm, I can say there are a few programs that seem like they've locked up because they're so slow - Visual Studio is frequently one I find myself looking in task manager to see if it's starting. If SSDs have improved as you all say, it does seem reasonable enough. So the Samsung 128 GB vs the Intel one that's 120 GB - is the Samsung actually considered better? Back when I was considering SSDs some time ago people seemed to heavily favor Intel over all the other brands. EDIT: Here's the Intel 120 GB I was talking about - how is Intel's bundled software compare to Samsung's?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If I decide to do this and simply want to remove Windows from my main 500 GB drive but leave the data on it, is there any way to do this? I'd rather not format the entire 500 GB drive, however I'm thinking Windows 7 won't let me install it onto the new hard drive without the old installation being removed - or am I wrong here? I am aware of Windows 8 before the suggestion is made, but I'm no fan of testing new things and from what I've seen I don't care for Windows 8. I'm intrigued by some of these gains purported by SSDs after reading dozens of reviews, perhaps this could not only increase my storage space but save me from needing to upgrade my PC (3 GHz E8400 C2D, 4 GB DDR2, EVGA 750i FTW mobo - all rather dated by today's standards but IMO shouldn't be inadequate for what I do).

EDIT 2: Just another thought, my motherboard is rather old - EVGA 750i FTW - so would a SSD be troublesome to install considering this? My motherboard predates mainstream SSDs so it doesn't have any SSD options in the BIOS and I've never updated it (Nor do I feel real comfortable flashing the BIOS).
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