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Thread: Hi-Spec PC

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    Hi-Spec PC

    I am looking to build a reasonably hi-spec pc for multiple uses. My question is about hard drives and using suitable ones to achieve decent performance.

    Firstly, I'm looking at using two SATA drives in RAID for holding data. The Operating System and other programs to be stored on a separate drive. This is where I need some assistance.

    What type of hard drive will give me the best general performance. Should I use an IDE or SATA drive. Which are the better drives (if that is a far question)?

    Can anyone suggest any particular drives, or the main specifications I need to look for?

    I've been to the Western Digital Rapitor drives are good....

    Many thanks

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    Senior Member skuzgib's Avatar
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    Right, SATA drives are faster, but not really noticable. They are also slightly more expensive.
    Without a doubt raptors will give you best performance, but they are expensive and relitively small - you'd probably get a more noticable performance increase if you put the OS and apps on a 74gb raptor, and than have a big drive for your data.
    If you are talking about RAID 0, it is quite risky as if one drive goes, the whole array goes with it - also I remember reading the the performance gain is neglegible anyway.

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    I would read a lot more before you decide to buy your parts. For one it is the OS and other main programs you will want to have in RAID0 (or RAID Stripe). This splits the files and puts data packets of your choice in size across two drives, so essentially you can have two reading and writing the same thing at the same time. You will want to put games, your OS, and main progs across this. For performance you want 2x Raptors (36GB or 74GB depends on how much you think you will need).

    For storing 'data' it would be useful to know what you mean. If you mean really important data then you would also want those in RAID - but RAID1 this time (drive mirroring) so you have two copies of whatever you want at all times. If you want it for DVDs, CDs etc then you don't need to bother with RAID at all, as running it off a standard SATA drive will suffice.

    In ascending order of speed it goes IDE, PATA, SATA, SATA2, SCSI. So yes, you want SATA for performance.

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    Ah, Mrs. Peel! mike_w's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icp222
    In ascending order of speed it goes IDE, PATA, SATA, SATA2, SCSI. So yes, you want SATA for performance.
    Isn't IDE PATA and SATA?

    But yes, SATA is faster (SATA is 150mb/s, PATA is 133mb/s), but when just using standard drives I don't think it makes that much of a difference - I'm not sre how much impact SATA or PATA has on RAID performance though.
    "Well, there was your Uncle Tiberius who died wrapped in cabbage leaves but we assumed that was a freak accident."

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    Quote Originally Posted by icp222
    I would read a lot more before you decide to buy your parts. For one it is the OS and other main programs you will want to have in RAID0 (or RAID Stripe). This splits the files and puts data packets of your choice in size across two drives, so essentially you can have two reading and writing the same thing at the same time. You will want to put games, your OS, and main progs across this. For performance you want 2x Raptors (36GB or 74GB depends on how much you think you will need).

    For storing 'data' it would be useful to know what you mean. If you mean really important data then you would also want those in RAID - but RAID1 this time (drive mirroring) so you have two copies of whatever you want at all times. If you want it for DVDs, CDs etc then you don't need to bother with RAID at all, as running it off a standard SATA drive will suffice.

    In ascending order of speed it goes IDE, PATA, SATA, SATA2, SCSI. So yes, you want SATA for performance.
    .
    Ok, correct if I'm mistaken, but for my OS and programmes, etc., using Raid0 will give me the performance I need, and as I understand it the capacities of the two drives in Raid0 are added in this mode?

    Regarding the data side of things: I'm a little unsure what you ment when said "If you want it for DVDs, CDs etc then you don't need to bother with RAID at all, as running it off a standard SATA drive will suffice". My requirements is such that the data is important, even if its DVD's or CD's, and therefore I would want to use Raid1 on either SATA or IDE for this reason. I always understood that in Raid1 I would have that security but the capacity of the two drives would not be added.

    Am I thinking on the right track?

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    SATA is not faster. It is potentially faster. Drive mechanics are limited to about 60MB/s so unless you are running 3 or more drives in RAID 0 there is no difference between PATA 100 and SATA 150 (or even 300). Any difference between single drives in benches can be attributed to drive mechanics or cache.

    Mike...it's MB/s not Mb/s which means megabits. The difference is 8 fold.

    milanlad...Yes, two 36GB Raptors act like a single 72GB+ HDD, and you really want RAID 0 on your O/S and programs and RAID 1 on your data (or no raid on data if you have reliable backups and your data doesn't change much.)
    Last edited by StormPC; 31-12-2004 at 06:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skuzgib
    also I remember reading the the performance gain is neglegible anyway.

    Well, Raid 0 does provide a speed advantage when set up with the proper stripe size, however it can have a negative effect as well! Several tests were done by Maximum PC mag a few months back and it proved that while the raid can handle most files better then a single drive it can indeed be slower in certain sineros.... For instance in Doom3 when you load levels, it will take a raid more then 15% longer then a single drive... But don't ask me why!

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    One raptor for speed, one big SATA for data, one equally big external USB2/Firewire drive for backups. Raid 0 is risky and over rated performance IMO. Raid 1 is OK but an external drive is more flexible + safer to keep your backup at a different location.

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    I don't see how a RAID 0 array is any more dangerous or risky than a single drive. It is I believe a misconception that by adding a second drive that you are in fact doubling your chances of failure. It's just not true.

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    Ah, Mrs. Peel! mike_w's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StormPC
    Mike...it's MB/s not Mb/s which means megabits. The difference is 8 fold.
    Well, I meant megabytes! I can never remember whether its a capital for bytes or bits
    "Well, there was your Uncle Tiberius who died wrapped in cabbage leaves but we assumed that was a freak accident."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spritzup
    I don't see how a RAID 0 array is any more dangerous or risky than a single drive. It is I believe a misconception that by adding a second drive that you are in fact doubling your chances of failure. It's just not true.
    If either of the drives fail then you lose all your data, so if the probability of a drive failing is A then then the probability of the first or second drive failing is A + A = 2A double the chance of you losing your data.

    But that assumes the failure is a random event, when it's actually not. If you took two HDD's that were exactly the same, you would expect them to have approximatly the same lifetime. While your chances of losing your data are undoubtedly increased, it's not doubled.
    I don't mean to sound cold, or cruel, or vicious, but I am so that's the way it comes out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mblaster
    If either of the drives fail then you lose all your data, so if the probability of a drive failing is A then then the probability of the first or second drive failing is A + A = 2A double the chance of you losing your data.

    But that assumes the failure is a random event, when it's actually not. If you took two HDD's that were exactly the same, you would expect them to have approximatly the same lifetime. While your chances of losing your data are undoubtedly increased, it's not doubled.
    Actually it doesn't quite work out like that - statistically the chances are slightly less than double, but it's nothing to do with it not being a random event. The actual chances are slightly less than double because of the chance of both drives failing at once (which will be a very small value).

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