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Thread: 8mb cache more important than size?

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    8mb cache more important than size?

    Alright all,

    I'm on the look out for a new hard drive, apart from size, obviously, how important are other things, like the difference between 2mb and 8mb cache, and getting a drive with 7200rpm?

    How much real world effect will an 8mb cache drive have over a 2mb cache drive?

    I have my eye on either the Samsung SpinPoint 120gb or the 160gb. Now, the 160gb drive is only £11 more expensive, and well worth it, but the 160gb drive has 2mb cache while the smaller 120gb drive has 8mb. All other drive specs are identical.

    Opinions please.

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    I'm in the minority here but 7200rpm isn't all it's cracked up to be. It is faster sure but nothing like what the number suggests. With 7200rpm you get more noise, more heat, less reliability (generally) and often a smaller warranty (1 year now pretty std). However price diffs are SO small it makes no sense to get a 5400rpm, if noise bothers you (or might) then I'd suggest a Maxtor ATA HD as you can use Acoustic Management sw from Maxtor to run it in silent mode. Some brands of HD are noisier than others as well as obviously performing differently. Seagate are known to be the quietest but offer slightly lower perf than WD/Maxtor. WD are known to be the noisiest and hottest but generally a snip faster than Maxtor. Maxtor seems the wisest choice IMHO.

    Again people will surely disagree but 8MB isn't all it's made out to be either. Sure the gain is there but I seriously doubt you'd ever tell in a 'blind' test, as with 5400 vs 7200 syhtetics and graphs are what you need to tell the diff. I'd be surprised if you save 2 secs on windows bootup using a 7200-8 ... but again price diffs are often small and there is a small boost so it can be worth it.

    As for drive interface, ATA133 is not needed as ATA100 offers enough bandwidth, you may find CPU usage a little lower as was the case when moving to ATA33 -> ATA66 -> ATA100. SATA is in its infancy and really not worth it even if you have a proper SATA integrated into your mobo (which is very unlikely), PCI versions are poorer). Still with SATA you do avoid master/slave and bandwidth sharing and CPU usage should be far lower, have a 3 year warranty, smaller cables and drives a little cooler so there are still benefits.

    I've been through 5400, 7200, 7200-8 and SATA_7200-8 and diffs really aren't that big at all in real world usage. You'll notice if you run out of HD space though, see my point? It's up to you, weigh things up as pickiness aside there really isn't that much diff and with each technology there are some advantages to be had.

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    HEXUS.social member Agent's Avatar
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    I would never go back to a 5400 drive. 7200rps drives make a huge difference in general windows tasks and when playing games (mainly the burst rates - eg. when your loading a map).

    The 8meg cache gives a little performace boost. You mainly notice this when dealing with a lot of small files.

    Maxtor are the clear choice for HD's - you can set the noise: performace ratio you want (well, 3 options anyway). They have the BEST RMA service of ANY company i have come across. The seak times may be slightly longer than WD's (were talking .5 at MOST difference here in syn. benchmarks) they have much higher burst rates.
    Last edited by Agent; 27-10-2003 at 01:09 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    Well, noise isn't an issue really, and the Samsung Spinpoint model is on the PC Pro A-List, so I think I'll go for the 2mb 160gb version.

    Cheers.

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    Senior Member SilentDeath's Avatar
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    its not the reading and writing of drives that makes them loud imo, i hardly notice it. 7200rpm drives spin v fast and r v niosy, they sound like fans aswell, ut higher pitch so its hard to notice whats causing it.

    .'. Acoustic Management sw does nothing to reduce noise except lower drive performace, which in turn reduces noise...

    tbh id go for a sata drive, but my mobo has sata controler on it
    i dont have space for any mnore ide cables, and the other advantages help justify the £20 extra.

    all maxtor DMP9's have ata133/7200rpm, i would definatly get one of these, go for 120gb + with 8mb cache and sata and u get a 3yr warrenty iirc.
    unless ur getting a 200gb+ drive, u may aswell get a maxtor dmp9 which will have 7200rpm and ata133

    what are sumsung drives like? i didnt know they made them... where sells them apart from ocuk?

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    http://www.simply.co.uk flog them, but Overlockers are cheaper by a few quid.

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    HEXUS.social member Agent's Avatar
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    Originally posted by |SilentDeath|
    .'. Acoustic Management sw does nothing to reduce noise except lower drive performace, which in turn reduces noise...
    right....
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    Senior Member SilentDeath's Avatar
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    the niose reduction isnt noticable

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    Noise reduction on a noisy western digital drive is noticable for me. (It does depend how noisy the rest of your PC is though, and if your hard drive's the noisiest thing, then AAM will make a difference).

    Noise reduction on a Samsung HD is not necessary imo, as it's SO flipping quiet! And performance is AMAZING! I've got an 80gb, 7,200rpm, 2mb cache samsung, (1 platter), and get 62mb/s winbench!

    I think platter size (eg 80gb platter) seems to make the biggest difference to performance, then cache, as this 80gb,2mb samsung easily beats a 40gb WDSE (7,200, 8mb).

    samsung pics + performance:
    http://www.joshwa1.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/sp0802n.htm
    Last edited by joshwa; 27-10-2003 at 11:12 AM.

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    Originally posted by Austin
    SATA is in its infancy and really not worth it even if you have a proper SATA integrated into your mobo (which is very unlikely), PCI versions are poorer). Still with SATA you do avoid master/slave and bandwidth sharing and CPU usage should be far lower, have a 3 year warranty, smaller cables and drives a little cooler so there are still benefits.
    I thought we discussed this before and said that it was worth getting a SATA drive if you had the controller as long as it was a maxtor drive, as they are the only company who have attempted to improve the performance, rather than just converting the intereface ?
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    Originally posted by Agent
    I would never go back to a 5400 drive. 7200rps drives make a huge difference in general windows tasks and when playing games (mainly the burst rates - eg. when your loading a map).
    I think it depends on what 5400rpm you previously used, there were plaenty of naff (or old) 5400 HDs just as there were plenty of naff 7200 HDs too. The one I used was a 60GB Maxtor 736DX (not a true Maxtor really) and that was unnoticably equal to the Maxtor 7200-2 I got next. I didn't expect much from the 7200-8 over the 7200-2 (both Maxtor DM9) and I was certainly right, as Agent says it's a very tiny boost. Still it's all a bit pointless now as 5400 are very rare and priced the same as 7200-2 while 7200-8 only ask a very small extra price anyway.

    What noise levels are acceptible to you vary significantly from PC to PC and person to person. ANother point is that Acoustic Man sw will vary by impact (noise & perf) by particular HD but it made a huge difference with my Maxtor 7200-8 which despite using FDB was still way too noisy for me. My Maxtor SATA 7200-8 is certainly quieter than the 7200-8 but still audible and I would like to see what impact quieter running would have on perf but the AM sw doesn't work on SATA (yet?).

    Lexeus it's still early days for SATA, it seems drivers and controllers need to mature to bare fruit. My NF7-S v2.0 SATA combined with SATA 120GB Maxtor 7200-8 gives very poor benchmarks in Sandra even with the latest mobo drivers and BIOS, not that synthetics are really important but good as a guide. I heard that updating the SIL3112 BIOS is what's needed but haven't had the time to look into it. So smaller cables, better future-proofing, less power req, independent data channels and lower CPU usage (not 100% confirmed) seem the best reasons to go SATA. In terms of the actual HDs last time I checked Maxtor were the only ones who had done more than simply stick a SATA interface on their ATA100/133 HDs, it may be different now but I still prefer Maxtor as they supply both the std 4pin IDE power connector as well as the SATA power (and data) connections ... that saves you £3ish in itself.

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    Here's a good FAQ site for Hard drives:
    http://www.storagereview.com/php/tiki/tiki-index.php

    8MB cache vs 2MB cache:
    http://www.storagereview.com/php/tik...4f9cfab76fcebf

    As far as I know the Maxtor drives also uses a Parallel to Serial bridge like most other drives.
    In fact, more surprisingly, I've read the same applies to the Raptor (I find that surprising as I've only seen the Raptor come in SATA flavor). This will remain the same with the new Raptors (74gigs).. Although the later will support command queueing (no idea what that does).

    The only (?) drive that native SATA is the Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (which isn't all that fast).

    Taking the above into account, I don't think SATA is really worth it.. I *was* going to go SATA for Hitachi 7k250 drive.. But it wouldn't be much different than going PATA then use a converter (as that is what a PATA to SATA bridge does).

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