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Thread: Hard drives - 16MB cache worth it?

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    Hard drives - 16MB cache worth it?

    Hi all,

    My brother got enough cash for his birthday to get a new rig together and I'd like to get him a hard drive to replace the rickety old IDE efforts he's using currently. I was going to get him a Samsung Spinpoint 250GB the same as mine but I wondered how much difference getting a drive with a 16MB cache would make?

    Cheers
    8bit


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  2. #2
    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    You're right to advise him to get a new hard drive anyway, the general advances over a few years are quite remarkable (in terms of size, cost, speed and noise).
    As for 16MB, i seem to remember reading a few benchmarks that agreed that it did help.
    Check out Storage Review.

    The future hard drives are going to have even more dedicated flash memory (perhaps even a gigabyte or more) as a means to really, really speed up general windows operations including boot up times, but only the new Vista OS will be able to use them
    I'm commenting on an internet forum. Your facts hold no sway over me.
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    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    My impression was that it actually made only a very marginal difference, and that as long as you have at least 8mb you're fine. Platter density is a far more important speed consideration, and accoustics/price are often more important than the small variations in speed anyway

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel
    Platter density is a far more important speed consideration, and accoustics/price are often more important than the small variations in speed anyway
    Agreed. The Samsung spinpoints are good, the Seagate '10' series use the new perpendicular techniques and have a high density.
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    In my experience, there's much more of a noticible difference between 2MB and 8MB than there is between 8MB and 16MB cache.

    S.

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    Ah, Mrs. Peel! mike_w's Avatar
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    Don't forget that Seagates have a five year warranty.

    If I remember correctly, the flash memory on hard drives is essentially just a large buffer. That means that it won't really help with loading large files, since you're still slowed down by the speed of the platters. However, if you are editing small files, for example, this can be stored in the flash memory, allowing you to edit and save these files very quickly.
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    It's not flash memory on hard drives (yet), it's good ol' volatile ram. It's one of those situations where you won't notice the difference unless you benchmark - It's nice to have, but don't assume that it's more useful than, say, a better warranty.

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    Ah, Mrs. Peel! mike_w's Avatar
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    "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 mike_w
    Don't forget that Seagates have a five year warranty.
    Is that for 24/7 operation like the Samsung? Last time I looked, only the Western digital Enterprise range and anything from Samsung allowed you to leave a PC on, the rest had an average on time in the small print.

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    Thanks all, I got him a Maxtor 250Gb/SATA-300/16Mb effort in the end. It was on special offer so was slightly cheaper than the Samsung 250Gb despite having twice the cache...

    Thanks to MSIC as well for the storagereview.com link, quite a useful site.

    Cheers!
    8bit


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    HEXUS.social member finlay666's Avatar
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    AFAIK the cache wont make a huge difference, its more the density IIRC that makes the difference, and the speed of the drive of course and then cache
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