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Standard User camieabz
(legend) Thu 17-Mar-11 00:22:26
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Second HDD options


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I want to pop in a new second HDD for various purposes.

Will almost certianly partition the drive. One partition for game images (ala virtual CD software). One for backups, and probably one for installing the games themselves where possible.

Am considering:

Samsung Spinpoint F3 - 500GB - 16MB cache - £32.99
Samsung Spinpoint F3 - 1TB - 32MB cache - £42.99
Western Dig Cav Black - 640GB - 64MB cache - £44.92
Western Dig Cav Black - 1TB - 64MB cache - £64.77

All are 7200rpm, and my system is SATA 2, so SATA 3 not a factor.

My main thoughts are getting the contents of the C drive (140GB velociraptor) cleared of non-essential installations and data, while providing internal backups. So the answer is to shift the majority of all the user stuff to another drive where realistic.

I'm not toying with the idea of moving the swapfile or similar, although if I can transfer the occasional important system restore points, even better (that's for another thread).

So...while space is fairly important, price is more so. I've included the 1TB WD, but at £64, it's not really competing well unless I need 1TB and the WD is better than the Samsung. Has anyone seen much of the 64MB cache drives?

Given that some games constantly access CDs when running, I feel a 64MB cahce might be a great idea for smooth gaming, especially in games which require a fair bit of startup waiting. Any other concerns are thoughts on whether or not the system will slow down with added drive accessing for gaming, but am hoping this will be minimised, as the more important stuff will be kept on C drive, and only transferred as archive or backup.

With this in mind, I'm leaning towards the WD 640MB, as it's cheaper, and has a larger cache, but have only seen one review, and it wouldn't have been specifically with my purpose in mind. Should I treat this drive as a server environment and look for applicable benchmarks?

Thoughts, or other suggestions (within similar spec and price)?

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Standard User Pipexer
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Thu 17-Mar-11 00:38:53
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Re: Second HDD options


[re: camieabz] [link to this post]
 
Thoughts, or other suggestions (within similar spec and price)?

I will throw some opinionated opinions (i'm about to go to bed so don't take offense by the tone) wink
In reply to a post by camieabz:
Will almost certianly partition the drive. One partition for game images (ala virtual CD software). One for backups, and probably one for installing the games themselves where possible.

Wouldn't bother partitioning

Much easier to have it all on one partition, then a year down the line you dont run out of space on one partition but not on the other and have to faff about repartitioning wink

Also, by having multiple partitions you are forcing the disk to seek to different areas to get data, you know the classic old argument.

In reply to a post by camieabz:
Am considering:

Samsung Spinpoint F3 - 500GB - 16MB cache - £32.99
Samsung Spinpoint F3 - 1TB - 32MB cache - £42.99
Western Dig Cav Black - 640GB - 64MB cache - £44.92
Western Dig Cav Black - 1TB - 64MB cache - £64.77

Samsung Spinpoint F3 are excellent. I have both 500GB and 1TB variety. Both roughly the same in speed. Get the 1TB, you'll probably end up using near to the 500GB. Cannot comment on the WD.
In reply to a post by camieabz:
All are 7200rpm, and my system is SATA 2, so SATA 3 not a factor.

SATA3 drives (that actually utilize past 3Gbps) are still at crazy prices.
In reply to a post by camieabz:
I'm not toying with the idea of moving the swapfile or similar, although if I can transfer the occasional important system restore points, even better (that's for another thread).

You cannot create system restore points of one volume on another as far as I know due to the complexities of the file system, I have no idea whether it has been attempted through 3rd party tools however.

If this will be your data disk it may be worth putting the paging file on it.

You can of course store complete system backups on a different volume.
In reply to a post by camieabz:
Given that some games constantly access CDs when running, I feel a 64MB cahce might be a great idea for smooth gaming, especially in games which require a fair bit of startup waiting. Any other concerns are thoughts on whether or not the system will slow down with added drive accessing for gaming, but am hoping this will be minimised, as the more important stuff will be kept on C drive, and only transferred as archive or backup.

Can you clarify how you are relating games accessing to CDs to the HD cache. I doubt you will notice much difference between the WD and Samsung when playing games. While this is grossly oversimplified consider the transfer speed of the Samsung or WD would be in excess of 60MB/s, loading maps and game content is only going to be a few seconds and once that is in RAM initially, all other system specs will become the bottleneck, as you move along maps and more information needs to be loaded from the HD it will be loaded well ahead of time so the disk will effectively be idle.
In reply to a post by camieabz:
With this in mind, I'm leaning towards the WD 640MB, as it's cheaper, and has a larger cache, but have only seen one review, and it wouldn't have been specifically with my purpose in mind. Should I treat this drive as a server environment and look for applicable benchmarks?

I wouldn't read too much into the cache, if you can find a review where they have done a benchmark, simply compare the benchmark results to the seagate, that should give you a good idea there and then which is fastest.

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Edited by Pipexer (Thu 17-Mar-11 00:42:50)

Standard User camieabz
(legend) Thu 17-Mar-11 08:19:29
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Re: Second HDD options


[re: Pipexer] [link to this post]
 
Now that's a reply! smile

In reply to a post by Pipexer:
Wouldn't bother partitioning

Much easier to have it all on one partition, then a year down the line you dont run out of space on one partition but not on the other and have to faff about repartitioning wink

Also, by having multiple partitions you are forcing the disk to seek to different areas to get data, you know the classic old argument.


I'll have to check that out. One reason for partitioning is to keep defragmentation to the max. Might not be worth it all though.


In reply to a post by Pipexer:
SATA3 drives (that actually utilize past 3Gbps) are still at crazy prices.


Just mentioned it because the WDs supposedly are SATA 3.


In reply to a post by Pipexer:
You cannot create system restore points of one volume on another as far as I know due to the complexities of the file system, I have no idea whether it has been attempted through 3rd party tools however.

If this will be your data disk it may be worth putting the paging file on it.

You can of course store complete system backups on a different volume.


I'm not for moving my swapfile away from the C drive. Tried it many years ago and didn't like the results when the second disk had to change. For the system restore points, I'd be happy if I could just move them, then restore from the 2nd drive, should I want to. Prolly not possible though.


In reply to a post by Pipexer:
Can you clarify how you are relating games accessing to CDs to the HD cache. I doubt you will notice much difference between the WD and Samsung when playing games. While this is grossly oversimplified consider the transfer speed of the Samsung or WD would be in excess of 60MB/s, loading maps and game content is only going to be a few seconds and once that is in RAM initially, all other system specs will become the bottleneck, as you move along maps and more information needs to be loaded from the HD it will be loaded well ahead of time so the disk will effectively be idle.


Not sure about that. Some of my old games use the CD drive quite constantly. It's probably a programming thing. They would have been designed in the days prior to masses of RAM, so perhaps it was a case of running more from CD. I like my older games though. smile

I'm really just looking to reduce or remove optical drive bottlenecks, but especially the need for using the optical drive at all. Very annoying when there are some games which work after removing the disk, and evn some that don't require a disk to run at all (Silent Hunter 3).


In reply to a post by Pipexer:
I wouldn't read too much into the cache, if you can find a review where they have done a benchmark, simply compare the benchmark results to the seagate, that should give you a good idea there and then which is fastest.


You know, I'm tempted to buy both just for the benchmark. Anyone want to buy a drive off me afterwards? wink

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Standard User Pipexer
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Thu 17-Mar-11 18:06:22
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Re: Second HDD options


[re: camieabz] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by camieabz:
Not sure about that. Some of my old games use the CD drive quite constantly. It's probably a programming thing. They would have been designed in the days prior to masses of RAM, so perhaps it was a case of running more from CD. I like my older games though. smile

Ah, sorry, I see, I didn't make the connection between you mounting ISO images from a hard disk so my question was completely irrelivant. To answer your point though (now I understand it), again I doubt hard disk cache will be important. The transfer speed of a CD is a fraction of the transfer speed of a hard disk in all aspects (latency, speed, and read/write patterns). Therefore if the game was intended to read data from a CD you will *never* get into a situation where different hard disks are affecting the virtual disk speeds. There is probably going to be more of a bottleneck with the ISO mounting driver and whether it has been poorly programmed. Also remember the virtual CD program you use may well decide to cache ahead of time into RAM itsself which further negates the (already very unlikely) chance of the HD causing a bottleneck with a game trying to read a virtual CD.

e.g., 52x CD read speed = 7.8MB/s~
CD spin up time from idle: 1-2 seconds~?

Average grade hard disk read speed: 50MB/s
Seek time: milliseconds

Regarding defragmenting, it will be negligible. To give you a real-world example if you were running the 3rd party defragger Diskeeper then having multiple partitions would almost guarantee reduced speeds. The reason is it has a feature called I-FAAST which is more or less a disk performance calibration, therefore if you were to create multiple partitions it would be forced to only move data strategically within that partition, if you had one single partition it would be able to find the fastest area on the entire disk and move most frequently accessed files there.

Also, as the partitions fill up the free space will decrease and fragmentation is decreased, also, the disk I/O activity needed to defrag the disk as free space drops below 10-15% starts to increase geometrically.

And then free space consolidation blah blah blah (depends whether you listen to Diskeeper or Raxco on whether this is critical)

Even putting performance aside I still prefer the convenience of a single partition usually.

As before I am pushed for time so sorry for the "opinionated" tone smile

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Edited by Pipexer (Thu 17-Mar-11 18:13:43)

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