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Need advice from the hard drive buffs in here! :)


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Hello fellow msfn-ers.

I am looking to upgrade my now 'tiny' 350gb sata hd with something bigger and better.

with so many hd options out there and myself not really being in the loop with all the latest changes I was wondering if any of you hard core stat guys (and I say this with respect so please dont misconstrue) could guide me towards a fast SATA 1 or 1.5 tb hd

thanks guys!



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Are we talking here about just plain storage or is this the main hard disk to boot from, or both? I personally would not care much for speed if you go for a single drive setup, just look for something reliable over speed. If you go for a RAID set up with mirroring, you would do fine with just any drive out there*, less the Seagate 7200.11 series it seems (Older build are fine of that model by the way) ;).

I use mostly Hitachi drives, not the fastest but they have a low number on failing. Western Digital seems to have a lot of RMAs lately so I’ll don’t touch those. I’ll keep the Seagate 7200.12 series as my second option, they seem to make up for their errors with that model…

* there are special versions of drives for RAID, but never have seen a good example why to buy those (if any one has some good example(s), please show us).

High-capacity, high-performance enterprise SATA drives with 24x7 reliability for business-critical applications.
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hey puntomx, thanks for the reply.

yes, this will be my primary OS and data drive. I might even try to get a raid config if I buy 2 hd's.

I was browsing over at tigerdirect (i know some hate, but I enjoy their pricses :) ) and see these 3 drives:

Hitachi 7K1000.B Hard Drive - 1TB, 7200RPM, 16MB, SATA-300

Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS Hard Drive - 1TB, 32MB, SATA-300

ST31000528AS Barracuda 7200.12 Hard Drive - 1TB, 7200 rpm, 32MB, SATA-3G

Now my Qs:

Is there really a major difference between a 16mb and 32mb cache HD? Other than the "green" feature of the WD is it any better?

They all have the same specs except for the cache.

I will NOT use this gaming, rather for storing music, movies and apps.

In regards to your hitachi comment, i've read elsewhere that hitachi drives have a hight rate of failure but have always known that WD is not too great either.

thanks again!

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Hi Ceez, it's me again...

I hesitated between the 7k1000b (faster arm) and the 7200.12 (more platter throughput), but not the WD for having had dead disks from them (too few to make statistics however).

I bought the 7200.12 but not the 7k1000b so I can't compare experimentally. I chose because I have an Ssd for the OS, so access time was less important for my mechanical drive. If not, I would have kept the more agile 7k1000.b because my older 7k160 are just better than the others I own or have measured, and are quite silent as well. I own half a dozen of Hitachi and Excelstor equivalent, lost none of them - but a WD yes. And Hitachi is rather known for excellent reliability, though this is linked with model and batch.

The 7200.12 is very silent and I measured 134MB/s platter throughput, the best among 7200rpm disks. Fast capacities are multiples of 250GB here. Random access time, measured over the whole disks, is 1-2ms worse than the good Hitachi (some there are slow as well).

But switch the Aam on at Hitachi, and you get the silence and access time of the 7200.12...

Fast capacities for the 7k1000b are 160GB and multiples of 320GB.


16MB or 32MB are a buffer capacity that is never used as a cache and makes no speed difference. Disk manufacturers don't find small Ram chips any more (16MB chips made 128MB modules). Also, customers need something simple to compare.


I expect Raid-0 to boot slower than a single disk with current 7200rpm technology. Look:

- Windows files may weigh 200kB now (100kB with W95b, 150kB with W2k), so reading at 2*120MB/s takes 833µs fly time instead of 1667µs, gaining 833µs there;

- But rotational latency increases from 1/2 to 2/3 of a turn (7200rpm=120Hz=8,33ms), which loses 1389µs.

- This means that, in a single-queue-depth context, the user would choose a stripe size of 256kB or 512kB nowadays, and typical Windows files would be picked from a single disk.

- But after booting, your uncompressed 15MPixels pictures do load much faster, that's experimentally true.

Already at the 7k80 platter speed (60MB/s, arm as agile as now) I observed it with W2k.

Though, real life is more complicated, especially since Xp and its prefetch, which produces parallel requests to the disks.

As I have two empty 7200.12 - and the right drivers for W2k and Xp - I plan to try and observe, so I'll tell you how much slower they are than my X25-E.

Edited by pointertovoid
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I bought the 7200.12 but not the 7k1000b so I can't compare experimentally.

Well, the Seagate is faster in sustained throughput but the 7k***b series are more reliable; almost no RMA on the Hitachis.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I've made the boot time measurements I wanted, in artificial but fair conditions (new clean naked install), and:

- Raid-0 is slower than a single 7200.12;

- An X25E Ssd is thaaaaaaaaat much faster than a 7200.12;

- At least with W2k, my PIII+7k160 boots a bit faster than my C2D+7200.12 does... Booooooo!

Could it be that the 7k1000b's faster platter improves on the 7k160's good arm, making the combination much faster than a 7200.12?

Having an Ssd, I won't make more trials.

- Xp boots faster than W2k when Ahci or Raid is available (available to both). An effect of Prefetch I guess.

I plan to give detailed measurements, but probably at hardware.de (same username).

Edited by pointertovoid
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  • 2 weeks later...

But, WD probably has the highest failure rate of any of the major brands.

Hitachi, is the company that made the IBM Deskstar drives, known to most techs as the "deathstar".

I'd not want one of those either.

I find, as a service tech and PC builder, that I get the most bang for my bucks from Seagate or Maxtor.

with minimal RMA's. And if there IS an RMA, the service is quick and simple with zero BS.

I'm not talking about one or two drives, but tens of drives per year. So I have to deal with the averages.

And, the averages favor Seagate/Maxtor. (Now the same corp.)

Just a friendly tip.

Andromeda B)

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I'm not sure why, but even with the "high failure rate" I still trust Western Digital and Seagate the most. I don't trust Maxtor at all, my first computer had one, it died. All faith in Maxtor went with it. Hitachi is actually one I'd go with though. Despite the "Deathstar" nickname, several computers here do have Deskstar, and my laptop even has a Travelstar drive.

I'd rather the Seagate over the Western Digital, but the way it worked out for me I have Western Digital in my workstation, but my server actually has 2 WD, 1 seagate and 1 IBM...so I'm not very picky.

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Anyone mentioned a Samsung yet? The F1 or F3 1TB drive is fast, quiet and reliable. I have one in my Shuttle and also have built another PC for someone using it and it has had no problems. Both are used as a single drive for the OS and all data in both PC's.

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