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 Post subject: 2nd-hand quiet 7200RPM drive
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:27 am 
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Because of the price hikes for new drives, I'm looking for a 2nd-hand 750-1TB fast but quiet drive to use as my boot/games drive (I'm currently only running a 2TB F4, which is a bit slow).

I see the Spinpoint F1 HD753LJ 750GB is recommended, but it's transfer rate seems rather slow now compared to the new Hitachi .D drives, which are around twice as fast, although the Hitachi's have higher Random Access Times (18ms vs 13ms) so they're probably not ideal either and I have no idea if they're quiet (probably not, looking at reviews of previous Hitachis).

The F1 1TB is a bit faster than the 750GB but still a lot slower than the Hitachi and I don't know if it's as quiet as the 750GB.

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article843-page3.html

So does anyone know of a drive that has better transfer rates than the F1 but just as low RAT and noise?

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 Post subject: Re: 2nd-hand quiet 7200RPM drive
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:10 am 
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No 7200 rpm drive is going to be dramatically faster than your F4.
To get better storage performance, you need to make better use of RAM (a software issue). Simply splitting the stuff you need to access concurrently over two or more drives would help a lot even if the drives are slow. More RAM might help and RAID could help as well but you really want to go with an SSD for boot drives.

The F1 is old. There's no mystery about it: it won't perform like a newer drive.
I'm not sure the RAT benchmarks have any relevance.

I was pretty happy with my F3 but I didn't compare many drives. A lot of the noise made by 7200 rpm is secondary (due to vibration) so the noise will depend on how you mount it.


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd-hand quiet 7200RPM drive
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:39 am 
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Maybe you're right that my F4 (at least the first 200GB or so) is more or less as fast as any 7200RPM drive. I was under the impression that lower access times helped quite a bit with boot/OS drives though and the F4 is fairly high, 18ms, like the Hitachi.

I know from experience the benefit of having two drives for accessing more than one thing at a time (which is one of the reasons I want to get another drive) and I guess it would help to put my OS on one drive and my games on another, as I'm sure Windows is constantly accessing stuff on the OS drive even whilst gaming!

Not really sure what you meant by getting bettter storage performance by making better use of RAM though?

I've decided against SSD for boot drive at the moment as (a) they're too expensive, (b) I'd fill up a 64GB with OS, leaving no room for games, (c) I don't think they're particularly suited to being used as an OS drive that's constantly being written to. Someone suggested they're good for running games from though, and if I did get one I'd use it for that as I could fit several games on 64GB and it's mostly read activity so wouldn't strain the drive as much as using it as a boot drive.

You may be right about 7200RPM drive noise being mostly vibration. This F4 is perfectly audible when accessing the drive (it's sitting on foam on my bench at the moment, so obviously a case would dampen it down a bit) so in that respect it's probably no better than most other drives, although some drives add annoying clicks and whines into the mix as well ;)

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 Post subject: Re: 2nd-hand quiet 7200RPM drive
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:54 am 
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doveman wrote:
I was under the impression that lower access times helped quite a bit with boot/OS drives though and the F4 is fairly high, 18ms, like the Hitachi.

Well yes, it matters. But the best consumer drives aren't much better (except perhaps for WD's old 10k drives). The difference is marginal and not dramatic like the difference with SSDs or RAM.
That particular figure is pretty meaningless anyway which is why decent reviewers try to come up with better way to evaluate performance. They wouldn't be doing all that work if that number was useful!

If you're preoccupied by noise and access times, some laptop drives are pretty good by the way like that 7200rpm Seagate reviewed by SPCR two years ago.

doveman wrote:
I guess it would help to put my OS on one drive and my games on another, as I'm sure Windows is constantly accessing stuff on the OS drive even whilst gaming!

Windows should'nt do it a lot (if it's properly configured anyway). Assuming no misconfiguration, junkware in the background or something it would be more helpful to split your game files across several drives.

doveman wrote:
Not really sure what you meant by getting bettter storage performance by making better use of RAM though?

RAM is fairly cheap nowadays so you can fetch a lot of data from RAM instead of your drives. RAM can also help by allowing a more sequential type of access to drives.
Ideally, you shuld be able to configure your software and OS so that they make efficent use of your RAM and drives but some products are not ideal (to put it kindly) so you have to resort to brute force and populate a RAM drive.

doveman wrote:
(b) I'd fill up a 64GB with OS, leaving no room for games

Are you sure? What strange OS are you using?

doveman wrote:
(c) I don't think they're particularly suited to being used as an OS drive that's constantly being written to.

That's true for the crappy ones (like if you were to rig one up with a Flash card or something), not the expensive ones. Maybe you'd do well with a crappy Flash drive actually but if you're going to pay for a nice SSD, you won't have to fear that kind of write load as long as you keep a reasonable amount of free space (and some models automatically set aside enough free space anyway).


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd-hand quiet 7200RPM drive
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:46 am 
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HFat wrote:
Well yes, it matters. But the best consumer drives aren't much better (except perhaps for WD's old 10k drives). The difference is marginal and not dramatic like the difference with SSDs or RAM.


Well of course I wouldn't expect it to be as fast as SSDs or RAM. I'm not sure that means the difference between drives is so small as to be not noticeable, as certainly I recall people mentioning that booting was a lot slower with one drive compared to another, etc.

Quote:
That particular figure is pretty meaningless anyway which is why decent reviewers try to come up with better way to evaluate performance. They wouldn't be doing all that work if that number was useful!


I don't know why you say it's meaningless, but just because reviewers do more in-depth testing doesn't make it so. Just because they might test actual app performance to demonstrate what difference it makes, doesn't make the transfer rates meaningless either, but just serves to illustrate what a faster transfer rate actually means for the user.

Quote:
If you're preoccupied by noise and access times, some laptop drives are pretty good by the way like that 7200rpm Seagate reviewed by SPCR two years ago.


I wouldn't say I'm preoccupied by access times (certainly am about noise though!). I've got a 2.5" drive I've been using as a USB backup drive, so I'll have to check the specs on that and maybe use that until HD prices return to normal.

doveman wrote:
Windows should'nt do it a lot (if it's properly configured anyway). Assuming no misconfiguration, junkware in the background or something it would be more helpful to split your game files across several drives.


I'm afraid that's never been my experience of XP or Win7. I've disabled most of the scheduled tasks, which has helped somewhat, but I'm not sure that disabling features that MS intended to be running counts as properly configuring it, rather than making adjustments to compensate for poor design.

If by split my game files across several drives you mean RAID, I can't be bothered with that. Otherwise, I'm not sure what you mean.

Quote:
RAM is fairly cheap nowadays so you can fetch a lot of data from RAM instead of your drives. RAM can also help by allowing a more sequential type of access to drives.
Ideally, you shuld be able to configure your software and OS so that they make efficent use of your RAM and drives but some products are not ideal (to put it kindly) so you have to resort to brute force and populate a RAM drive.


Still don't really know what you mean I'm afraid. I don't know how I'm supposed to configure my software to fetch it's data from RAM instead of my drives. I might increase the size of my RAMdrive when I upgrade to 8GB and put a 2GB swapfile on that though, which will help a bit, but then again it might not need to use it much with 8GB so I'll have to see if it helps or hinders.

Quote:
Are you sure? What strange OS are you using?


Win7 64 Ultimate (you might be right that it's strange). It's currently 35GB, which obviously includes installed programs as well as the 4GB hibernate file (which will be 8GB when I increase my RAM). Pagefile is already on a different partition. I run a dual-boot as well, so I've got a XP partition which is maybe 14GB.

Quote:
That's true for the crappy ones (like if you were to rig one up with a Flash card or something), not the expensive ones. Maybe you'd do well with a crappy Flash drive actually but if you're going to pay for a nice SSD, you won't have to fear that kind of write load as long as you keep a reasonable amount of free space (and some models automatically set aside enough free space anyway).


I'm probably a bit out of touch with the current drives, as I lost interest in them (mainly due to price) a while ago, so maybe they are OK in that respect now. I still have concerns about whether data can be properly wiped off them though, as well as the cost, so I'll be sticking to HDs for now.

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 Post subject: Re: 2nd-hand quiet 7200RPM drive
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:47 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
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Location: Switzerland
While the transfer rate people talk about is usually the real transfer rate you can get while performing useful operations, the access time you can benchmark isn't what you'd get in practice or even something you generally need to take 10ms instead of 20ms.
It's complicated but most modern consumer desktop drives perform more or less the same anyway so there's no reason to make a fuss about it. The difference matters most for some professional uses when there's no other way to speed things up.

doveman wrote:
I'm afraid that's never been my experience of XP or Win7.

You're doing something wrong or confusing Windows with some piece of junkware installed on it.

doveman wrote:
If by split my game files across several drives you mean RAID, I can't be bothered with that. Otherwise, I'm not sure what you mean.

I simply mean put some of the files the game is supposed to use on one drive and others it's supposed to use at the same time on another.
Honestly I couldn't be bothered with that either. I've never found the performance of the slowest drives to be much of an issue for gaming. And if storage performance was an issue, just use a Flash drive!

doveman wrote:
I don't know how I'm supposed to configure my software to fetch it's data from RAM instead of my drives.

It depends on the software. Sometimes, nothing can be done except using a RAM drive.

doveman wrote:
I might increase the size of my RAMdrive when I upgrade to 8GB and put a 2GB swapfile on that though, which will help a bit

I don't think you understand what a RAM drive is (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAM_disk ). The last thing you want to do is to put the swap on it! What you might put on a RAM drive is some of your game's files for instance. A clever game would do something similar automatically but if you're having storage performance issues either you lack RAM or your games must not be very clever.
But if you don't have storage performance problems, don't waste your time trying to solve non-existent problems!


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd-hand quiet 7200RPM drive
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:53 am 
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Quote:
You're doing something wrong or confusing Windows with some piece of junkware installed on it.


Yeah, whatever. I've been using Windows long enough to know it accesses the drive a lot at random times. Perhaps it would work better without any software installed, but that's hardly practical is it.

Quote:
I simply mean put some of the files the game is supposed to use on one drive and others it's supposed to use at the same time on another.
Honestly I couldn't be bothered with that either. I've never found the performance of the slowest drives to be much of an issue for gaming. And if storage performance was an issue, just use a Flash drive!


Well I suppose you could do that with hardlinks if you could be bothered and somehow knew which files it used at the same time. Seems a rather bizarre idea though.

Quote:
I don't think you understand what a RAM drive is (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAM_disk ). The last thing you want to do is to put the swap on it! What you might put on a RAM drive is some of your game's files for instance. A clever game would do something similar automatically but if you're having storage performance issues either you lack RAM or your games must not be very clever.


Course I know what a flipping RAM drive is (I've been using one for some time now) and I also know that some sites have done tests showing that game performance improved by putting the swapfile on it (at least in 32-bit Windows). The last thing I want to do is put some of my game files on a RAM drive and faff around making hardlinks to them!
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/ram-memor ... 053-5.html

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2nd PC: Bach VX, GA-MA780G-UD3H, PhII 720BE @ 3.2Ghz (SI-128SE/Yate Loon fan), 8GB Kingston Hyper-X DDR2 1066MHz, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W


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