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 Post subject: Looking for a hard drive suitable for gaming
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:55 am 
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After reading up on the Western Digital Caviar Black drives, it would seem that these drives are indeed quite loud. The idle sound may be decently quiet, but when it is seeking, it sounds horrendous from listening to some audio recordings from SPCR. The Green however sounds very quiet, and I could not hear much of a difference when the audio recording switched to the seeking part. But for my up coming build, I intend to use the green for general storage.

Now I need to find a hard drive good for gaming and watching HD movies from. What other hard drives could I consider that is 2TB, decently quiet and also has decent performance that would at least not bottle neck in-game performance; I don't want games to be stuttering as a result of a slow hard drive. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a hard drive suitable for gaming
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:46 am 
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You'll see differences in HDD performance when a game is starting up or when files are being loaded to the game (ie, a saved episode). Once started up, the vast majority of games run off RAM only -- the drive has no impact on performance in the game itself. Once the game is running, performance is all CPU, RAM and video card dependent.

In our more recent HDD reviews, we've noted startup times for Windows and some games. That -- plus starting programs, saving or opening big files (or many files simultaneously), and in Windows, loading up long lists of folders or files in folders -- is where the practical impact of HDD performance is seen.

HDD performance, imo, is more significant in servers or other apps where multiple tasks are being demanded of the drives concurrently, or in compilations of large databases. In accounting, loading/saving complex excel files can actually show up differences in HDD performance quite easily.

You will not see any differences between drives watching HD video. Bluray streaming only requires 25-35 megabits/sec. Any drive will do fine. Again, if you have a huge collection of movie files to sort through, that's where you might see a bit of a difference... but it'll have to be a pretty big database or a really fancy, complex display of one to make HDD differences show up easily. FYI, I have no problem streaming 1080p compressed video via my gigabit network (which allows typically 50~110 Mb/s transfer rate). Note: megabit = 1,000,000 bit; Mb or megabyte = 8,000,000 bits.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a hard drive suitable for gaming
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:58 am 
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MikeC wrote:
You'll see differences in HDD performance when a game is starting up or when files are being loaded to the game (ie, a saved episode). Once started up, the vast majority of games run off RAM only -- the drive has no impact on performance in the game itself. Once the game is running, performance is all CPU, RAM and video card dependent.


If you do play games that frequently load lots of new content from the storage drive (eg: MMO's that load instances/zone portals/etc) a faster drive or SSD is a nice convenience, but not neccessary addition. I use an SSD for OS/apps and HDD for media storage.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a hard drive suitable for gaming
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:11 am 
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peternguyen wrote:
After reading up on the Western Digital Caviar Black drives, it would seem that these drives are indeed quite loud. The idle sound may be decently quiet, but when it is seeking, it sounds horrendous from listening to some audio recordings from SPCR.
I use them and I sort of like that. It only makes noise when it is doing something I have told it to do. And somehow I don't find that so bad. It is actually sort of reassuring. I pull up a file... and then hear the hard drive searching for it. Then it stops.
\
That's isn't so good for a boot drive that has all my applications on it.... because it makes noise when it decides to do so instead of when I expect it to do so.... but what I am going there is moving from Velociraptor to SSD.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a hard drive suitable for gaming
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:40 am 
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A bit off topic and doesn't really answer your question. You could purchase cache SSD's. Crucial, Corsair and OCZ caching SSD's are already in retail in Denmark which is usually a bit behind the US and the UK.

Those might be a good-performing, cheap, and easy solution.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a hard drive suitable for gaming
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:42 am 
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If you really feel the urge to buy a good-performing HDD, then have a look at these:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/hitachi-7k3000-2tb
http://www.silentpcreview.com/seagate-barracuda-3tb
http://www.silentpcreview.com/hitachi-5k3000-2tb

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a hard drive suitable for gaming
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:08 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
If you do play games that frequently load lots of new content from the storage drive (eg: MMO's that load instances/zone portals/etc) a faster drive or SSD is a nice convenience, but not neccessary addition. I use an SSD for OS/apps and HDD for media storage.

Do these games, or are there games that load from storage during game play, or do they take you to a loading screen? I don't mind waiting a little longer to wait for a level or a map to load, but as long is it doesn't affect the actual game play. I'm sure I've played games before that suffered from stuttering because it had to load directly from the hard drive at some stages of the game, but I suspect that maybe more due to lack of RAM so the game had to resort to in-game loading.

I will also be getting an SSD but will be using this for the OS and program files as well. The 2TB WD Green drive will be used for light media such as music and television shows, and I was going to use the 2TB WD Black for more demanding media such as HD movies, and game installations. However, as MikeC clarified, HD movies will not require a high performance drive, which is good to know.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a hard drive suitable for gaming
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:33 pm 
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kuzzia wrote:

That Seagate Barracuda is impressive! It out performed the Black and it was a lot quieter. The performance should be the same on the 2TB variant as well right? The thing that concerns me though is how long it will last. The WD Black has a five year warranty, where as the Seagate Barracuda only has one!


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a hard drive suitable for gaming
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:46 pm 
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kuzzia wrote:
A bit off topic and doesn't really answer your question. You could purchase cache SSD's. Crucial, Corsair and OCZ caching SSD's are already in retail in Denmark which is usually a bit behind the US and the UK.

Those might be a good-performing, cheap, and easy solution.

I bought a 64GB Crucial SSD a few months ago JUST for boosting performance in demanding games. No noise at all and the ~5GB/s transfer rate loading times are significantly shorter as well.

It's not big enough to hold all of them at once, but I don't play more than three in any given month anyway. Then when I finish a game I copy the files to a mechanical drive to make room for the next game on my list on the SSD.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a hard drive suitable for gaming
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:38 pm 
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peternguyen wrote:
Do these games, or are there games that load from storage during game play, or do they take you to a loading screen? I don't mind waiting a little longer to wait for a level or a map to load, but as long is it doesn't affect the actual game play. I'm sure I've played games before that suffered from stuttering because it had to load directly from the hard drive at some stages of the game, but I suspect that maybe more due to lack of RAM so the game had to resort to in-game loading

Nearly all games load content from storage during game play. *Generally*, it's not excessive compared to the initial game load or loading screen for a new zone/instance and your HDD won't matter. I just like peppy behavior of the SSD for fast load and zoning times. Where your weakest link is will depend on the game played, the rest of your system components, the screen resolution and the gfx quality settings.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a hard drive suitable for gaming
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:08 am 
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After some more reading, I think I will go with the Seagate Barracuda 2TB (ST2000DM001) which uses 1TB platters. Hopefully it should perform just as well as the 3TB variant, and using only two platters rather than three, hopefully it will be more quieter also. It's a shame that their warranty isn't is long (something to do with the floods?) but I will only be storing game installations and movies, so I suppose these files aren't that valuable.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a hard drive suitable for gaming
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:10 am 
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Let us know what you think about it..

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a hard drive suitable for gaming
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:36 am 
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Just adding that the Seagate Barracuda 2TB ST2000DM001 actually uses three platters, as indicated in Seagates own documentation. Apparently only the 3TB model gets the best platters. Performance is still good for a mechanical drive. I haven't listened to one yet although I should have, mostly because I've written off any 7200 RPM drives for myself.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a hard drive suitable for gaming
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:27 pm 
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mkk wrote:
Just adding that the Seagate Barracuda 2TB ST2000DM001 actually uses three platters, as indicated in Seagates own documentation. Apparently only the 3TB model gets the best platters. Performance is still good for a mechanical drive. I haven't listened to one yet although I should have, mostly because I've written off any 7200 RPM drives for myself.

Really? That's a shame. Do you have a link for this documentation please? Would using three platters instead of two for 2TB be a disadvantage in performance?


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