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One More Look at WD's Raptor WD740GD


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#1 Eugene

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 11:00 AM

Though we've already reviewed the iconoclast Raptor WD740GD twice, a third revision of the drive has made its way into the testbed... and some of the differences are significant. Important enough, in fact, that the drive merits yet another formal writeup. Come with us as SR takes a one last look at WD's esteemed second-generation Raptor.

One Last Time... Western Digital's Raptor WD740GD

#2 grnmyeyes

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 02:32 PM

It might be useful to state explicitly in the review that single-user benchmarks were performed with TCQ disabled. This is actually sort of unfair to the SCSI drives, which (as far as I know) have something analagous to command queueing enabled by default. If you compare the Fujitsu and Maxtor to the Raptor with TCQ enabled, the two SCSI drives trounce it pretty soundly. Of course, they're also more expensive and noisier.

Personally, I'd like to see WD release a "Raptor 2" with a 147GB capacity, SATA 3.0G/s and 16MB cache.

#3 tntomek

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 02:32 PM

Wow these #'s look great.

Is there any news on the next generation Raptor?

#4 continuum

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 02:33 PM

Looks good!

Now only if I could get my work to pay for one for my work PC...

#5 Guest_888_*

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 05:53 PM

This review clearly shows out how important is in fact the exact firmware version. That recent C0 firmware seems to be pretty well developed.
The same concerns also the other drives, especially just WD Caviar SE series which has got many firmware revisions (in addition to major hardware revisions through the years) after their initial release and initial reviewing here and there.

All this makes me often thinking about why there's no different firmwares (or drives with different pre-written firmwares) available for ATA/SATA drives. At least there must be 3...4 differently optimized firmwares. In example if I want to get seek-optimized or streaming-optimized or even game-optimized drive... One and the same drive can do all these tasks pretty well just by enabling different firmware strategies.

#6 Eugene

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 06:10 PM

It might be useful to state explicitly in the review that single-user benchmarks were performed with TCQ disabled.


You're right this was a regrettable omission. The graphs have been fixed to indicate the lack of TCQ.

#7 zillatech

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 11:36 PM

Personally, I'd like to see WD release a "Raptor 2" with a 147GB capacity, SATA 3.0G/s and 16MB cache.



This is "Exactly" what I am waiting for!!! You know its coming & 74GB is not enough for an Extreme Gaming Boot/System Drive (even w/ 2 in RAID-0). I can see the need for High Capacity drives like the 250/400/500 for main stream but what about us Gaming Enthusiasts that crave (and are willing to pay for) "Extreme Performance"?

Come on WD, give us some on News on a "Raptor II" :blink:

Edited by zillatech, 07 December 2005 - 11:38 PM.

#8 Ender17

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 12:10 AM

on the first page at the top, it says "250GB" under capacity

anyone have any tips on the best place to buy from if I want one of these?

Edited by Ender17, 08 December 2005 - 12:11 AM.

#9 jrbloch

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 10:21 AM

Though we've already reviewed the iconoclast Raptor WD740GD twice, a third revision of the drive has made its way into the testbed... and some of the differences are significant. Important enough, in fact, that the drive merits yet another formal writeup. Come with us as SR takes a one last look at WD's esteemed second-generation Raptor.

One Last Time... Western Digital's Raptor WD740GD


Is there a way to upgrade to the 00FLC0 version if everything else about the hardware the same? :huh:

Edited by jrbloch, 11 December 2005 - 10:22 AM.

#10 tygrus

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 09:29 PM

Personally, I'd like to see WD release a "Raptor 2" with a 147GB capacity, SATA 3.0G/s and 16MB cache.


I'd vote for that as well. 74GB is OK for OS+swap+hibernate+temp files but need considerably more for program files and games. Array for media files would require too many drives eg. 7 drives for 518GB raw RAID0 to compare with 500GB 7200rpm desktop drives. 4 drives of about 147-150GB would be easier to handle to get the performance and storage capacity.

300GB would definitely blow the thermal budget of a desktop drive. I wonder what WD is waiting for before the release an update (increase capacity). A short stroked array of similarly priced ~300GB drives can offer similar performance for typical desktop use when you get close to filling Raptors (>50GB of data each).

#11 Chewy509

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 10:20 PM

but what about us Gaming Enthusiasts that crave (and are willing to pay for) "Extreme Performance"?

What's wrong with most current generation 15K SCSI drives (except the price)?

PS. Welcome to SR!
"SCSI is not magic. There are fundamental technical reasons why you have to sacrifice a young goat to your SCSI chain every now and then." John F. Woods

#12 reefer

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 09:04 AM

Personally, I'd like to see WD release a "Raptor 2" with a 147GB capacity, SATA 3.0G/s and 16MB cache.


Well, they sort of did .. it's called the REII. Though lacking the sata 3 gb - it features 400 GB capacity and 16MB cache, and outruns the Raptor in some areas. Review here

Interestingly, "the RE2 borrows so much from the Raptor family that the firm seriously considered a name such as "Raptor 7200.""

The articel conclusion states "In the end, the Caviar RE2 WD4000YR sweeps our high-level performance tests across the board. Equipped with a solid NCQ implementation, the drive's multi-user scores never falter and top the competition whether in a light, a medium, or a heavy load scenario."

So i guess the sata150 interface does not hinder the drive - it even outperforms its sata300 competitors.

Makes me wonder what the successor of this drive will do performancewise.... wow, a SuperRaptor !

Looking at how long the Raptor is in the market i guess it will be a few years before that drive comes out, though.

#13 Gnerma

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 05:02 AM

Seeing these numbers puts a rather sour taste in my mouth. I'm sure other Raptor 74 owners which don't have the new firmware share a similar sentiment. So I guess somebody had to say it in some detail. Why are we not offered this significant performance upgrade? (assuming older & newer Raptor 74 hardware is 100% compatible)

Let's say you buy a new generation video card when it first becomes available. This video card comes with a CD which has drivers for the card on it. Newer drivers would possibly function on your card but you're only "allowed" to use the revision that came on your CD. You're happy with the performance of your video card but as the weeks go by your card's driver engineers come up with a way to speed the card up in most applications by a significant margin. Let's say it's somewhere around 10%. Would you be happy being stuck with the old drivers? The same goes for any hardware which is capable of being refined after shipment through embedded software. Heck I flashed the firmware on my mouse just a few weeks ago.

So my preemptive follow up question is; Why is everybody OK with the fact that this seemingly easy & free 10% performance gain isn't being offered to us?

By the way I won't be happy with "thats just the way things are." :lol: I know its the way things are or at least have been in the past, but why? Why is hard drive firmware a black box that updates are only offered for when you have serious problems and jump through all kinds of tech support hoops?

Thanks for reading ;)

#14 Spod

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 05:48 AM

Drive firmware is more akin to the graphics card BIOS than a driver. It's very rare that you get to upgrade a graphics card's firmware. If you did, it probably wouldn't change performance the way a driver would.
Similarly, although motherboard BIOS updates may improve functionality, overclocking, compatability with new hardware or fix problems, they always recommend that you don't upgrade your BIOS unless there's a specific fix you need in the newer version.

The main reason to update firmware on a hard drive is to match firmware revisions for drives that will sit in a RAID array together. Occasionally, firmware has been released that changes a drive's behaviour to improve performance in RAID arrays, or to deal with some sort of calibration noise (as with the Hitachi 7K250 "miaow" sound).

Hard drive firmware is much more closely tied to the precise revision of the hardware than graphics card firmware. If the newer Raptors have slightly different components inside to the older ones, putting newer firmware on an old drive could hurt performance or even render the drive unusable. It may be that the new firmware only works with a new method of low level formatting that can only be done at the factory, in which case it wouldn't work with older drives.

Only WD can tell us if the drives really are physically identical, and only WD can make it possible for consumers to update the firmware on their drives, if the firmware is compatible with every revision of the Raptor. Generally, they don't, because of the likelihood that someone will screw up their drive and blame WD. I guess they just don't see enough advantage in making firmware updates available, given how many extra support requests and RMAs they'd have to deal with from all the people that tried to use the wrong firmware for their drive revision.

Edited by Spod, 22 December 2005 - 05:49 AM.

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#15 dipper

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 01:58 AM

just got the 00FLC0 from newegg...thanx SR...good lookin out.

#16 fenry

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 04:36 PM

I'm trying to figure out the best harddrive / controller configuration for a motherboard with multiple SATA controllers. Mine (like many others) has the Sil3132 Serial ATA II/RAID controller in addition to the two independant SATA controllers that come with the nForce4 SLI Chipset. So I have 6 SATA II ports available. My MB is the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI.

I would like to use my 74GB Raptor (WD740GD-00FLC0) as my boot and programs drive, then use a pair of 250GB Maxtors (6B250S0) in a RAID 1 array for my data.

The big question is should I put all three drives on the nVidia nForce4 SATA controllers, or should I split them up somehow between the nVidia and the SiI3132 controllers?

I originally planned to have the boot drive (non-RAID) on the nVidia controller and then put the two Maxtors in a RAID 1 array on the SiI controller. But I just finished doing a similar thing at work (two RAID 1 arrays with 74GB Raptors, one on the ICH5R controller and one on the SiI 3112 controller), and I noticed that boot time increased by something like 5 to 10 seconds because I had to enable the second controller.

Aside from the increased boot time, I also do backups between drives, so I am interested in transfer speed between drives. Would backups between drives be faster if they used two separate controllers, or is it faster to put all three drives on the nVidia controllers? I thought there was a possibility that keeping it all on the nVidia controllers would make transfers more direct, but it turns out that it's still two separate controllers. MSI describes the nVidia controllers as "Two independent SATA controllers, for four drives," plus the Device Manager reports two separate 2-port nVidia SATA controllers rather than a single 4-port controller, so I don't know what to think. :blink:

I'm leaning towards putting all three drives on nVidia controllers, since they seem to be separate controllers anyway, so I'm not sure I see any advantages to adding the SiI controller into the mix. I am a little down on the nVidia RAID controller, as the recovery panel to fix a broken RAID 1 array was horrendous, and nothing like the nice panel they had printed in the manual and online.

Is there anything else I'm ignoring in choosing the configuration?

Thanks

#17 Spod

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 07:16 AM

You should really post questions like this in the computing forum. The short answer is, use the nVidia controllers, which benefit from faster communication through the chipset than the PCI attached external (to the chipset) controller. So even transferring between the two nVidia controllers should be quicker than transferring between the SI & nVidia controllers.
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#18 fenry

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 05:51 PM

You're right, I should have put it in the computing forum. :ph34r: I moved a similar posting I made the same day dealing with a different system.
http://forums.storag...showtopic=22144

I would move this one too, but I think you already answered it as well as anyone would.

Thanks


You should really post questions like this in the computing forum. The short answer is, use the nVidia controllers, which benefit from faster communication through the chipset than the PCI attached external (to the chipset) controller. So even transferring between the two nVidia controllers should be quicker than transferring between the SI & nVidia controllers.


#19 erwin123

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 01:04 AM

I got a WD740 to Raid with my 00FLC0 model manufactured in Jan 06 and found that the new models are now 50FLC0. I only have HD Tach which is unable to detect any difference in low level results.

Maybe the article can be updated to point out that 50FLC0 is the latest revision to avoid buyer confusion.

#20 Spod

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 08:03 AM

As I undersatand it, the FLC0 refers to the firmware, but the other two digits are something else - OEM/retail, or place of manufacture, or something. I wouldn't worry about combining those two drives in a RAID, the drives are physically and logically identical.
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See my profile for PC specs. I do not practise what I preach.



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