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riffst3r

hdd selection deciding factor...

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so.. i've had a look at the leader board, and i got a seemingly innocent question.

what drives users to buy a 10k drive instead of the average 7200rpm, or a 15k instead of a 10k? i'm just looking for insight from performance users who have these drives in their home systems and those who have then in servers at work.

sure its speed, but what about cost of implementation and noise? and if you do have these drives in your system, i'd really like to know how you feel about your investment.

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desktop roles -> IDE

server roles -> SCSI

If your disks have to seek a lot then SCSI may be what you need. Most people don't need SCSI. A lot of those who use SCSI think it's faster allround but it isn't. At least not so much you'll notice it. If you do a lot of compiling it may be of help - I just compiled a new linux kernel on an Ultrastar 36LZX and on a Maxtor D740X. The SCSI unit was quite a bit faster. For desktop use there's very little difference.

If you're concerned about noise you should buy IDE or a Seagate 15.3. Most SCSI disks have a high-pitched whine. In fact I think that if you go SCSI you should do it right from the start. Buy an U320 controller (you won't come close to saturating it but if you want to spend money you might as well spend it on something that'll be use use 4 years from now) and a recent 15k SCSI drive. IMO 10k SCSI is not worth the money if you want it for sheer performance.

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Most would agree that speed is probably is the most important feature. SCSi is definitely for those who want ultra reliable storage. ATA (in its two flavours), has the reputation of mass storage cheap. So there are trade off's: for example large capacity in scsi (i.e. 147 gig at 10K) sounds great, but can cost you! WD raptor offers both speed and reliabilty, yet its capacity is mediocre! Then there is regular 7200 which may be the best of both worlds. Ibm is the king so far, and it has very close STR to the raptor yet it mammoth capacity!

Here are things to consider. Most drives are quiet enough for most computer systems. IT is rare to actually find a drive the drives people crazy, unless you are paranoid about absolute zero noise. Now, if you performace and reliability, i would go with a simple raid solution. This offers capacity and reliability in one. Scsi is for tose who demand speed and can live without mammoth capacity. Reason, it takes hundreds of $$$ to equal the capacity of ATA; but scsi is way more reliable!

You will also notice that the faster drives get, the small capacity they have! So 15 is generally for high-end servers and ISP type stuff (i.e. media), 10 k for high-end workstations, and well ata you know the rest!!!...

thx

scsa

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Noise? What about the coolers, they produce enough noise for me.

As for ATA or Scsi. ATA is in favor for many because of the benefit of the lower price.

Still a lot go for Scsi (my 3 computers all have Scsi).

Now lets make the ATA drives more expensive then Scsi drives. I bet every one would go Scsi.

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Agreed about going all the way for SCSI-- if you go SCSI, buy Ultra160 or Ultra320 stuff and 15k drives to get the maximum benefit that SCSI allows. Some 10k drives are pretty quiet, but the 15k drives aren't a noise penalty at all so might as well go 15k.

Regarding failure rates, I don't have access to hard numbers, but the failure rate of SCSI drives where I work is something like half that of the IDE drives. Granted we build only several hundred units with 10K.6 Cheetahs a month versus several thousand WD and Seagate IDE drives, but once the numbers are crunched, that's a rough estimate of what I am seeing.

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SCSI drives generally have longer MTBF (although this is a 50% meaningless number). SCSI drives have a standard 5-year warranty, while ATA drives are now standardising on 1-year.

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Evidence that SCSI is more reliable would be nice.

True enough about the reliability. And to me it's always been an unfair comparison to say that SCSI is faster/better than IDE.

And I'm one step away from a certified SCSI fanboy!

SCSI doesn't automatically make a drive better than an IDE drive.

When comparing drives, first look here at StorageReview. ;)

The bigger questions are what class is the drive targeted to, and who makes it?

SCSI drives are usually targetted to Enterprise environments, therefore they have better build quality than a desktop drive -- especially when used in a high volume / low idle time environments.

You should not compare an enterprise drive and a home/desktop drive.

(BTW I *hate* the nominclature. I always use "enterprise" drives on my "desktop." or "FloorTop" as the case may be)

If your machine frequently sits idle or spends most of its time "off" then speed is the only advantage SCSI holds. And I mean 10k rpm vs. 15k rpm, not 160-320MB/s vs "only" 150MB/s.

********

Personally I have used SCSI drives exclusively since 1986...until this year. :)

My last non-SCSI drive was a 30MB RLL unit in an IBM PC/XT.

I have repaired / replaced many an IDE drive during that time, and just as many "low end" SCSI drives.

Earlier this year I bought a WD 80GB drive for storage, and now have a 36GB raptor.

And I can see one of those 7k250's in my future.

( OF course, I'm fighting the urge to stuff a couple of Cheetah 15k.3's in my Shuttle box rather than the Raptor. :D )

[ Alot of rambling ]

Noise is an issue for me, but it's like compaining about the engine noise in a Dodge Viper or a Ferrari. It comes with the territory.

The drives I currently use are considered some of the noisiest drives in history.

The 1st Gen. Cheetah takes the prize, though. Sounds like not-to-distant machine gun fire when it's Active. Every time my wife says "What's that racket?" I respond wth, "It's that Old Cheetah...and yes my door was closed."

BTW, I've had that old Cheetah (4GB) running for what seems like 5+ years. (Maybe 6?). I've had a 1st gen Barracuda (2.1GB) running for 7-8 years. (( Don't blast me about the number of years. Memory fades. )) These drives are not as active as they used to be. Each one was my primary drive in my main PC before retiring to lighter duty.

And now I have had a couple of Cheetah X15s running for ~4 years (whenever they came out).

[ Rambling over ]

If you want ultimate speed, the top-of-line SCSI drives leave everything else in the dust. But I think you can get 80% of the performance for <50% of the price with the new ATA drives. And ATA will give you the ultimate in quiet.

But I'm still buying those 15k.3s - - refurbished. :D

(Whew that was kinda long, wasn't it?)

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Only YOU know your own usage pattern: do you play games? Compile? Work with large graphics files? Browse the web? Multitask extensively? And how OFTEN do you do each of these?

That's why everyone has a different opinion - there are too many variables in terms of how you use it, and how big your checkbook is (which affects what economists call your "price sensitivity").

I moved from three successive all-SCSI systems to IDE about a year and a half ago. Drives from the ORIGINAL SCSI system are still working in my wife's PC. Do I think SCSI is more reliable - of course, and their are manufacturing reasons why this is so (lower platter density, heavier actuator motors, etc.). It's NOT because of the interface electronics, it's because the drive construction differs. This is a large part of why they cost more per Gig than IDE.

I personally think that most disk benchmarks are only excersizes in fantasy. Few of them REALLY test a PC the way a power user would, especially in terms of multitasking. In standard desktop use, IDE is just as good (if not better) than SCSI. But add in a few more concurrent tasks, and the lower seek times of SCSI save the day. So how often DO you throw those tasks in in normal useage? Again, only you know...

Right now, I think that Western Digital's Raptors represent the happy middle ground in terms of reliability, speed, and cost. A lot of other people seem to agree. Ideally, I would spec a system with two 74G Raptors in RAID 0, with a third IDE disk for large, slow storage...

Future Shock

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Only YOU know your own usage pattern: do you play games?  Compile?  Work with large graphics files?  Browse the web?  Multitask extensively?  And how OFTEN do you do each of these?

true, but the fastest drive i've ever owned was probably the 120gb 2mb WD... so i've never experienced scsi, heck, i've never even seen anything scsi in person, that's why i've asked insight from you guys, the ones who actually use these high performance drives, and your opinion of them.

its not the interface (ide vs scsi) but the advantages/disadvantages of a high rpm drive that sparked off the question. i'm quite aware of scsi's and ide's limitations (SR's reference guide is awesome)... i feel sorta restrained in the pata world, and i really want to step out and see how a faster hard drive could affect my computing experience... a system's as fast as its bottleneck, right?

right now, i think i'll try out the 10k 36gb raptor and move my way upto U320 and fujitsu's 15k :wub:

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Evidence that SCSI is more reliable would be nice.

My floor with mass file sharing programs on IDE drives = dead drives.

Those with SCSI = fine drives.

There was a member in a past post that had 14 IDE drives die and a mere SCSI array last fine.

SCSI drives tend to take more abuse than IDE drives. If you're not gonna abuse the drives don't bother with SCSI.

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right now, i think i'll try out the 10k 36gb raptor and move my way upto U320 and fujitsu's 15k  :wub:

Great plan.

Since you're stepping up from the 7200rpm/2MB-buffer world, you'll really love the performance.

The Raptor really is a great drive.

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SCSI drives tend to take more abuse than IDE drives. If you're not gonna abuse the drives don't bother with SCSI.

q, you keep going on about this, and it's every bit as subjective and unsubstantiated as it was when you first said it. use doesn't magically destroy ide drives, and p2p apps are not 'ram and jam' usage patterns, even on a lan.

if you can produce a usage pattern that will destroy an ide drive, i'm sure the ENTIRE STORAGE INDUSTRY would be very interested. at present, there is no such thing known to exist beyond the space between your ears.

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SCSI drives tend to take more abuse than IDE drives. If you're not gonna abuse the drives don't bother with SCSI.

q, you keep going on about this, and it's every bit as subjective and unsubstantiated as it was when you first said it. use doesn't magically destroy ide drives, and p2p apps are not 'ram and jam' usage patterns, even on a lan.

if you can produce a usage pattern that will destroy an ide drive, i'm sure the ENTIRE STORAGE INDUSTRY would be very interested. at present, there is no such thing known to exist beyond the space between your ears.

You could have just said (and been just as correct) "bollocks!"

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use doesn't magically destroy ide drives, and p2p apps are not 'ram and jam' usage patterns, even on a lan.

E-donkey back in the day + kazaa + imesh + xxx + xxxx

keep adding them and eventually they do slam on the disk

I can think of no other cause for mass failures of disks in our dorm.

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I can think of no other cause for mass failures of disks in our dorm.

it could be the careless swapping of harddrives from system to system... kids do that a lot here, and wonder why their hard drives die.

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use doesn't magically destroy ide drives, and p2p apps are not 'ram and jam' usage patterns, even on a lan.

E-donkey back in the day + kazaa + imesh + xxx + xxxx

keep adding them and eventually they do slam on the disk

I can think of no other cause for mass failures of disks in our dorm.

Rediculous. If you have lost all your IDE drives, then you were doing something wrong. Twice a day I unpack multiple 2.5 gig .tar files, too the point where I may have 30 gigs of excess files floating around that get deleted at the end of the day. My current network inventory:

1 WD800JB

4 WD400BB

2 120 GB Maxtor 7200 2MB (unsure of model, too lazy to look)

1 WD 27 GB Expert Series

2 WD4500AB

2 WD300BB

1 60 GB Samsung (External USB)

I have had most of these drives a long time (WD4500AB's were purchased when they were new) and my losses to date? 1 of the WD4500AB's died, and funny enough, there is a FAQ here that explains why. The drive died within 2 hours of my reinstalling it into a new case, and it was stuck in the drive rails, and when it came loose it slammed into the back of the case. Case solved. Many times I can open task manager and see individual processes (winrar.exe, steam.exe, etc) with over 20 gigs of reads and writes. Heavy disk usage will not kill endless IDE drives.

In addition, at my workplace, we equally use IDE and SCSI, and I honestly don't see more failures of one then the other. We don't see many failures at all out of about 350 drives (granted, not a ton of drives)

I also have, although retired, 4 working 6 gig WD's that are I have no idea how old, and 2 1.2 GB Conners that are in working condition. Also I have 2 2 GB Cuda's (7200 SCSI) in working condition.

One of the main reasons that SCSI has a longer warranty is when you sell something for 10X the cost, you can afford to give it a longer warranty, as opposed to the IDE market, which is pretty cut throat right now, with 120 G drives going for $60 after rebates. How could they possible afford to warranty that drive for more then 1 year??

Anyway, there is no way that Kazzaa is breaking drives, if it was, then how are all those millions staying online. It's not because they are all buying SCSI drives.

PS - no, I am not anti scsi, and they certainly have their place, and the top of the lines SCSI's are without a doubt, the speed champions. Whenever I look at the current 15K lineup I drool a bit. But all these wild ass claims about reliability are rediculous. Is there a difference in reliability? Possibly, but not on the level that is being claimed in the above quote.

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. Ibm is the king so far, and it has very close STR to the raptor yet it mammoth capacity!

  Now, if you performace and reliability, i would go with a simple raid solution.  This offers capacity and reliability in one. 

You will also notice that the faster drives get, the small capacity they have!

thx

scsa

IBM is the king of what? STR has negligible impact on performance of the typical application.

What level of raid is giving you both performance and reliability? There is a substantial amount of information available to show that RAID 0 doesn't give you much of a performance boost for typical applications, and it certainly doesn't give you more reliability. RAID 1 will not give you more performance typically, and doesn't give you anything back for capacity - confusing.

Larger capacity drives actually get a performance boost.

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Personally, I bought 2 Cheetah X15 36LP because of the lower seek times (I'm waiting for my 2100S SCSI RAID card). I think, IMHO, that the seek time has the biggest impact on how a drive "seems" of "feels" faster. Also, waht I do like about SCSI is the fact that it is a "small computer system interface". That means that the SCSI bus/card handle the job thus freeing up the CPU for other things (humm, like gaming).

Yes, SCSI, in general will definitely costs you more per gb than any ATA drive. It all depends on what you want/need to do with your computer. Personally, I upgraded to SCSI on the fact that I wanted to learn more about it. Since I was upgrading, I said to myself that if I go SCSI, then why not buy something faster than my "older" IBM 180GXP 120gb. For me, 15K drives was the logical step. I do not do much video editing, audio stuff, etc. I use my computer as a "desktop" use like any ATA drives. BUT, and I say BUT, I DO appriciate that my system responds FAST, really F A S T. That is what I wanted and paid for. When I start a program, I want it to start right away, not in 9ms (9ms is an eternity in computer hardware). Again, this is me.

Parabellum

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/nitpicking mode

Also, waht I do like about SCSI is the fact that it is a "small computer system interface". That means that the SCSI bus/card handle the job thus freeing up the CPU for other things

If you have a PCI SCSI controller as opposed to an integrated IDE controller the SCSI controller can use a considerable portion of the bandwith on the PCI bus. On modern systems IDE has it's own connection to the chipset, leaving more bandwith available on the PCI bus. Sometimes this may be an advantage.

/end nitpicking mode

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What level of raid is giving you both performance and reliability?

Why, RAID 0+1 of course...

Future Shock

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i have run off both a WD 36 gig SATA Raptor and a Raid0 array of 2x 18 gig Cheetah X15-36LP. i can honestly say that the single Raptor was as competitive , if not outright faster than the raid array. however, the scsi option is far superior when it comes to CPU utilization under my own usage patterns: i.e. lots of P2P programs running in the background. i am using a P4 with hyperthreading (which is already a humongous boost to performance when doing file-intensive stuff in the background) but the Raptor still managed to soak up 15 to 20% CPU when it was the temp file for my P2P apps. the raid array was always around 3%. and when copying big files around, same thing.

that said, scsi prices are so much higher than SATA. i mean for drives. a scsi raid card is about $150 off ebay but you can run 2 dozen scsi drives off it, whereas it would cost an arm and a leg more than that to do 2 dozen SATA drives. but $100 for a 18gig 15,000 rpm scsi drive? sheesh! then again, $125 for a 36gb 10,000 rpm SATA raptor isn't that much better.

and heat. fast 15k scsi drives nowadays are not as hot as previous generations, but they still generate tons of heat compared to a 7200 rpm SATA drive. but... the SATA Raptor is also a heat generator. seriously. that thing runs hot. if you don't put active cooling on it, i guarantee that you will be worried when you feel how much heat accumulates.

i think it goes back to usage patterns. if you have lots of writing and file transfers and perhaps you are a heavy user of P2P apps or video editing.. SCSI will help you keep your computer feeling responsive. keyword : feel. in raw transfer rates (read), you could do just as well with SATA (like those new kick ass 7k250 drives), but you might well bring your computer to its knees when you have a big file transfer going on, or with a lot of P2P activity.

my 0.02 worth

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it could be the careless swapping of harddrives from system to system... kids do that a lot here, and wonder why their hard drives die.

there were do drives swapped

people kept their drive inside their pcs/laptops/macs

Twice a day I unpack multiple 2.5 gig .tar files, too the point where I may have 30 gigs of excess files floating around that get deleted at the end of the day.

that's nothing compared to constant write, write, write and read, read, read of massive files

some ppl downloaded multiple pr0n movies and those things are huge (700MB+ each)

Now if if you 10 of those you have 7GB of say 64k chunks that's being read and written to (massive IO activity here)

That's just 1 app. The other file sharing apps in addition to the inital doesn't help. Early e-donkey was probably the worst.

Anyway, there is no way that Kazzaa is breaking drives

We didn't just use kazaa.

E-donkey back in the day + kazaa + imesh + xxx + xxxx

We had a ton of p2p apps in addition to the local lan ones. After I had dead IDE disks I was fine. The 1 other person who had SCSI was fine, too.

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if you can produce a usage pattern that will destroy an ide drive, i'm sure the ENTIRE STORAGE INDUSTRY would be very interested.

the better part of college-going, computing, dorm-living america has been going berserk with p2p apps for the last couple years.

constantly using an ide hard drive will not break it in short order. i have volumes of my own anecdotal evidence regarding this, but i don't even feel like typing it because the subject is so silly.

believe me, if p2p apps broke hard drives the storage industry would be in a world of hurt over that singular issue.

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