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Raptor or Maxtor Atlas 15k II on U2W SCSI faster?

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Hello,

I want to upgrade my main windows/boot HDD, which currently is a Maxtor 80GB 8MB cache DiamondMax 9 Plus drive. I have windows XP Pro and my software on this disk, the swap file is on my WD 250GB SE disk, which also holds games, DV video etc.

My alternatives for about 200 euros are either:

1) WD Raptor 74GB 10.000RPM. About 180 euros here.

OR

2) Maxtor Atlas 15k.II 15.000 RPM 36GB (about 210 euros here), BUT this would be connected to a Tekram 80Mb/s Ultra2Wide SCSI PCI-adapter, which I originally bought for an IBM 10kRPM drive. BUYING A NEW ADAPTER IS NOT AN OPTION!

Naturally the Atlas would be the faster choice, if the Raptor and Atlas would be both the same size AND if the Atlas would not be restricted by the U2W SCSI adapter. Considering these two slowing factors, my question is, which option would be faster? Heat is not a problem. Noise is another factor against the Maxtor, if the Atlas is much noisier than the Raptor?

Obviously the Tekram card would restrict the Atlas somewhat to the theoretical 80MB/s available bandwith (probably closer to 70MB/s in reality?), and additionally the capacity of the Atlas is only half of the Raptor. I would partition the new disk so, that the windows drive with software would be about 15GB, and the remaining portion for data. Would the Raptor be faster in reality, since the 15GB partition is a smaller portion of the disk than with the Atlas due to this partitioning?

I mainly use office applications, do digital video editing and occasionally play games. I want my computer to be "snappier". My computer is a Prescott P4 3,4GHz with 1GB RAM.

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The Atlas is capable of more than 90MB/sec STR, which means it would be seriously constrained by the U2W controller. As for access times and effective performance, the Atlas would probably remain faster although I can't say that conclusively.

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Interesting question.

With the bus overhead of the 80MB/S controller, the Atlas sequential transfers would be slower than the Raptors. Seek time would be faster still, but I think the Raptor would probably feel the same or slightly faster in Windows.

Sure you can't get a U160 controller for cheap? That would be fast enough for the Atlas. Of couse, some are of the opinion of just keep it simple and go with the Raptor because its SATA and almost as fast...

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if you have already work out your value for money.

then i suggest maxtor atlas 15K. the seeks times are so much faster. It will be a bit of problem if one day you need more then 36GB out of the atlas as compared to the raptor 74GB.

these things do happen.

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Thanks for your replies. I'm currently leaning towards the Maxtor regardless of the smaller size and a bit more higher price. The only thing that worries me actually with the Maxtor is the noise. I used to have a IBM Ultrastar 10kRPM 36LZX, and it was quite decent - only the seeks were pretty rumbling. Is the Maxtor noisier, quieter or about the same?

Also- any guesses/opinions regarding the partitioning, if this would have a noticeable effect on speed so that the WD would in reality surpass the Maxtor (15GB partition on 36GB 15kRPM Maxtor vs. 15GB partition on 74GB 10kRPM WD Raptor)?

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no help here, but i'm pondering the same thing, but the next step up: 2 Raptors vs a single 74GB MAU, on a u320 controller though.

Nox

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Just as a follow-up for those who might be interested...

I actually tried both the Maxtor Atlas 15k.II 36GB and the WD Raptor 74GB.

The thing that made me return the Maxtor was a very high-pitched whine, probably 10-15.000 Hz that reminds me of a 50Hz television whine. Although barely noticeable, when I noticed it, it annoyed me very much. Also, my transfer rates were only about 60Mb/s when connected to my Tekram UC-390W Ultra2Wide/LVD controller, so not even closer to 70Mb/s or 80Mb/s, which is the theoretical maximum. However, the Maxtor was otherwise silent and the seeks were comparable almost to my previous 2-year old Maxtor DiamondMax +9 80GB (8Mb cache), much quieter than I had thought. The Maxtor Atlas was also very snappy and responsive, so other than the high-pitched whine, I would have kept the drive even with the lower transfer rate.

However, I replaced the Atlas with the 74GB Raptor. This thing is very quiet and has no high-pitched whine, or at least the whine is much quieter than that of the Atlas. My transfer rates are higher than with the Atlas, about 70Mb/s. Also, the system is almost as snappy as with the Atlas, the difference I think is negligible, if noticeable at all. Maybe the Atlas felt faster due to the Atlas's louder seeks, which make it "feel" faster. Anyway, both are very fast drives, and I would have been satisfied with both (without the Atlas's whine).

Summa summarum, If you take into account that the Raptor has twice the capacity, is priced lower, is quieter and as fast as the Atlas or only slightly slower, I have to recommend the Raptor. If the difference between the Atlas and the Raptor cannot be felt, at least the difference when compared with my previous Maxtor DM+9 is very noticeable, and so the Raptor is definitely worth the money. My system with the Raptor is much faster and snappier than with the 7200RPM Maxtor! The only thing bothering me now is that when will the new Raptor come out...

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Just as a follow-up for those who might be interested...

I actually tried both the Maxtor Atlas 15k.II 36GB and the WD Raptor 74GB.

The thing that made me return the Maxtor was a very high-pitched whine, probably 10-15.000 Hz that reminds me of a 50Hz television whine. Although barely noticeable, when I noticed it, it annoyed me very much. Also, my transfer rates were only about 60Mb/s when connected to my Tekram UC-390W Ultra2Wide/LVD controller, so not even closer to 70Mb/s or 80Mb/s, which is the theoretical maximum. However, the Maxtor was otherwise silent and the seeks were comparable almost to my previous 2-year old Maxtor DiamondMax +9 80GB (8Mb cache), much quieter than I had thought. The Maxtor Atlas was also very snappy and responsive, so other than the high-pitched whine, I would have kept the drive even with the lower transfer rate.

However, I replaced the Atlas with the 74GB Raptor. This thing is very quiet and has no high-pitched whine, or at least the whine is much quieter than that of the Atlas. My transfer rates are higher than with the Atlas, about 70Mb/s. Also, the system is almost as snappy as with the Atlas, the difference I think is negligible, if noticeable at all. Maybe the Atlas felt faster due to the Atlas's louder seeks, which make it "feel" faster. Anyway, both are very fast drives, and I would have been satisfied with both (without the Atlas's whine).

Summa summarum, If you take into account that the Raptor has twice the capacity, is priced lower, is quieter and as fast as the Atlas or only slightly slower, I have to recommend the Raptor. If the difference between the Atlas and the Raptor cannot be felt, at least the difference when compared with my previous Maxtor DM+9  is very noticeable, and so the Raptor is definitely worth the money. My system with the Raptor is much faster and snappier than with the 7200RPM Maxtor! The only thing bothering me now is that when will the new Raptor come out...

216956[/snapback]

Replace your controller and get a PCI-X or PCIe card then you will see the power of 15K.II.

On my U320 card, I see 90MB/s STR and 5s seek time. It's quiet and cool.

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The Maxtor Atlas 15kII would be the better choice if you don't care about the extra capacity of the Raptor or the increased noise level. It has been quite a while since I have used a Raptor drive so I can't make an accurate statement about the noise levels of each drive but the difference may depend on your computer case. Some cases seem to do a great job of minimizing hard drive noise and in a case like that the differences between each drive may be a non issue. With other cases the hard drive noises are almost amplified in which case the Maxtor will likely be noticeably louder than the Raptor. I would personally not worry too much about the slower SCSI controller being that your Maxtor would rarely be transferring data at its full speed anyways.

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I would personally not worry too much about the slower SCSI controller being that your Maxtor would rarely be transferring data at its full speed anyways.

217057[/snapback]

Exactly. Of course the STR was limited by my slower controller, but the snappines of SCSI and the Atlas was clearly present. It may be, that the difference between the Raptor would have been greater if connected to a modern SCSI controller. However, the speed was not a problem but the high-pitched whine. I don't know if such a whine is due to the high rotation speed and thus is a "feature" of all 15kRPM drives? Maybe a Fujitsu MAU or Seagate would be more quiet? The seek sounds however did not bother me, they were suprisingly muted. Maybe you are right about the case amplifying the noise- certainly not muting it. I have a Thermaltake Xaser II server case, which is otherwise very quiet, but the hard drive noise is clear over the quiet case fans. The loudest component in my computer is my Prescott P4 Intel stock processor fan.

Although I like my raptor, I still have to say there was something with the Atlas- it somehow felt more snappy, more instantaneous and less overhead. This I remember even with my old IBM 36LZX drive, which had a certain snappiness factor, although otherwise quite slow. Maybe it's due to the SCSI controller offloading the work load away from the processor.

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The U2W controller, as you surmized, is only capable of (theoretically) 80MB/S. However, the reason you only saw 60MB/S was because the U2W doesn't support any of the Ultra 160 or 320 packetization or streaming features. SCSI Bus overhead is actually a fairly significant component of the performance equation. U160 and U320 have features like packetization and streaming that help reduce that overhead, leaving more bandwidth for actual data transfers. Running a U320 capable drive on a U2W interface is the worst possible solution from a bus utilization perspective.

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