Guest Eugene

Western Digital Raptor WD1500

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I admit I'm curious about where the single Raptor 74GB scores on those graphs, but I guess I'll have to wait for the RAID article for that. It's irrelevant anyway, given what Eugene just posted - it's great to see clear evidence that a single user is better off with one Raptor 150 GB than two Raptor 74 GB drives in RAID 0.

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Guest Eugene
I admit I'm curious about where the single Raptor 74GB scores on those graphs

Whoops, good point. The "software controller" in question is the SI3124 with its RAID bios (our reference controller features a non-RAID bios), so, while there are some -small- aberrations here and there, for the most part you can assume that the single drive performs identical to the one represented throughout the WD1500 article.

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Reading reactions to the reivew around the net has been quite interesting .....

Good post mate.

Furthermore I have just checked trade prices in the UK for the 1500 and they are only 60% more than the 740 coming in around £167+vat.

Was hoping in an earlier post you could shed some light on this TLER utility for me B)

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Though the WD1500 remains a speedy unit when NCQ is enabled, we recommend disabling NCQ in non-server settings to obtain the best possible performance.

Ok, how is this done (and more importantly to me - how is TCQ disabled on the WD740GD)?

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Though the WD1500 remains a speedy unit when NCQ is enabled, we recommend disabling NCQ in non-server settings to obtain the best possible performance.

Ok, how is this done (and more importantly to me - how is TCQ disabled on the WD740GD)?

Yep I'd like to know this too :) I know with my Hitachi drive there was a disc utility to turn things like this on and off, maybe it's the same for Western Digital drives?

I just ordered the 150Gb Raptor. It looks ideal for what I do. My T7K250 gets thrashed a lot when I try and do one very disk intensive activity and one other that may or may not be...even just switching to a browser can take ages if the drive is being thrashed. This should speed things up nicely and the size is perfect, 74Gb wasn't enough for me.

On pre-order at overclockers.co.uk.

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I admit I'm curious about where the single Raptor 74GB scores on those graphs,

I wondered about this too. Also, where's the "two new raptors in raid 0" graph? I mean, otherwise it's comparing apples to oranges. You can't assert that just because the older raptors don't gain anything from raid 0, the new ones don't either.

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I just spent 13 hours (5PM-6PM) helping a customer get back up and running who lost a drive in a 3-drive RAID-0 array on a server. Sometime duirng the night I convenced him that robustness was better than capacity/speed and we switched it over to RAID-5. For the same reason I no longer use RAID-0 on my workstation. While I agree that for speed that a single drive is best for a workstation, at the same time I simply cannot afford downtime that restoring a backup wil take. I'm running RAID-5 on three Raptor WB740GD's but am thinking about switching to RAID-1 on two WD1500's. Data is king and my nightly backups don't get me back up and running fast enough. That's why I care about RAID, but as far as I concerned you can ignore RAID-0. (BTW: How IS RAID-0 redundant?)

The internet is huge, and replete with those who will posit premises based on nothing but stubbornness and intractability. I hope, however, that we can -eventually- start moving on and spread the word that servers and desktops, and the drives designed for each, are largely different beasts... and that RAID's applications arise more in the server world than in the desktop, despite what every major taiwanese manufacturer would have you believe.

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This is a very nice drive in its own right. YOu may start to see companies using it for the RAID solutions. One thing that eludes me about WD. Why do they continue to avoid the SCSI market (as in why not make SCSI drives). And why hasn't any other company made other 10,000 SATA drives to directly compete with them???...

SCSA

P.S. Hey Eugene, when you actually plugged the drive into your TESTBED system, did you notice if the drive had WD sure-connect feature to ensure proper power connection. I only ask cuz i hate that feature!!!...

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Reading reactions to the reivew around the net has been quite interesting.

It seems there remain, however, many anachronistic assertions that simply don't wash. Let's informally address a couple of them here:

The first:

the Raptor can't hold a candle to my 15K SCSI drive!!

You're right, it can't... as long as you're usiing your 15K SCSI drive run, say, Oracle databases. But as a drive in a single user system? To boast of a 15K SCSI drive there is to brag about a tractor-trailer that's can haul 20 tons when others are discussing the speed and ride characteristics of sports cars. SCSI drives are designed for access patterns vastly different than even the heaviest of single-user loads.

Individuals who spout this garbage:

# 1) Failed to take a real look at the single-user graphs throughout the article

and

# 2) Failed to read and consider this paragraph:

A Word of Caution to Power Users

It is all too common for an enthusiast to believe that his or her usage pattern is closer to that of a server's rather than a desktop's. This idea arises from a variety of sources- "I multitask a lot," "I hear the hard drive grinding away," "I deal with lots of huge files," etc. The truth is, however, that even the heaviest, grinding multitasker experiences disk access patterns that are far more localized in nature than the truly random access that servers undergo. Individuals who choose a hard drive based on its prowess in IOMeter with the belief that their usage habits mimic a server simply do themselves a disservice. It is measures such as the SR Office and High-End DriveMarks that most accurately depict a non-server's response, whether it be the sheer speed experienced under intense disk access or the "snap and feel" associated with intermittent but bursty operations.

Let's move on to the other big misconception:

Twice the price of a 74GB? For that much money I could get 2 WD740GDs and RAID them for much better performance!!

Wrong. Here's a look at how two RAIDed configurations of the WD740GD on a basic RAID controller compare vs. a single WD1500ADFD:

WD1500VsWD740RAID.png

These figures were drawn from a large database of results compiled in perparation for a future article that will examine the performance of the WD740GD, the Seagate NL35, and the WD4000YR in multidrive configurations operating off of three separate RAID controllers. As demonstrated above, even a four-drive RAID0 array matches the WD1500 in only one out of five cases. I can already hear "but RAID0 suxx, what about RAID5??!!" RAID5's performance is -vastly- worse than RAID0s when it comes to single-user patterns. Results have been omitted to avoid muddying the issue.

The internet is huge, and replete with those who will posit premises based on nothing but stubbornness and intractability. I hope, however, that we can -eventually- start moving on and spread the word that servers and desktops, and the drives designed for each, are largely different beasts... and that RAID's applications arise more in the server world than in the desktop, despite what every major taiwanese manufacturer would have you believe.

Some Perspective

It is important to remember that seek time and transfer rate measurements are mostly diagnostic in nature and not really measurements of "performance" per se. Assessing these two specs is quite similar to running a processor "benchmark" that confirms "yes, this processor really runs at 2.4 GHz and really does feature a 400 MHz FSB." Many additional factors combine to yield aggregate high-level hard disk performance above and beyond these two easily measured yet largely irrelevant metrics. In the end, drives, like all other PC components, should be evaluated via application-level performance. Over the next few pages, this is exactly what we will do. Read on! .

Well I think we can add Eugene to this group of : "The internet is huge, and replete with those who will posit premises based on nothing but stubbornness and intractability.

"Largely irrelevant" in your eyes. You don't seem to comprehend that HD video is taking the user base community by a storm, and I'm not just speaking of at the upper echelon of uncompressed 4k resolution state-of-the-art video pros. GHz and front side bus are very important to any laptop user (again, this pertains to pros who love the portability a laptop affords) that needs to do HD viewing or editing, that's simply a fact Eugene continues to ignore. At the higer end, just below ultra big dollar Speilberg/Lucas or large TV network budgets there are plenty that need, no, require very high STR; and likewise top-end performance from a desktop/workstation class machines. Eugune is simply ignorant of this digital video revolution.

Final Cut 6 to usher in new video editing era for Apple Note: although presently vaporware 4k res. camcorder from Red, Red's CEO is the founder/owner billionare of Oakley sunglasses company. No price has been set on the imaginary Red 4k res. camcorder, but it may be far less than some are predicting. Oakley took over the sunglass market, and Red could possibly do the same for professional camcorder market, now ruled by the corporate electronic giants.

Fact also is that likewise, STR is again very important to anyone doing HD video capture/content editing. While you may consider that a niche market, the market is not trivial, and it keeps growing faster and faster; whether or not Eugene wants to recognize that. In fact the bandwidth needed to record 4k uncompressed (compressed is relatively much easier, but still not within the realm of a single SATA drive) is so great there is not at present a good solution for this...bring on the 100MB/s SAS drives, the sooner the better.

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One thing that eludes me about WD. Why do they continue to avoid the SCSI market (as in why not make SCSI drives). And why hasn't any other company made other 10,000 SATA drives to directly compete with them???...

I'm going to take a wild guess: it's because although they have the mechanical design down, they also need the electronics and firmware side for SCSI development to have a successful SCSI drive. As it stands, maybe they can leverage a lot of design from their other products, since they're all PATA/SATA and have a lot of overlap in code.

WD probably doesn't have the resources to have widely diverging platforms.

As for why others have not jumped into making 10K SATA, why would they want to compete against their 10K SCSI lines? I rather doubt there's a huge market for 10K SATA at the moment, and if another supplier tried to go for it, it'd make sense if Samsung did so more than if Seagate did so. Why spend money on a small market when you already own the SCSI side of the coin?

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Well I think we can add Eugene to this group of : "The internet is huge, and replete with those who will posit premises based on nothing but stubbornness and intractability.

"Largely irrelevant" in your eyes. You don't seem to comprehend that HD video is taking the user base community by a storm, and I'm not just speaking of at the upper echelon of uncompressed 4k resolution state-of-the-art video pros. GHz and front side bus are very important to any laptop user (again, this pertains to pros who love the portability a laptop affords) that needs to do HD viewing or editing, that's simply a fact Eugene continues to ignore. At the higer end, just below ultra big dollar Speilberg/Lucas or large TV network budgets there are plenty that need, no, require very high STR; and likewise top-end performance from a desktop/workstation class machines. Eugune is simply ignorant of this digital video revolution.

Final Cut 6 to usher in new video editing era for Apple Note: although presently vaporware 4k res. camcorder from Red, Red's CEO is the founder/owner billionare of Oakley sunglasses company. No price has been set on the imaginary Red 4k res. camcorder, but it may be far less than some are predicting. Oakley took over the sunglass market, and Red could possibly do the same for professional camcorder market, now ruled by the corporate electronic giants.

Fact also is that likewise, STR is again very important to anyone doing HD video capture/content editing. While you may consider that a niche market, the market is not trivial, and it keeps growing faster and faster; whether or not Eugene wants to recognize that. In fact the bandwidth needed to record 4k uncompressed (compressed is relatively much easier, but still not within the realm of a single SATA drive) is so great there is not at present a good solution for this...bring on the 100MB/s SAS drives, the sooner the better.

Noone here is denying the value of RAID-0 for use in content creation scratch for workstaion applications, or its usefullness in disk to disk backup systems. What Eugene is challenging is the assumption that running RAID-0 automatically endows its user with an across the board storage performance boost, which simply is not true. Disk striping improves STR, and if you are already running the fastest drives available, is the only way to increase STR. However, performance in file system tasks and performance in desktop applications are entirely different situations.

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WD’s long-awaited update to the 10,000 RPM SATA Raptor has arrived! The family’s new bellwether ups capacity up to 150 gigabytes and claims to significantly increase performance while maintaining the line’s admirable power and noise levels. Join StorageReview as we pit the Raptor WD1500 up against every currently available SCSI and SATA flagship in our comprehensive test suite!

Western Digital Raptor WD1500

Updated Jan 5th, 10 PM with the differences (or lack thereof) between two different versions of the drive.

Does this mean that the leaderboard is about to change? :)

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Well I think we can add Eugene to this group of : "The internet is huge, and replete with those who will posit premises based on nothing but stubbornness and intractability.

"Largely irrelevant" in your eyes. You don't seem to comprehend that HD video is taking the user base community by a storm, and I'm not just speaking of at the upper echelon of uncompressed 4k resolution state-of-the-art video pros. GHz and front side bus are very important to any laptop user (again, this pertains to pros who love the portability a laptop affords) that needs to do HD viewing or editing, that's simply a fact Eugene continues to ignore. At the higer end, just below ultra big dollar Speilberg/Lucas or large TV network budgets there are plenty that need, no, require very high STR; and likewise top-end performance from a desktop/workstation class machines. Eugune is simply ignorant of this digital video revolution.

Final Cut 6 to usher in new video editing era for Apple Note: although presently vaporware 4k res. camcorder from Red, Red's CEO is the founder/owner billionare of Oakley sunglasses company. No price has been set on the imaginary Red 4k res. camcorder, but it may be far less than some are predicting. Oakley took over the sunglass market, and Red could possibly do the same for professional camcorder market, now ruled by the corporate electronic giants.

Fact also is that likewise, STR is again very important to anyone doing HD video capture/content editing. While you may consider that a niche market, the market is not trivial, and it keeps growing faster and faster; whether or not Eugene wants to recognize that. In fact the bandwidth needed to record 4k uncompressed (compressed is relatively much easier, but still not within the realm of a single SATA drive) is so great there is not at present a good solution for this...bring on the 100MB/s SAS drives, the sooner the better.

What the heck? We're just beginning to see 1440x1080 high-compression interlaced hitting the consumer market and you're talking about people needing 4K uncompressed on their laptops?!?!?! Speilberg/Lucas, if they need that kind of throughput, already have plenty of options for getting it, and 4X RAID-0 Raptor 150s aren't the answer to that kind of challenge.

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What the heck? We're just beginning to see 1440x1080 high-compression interlaced hitting the consumer market and you're talking about people needing 4K uncompressed on their laptops?!?!?! Speilberg/Lucas, if they need that kind of throughput, already have plenty of options for getting it, and 4X RAID-0 Raptor 150s aren't the answer to that kind of challenge.

Exactly, not exactly your typical enthusiast that needs that kind of power/space/speed. Anyways how the hell do you fit a 3.5" drive in the space of a 2.5" drive or am I being stupid in assuming there are extra big laptops which shouldn't be called laptops?

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Single user firmware could potentially be a big improvement. I was hoping to press the order button right about now but I guess I have to wait.

QUESTION 1: Can anyone comment on this, specifically whether there really is any difference in the firmware between the current "Enterprise" and future "X" versions of the 150? The reason I'm asking is because of Eugene saying "the two different versions do not feature significantly differing firmware . . . Here at least, differences really do extend only skin deep," and then that they differ only in Mean Time Between Failure (lower with the polycarbonate window) and price . . . all before he prefaces the tests with "As previously mentioned, the two 'versions' of the WD1500 only differ cosmetically."

Next,

Here's another reason I wonder if they are identical, sparked by a questionable comment on the available drive's NewEgg page <http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?...N82E16822136012> :

Other Thoughts: I just wanted to make sure everyone knew the ADFD is the enterprise version of the new Raptor. It has raid-specific features that will probably slow down the performance of the drive if not used in a raid configuration. If you want to use this in a desktop please wait for the AHFD which has a fancy clear window on it.

Reviewed By: msudude, 1/5/2006 5:50:53 PM

QUESTION 2: Is "msudude" correct about these "raid-specific features" existing or do you think he's confusing the Raptor 150 with some sort of SCSI / multiuser drive? If anyone can reassure me that the "Enterprise" 150 with the default firmware is indeed perfectly suitable for straight-out-of-the-box single user, non-RAID use as well (just as Eugene's charts nicely suggest), it would be very helpful.

Thanks!

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Exactly, not exactly your typical enthusiast that needs that kind of power/space/speed. Anyways how the hell do you fit a 3.5" drive in the space of a 2.5" drive or am I being stupid in assuming there are extra big laptops which shouldn't be called laptops?

At first I didn't really get your point, but then that's just another sign of old age I guess. Looking back this is what I associate with the word "Laptop": Toshiba T3100/20

Or perhaps this: Ericsson Portable PC

I've worked with both (though I try to forget as much as possible about the Ericsson POS), and at that time there were no 2½" HDD's on the market. Even 3½" HDD's was still a novelty, seldom found in anything but portable computers. Both these machines were at the time dubbed as "Laptops" as it was possible to balance them on your lap, in theory at least. I think I tried that once with the Toshiba, and never felt compelled to try it again.

As I remember it the "Notebook" moniker was introduced when portables weighing less than 3kg started to appear. By that time the 2½" HDD's were widely available, and almost exclusively used in these "Notebook" class computers.

So going by those definitions you could most definitely have a "Laptop" with a couple of 3½" drives. I seem to remember something about a monstrous high performance dual Opteron "laptop" with two 3½" drive bays and RAID-1 & 0 support. It had it's 15 seconds of fame about a year ago. However I've never seen it IRL, nor heard from anyone who has touched it. Not even a friend of a friend whose dog once sniffed in the footprint of some one who has seen it, so it might have been a mirage...

(sorry for going of topic)

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One thing that eludes me about WD. Why do they continue to avoid the SCSI market (as in why not make SCSI drives). And why hasn't any other company made other 10,000 SATA drives to directly compete with them???...

1. Because WD would be a very small player in the SCSI arena, facing Fujitsu & the Seagate/Maxtor goliath

2. Becasue doing so would infringe on their (very) lucrative SCSI business

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Ron_Jeremy, the 10,000 RPM Raptor doesn't fare well in mutiuser loads (i.e. the server market), being outperformed by every single one of its 10,000 RPM competitors, while mopping the floor with every single one of its 10,000 RPM competitors in single user loads (i.e. the desktop/workstation markets). How on earth does coming out with a 10,000 RPM SATA drive designed for single user loads infringe on their (very) lucrative SCSI business?

Edited by Shining Arcanine

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As I understand it, the only difference is the cover. TLER is disabled by default on both versions, and a utility is available (somewhere) to enable it. They both get tested for 24 hours before leaving the factory, and they both have exactly the same firmware, apart from the model number. No difference in optimisations.

Of course, as soon as Eugene receives a production Raptor X, he'll be able to independently confirm the lack of differences. If the performance is almost identical (within sample variance), then the drive is identical... or else any variations cancel each other out, and are thus irrelevant.

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As I understand it, the only difference is the cover. TLER is disabled by default on both versions, and a utility is available (somewhere) to enable it. They both get tested for 24 hours before leaving the factory, and they both have exactly the same firmware, apart from the model number. No difference in optimisations.

Of course, as soon as Eugene receives a production Raptor X, he'll be able to independently confirm the lack of differences. If the performance is almost identical (within sample variance), then the drive is identical... or else any variations cancel each other out, and are thus irrelevant.

I have an ongoing support/pre-sales call with WD regarding this drive and the WD4000YR and they are saying these is no such utility to disable/enable TLER. Very confused now!!

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My guess is it's either something they enable and disable by hardware, or by a different firmware, and because TLER is one of the things they use to 'create' enterprise disks, it is not something they'd want their customers be able to play around with. Can users flash firmware? Not sure, but I guess not. If it is possible though, we may discover in the future if that's where the difference is done.

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Guest Eugene
Any help would be much appreciated as I have some RE2 drives I would like to turn TLER off.

I have an inquiry in with WD on this... so far, they tell me that the TLER utility will also work with the RE2 series (in fact, as we've seen, the Raptor and the RE2 look very very similar electronically). Still waiting on availability/download information, I'll keep readers posted here.

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Good job !

But wait !

I'm the (not so) proud owner of 2 raptors 74Gb.

The first, dated 09/04, was a 00FLA0 firmware

The second, 12/04 was 00FLA1 firmware.

I've already found that the 00FLA0 firmware was completely buggy with TCQ enabled. Performance drops to 5400 rpm pio4 drive... Even HDTach shows only a flat 10Mb/sec data transfert rate...

the 00FLA1 is not exhibiting this type of problem.

I'm trying WDC to exchange both of these HDDs with 00FLC00 Firmware. But it's not very easy...

Anyone with a valid S/N for a 00FLC00 Raptor 74Gb to help me get the exchange?

TIA

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