Noel

SCSI vs SATA?

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Hi,

I have had 3 Seagate 15K.3 drives for over 4 years now in a desktop environment. I chose these drives because I wanted the fastest seek time and also reliable drives. They were the 5y warrantied versions. When I run S.M.A.R.T. on them they all show 100% performance & fitness. I have no idea when they will fail of course, but I am struck by the fact they test well. I have installed new IDE and a few SATA and run SMART and have found brand new ones with deficits, some quite signficant. In any case, I may be off base on this in terms of reliability and durability, but somehow it makes me thing I have invested in more reliable/durable drives in going this route.

I"d like to pick up a 4th drive, mainly to back up the other 3 and have extra room for more data or programs. The question I have here is: should I stick with SCSI (I see even the 5y warrantied ones have come down alot in price from when I made my first purchase of these) or go with SATA. Are there 5y warrantied SATA? 15K spin rates yet? How many SATAs can I put on my ASUS board . . . ie, do they daisy chain like SCSIs?

Thanks for your insights,

Noel

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Stick with SCSI since you already have the controller. No 15k sata yet, but you have the WD raptor which is 10k. No daisy chain for sata. What is ur board?

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That and the scsi stuff is typicaly made for 24/7 full throttle use, made of better materials and to closer tolerances than typical p/s-ata. Too, scsi is a real bus. P/s-ata is a subset of scsi, from the beginning, iirc. I would use scsi over p/s-ata any time I can.

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Stick with SCSI since you already have the controller. No 15k sata yet, but you have the WD raptor which is 10k. No daisy chain for sata. What is ur board?

The controller is a low end LSI53C1010 PCI to Dual-Channel Ultra160 SCSI Controller, and the mainboard is an ASUS P4G8X Deluxe with a SATA controller built in. I don't suppose I would get anything meaningful out of a better controller for desktop use would I? I mainly am using these fast spin drives for GigaStudio which can benefit from fast seek times. I am not usually moving huge amounts of data except when copying or moving large files etc.

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That and the scsi stuff is typicaly made for 24/7 full throttle use, made of better materials and to closer tolerances than typical p/s-ata. Too, scsi is a real bus. P/s-ata is a subset of scsi, from the beginning, iirc. I would use scsi over p/s-ata any time I can.

Thank you for your insights. You know I don't leave my PC on 24/7, mainly to conserve energy. And I understand HDD's may last longer if you just leave them on 24/7.

Another hope I have is to chose the system that is least likey to tax CPU cycles during file read activity as I also enjoy MS Flight Sim, which is super CPU hungry and so can be negatively impacted by any peripheral that is borrowing CPU cycles. What do you know this regard, for SCSI vs SATA? I am also thinking about my next system and whether or not I should stick with SCSI in an entirely new PC, but used for the same stuff.

Do SATA systems boot up faster? I notice SCSI slows down boot time a bunch on my old Win2K Pro machine.

Edited by Noel

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A SATA drive will not load CPU much, probably on par with SCSI. If you get a C2Duo based system (or Quad core even better), than CPU usage by HDDs becomes a non issue.

If you need added insurance about SATA reliability get drives marketed as “Near-line storage†like the WD RE2 WD5000YS. You might want to read this article on the topic http://www.storagereview.com/500.sr

Prices of SATA drives in the 500GB range are so low that you might also want to consider running two of them in a RAID1 mirror for the added safety.

For a comparison of SATA to SCSI, read the article on the WD Raptor. http://www.storagereview.com/WD1500ADFD.sr

The article is getting dated but will hopefully clarify some SATA vs. SCSI questions you might have.

Finally, SCSI initialization and such adds seconds to the boot process, so a fast SATA drive will likely boot faster…

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Performance wise, high end SATA (such as the Raptor & terabyte drives) are often better than SCSI for single user tasks. And SCSI controllers often do slow down boot time while they scan for devices.

In terms of build quality, there are some SATA drives that are designed for enterprise use, though that's no guarantee that they're built with the same quality of parts as the more expensive SCSI/SAS drives. These enterprise drives often do have longer warranties, but you'll still want an external drive for backup purposes, ideally.

If you want to minimise seek time, but aren't so worried about transfer rates, then if your storage requirements are modest, you could benefit from an SSD. These are very expensive on a price per GB basis, but access times are of the order of 0.1 ms, compared to over 5 ms for even the best mechanical drives. STR is a little behind in most cases, but it's improving - the new Mtron unit is comparable in speed to a Raptor, but at $1500 for 32 GB and $570 or so for 16 GB, it's likely to stretch even a SCSI enthusiast's budget! Given a couple of years, they'll become the enthusiast's choice, but for now, they're either tiny or hugely expensive, and usually both.

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Wow, great information.

One last piece: what kind of durability can I expect (sounds like the wrong word in this case!) from these enterprise SCSIs I have right now? Could they go another 3 or 4 years? Again, SMART gives them 100% now, at about 4 years and 5 months daily use. I plan on sending the guts from this machine to my beloved spouse, but was going to keep the drives as again they seem to be fine. I imagine all of a sudden one will fail, but who knows when that comes. I do keep them at a steady ~24 degrees C or so all the time...

Spod thanks for that info but the 15K drives are actually plenty fast for seek times for this application--ie, it wont' improve Giga but going with the SSD technology.

I feel like I'm kinda stuck with these SCSIs despite the fact a 10K SATA would probably be fine for Giga in a new faster machine. Decisions decisions!

Thanks again for the info.

N

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I would not be surprised your SCSI drives survive long after obsolescence - mine did. Still, I've also had IDE drives survive for a pretty long time (though others that had to be RMA'd within the first year).

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