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Last post Author Topic: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big  (Read 12281 times)

mouser

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From a recent experience I want to try to argue that when you build your next PC, you do not just go buy a giant Hard Drive for it.

Instead, buy TWO hard drives:
  • One pricey but fast for your C drive (operating system and program files) - The Western Digital 10,000 RPM, 150gb drives are about $180.
  • One cheap but big for your Data and for Backup and Scratch use - Lots of 500gb-750gb, 7200rpm drives to be had for $200 and under.

The reason for this approach is several-fold:
  • The super fast C drive really does make a difference.  I think it's probably one of the most cost-effective ways to speed up your computer in terms of real world use.
  • Having two drives lets you backup from C to D and from D to C, so that your task of performing regular backups is really easy and fast and you can protect yourself in the case that one drive fails.

cranioscopical

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2007, 06:00:55 PM »
I'd prefer two fast; one for the system, one for the program files.
Then something large for data etc.

f0dder

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2007, 06:53:43 PM »
Be sure to get two large drives and set them up in a RAID mirror... the larger your drives, the more data you lose when it goes down. You'll also want a 80mm or 120mm intake fan located right in front of your drives, and obviously you'll want to do backups as well, because RAID isn't a replacement for backup.

The Raptor drives are pricey, but I sure do like my 73gig model (if I get the (relatively small sum of) money that I'm expecting, I'm buying one more next week). You might argue that other not as spendy drives have reached (and perhaps even beaten, if ever so slightly) Raptors in raw transfer rate, but not seek time... and that does matter.

When I finally get money for a new box, I'll run two raptor drives and use Intel's RAID MATRIX to have both RAID-MIRROR and RAID-STRIPE, without needing four drives...

PS: backing up to another drive in the same computer is not good enough, even if it's two physical drives. You'll want to backup to a fileserver, external usb/firewire/esata disk, etc. And if you really want to be safe, to a remote location as well.

</rant>
- carpe noctem

cranioscopical

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2007, 09:24:47 PM »
bs.jpg

vegas

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2007, 10:45:18 PM »
From a recent experience I want to try to argue that when you build your next PC, you do not just go buy a giant Hard Drive for it.

Instead, buy TWO hard drives:
  • One pricey but fast for your C drive (operating system and program files) - The Western Digital 10,000 RPM, 150gb drives are about $180.
  • One cheap but big for your Data and for Backup and Scratch use - Lots of 500gb-750gb, 7200rpm drives to be had for $200 and under.

The reason for this approach is several-fold:
  • The super fast C drive really does make a difference.  I think it's probably one of the most cost-effective ways to speed up your computer in terms of real world use.
  • Having two drives lets you backup from C to D and from D to C, so that your task of performing regular backups is really easy and fast and you can protect yourself in the case that one drive fails.

I couldn't agree more.  I built my last main system using a 76gig 10,000 RPM WD Raptor, no regrets. Only way to go, barring a steep investment in SCSI.  I am about to build again and I am going to remove my second hard drive (200gb Seagate) which I've used for overflow storage (as it just creates more heat inside the computer) and move it externally.  I too, plan on buying the 150gb Raptor this time, and may sacrifice internal case heat and get a second WD Raptor to run in the RAID that uses only 2 drives, but includes parity for some performance increase (can't remember which that is).

I believe myself and others have saved much drive life keeping documents that arent accessed more than a couple times a week on an external drive.  Best way is to buy the drive & enclosure separately.  I recommend Seagate because of their 5-year warranty, also because they aren't any worse than anyone else out there.  All manufacturers have some failures at some point.  I also recommend staying away from 750gb+ drives as their failure rate is much higher than 120-500gb drives, to date.   Build your own external drive even though the retail enclosed drives sell so cheaply now, for one reason because the drive inside only comes with a 1-year warranty.  AMS Venus DS3 Series of drive enclosures, as seen here (http://www.newegg.co...Item=N82E16817332012) or here (http://www.newegg.co...Item=N82E16817145656) have been extremely reliable.   I have built over 20 computers in the last 3 years, and have put together more than 35 externals for people, including myself to store music, video collections, ebooks, scanned documents and various other files.   For anyone that says the warranty means nothing because the drive is worthless if it crashes and loses data, so I'll just buy the cheaper drive:  9 out of 10 failed disks can be recovered with software and are not a crippling mechanical failure,  plus 5 years is a long time to be covered for.

Oh yeah and don't forget your <a href="http://www.newegg.co...Item=N82E16819115017">Quad Core Processor</a> baby! The only way to go for multi-tasking whores like everyone here. ;)

edit: grammar
« Last Edit: December 05, 2007, 03:00:02 AM by vegas »

f0dder

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2007, 02:21:29 AM »
RAID with Parity would be RAID-5, and I wouldn't touch it... still only guards you against a single failing drive, and rebuilds when a drive dies are expensive (and might generate enough stress that an additional drive dies, *poof*).

RAID-MIRROR might seem wasteful in that you "lose" one full drive's capacity, don't get enhanced write speed etc., but it's really the only way to go. People do tend to weep when their 1.5TB RAID-5 arrays die completely.

And btw... mouser: damn you Amerikans for having such cheap electronics prices! A 74gig raptor drive will set me back ~$195, and the 150gig edition ~$270. Those drives are spendy.
- carpe noctem

vegas

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2007, 02:58:08 AM »
RAID with Parity would be RAID-5, and I wouldn't touch it... still only guards you against a single failing drive, and rebuilds when a drive dies are expensive (and might generate enough stress that an additional drive dies, *poof*).

RAID-MIRROR might seem wasteful in that you "lose" one full drive's capacity, don't get enhanced write speed etc., but it's really the only way to go. People do tend to weep when their 1.5TB RAID-5 arrays die completely.

And btw... mouser: damn you Amerikans for having such cheap electronics prices! A 74gig raptor drive will set me back ~$195, and the 150gig edition ~$270. Those drives are spendy.


Thanks for the tip fodder.  In all the builds I've done in the past, I've never messed with RAID, but someone was telling me about (musta been RAID 5) why I should.  So if I schedule backup daily of all important files & folders, there really no sense in even running RAID-MIRROR?  I also read (I believe on wikipedia) that you have an equal chance of both drives failing as you do just 1, when you are using RAID 5.  Sounded strange, but I suppose I shall stay away.

tomos

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2007, 05:14:19 AM »
So if I schedule backup daily of all important files & folders, there really no sense in even running RAID-MIRROR?

am i correct in thinking the advantage of raid-mirror is that if your main drive goes you can work away with the other (do you have to physically swap the drives/connectors?)

Re drives:
having gone with 2 x 320GB drives
I wouldnt mind having three, :) a relatively small one for OS+programmes and two more
-
dont really understand the atttraction of fast drives if they need more fans/get very hot but then I've never used one.
(I mean I'd prefer quieter machine to shaving seconds...)
am considering something like a hotswap bay in the future (I only have the option to add one more drive i think..)
Tom

f0dder

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2007, 08:17:11 AM »
The advantage of the "safe" RAID levels (ie., not JBOD and STRIPE, but MIRROR and the various PARITY types) is that you can indeed keep on working, you don't lose data, and you can plug in a healthy drive and repair the array (very nice feature if your hardware is hotplug-able).

Problem with RAID-5 rebuilding is that it's more intensive than the simple copy done with RAID-MIRROR. Also, because RAID-5 can still only tolerate one failing disk, the more disks you add to the array, the higher risk of failure you have.

If you buy two identical harddrives from the same batch, statistically the drives will fail within a relatively short timeframe (couple of months or something like that) - and in case you don't have a proper intake fan to cool the drives, you run a much higher risk of more than one drive saying bye-bye.

So if I schedule backup daily of all important files & folders, there really no sense in even running RAID-MIRROR? 
Yes, because drives always fail one hour before you do your backup :)



dont really understand the atttraction of fast drives if they need more fans/get very hot but then I've never used one.
My raptor don't seem to get much hotter than other drives I've used, even though it's 10,000rpm. But I'll never again build a system that doesn't have a 80mm or 120mm intake fan in front of harddrives, it's plain folly. Just buy a quality fan and you won't notice it's there. The advantage of 80mm and 120mm fans are that they're pretty quiet, and the noise they make is "deep", compared to the "whiny" (and highly annoying!) fans on graphics cards, for instance.

(I mean I'd prefer quieter machine to shaving seconds...)
am considering something like a hotswap bay in the future (I only have the option to add one more drive i think..)
Be careful which one you get - you'll want one that keeps the drive cool. The fans in the (non-enterprise class :)) hotswap bays I've seen have been very tiny and high-pitched and annoying.
- carpe noctem

Ralf Maximus

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2007, 08:36:14 AM »
Be careful which one you get - you'll want one that keeps the drive cool. The fans in the (non-enterprise class :)) hotswap bays I've seen have been very tiny and high-pitched and annoying.

Instead of an internal bay, you might consider one of the many external 2-drive enclosures.  I think I paid $199 USD for mine, and its fans are utterly silent.  SATA cables slip right into the PC and plug in as if the drives are mounted internally.

Takes a load off the main power supply too: some of those 10K RPM drives suck up a lot of power.  If you've got a kick-ass video card, you may already be pushing the limits of your power supply.  That's what happened to me.  I experienced random BSOD crashes until I moved the Raptors outside the main case.  Ever since: rock solid.

Plus, when the time comes that you upgrade your main PC, moving the external array is simple.  Literally plug it into the new computer and let Windows see them.  All done!

Lashiec

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2007, 11:37:12 AM »
A tip for cheapskates like me: buy two HDDs, a small one for the SOs and the software and a big one (320 GB go out really cheap these days) for the rest of data. A Raptor might shave you a few seconds (with each passing generation of 7.200 rpms disks, the gap is narrowing), but you save more than 100 bucks in the process. Hmmm, I see f0dder mentioned it :)

Don't worry about the fans, even the most cheapo case in the market brings along a fan or two with it.

About the power consumption problems Ralf mentions: I suspect something or some other component was troubling your PSU, 10k discs don't suck so much power as you may expect, mostly because they have left things to move than, say, a 1 TB drive, which sucks down some watts more. Of course, another story is when we talk about spinning up the drives when the computer starts...

Ralf Maximus

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2007, 12:02:33 PM »
Of course, another story is when we talk about spinning up the drives when the computer starts...

I suspect that's what was going on, because if the machine made it past the first couple of seconds things were fine.  Most BSOD's occured before Windows started booting.

Note that the only components I removed/changed were the drives; even the RAID controller remained plugged in.  When the BSODs stopped, I assumed it was the additional power drain from a pair of 10K drives spinning up. 

Angular momentum can be a bitch...

f0dder

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2007, 05:17:29 PM »
Don't worry about the fans, even the most cheapo case in the market brings along a fan or two with it.
Well, then you do have the fan... but be sure that it's an intake fan, and placed in front of the drive(s), so they're efficiently cooled.

Of course, another story is when we talk about spinning up the drives when the computer starts...

Staggered spinup <3
- carpe noctem

vegas

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2007, 09:59:50 PM »
A tip for cheapskates like me: buy two HDDs, a small one for the SOs and the software and a big one (320 GB go out really cheap these days) for the rest of data. A Raptor might shave you a few seconds (with each passing generation of 7.200 rpms disks, the gap is narrowing), but you save more than 100 bucks in the process. Hmmm, I see f0dder mentioned it :)

Don't worry about the fans, even the most cheapo case in the market brings along a fan or two with it.

About the power consumption problems Ralf mentions: I suspect something or some other component was troubling your PSU, 10k discs don't suck so much power as you may expect, mostly because they have left things to move than, say, a 1 TB drive, which sucks down some watts more. Of course, another story is when we talk about spinning up the drives when the computer starts...

Having a 120mm fan in the front (80mm if you have to) AND back (120mm for sure) pushing the air through the case from front to back is actually a pretty big deal, makes a Huge difference. Don't underestimate a decent fan in those two spots with any system you build/use.  Even from bottom to top if you can find a case that at least has venting at the top.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2007, 10:03:07 PM by vegas »

nosh

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2007, 10:37:47 PM »
I'm using two large 7200 rpm drives but I avoid installing to c:\program files. Programs are instead installed to D: which lies on HDD #2. Data is obviously mirrored across both drives. It's a nice compromise but I'm pretty certain a primary partition that worked @ 10000 rpm would make a substantial difference.

Edit: One of the advantages of having your programs on another drive is that stuff like defrag can be run concurrently on the system and the programs partitions, really cutting down on overall time.  :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: December 05, 2007, 10:43:22 PM by nosh »

Armando

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2007, 11:00:25 PM »
What about C:\ on a Flash hard drive, and all the other things on one of these 1Tb 7200rpm...  ;)

f0dder

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2007, 03:46:41 AM »
Edit: One of the advantages of having your programs on another drive is that stuff like defrag can be run concurrently on the system and the programs partitions, really cutting down on overall time.  :Thmbsup:
As long as it's another physical drive and not just a partition, yeah :)

What about C:\ on a Flash hard drive, and all the other things on one of these 1Tb 7200rpm...  ;)
The first-generation flash drives are relatively slow :/, and the hybrid harddrives are very 'meh'.

Throughput of flash drives are a bit slower than traditional harddrives, but with the current new generation, it's "decent enough". It's obviously seek time that rocks++. But there's some write latency. I'm waiting for the new flash memory type (from IBM + friends, iirc) to be developed, supposed to be faster :)

Currently the neatest thing would be a DDR-RAM based solution with backup to flash, but... that's expensive.
- carpe noctem

Armando

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2007, 06:09:52 PM »
Yeah... I saw the figures.  :)
but the future looks bright (storagewise)... Can't wait to have 2 SSD in... *one laptop*...

Dirhael

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2007, 09:56:16 PM »
A tip for cheapskates like me: buy two HDDs, a small one for the SOs and the software and a big one (320 GB go out really cheap these days) for the rest of data. A Raptor might shave you a few seconds (with each passing generation of 7.200 rpms disks, the gap is narrowing), but you save more than 100 bucks in the process. Hmmm, I see f0dder mentioned it :)

Don't worry about the fans, even the most cheapo case in the market brings along a fan or two with it.

About the power consumption problems Ralf mentions: I suspect something or some other component was troubling your PSU, 10k discs don't suck so much power as you may expect, mostly because they have left things to move than, say, a 1 TB drive, which sucks down some watts more. Of course, another story is when we talk about spinning up the drives when the computer starts...

Having a 120mm fan in the front (80mm if you have to) AND back (120mm for sure) pushing the air through the case from front to back is actually a pretty big deal, makes a Huge difference. Don't underestimate a decent fan in those two spots with any system you build/use.  Even from bottom to top if you can find a case that at least has venting at the top.

I actually went with 2x250mm case fans in my system...and a HQ 120mm for the CPU, and the same size for the PSU. No need for another fan dedicated to my HDD's then ;)
Registered nurse by day, hobby programmer by night.

f0dder

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2007, 05:26:49 AM »
I actually went with 2x250mm case fans in my system...and a HQ 120mm for the CPU, and the same size for the PSU. No need for another fan dedicated to my HDD's then ;)
Just make sure the intake fan is located in front of the harddrives.
- carpe noctem

Dirhael

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2007, 05:49:37 AM »
I actually went with 2x250mm case fans in my system...and a HQ 120mm for the CPU, and the same size for the PSU. No need for another fan dedicated to my HDD's then ;)
Just make sure the intake fan is located in front of the harddrives.


Oh it is, it actually covers about 1/3rd of the front of my case, where the disks are located. My HDD's internal sensors usually shows a temp of around 32-33°C, and never above 40°C for the hottest one of them.
Registered nurse by day, hobby programmer by night.

f0dder

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2007, 05:59:11 AM »
Good :)

Intake fan meant 10-15°C drop in temperature when I measured it the first time. Btw, how do you make the '°' sign? I just copy-pasted it from you :-[
- carpe noctem

tomos

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2007, 06:28:50 AM »
Btw, how do you make the '°' sign?

On the german keyboard it's top-left key,  shift+^

^°^°^
Tom

Dirhael

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2007, 07:25:08 AM »
Good :)

Intake fan meant 10-15°C drop in temperature when I measured it the first time. Btw, how do you make the '°' sign? I just copy-pasted it from you :-[

Yeah, it can have a lot to say. It was how I rescued one one of those global-warming-causing IBM disks in one of my older computers, as it just couldn't take the heat. I also suspect that heat is what have caused countless HDD failures in my laptops over the years...just to bad that I can't just replace the entire cooling system in them.

As for the degree sign, just hold down [ALT] and type [0176] on the numpad :)

Don't know if you already know this, but a useful way to get hold of such key combinations is to just open charmap.exe. Locate the sign you want, and look at the status bar. For a few of them it will actually say what key combo to use, but for most of them it doesn't. If so, open calc.exe and set it to scientific view, click hex, type in the unicode reference listed in the status bar of Character Map(U+00B0 for the degree sign) without the "U+" part, then just click Dec to get the number you need to press on your numpad. Don't forget any leading zeroes though, as [ALT]+[176] is not the same as [ALT]+[0176] :)

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f0dder

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Re: If you build a new PC, make sure you get 2 HDs: One fast and one big
« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2007, 07:46:07 AM »
Yeah, knew about alt+numpad and charmap, just thought there might be a handier way - thanks nonetheless :)

And more about how important it is to keep your harddrives fanned: I've had a an IBM deskdeathstar survive 4+ years when everybody else's were dropping dead. And when I chose a wrong computer case for a fileserver, causing ambient heat of ~40°C, it took only a few months before a Western-Digital drive dropped dead...

Oh, I got that small amount of money btw, and ordered an additional 73gig raptor... but http://post.dk messed up, and it went on a detour to Copenhagen, so it didn't arrive at Taulov before today, which means it won't hit Aarhus until tonight or tomorrow - meaning I don't get it before monday :'(
- carpe noctem