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Old 04-25-2012, 04:17 PM   #1
radhak
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Default Hard Drive - which is more important : RPM / bus speed / cache?

I need an internal HDD for storage/media etc (I have an SSD for the OS) to replace my Seagate; I do need 1 TB, but not more. The biggest program I'd use it for is Adobe Photoshop CS4.

So looks like the main differentiating features are RPM (5400/5900/7200), bus speed (3GB/s or 6GB/s) and cache (16/32/64 mb).

How much of a difference do each of these make for a non-OS hard-drive?

Obviously cost is a factor, and I was hoping to stay closer to $100 than $150.

One Samsung costs $129, for 5400, 3gb/s, 32mb, while another costs $109 at 7200; this Seagate is $114, while this WD Blue at $99 seems great with good reviews at Amazon, but not so good on Newegg.

So again, which of these parameters is more important than the other?
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:46 PM   #2
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Biggest issue is seektime. After that its RPM.

Busspeed doesnt really matter at all, and cache is also almost just as irrelevant.

Best setup would be to use the SSD for OS+Games+Apps and a "green" HD for pure storage for movies etc.
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShintaiDK View Post
Biggest issue is seektime. After that its RPM.

Busspeed doesnt really matter at all, and cache is also almost just as irrelevant.

Best setup would be to use the SSD for OS+Games+Apps and a "green" HD for pure storage for movies etc.
As the seek time for all is 8.9ms, the others become differentiators.

IIRC, cache will matter when managing large files, like while editing in photoshop. As for bus speed, there must be a reason the 3GB/s is enhanced to 6gb/s for IDE drives too, right?
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:19 PM   #4
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Interface speed is irrelevant. No HDD can exceed 270-300MB/s, which is SATA 3Gbps.

If it is for media storage (mostly large files, mostly sequential reads and writes), then you are probably best with the highest density platters you can find.

Right now, I think that is the 1TB platter Seagates. They have sequential transfer rates of 100 - 200 MB/s (average 160MB/s), which is higher than any other 1+TB HDD spinning at 7200rpm or less.

There is a 1TB model, Seagate ST1000DM003

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...pk=ST1000DM003

Reliability seems iffy, though.

Last edited by jwilliams4200; 04-25-2012 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:51 PM   #5
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platter density is #1 in my book, it can easily marginalize the other 3 factors.

IE: a 7200rpm drive from 5-10yrs ago is nowhere near as fast as today's 5400 or 7200rpm drives
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:54 AM   #6
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Series/model and RPM, more or less. WDs come in two 7200 RPM flavors, FI, with Black being faster, more power hungry, and louder than Blue. Cache size doesn't really matter, these days, unless it's just really small (RAM is cheap, so most drives have enough cache).

IMO, with an SSD for the OS and such already, a Samsung F3/F4, WD Caviar Blue, and 'Cuda 7200.12 may as well be indistinguishable in performance terms from one another. I'm partial to the Samsung F3 HD103SJ, myself.

I would very much disagree with the green drive idea, though, unless slow sequential reads are all you do. Some are faster than others (like Seagate's), but they are all far slower than their 7200 RPM cousins. More than the simplest of large sequential transfers will tend to bog them right down.
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:46 AM   #7
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platter density
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Old 04-26-2012, 03:16 AM   #8
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None of them, really. If it's primary function is storage, space and GB/$ matter more than all 3 put together.
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Old 04-26-2012, 05:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radhak View Post
As for bus speed, there must be a reason the 3GB/s is enhanced to 6gb/s for IDE drives too, right?
Well, I dont think there is even 1 desktop HD that can actually max SATA1 speeds. But something you might forget is SATA3 brings other improvements too besides speed:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_..._6_Gbit.2Fs.29
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Old 04-26-2012, 05:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShintaiDK View Post
But something you might forget is SATA3 brings other improvements too besides speed:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_..._6_Gbit.2Fs.29
I don't see anything in that list that is relevant, other than the speed increase, which is also rendered irrelevant in a mechanical HD, because they simply cannot transfer data that fast.

Leaving "marketing" as the only reason mechanical HDs are rated for SATA 6G.

DVD drive are still SATA 1. Does that surprise you?
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Pedantic View Post
None of them, really. If it's primary function is storage, space and GB/$ matter more than all 3 put together.
Heh, bottom-line, you might be right, if you add reliability to that. But I still want to not end up with a dog of a drive, if it can be helped.

I hear platter density, but how do I find out which has how much? Not all drives (or any) display that.

And reliability seems to be toughest to nail; or assess. Some of these, like that WD Blue, have a very high review on amazon, but fares much worse on Newegg.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulkeeper View Post
platter density is #1 in my book, it can easily marginalize the other 3 factors.

IE: a 7200rpm drive from 5-10yrs ago is nowhere near as fast as today's 5400 or 7200rpm drives
Yep platter density is the most important factor for modern hard disks. Unfortunately the only way to find that information is by looking up each drive on review sites.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:19 AM   #13
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Oh, and one suggestion - don't do your editing on the mechanical hdd, Photoshop will run much faster if you keep your work-in-progress on the SSD and then transfer to the hdd for long-term storage. Then you can just focus on getting a nice reliable drive and not worry too much with performance.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radhak View Post
Heh, bottom-line, you might be right, if you add reliability to that. But I still want to not end up with a dog of a drive, if it can be helped.

I hear platter density, but how do I find out which has how much? Not all drives (or any) display that.

And reliability seems to be toughest to nail; or assess. Some of these, like that WD Blue, have a very high review on amazon, but fares much worse on Newegg.
Platter density doesn't really matter. If you want, you can use sustained sequential throughput as a proxy, but for a media storage and streaming device, since nothing needs to stream at 150MB/s, it's not really all that useful. Similarly, since there won't be very many random transfers, random read/write performance isn't very useful either.

Besides, most drives are close enough in actual performance that there really is very little discernible difference. Even with 5400rpm drives, some of them are very good, even compared to 7200rpm drives.

As with reliability, nobody can tell you that. Samsung's F4 drives used to be very good, but I don't think they're made anymore. Next up on my list would probably be the Hitachi Deskstar drives, then the WD ones. Seagate's last. They fixed the bricking issue, but the reliability still isn't that great, from what I hear.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denithor View Post
Oh, and one suggestion - don't do your editing on the mechanical hdd, Photoshop will run much faster if you keep your work-in-progress on the SSD and then transfer to the hdd for long-term storage. Then you can just focus on getting a nice reliable drive and not worry too much with performance.
Good point! After you posted, I searched and found this page from Adobe that says the same thing (using the SSD as the scratch disk). I guess I can rest easy with the performance aspect of HDDs and worry more about reliability now!
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:59 PM   #16
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I feel like this is a post for 1998 and I will answer it with three letters, SSD
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