Re-visiting HDDs.

Page 2 - Seeking answers? Join the AnandTech community: where nearly half-a-million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
221
106
Interested to see how web browsing is affected performance-wise by using a RAMdisk for the temp/cache directory.
I think for someone with a lot of RAM (in relative sense) who multi-tasks (ie, browsing with not so many tabs open while doing something else that writes to disk)....it could hypothetically help.

But for someone (with limited RAM) that likes to have a lot tabs open (and doesn't multi-task) having system RAM allocated to RAMDIsk might cause them to page out more frequently....so overall, probably not a good idea..

EDIT: Back in post #20 I have a link to free RAMDisks one of which is ImDisk which has an option to dynamically allocate RAM.



I wonder if that could work for someone in between the two use case scenarios I described in this post?
 
Last edited:

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
53,282
7,703
126
Hmm, is there a cutoff point of CPU / RAM, that one would willfully choose between an SSD and a HDD?

I've basically been "SSD everywhere". But the experiment with the G3258 @ 4.2 with the 160GB WD Blue, made me re-think my position, in terms of price/performance.

I'm currently booted into one of my FM1 A4-3420 2.8Ghz APU rigs, with 2x2GB DDR3. And Windows Update is running. And the system is kind of slowly doing it's thing, although, my web browser is still pretty snappy, and MalwareBytes even did a scan while I'm waiting. So I guess all of that multi-tasking, even when the disk is under heavy load, is due to the SSD keeping things more smooth. If I were to use an HDD, the OS might become more unusable with a HDD. I should probably test that, though.

Edit: The point was at what price-point? The 120GB refurb Corsair MLC SATA SSD in this box, was like $40, but non-refurbs now go for nearly $80. It's the most expensive part in this box. The CPU / mobo / heatsink was under $50, the RAM was like $34, or maybe half that, I just threw in a DVD drive because the slot was left open on the case. (ebay special system-builder case, case looks great, but was missing a front 5.25" panel.)
 
Last edited:

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
221
106
Hmm, is there a cutoff point of CPU / RAM, that one would willfully choose between an SSD and a HDD?
For me it would depend on the set of tasks and the hardware at various levels. How much RAM vs. how fast is the hard drive? With 16GB of RAM, I think any modern HDD (ie, 1TB platter with 32MB or 64MB buffer) could do fairly well (Windows 10 does aggressively cache into RAM if enough is there).

But then if the person doesn't need much capacity a 120GB SSD is no brainer in the same situation. Why not take the extra speed if the person has only 60GB data for example?
 
Last edited:

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
221
106
I've basically been "SSD everywhere". But the experiment with the G3258 @ 4.2 with the 160GB WD Blue, made me re-think my position, in terms of price/performance.

I'm currently booted into one of my FM1 A4-3420 2.8Ghz APU rigs, with 2x2GB DDR3. And Windows Update is running. And the system is kind of slowly doing it's thing, although, my web browser is still pretty snappy, and MalwareBytes even did a scan while I'm waiting. So I guess all of that multi-tasking, even when the disk is under heavy load, is due to the SSD keeping things more smooth. If I were to use an HDD, the OS might become more unusable with a HDD. I should probably test that, though.

Edit: The point was at what price-point? The 120GB refurb Corsair MLC SATA SSD in this box, was like $40, but non-refurbs now go for nearly $80. It's the most expensive part in this box. The CPU / mobo / heatsink was under $50, the RAM was like $34, or maybe half that, I just threw in a DVD drive because the slot was left open on the case. (ebay special system-builder case, case looks great, but was missing a front 5.25" panel.)
OK, so fast CPU with slow low capacity storage vs. slow CPU but fast low capacity storage.

Depends on the task (assuming they both have 2 x 2GB RAM).

P.S. I don't think the G3258 iGPU is very far behind the A4-3420 iGPU which has 160 VLIW4 stream processors and can take DDR3 1600 (better than the DDR3 1333 of the G3258 on a non-Z board).
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
53,282
7,703
126
Another possible reason for using a HDD - this ECS A55M FM1 motherboard, allows limited bus-clock overclocking capability. With a SATA6G SSD in AHCI mode, the highest you can go is around 106. With a HDD in IDE mode, you might be able to push it as high as 122. Which, given the 2.8Ghz APU, is a fairly decent OC (3.15Ghz).

Will try that.


Edit: I was a little off. I was able to get up to 116 bus clock, which translates to 3.265Ghz with a 28x multi. Still, I was having occasional graphics crashes. I set the iGPU to 500, and the RAM to 533Mhz, 2T-9-9-9-28. CnQ and CPB and C6 off.

Edit: Had to settle for 115 bus clock, or 3.235Ghz.
 
Last edited:

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
221
106
One good thing about today's tech is that is getting cheaper.....so the opportunity for creativity is greater now than it has ever been before.

For example, the iPhone SE ($129.99 on prepaid) can record 4K30 video and has a pretty good camera.

This plus the higher price of SSDs I think is good reason to consider hard drive for more budget systems. (Not all of them....just more of them)
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
221
106
WD 4TB Red 3.5" 7200 rpm HDD vs. 16GB Optane + WD 4TB Red 3.5" 7200 rpm HDD (booting and opening apps timed with a stop watch):


Hard drive:

Boot 1 minute 5 seconds
Office 10 seconds
Blizzard Battle.net 16 seconds
Overwatch 29 seconds

16GB Optane + Hard drive:

Boot 39 seconds
Office 2 to 3 seconds
Blizzard Battle.net 6 to7 seconds
Overwatch 17 to 18 seconds

Here is one with NVMe SSD and SATA SSD vs, WD Red Pro 4TB 3.5" HDD:


Samsung 960 EVO PCIe 3.0 x 4 NVMe M.2 SSD

Boot 6 seconds
Call of Duty Infinite Warefare 11 seconds
Civilization VI 43 seconds
Premiere Pro CC 6 seconds
Z-zip 61 seconds

Crucial MX300 SATA 2.5" SSD

Boot 9 seconds
Call of Duty Infinite Warefare 25 seconds
Civilization VI 53 seconds
Premiere Pro CC 11 seconds
Z-zip 251 seconds

WD Red Pro 4TB 3.5" 7200 rpm HDD

Boot 36 seconds
Call of Duty Infinite Warefare 53 seconds
Civilization VI 66 seconds
Premiere Pro CC 63 seconds
Z-zip 585 seconds
 
Last edited:

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
221
106
For someone wanting to run 2 or more hard drives in RAID-0 (for OS), but is concerned about DATA loss how about Intel Matrix RAID*?

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000005789/technologies.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Matrix_RAID



So what you have is one partiton of the array as RAID-0, then another partition for data you are concerned about as RAID-1 (or whatever). This way if one of the hard drive fails you only lose what was in the RAID-0 partition.

*This, of course, requires a chipset that supports RAID
 
Last edited:
Feb 25, 2011
16,579
1,339
126
For someone wanting to run 2 or more hard drives in RAID-0 (for OS), but is concerned about DATA loss how about Intel Matrix RAID*?

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000005789/technologies.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Matrix_RAID



So what you have is one partiton of the array as RAID-0, then another partition for data you are concerned about as RAID-1 (or whatever). This way if one of the hard drive fails you only lose what was in the RAID-0 partition.

*This, of course, requires a chipset that supports RAID
You can do the same thing with Windows softraid, and not be tied to a motherboard/chipset.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cbn

tanghao

Junior Member
Oct 16, 2017
1
0
1
www.frontline.com.sg
16 GB of DDR4 is ~$80 vs 16 GB of Optane for just over $40. Plus, the RAM needs to be replaced with most motherboard upgrades, while one Optane can just be moved from computer to computer over generations.

RAM drives are great and terrible. I used to use them a lot when it would take eons to save files. It would save tons of frustration. I would save frequently to a RAM drive and save every few hours to the real drive. That frustration of slow drives is gone, that is, until power is lost unexpectedly.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
1,566
96
I don't know if I would even bother with HDDs in building a new system unless it's a very limited budget build. I have two 1TB SSDs and I can really feel a very noticeable difference in performance between my system and those with HDDs. Or at least have an SSD for a OS/application drive, with a HDD for files.
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
4,585
1,166
136
16 GB of DDR4 is ~$80 vs 16 GB of Optane for just over $40. Plus, the RAM needs to be replaced with most motherboard upgrades, while one Optane can just be moved from computer to computer over generations.
If the new machine happens to meet Intel's arbitrary requirements.

Remember Intel Smart Response Technology? Same strategy, just with early SSDs. But it just fizzled out, because nobody outside a few niches had any use for it. I doubt Optane will be much different.
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
221
106
Here is another option for HDDs, Microsoft ReadyBoost (uses USB flash drive for cache):

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/is-readyboost-still-an-effective-tool-in-windows-10/

Once ReadyBoost is enabled, it keeps tabs on hard disk operations and will only go into action reading and delivering files from its copy of the cache when doing so will boost performance. For example, during sequential read operations, ReadyBoost will allow SuperFetch to use the cache on the hard disk, since the hard disk can outperform flash-based drives for these types of read operations. During nonsequential read operations, ReadyBoost will essentially redirect SuperFetch to use the cache on the flash-based drive.
To ensure the safety, integrity, and efficiency of the ReadyBoost system, Microsoft added several safeguards. To begin with, the data on device is automatically encrypted using the Advanced Encryption Standard—AES 128. So if you lose the device, you won't have to worry about someone getting access to data. While the operating system will actually work from the cache on the device, all the data in the cache is mirrored on the hard disk. Therefore, if you inadvertently remove the device while it's in use by ReadyBoost, the operating system will immediately fall back to the cache on the hard disk and pick up where it left off.
P.S. USB Flash drives can be pretty small these days, so this could even work on a laptop:



 
Last edited:

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,250
1,169
126
Here is another option for HDDs, Microsoft ReadyBoost (uses USB flash drive for cache):

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/is-readyboost-still-an-effective-tool-in-windows-10/





P.S. USB Flash drives can be pretty small these days, so this could even work on a laptop:



I remember this. There were "mini-projects" appearing in places like Maximum PC mag for rigging a USB flash to short wires and plug so that it fit internally on the motherboard.

But it seemed to me that the improvements in performance or some aspects of it really weren't worth doing it.

My system was probably at an optimum factoring in expenditure when I had the Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD cached to an NVME caching volume on the same M.2 NVME with another partition for the OS. I was also using two-tiered caching, so the Barracuda was also cached to RAM. However, although this worked fine by itself, it would cause difficulties with Macrium backup. The trouble went away by limiting the HDD's cache to the NVME volume.

I eventually added a 250GB 960 EVO for exclusive use as cache, and I replaced the Seagate with a Crucial MX300 2TB SATA SSD. I cached the Crucial to the EVO.

I would have done just as well to continue with the Seagate cached to the same 960 EVO. Bang for buck just doesn't justify what I spent on the MX300. The Seagate was super-fast cached to an NVME volume.

But . . . . talk about FAST!! . . . . The main NVME boot disk is cached to 16GB of RAM, and the MX300 cached to the 960EVO. The EVO can cache other drives in the mix as well. But there is only a media drive and the backup drive for Macrium. It wouldn't make sense to add them to the list being cached by the 960 EVO.
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
221
106
Here are some instructions (web page and video) on how to use the AMD Radeon RAMDisk with browser caches:

http://www.radeonramdisk.com/files/QuickUseGuide_MovingBrowserCache_V1.pdf


Some info on the AMD Radeon RAMdisk taken from the article linked in post #20.
Yesterday I set up this RAM Disk and followed the videos instruction. I am already at the maxium 1GB capacity Firefox 57 Developer edition allows for cache. Do any other browsers allow for a greater amount of cache?

P.S. I am using this with a PNY CS2211 SSD (Phison S10 and 15nm MLC) so my browsing was pretty fast already. Eventually I will try this out with a hard drive (I have 2TB 2.5" Firecuda on the way but I will also use with an older 3.5" hard drive as well).
I've been using the 2TB 2.5" Firecuda with my HP Z420 workstation for over 2 weeks now (without using the RAM Disk for browser cache) and so far so good. In fact, I feel like this set-up hasn't slowed my browsing down on bit. Granted, I do have 64GB of RAM though.
 

dlerious

Golden Member
Mar 4, 2004
1,145
321
136
I don't know if I would even bother with HDDs in building a new system unless it's a very limited budget build. I have two 1TB SSDs and I can really feel a very noticeable difference in performance between my system and those with HDDs. Or at least have an SSD for a OS/application drive, with a HDD for files.
It cost me $525 for a 2TB SSD, I bought 4 HGST 4TB drives for $400. I'd love to run an all SSD NAS, but the cost is too much when you're looking at 8TB or more (I have 10 4TB drives for less than 4TB of SSD (I have 8TB in SSD).
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
1,566
96
It cost me $525 for a 2TB SSD, I bought 4 HGST 4TB drives for $400. I'd love to run an all SSD NAS, but the cost is too much when you're looking at 8TB or more (I have 10 4TB drives for less than 4TB of SSD (I have 8TB in SSD).
Well a NAS I can see having HDDs instead of SSDs, but I was referring to a personal system not a NAS.
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
221
106
Yesterday I set up this RAM Disk and followed the videos instruction. I am already at the maxium 1GB capacity Firefox 57 Developer edition allows for cache. Do any other browsers allow for a greater amount of cache?

P.S. I am using this with a PNY CS2211 SSD (Phison S10 and 15nm MLC) so my browsing was pretty fast already. Eventually I will try this out with a hard drive (I have 2TB 2.5" Firecuda on the way but I will also use with an older 3.5" hard drive as well).
So I ended using the 2TB 2.5" Firecuda for 50 days as primary storage on my daily driver (tested with both 64GB of RAM and "16GB of RAM" (via 48GB RAM of my 64GB allocated to RAMDisk). At both levels of memory it worked well. Next step will be to put the browser cache in RAMDisk.
 
Last edited:

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,253
51
91
Edit: The point was at what price-point? The 120GB refurb Corsair MLC SATA SSD in this box, was like $40, but non-refurbs now go for nearly $80. It's the most expensive part in this box. The CPU / mobo / heatsink was under $50, the RAM was like $34, or maybe half that, I just threw in a DVD drive because the slot was left open on the case. (ebay special system-builder case, case looks great, but was missing a front 5.25" panel.)
Personally, I think the more limited the hardware, the more need for something like an SSD, even if it's the most expensive part in the box.

Both my HTPC (in sig) and a PC I built for my inlaws (H81/G3220) have an OS image on a backup HDD... I boot into them now and then to update them... it is AGONY waiting, waiting, waiting for them to respond and, particularly, in Windows Update. I think a price point needs to adapt... either your 'point' is a budget build at any cost, or a 'point' where usability trumps absolute cost... I think the SSD is that point.

Larry, I'm sort of like you... benchmarks are great, but day to day usability is what matters, and, yes, that is very subjective. If you want to have some fun, I'll send you my old 64GB Agility3... load the OS on that and see how what was considered a bottom-end SSD even at the time does against your HDD... :)
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
221
106
Here are my Microsoft ReadyBoost results using a Western Digital Blue 160GB 3.5" HDD (WD1600AAJS-75M0A0) and two different usb flash drives (Sandisk Cruzer Glide 8GB and Sandisk Extreme USB 3.0 32GB):

Formatting was NTFS with 75% of the flash drive's capacity used for cache:











4K read got a good boost on both drives. Surprising to see the Cruzer Glide do so well.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
C Memory and Storage 5

ASK THE COMMUNITY