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Old December 16th, 2009, 09:49 AM   #1
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Hard drive for OS only - large or small?

Suppose I want only the OS and my software on the C: drive - do I get better performance from a small drive (80 GB is the smallest I can see in stores nowadays), or a larger one, say 500GB or 1TB.

I do not anticipate for my OS and all programs to exceed 30-40GB and there will be absolutely nothing else on this drive.

Also, what are the other specs I need to look for?

This is of course for a 64-bit editing PC, media and project files will all be on other drives.

Thank you,
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Old December 16th, 2009, 10:30 AM   #2
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small isnt nessisarily faster, when the data is all compacted in tight spaces, it takes less time for the head to travel to the next piece of data.
so "high density" drives like 1Ts the head travel distance is lower.

Using the first tiny bit of the drive partitioned just for the os, would put the "table of contents" MFT LOG INDEX, and whatever, very close to the data, and data very close to the next data. Just a short hop to get to anything.
so a high density drive , will be faster, barring all other features of the drive.

with the ramifications that extreeme high density drives had a lot of problems when they first came out, of reliability, now 1Ts are pretty reliable depending on brand (as usual).

then higher RPM drives would be faster still, so 7200 better than 5400 and 10,000 better and 15,000 better, with the ramifications that the more turns a drive has to do the less time the motors and bearings could last.

then combos of the above, a super high RPM drive with fast head jumping might be so High COST , that buying a 15,000 RPM drive in a Smaller size would be really fast too, and still affordable. extreeme speed with extreeme density could be cost prohibitive for such minor changes to overall system performances.

just maintaing the Data itself SEQUENTIAL, most defraggers out there make a bloody non-sequential mess of the drive , De-fragmented files, but not linearly read data, like say all 50 Filters a video program loads , lined up ready to go.
A primo defragger (few exist with good features) that aligns all the data by NAME , and allows for selective data to be put on front of disk, and Sequential, can make reading the data back much faster. a good defragger takes a long time to do a good job, most sold stuff just tries to do a Fast job instead :-(.


how about switching up the System OS drive thing to a "solid state" SATAII of just the right size and a very good speed, that others (like say in reviews at newegg) found was reliable over time. i am thinking about that myself.
right now i keep my OS on RAID0 of 2x 1T drives, because i got tired of waiting :-) because its the OS and not the Paging disk, it does not conflict (much) with any video work on the same drives (program is already running).

Last edited by Marty Welk; December 16th, 2009 at 12:40 PM.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 10:37 AM   #3
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Several general remarks:

As fill rates increase, performance decreases.
Higher RPM's give higher performance.
More cache gives better performance.

Your choices are pretty wide, since with 40 GB of data even a 80 GB disk will have a fill rate of only 50%, not enough to show a serious performance hit. 10K disks (Velociraptor) all have 16 MB cache, while larger 7.2K disks can have 32 MB cache, offsetting the lower RPM's. 80 GB disks are limited to only 8 MB cache or less.

The difference between a 1 TB 32 MB 7200 RPM disk and a 150 GB 16 MB 10000 RPM Velociraptor is pretty small performance wise. With current low prices for large capacity disks, the most economical solution looks to be a 1 TB disk with 32 MB cache. It will also give you temporary backup space if you need to replace another disk.
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Old December 18th, 2009, 06:50 PM   #4
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A new 500GB or 1TB drive "Short-Stroked" will be as fast or even faster than a 10,000rpm Velociraptor for the OS. Several sites have tested Short-Stroking including Tomshardware (Harm, we know how you feel about them)
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Old December 31st, 2009, 11:59 AM   #5
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Decision made

I went for a 1TB Caviar Black from Western Digital for OS: 7200RPM, 32MB cache, and a 5 year warranty which hopefully I will never have to use. See Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive.

I also bought two 2TB Seagate Barracuda drives for storage (Newegg.com - Seagate Barracuda LP ST32000542AS 2TB 5900 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive) - although these will only spin at 5900RPM, for what I am doing, will certainly not be the bottleneck with their 32MB cache. These are among the first 2TB drives and they still have issues to work out, some people report DOAs but I am willing to take the risk for the GB/$.

Thansk everyone for the advice,
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Old December 31st, 2009, 12:36 PM   #6
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If the 2TB Seagates give up the ghost quick (or start freezing up a lot - which seems to be common with big Seagates nowadays, from reading the feedback at Newegg), see if you can get Newegg to replace them with Hitachis instead (much better feedback at Newegg).
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Old December 31st, 2009, 11:51 PM   #7
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You might be interested in this hack which gives you great performance from a $110 1.5 TB drive modified to act as a super-fast 300 GB drive. Cheaper than purchasing a WD Velociraptor, which is another great choice.
Seagate Barracuda 1.5 Tb MOD | TechwareLabs
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Old January 1st, 2010, 02:57 AM   #8
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You can effectively do the same thing, but without incapacitating 80% of the drive! Simply create a 300 gig logical partition using the first part of the drive, and then a second partition with the remainder of the drive. The first partition will have the same performance as the mostly incapacitated drive you wind up with by following that article's directions (so long as you are not accessing both partitions at once - obviously not a threat, if you totally incapacitate the rest of the drive, which is not exactly what I call an act of brilliance in my book (comes under the section labeled "really bone-headed ideas").
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 10:30 PM   #9
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Larger drives, with the most frequently accessed files at the center of the platter, are better than smaller drives... except solid state drives. You might want to consider getting one of those for your programs, and a standard platter as your data drive.
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 02:52 AM   #10
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Frankly, I think some folks go a little bit nuts, trying to get their computers to run faster, like the "expert" who wrote that arguably insane article about turning your nice big 1.5TB Seagate, into a nifty (not really) "faster" 300 gigger.

For example, consider how long it really takes to load the slowest loading app on your PC. Is it really going to make life that much better, enough to spend much extra money and/or effort on cutting that load time in half even? I like zippy app loads just as much as the next guy, but I sure wouldn't spend more than I'd pay for dinner for two at McDonalds to cut my app load times in half, even for the slowest loading app on my computer, which is Open Office (first time it loads, after starting the comp or after rebooting, takes about 8 entire seconds, total - just not my biggest concern in life).

It makes a lot more sense to me, to put time and/or effort into things that will get you a lot more benefit overall. Defrag your disk (overnight) occasionally. Replace Norton's or McAffe's anti-virus with Eset's NOD32. If you have a Q6600 in your machine, and live by a MicroCenter store, replace it with a Q9550, that they are currently selling as a loss-leader for $169 (after selling off the Q6600 on eBay, it won't have cost much of anything worth mentioning, but will run almost everything, that takes any real time, noticeably faster, including loading apps faster). If you have 2GB or less RAM memory in your computer, get more (not faster) memory. (Expensive, "faster" memory, usually does very little, if anything, to improve overall computer performance for most tasks.)
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 11:33 AM   #11
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In your case, you might as welll get a 30GB SSD drive. They are running around $100 these days.
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 11:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taky Cheung View Post
In your case, you might as welll get a 30GB SSD drive. They are running around $100 these days.
...Or wait a few seconds for apps to load, and enjoy the fine dining at your local Mickey-D's every night, for almost an entire week! (I just love those heart-clogging, trans-fat drenched apple pies for dessert!) :)
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Old January 4th, 2010, 09:57 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Taky Cheung View Post
In your case, you might as welll get a 30GB SSD drive. They are running around $100 these days.
I did look into that. Read online reviews, comparisons, asked sales people in computer stores. The unanimous opinion is that while it's a wonderful up and coming technology, as of right now it's just "not there yet" - there are still issues to be worked out.

While the read rates of SDD drives are generally about twice the read rates of hard drives, write rates are way lower, making them ideal for some applications like web servers, but not yet for OS drives.

Overall, the performance/price ratio of SSD drives are not worth it yet. When that improves, I might just turn the 1TB WD into a storage drive and drop in an SSD for OS... until then, let it spin, let it spin, let it spin...

As mentioned above by Robert, the OS drive performance, for the most part, is only important when I first lauch an app, so it's about 0.001% of the time I will use the computer; for the next 99.999% of the time it does NOT matter at all. So why would I concerned? For me it's just like those car enthousiast bogged down by the 0-60 MPH performance of a car... what does it matter what you do in the first seconds of your drive, when for the next hours you need to go speed limit anyway???

With a 5 year full warranty, the WD Caviar Black is the perfect choice for now - it really is unimportant for me if my video editing software launches in 5 seconds or in 10 seconds...
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Old January 4th, 2010, 10:58 AM   #14
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The read speed for SSD is where it shines. It is most suitable to be used for OS and application since that's mostly read operation. With that it will enhance the overall performance.

I am about to buy the OCZ 32GB SSD. I'm tempted to get 2 to setup RAID-0 too.

From the review here, they are all good Customer Reviews Of OCZ Vertex Turbo OCZSSD2-1VTXT30G 2.5" 30GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - Retail

here's some quotes

"SSD make a huge performance difference in your system. My computer boots up in literally 4 seconds now, amazing"

"SSD is my choice for boot disks. Fast and crash-resistant"

"WOW! takes about 10 seconds from POST to my desktop. "

"These are unbelievable!!! "

"SSDs will be the storage medium of the 2010s."
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Old January 4th, 2010, 02:13 PM   #15
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Newegg's reviews are a great resource, but you do need to take them in context. (First thing to notice, is that everyone claims a "high" level of technical knowledge! Apparently no regular folks write feedback there - uh huh.) That SSD has like 10 total reviews, and the oldest is only from like September (doesn't tell you a thing about long term reliability). Generally folks that plunk down money on new technology, which tends to be expensive (or on fads) tend to be happy with it if it does anything at all slick (even minor), and doesn't just plain suck otherwise (psychology - to much emotional investment to look at it objectively). Some folks just plain like stuff better if they spend more than the next guy buying a more conventional product. Look at the reviews for Canon's super-pricey "HDV" tapes at B&H sometime. There's folks actually "seeing" better color fidelity from using those tapes! (God bless their hearts.)

OS performance isn't just about reads. Reads are obviously important for loading the OS, but once loaded, OS performance is just as much about writes (especially when you start hitting virtual memory hard). Nobody mentioned how long it takes to shut down their computer, with the OS on an SSD. What's actually a bigger deal with SSDs, than read speed, is seek times (essentially all but eliminated). Loading an OS involves a lot of them. (That's the chatter you hear from your hard drive, when you boot your computer up.)
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