How to Buy a Hard Drive: An Essential Guide

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santa

Anytime you stick drives behind a raid card and the PCI interface, you're going to lose some speed. You're also in in trouble if your raid card dies, and your unable to replace it with an identical counterpart as recovering your data becomes extremely expensive if you opt to send it to a professional to recover the data. Thanks. Regards, Chandler Real Estate

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concernedITpro

     This may be slightly off topic, but since the merits of "combo A" vs. "combo B" have been passionately deliberated here I'll toss one of my favorite storage performance enhancers out here, the RamDrive:

 

     At the time of this writing, RAM is still pretty cheap. Max out your RAM and use a RamDrive program that offers persistence of data. I create multiple RamDrives, one for the page file, one for scratch files for editing, and another for programs that I'm using a lot lately; it makes more sense for programs that may see a lot of use for a few weeks/months but will then go unused or be uninstalled. If you care about the persistence of data on the RamDrive, you have the contents write to non-volatile storage at shutdown. Yes, it adds some time to shut down and startup, but otherwise it makes my builds scream. It's not for every system, but it sure improves the ones I use it on.

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Brad Nimbus

My adivce for someone depends on their needs. If they want a super fast everything box I would recommend a 120GB SSD paired with 2  2TB cavier green drives. I don't recommend 10000k drives because thats your data spinning at 10000k and all that milage tends to add up. Unless of course its your boot drive but I would not be using those 10000k's for anything but.

In my rig now I have 2 1TB cavier blacks and they are awesome. I still boot windows in under 45 seconds and I got both of them for $120. Paired with those are 2 2TB cavier greens which I got for $60 each.   

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oldobamaliar

" can saturate the BUST?"

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DrPhroggy

Heheh... Yah, I caught that too... but remember, it is a geek magazine, and busts rate right up there in a true geek mind... You just have to wonder what his mind was REALLY on, yah?

 

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Remember Noobs,

If you only need a really nice audio or gaming rig and are rockin an old xp licence, the 750GB laptop recommendation won't work!

XP works best without the new format tech on ALL laptop drives over 500GB and some of the 500 Gig drives as well

Oh, and the 2TB recommendation won't work either

Try a 3.5" drive up to 1.5TB without the New Tech Crap if you want it to work on an XP Licence

And use an INTEL or a SAMSUNG SSD if you need compatibility with XP as well

ANY other brand of SSD should be Torture Tested for the first 30 days of ownership while its still on the 30-day retun policy before trusting any of your data to it

Otherwise, your article was ....... ?

Pure Crap as usual

 

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Brad Nimbus

So for the first 30 days you should bag the shit out of the drive then trust it with your data?

I hope your joking I really do, if you worked at my store and gave that advice to someone you would be out on your ass. No offense.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Like I said.

NOOBS!

If it does't die under torture, your data is safe and its still under warranty from the manufacturer for a few years anyway, so...

You're FIRED!

Read a few thousand of the past posts were the drives were not tortured and lost all their owners data, then go visit the Vertex forum and read a few thousand more NOOB!

If it does't die in the first 30 days under torture testing, your data is safe!

If its not then you should buy a platter based drive instead and go learn about computers

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Brad Nimbus

All I can say is wow. I hope to god you don't have kids.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

All I can say is wow. I hope to god you don't have computers.

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Brad Nimbus

I don't I posted this with my mind.

I don't want to argue on the internet with some no name. Regardless of your "experience" I still think its dumb to take hours off a harddrives life before you use it.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

You just don't get it do you?

New SSD's die in great numbers and lose all your precious data when they do

They die for many reasons

You can find out if your SSD is about to die "BEFORE" it happens by running a simple torture exercise on it for a day or 2 before trusting your data to it...

..but you would rather have your customers dealing with the original manufacturer after the return policy has expired and losing all their data ?

I'm sure glad I don't work at your store!

FIND THE PROBLEMS BEFORE THEY FIND YOU!

 

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Brad Nimbus

What happened to the 30 day torture test rule? I was arguing the fact that its stupid to wipe 600 hours off the life of the harddrive you empty head.

*Edit* Well kinda sorry for the name calling. I guess due to the lack of punctuation in your first post I finally figured you must have meant torture test within the first 30 days not for the 30 days.

"ANY other brand of SSD should be Torture Tested for the first 30 days of ownership while its still on the 30-day retun policy before trusting any of your data to it"

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Fair enough!

BAG THE SHIT out of your new SSD for a full 30 days or for a few hours (Your choice)

After all, the drive should still be under the return policy for at least 30 days anyway

If your drive survives a real torture test, THEN and ONLY THEN should you trust your data to that SSD for the remainder of its factory warrany

The idea is to catch a flakey drive while it can still be returned or swapped out for a better brand "Before" you lose all your data

All other arguements are only for the sake of aguement!

End of arguement!

 

 

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Neufeldt2002

Bullwinkle J Moose is just upset because SSD's do not run optimally on XP, his preferred choice of OS.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

You are correct Sir!

Thats why I know so much about SSD's

It's called EXPERIENCE

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pastorbob

I think your user id and the spelling errors throughout your comment speaks more loudly than your advice.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Satan Loves You!

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sliver

Looking for 700MB/sec, 7TB RAID, and Win7 RAID Boot? Try a HighPoint RocketRAID 2720SGL (other models for you die hard aficionados) PCI-Express Bus 2.0 x8 ($139) and Eight (8) Seagate ST31000524AS 6G 1TB SATA hard drives ($59/ea) in RAID 5 configuration. Total solution $611 and blinding speed. RAID 0 will give you about 800-1,200MB/sec. Here are some links for research.

http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA_new/series_rr272x.htm

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816115100&Tpk=highpoint%20rocketraid%202720sgl

http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?name=st31000524as-barracuda-7200-12-sata-6gb/s-1tb-hd&vgnextoid=59162ba5862dc210VgnVCM1000001a48090aRCRD&locale=en-AU&pf=1

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148697&nm_mc=OTC-Froogle&cm_mmc=OTC-Froogle-_-Hard+Drives-_-Seagate-_-22148697

 

For 16- or 24-ports at PCI-Express Bus 2.0 x16, check out http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA_new/series_rr276x-rr274x.htm. These will give you 1,200MB+/sec RAID 5.

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oldobamaliar

blinding speed? LOL! yet another person that hasn't used a good ssd. a single good ssd could open 10 apps before your setup could open 1. hdd's for other than mass storage are a thing of the past. an os without an ssd is like a car thats out of gas.

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sliver

I have nothing to defend but practicality and facts. The fastest product on the market Corsair Force GT 525MB/s write (240GB) 555MB/s read (240GB) = $400. So for $611 you get 8TB (7TB RAID data integrity) and faster reads and writes. Heck, I could go RAID 0 and blow these numbers out further but why bother...

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TerribleToaster

 

You do realize you can also use SSD's in RAID? It's actually pretty stupid to compare a non-RAID solution to a RAID solution. Of course the RAID solution is going to look better. All it takes, however, is two 120 GB drives which you can get for around $140 each in RAID 0 to get speeds of 800Mb/s using an onboard controller. 

Also, the fasted SSD drives on the market are all far over 1 Gb/s speeds (reaching upwards of 6 Gb/s) and are (of course) using PCIe (i.e. the OCZ Revo Drive X2 has 1.5Gb/s write and 1.3 Gb/s read for $700). 

 

You will always be able to get faster speeds using SSD's than HDD's due to the nature of how they both work on a physical level. If you want capacity then, sure, you'll want HDD's (well, actually you want tape, but I don't think anyone on MPC is using tape) but for speed SDD's will always win out for the amount of money spent. Putting $600 of HDD's in RAID for speed is fast, but $600 of SSD's in RAID will be faster. This is simply because, while SSD's cost more per a increase in Gb's, HDD's cost more per a increase in Mb/s.

 

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PCLinuxguy

I agree, plus if they paid attention they'd see a good example on this site with the DM2011.  They used a pair of 240GB SSDs in RAID 0 for 480GB of blisteringly fast storage for the main system.. then 9 TB (3x 3TB HDDs) set aside for backups videos etc. 

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Peanut Fox

 

This would be an overly complicated and expensive route to take over an SSD.  You'd also lose some speed due to the lack of Command queuing since all your hard drives have to sit behind a raid card.  ICH10 is faster than any raid card out there simply because it's the shortest path.  Anytime you stick drives behind a raid card and the PCI interface, you're going to lose some speed.  You're also in in trouble if your raid card dies, and your unable to replace it with an identical counterpart as recovering your data becomes extremely expensive if you opt to send it to a professional to recover the data.

 

I'm curious to know why someone would want to go this rout over an SSD boot drive, and a NAS box for storage.  The only thing I could imagine this would be good for is someone who has to handle HD video editing.  In that case I'd go with a OCZ gen 3 1tb Revo drive.  Though at over 3k it's a bit pricey. 

 

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sliver

 

Yes, video editing is a need. However, I keep getting back to practicality and speed. The fastest product on the market Corsair Force GT 525MB/s write (240GB) 555MB/s read (240GB) = $400. So for $611 you get 8TB (7TB RAID data integrity) and faster reads and writes. Heck, I could go RAID 0 and blow these numbers out further but why bother... This solution is $2,400 cheaper and offers 2X+ the capicity.

 

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TechNinja49

"Even 10,000RPM drives can’t fully saturate a 3gbps SATA I port."

Don't you mean SATA II port? SATA I is 1.5gbps.

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arnoldziffel

Very good article. What types of failures are seen in the SSDs? Do they just "blink" out, data totally unrecoverable, or is/are there built in safeguards for error recovery, something similar to what HDDs have used for bad sector reporting?

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TerribleToaster

 

SSD’s don't have mechanical failures because, well they aren't mechanical. So they tend to be tougher to break than HDD’s for that reason, but are still, like all other electronics, susceptible to being hit with a hammer.

When asked about when SSD's do "fail" it is most likely because SSD's have a (noticeably) limited number of write cycles, which differs from drive to drive (mostly dependant on if it's a SLC or MLC) but is normally in the range of 10,000 to 100,000 writes for the full capacity of the drive (so if you have a 120 Gb MLC drive that can handle 10,000 writes, you can write in total 1,200,000 Gb (which is 1,200 Tb or 1.2 Pb) to the drive before failure). This is critical information for two reasons:

1. It is far easier to find out how much data you normally add to your old mechanical hard drive (both new data and rewrites/edits) than it is to find out the number of total write cycles you go through per a year before worrying about whether to upgrade to a SSD.

2. If you are worried about the lifespan of an SSD or SSD array, then you should know that the larger the SSD or SSD array is, the longer it will last because its lifespan is determined using the total size of the drive. Thus if you maintain an average system size of 250 Gb, but for some (God only knows why because I sure can't think of a reason) reason go through rewriting your entire system 5 times a day (1.25 Tb a day or 456.25 Tb a year) a plain old 250 Gb SSD (assuming 10,000 write cycles) will last you 5 years. Using a 500 Gb SSD or two 250 Gb SSD in Raid 0 will last you 10 years.

But even then, if an SSD exceeds it write cycle limit the drive just becomes a read only drive (you can't write to it but can read it) allowing for you to simply copy your data from the drive to a new one.

Electrical failures are just as rare as they are for HDD’s and are also often repairable if need be (like they are for HDD’s).

 

Overall, if you are worried about SSD’s, if should be about bugs in the firmware or controllers, but those are ironed out as time goes on, often fully repairable, and normally fully covered warrantees.

 

 

Hope that helps.

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arnoldziffel

Thanks for the info. My concern was with a sudden massive failure of an SSD drive versus the "click of death" so aptly referred to when a HDD starts to go. Of course, backups and Raid help during complete failure. I am not sure that there are available different "reliability levels" of SSD are available, such as enterprise, server,  desktop classes etc.

Thanks again 

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TerribleToaster

There are different "reliability levels" for SSD, but really, outside of using a SLC (which gives you the apporx. 100,000 write cycles) with a few little tricks they use (such has adding a few extra Gb's hidden on the drive, set aside to take over for bad sectors due to uneven wearing) the only major difference is in the firmware. The parts quality can also be a factor of course; but, that's true for all electronics and is simply solved by using a trusted manufacturer. 

Realistically, you are probably more likely to have a massive failure than a gradual one on a SSD, but overall, they are less likely to have a failure compared to a HDD.

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oldobamaliar

"When asked about when SSD's do "fail" it is most likely because SSD's have a (noticeably) limited number of write cycles, which differs from drive to drive" what a load of crap!  ssd's don't fail for that reason! why? because they haven't existed long enough. A ssd will lose its 10 year charge before its p/e cycles are used up unless its utilised in some extreme manner that no one here would be using it for. They do fail for other reasons but never because the p/e cycles have been exausted. I have had 2 fail out of the 10 I have purchased. 1 80gb g2 intel and 1 torqx 128. The intel crapped out in a week and the torqx 128 after almost 2 years. I have never had a hdd fail ever. However i would never go back to a hdd for the os again. BTW Patriot is a great company at honoring their warranty when my torqx 128 failed they gave me a newer/better drive and transfered the remaining 8 years of the warranty from the torqx to the new drive dispite the new drive having only a 3 year warranty.

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TerribleToaster

 

If you had actually read my post, you'd realize I was talking about what people normally worry about (people worry about the limited number of writes) and then went on to give examples of exactly how incredibly long these drives do last before pointing out at the end that the most common points of failure were either electrical or firmware/controller related and that these are often either repairable or covered under the warranty of the device.

 

Try to read everything and understand what you are reading before you respond.

 

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bobla90042

Very good review of hard drive choices. I've had to make decisions about harddrive sizes and purposes recently.

Having had too much experience with vruses and re-installing windows in spite of recover disks, system images, etc. I hit upon this idea. I bought two small, 120 gb drives on Ebay; cost is minimal since no one wants these. Installed windows 7 on one of the small drives, along with all my basic software, etc. I then cloned this drive to the other identical small drive. If something weird happens to my Windows installation, I can swap disks and keep working. I may have to update a few programs, add-ons, etc. But I can then reformat the bad small drive and clone the working one to it.

I keep a 1 tb drive for all data files, and a 1 tb drive for backups. I have a 500 gb external drive (swapable drives up to 2 tb) that I use to store critical files and my windows symtem image.

With regular backups, antivirus protection, a strong firewall and "good" surfing habits, I think I'm pretty secure!

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Peanut Fox

That's actually a really cool idea.

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bobla90042

So far I haven't had to test it in an emergency situation, but it does seem to work in "tests." Key is keeping the system image and backup system harddrive current, which is much less work than having to re-install Windows from scratch!

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BrianMcCulloch

bigger is better!

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