Raptor Drive for Boot OR Storage?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by mintlivedotcom, Jun 29, 2005.

  1. mintlivedotcom macrumors regular

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    Apr 21, 2004
    #1
    Oupost.com has the Western Digital Raptor Drives (74 GB @ 10K RPMs) for $170 after rebate. I have the stock 160 GB drive in my G5 2.0. Would it be better to use the faster drive for software (boot drive) or for storage/retrieval (iMovie, iDVD, Logic, etc.)?

    Or will I not notice that much of a difference? I am already planning on adding 2 GB RAM ($160 @ newegg) to the stock 512. Also, I have an external 320 GB (FW400) for backups/storage.

    What do you think?
     
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #2
    Use your fastest drive for your boot disk and scratch disk (your system VM files and your Photoshop scratch. Put your data on your larger internal drive. besides spindle speed, it also an issue of splitting up the access between two different mechanisms - since programs flip back and forth between data and swap files constantly, dividing the accesses between two different sets of heads makes it go faster - you spend less time waiting for a head to travel from one spot to another.

    Thanks
    Trevor
    CanadaRAM.com
     
  3. mintlivedotcom thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    So, it would a good idea to purchase the Raptor Drive, install it as my boot AND also use it for scratch? So, switch the stock 160 GB drive and use that for "data"?

    My faster boot drive should have all of my software programs installed on it? I may not have enough space for that AND scratch. I guess I am confused with the difference between scratch and data - save the "projects" (iDVD, iMovie, etc.) on the faster drive?

    74 GB internal (faster) = software (about 20 GB right now) and not a lot of extra space
    160 GB internal (slower) = "data", meaning all the video, photos, and music files (everything that is currently found under "users")?

    Sorry, I need it in layman's terms...
     
  4. tuartboy macrumors 6502a

    tuartboy

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    #4
    the scratch disk is where all project data is saved during editing. why you would separate these drives is so that the actual program itself and all of it's files needed to run are on 1 drive and all of your projects are on another. the program can read from 2 drives at once(kinda) and the drive heads aren't going crazy all over the drive which will reduce your seek times (how fast the HD can get from 1 file location on a drive to another)

    The raptor is not the fastest drive on the market anymore, however. Seagate just released a 500 Gb drive that runs at 7200 rpm but has a 16 meg buffer that makes up for rotational loss. It's quite fast, HUGE (2 of those and you have 1 terabyte of storage!) and about 33% cheaper dollar/meg.

    If I was a desktop owner, I would be all over that action.
     
  5. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #5
    Yes, to clarify, you never see the "scratch" files, they are temporary files made and deleted automatically by the OS and programs.

    So: OS and Applications on the Raptor (the OS will default to this for scratch files)
    All project data on the 160.

    If you could have three drives, then you would break you Applications out to a separate drive, again dividing the tasks up between multiple drive heads.
     
  6. RJP31484 macrumors regular

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    Philadelphia, PA
    #6
    Exactly how much are these drives? Also, do imac G5's house regular 2.5" "desktop" drives?
     
  7. tsk macrumors 6502a

    tsk

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    #7
    If it's the drive I saw listed as a news release on the Seagate page, it's not faster than the Raptor.

    The Raptor has seek times at 4.5ms. That drive had seek times at 8ms which is about par with most 7200RPM drives. The Raptor is significantly faster. The Seagate has a faster SATA interface, but it can't come close to keeping up with the Raptor. There are quite a few drives out there with 16MB cache also. It doesn't make that much difference.

    These are standard 3.5" drives (2.5" are laptop) which should fit right into a PowerMac.
     
  8. mintlivedotcom thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 21, 2004
    #8
    I thought that 400 GB was the max for G5's. Anyways, I can't find pricing on the new Seagate - and, besides, can it beat $170?

    Thanks everyone for your advice and tips so far - I am learning A LOT!
     
  9. tsk macrumors 6502a

    tsk

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    #9
    It's a just announced product. And the size means it will be quite expensive. Just look at the prices on the 400GB drives and add something like another 30% premium.

    It's quite possible larger than 400GB will work, but just wasn't available when Apple wrote the specs. I'm just speculating though.
     
  10. Ikstej24 macrumors regular

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    ATLANTA, GA
    #10
    Use the Raptor drive as the boot drive. You will notice a difference in everything. The lower seek times make for quicker loading and faster response. It makes a significant difference.
     
  11. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

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    #11
    Could one of you give a quick tutorial on how to change to a different boot drive? Do you simply copy what your OS and apps on your current HD onto the new one and then select the new drive as the boot drive in a system panel?

    Basic question - didn't see a clearly on-point thread in my forum search, thanks for any help understanding how this is correctly done.
     
  12. tuartboy macrumors 6502a

    tuartboy

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    #12
    oh crap, i need to double check things. :eek:

    *HITACHI* 7k500 Deskstar
    7200 rpm
    SATA II extensions
    SATA 3rd gen
    size = 500gb
    seq. read = 55.38 Mb/sec
    Burst rate = 133 Mb/sec
    Application index = 29.3 (Raptor 26.4)

    Drive utilities to switch power consumption, interface speeds (150 - 300), noise levels, and many others. Not sure about utility and PPC compatibility though.

    Real world score is the Application index which runs apps like photoshop and other normal apps and records the score. Note: beats the WD Raptor by ~3 points

    datasheet

    $396.68

    maximum pc (the old Boot magazine) did a review in the July 2005 issue and gave it a Kick Ass award. I can't find the review on the web, so if you really want to see it I'll scan it and post it up here.
     
  13. Ikstej24 macrumors regular

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    #13
    My question is....who would want a 500 gig boot drive? You want a boot drive to be seperate from all of your data. What I look for in a boot drive is the smallest I can get away with that holds my OS and apps. I don't want a boot drive that has 460 gigs of free space because I don't want to put my raw footage on the same drive as my app. In the "real world" tests the Raptor drive is faster and it also follows the guidelines of what a boot drive should be.

    And I do not know anyone to uses a terabyte worth of storage space (except in servers). The only reason to have that much hard drive space would be to brag about it.

    To create a new boot drive you can use disc utility (restore feature) or drag and drop works most of the time.
     
  14. HasanDaddy macrumors 6502a

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    Los Angeles
    #14
    I just might be all over this drive!

    I was planninng on getting a Raptor too --- however, 70 gigs simply isn't enough for booting

    I figure - Final Cut Studio, Logic, OS X.... sheesh, that's already at least 40 gigs or so, if not more --- plus, I'd have to keep 10% open

    Tuartboy - if you'd be so kind to scan the article about the latest DeskStar, then I for one, would really love to see it

    Thank you all!
     
  15. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    #15
    I suggest that you use it as a boot drive and a scratch disk
     
  16. R.Youden macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

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    Apr 1, 2005
    #16
    Law Guy, just noticed you have a Dual 1.42GHz G4, same as mine, to get a Raptor inside it you seen a SATA PCI card. Make sure it is one that allows bootable drives.
     
  17. tuartboy macrumors 6502a

    tuartboy

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    #17
    first, my point was to say that the raptor is 2 year old technology and that there are much better price/performance/size ratios out there. sure, seek times are <5, but apparently the 16 mg buffer does in fact make up much of that performance loss.

    Don't forget that lower rpm drives also generate less heat and often have a longer life due to less wear and tear on the drive heads.

    Also, I don't know what you do with your mac, but I use the heck out of mine. I started with a 1 gig HD in 1995 (huge at the time) and thought i would never fill it. Then I got a 13 gig. Then a 40. Then an 80. Then a 200. Now I have over 500 Gigs and I am going to need more here pretty soon in my desktop to store next semester's work. I'll admit, I do video and lots and lots of 1 gig + photoshop work, but I don't think I am that abonormal, maybe just faster at filling it.

    Article is attached as requested.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. SpaceMagic macrumors 68000

    SpaceMagic

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    #18
    Wow, don't like the last line of the review :p "The WD [raptor] now has middling performance".. Argh! Now i have to buy one of these! Darn!
     
  19. mintlivedotcom thread starter macrumors regular

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    #19
    I think I'd rather spend $170 than $500. Thanks to all for input.
     
  20. Ikstej24 macrumors regular

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    #20

    I do a lot of video work, mostly corporate videos. I have backup drives to hold old projects, and do not keep those hooked up to the computer during everyday use. Even importing at 5-7 mb/sec I would never need 500 gigs of hd space (unless I started editing HD and for that the source would have to be HD). I have a seperate drive for video, audio, and boot. That makes for the best performance (other than RAID). Having a 500 gig boot disc would not work in my situation because for best editing performace it is better to have seperate drives on seperate buses for video, audio, and boot.

    Also, check barefeats.com for real life tests. They just recently did a test on SATA drives.
     
  21. AliensAreFuzzy macrumors 68000

    AliensAreFuzzy

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    #21
    Go to versiontracker.com and look for Carbon Copy Cloner. You can make bootable copies of one disk onto another.
     
  22. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #22
    Couple of points:
    What makes the fast-boot-drive scenario work is that the System/Scratch action is taking place on a different set of heads than the Data action. Having a 500 Gb boot drives implies that you are putting data on the boot drive, which negates this advantage no matter how fast the drive. Simply, the heads of a single drive cannot be in two places at once. And especially on a large 3.5" drive they are going to be spending a lot of time transiting from one location to another between reads and writes.

    A 16 Mb cache does exactly nothing for performance on RANDOM reads and writes. The first time the drive is asked to access a sector, it has to transit to that sector and read it. In that process, the cache is loaded with that info. The second time the drive is asked to read the same, unchanged sector, it can read it from the cache instead, thus saving time. So the effectiveness of a large cache depends entirely on the nature of the access to the information. If the program and OS go back to the well many times for the same data it is effective. If the program and OS are constantly changing data and reading in a random fashion, the cache's effect is minimized and the rotational latency and head transit times will predominate.

    One reason the Raptor is faster is that it is a physically smaller platter, meaning the data is closer together and the heads have to travel less than a larger drive. It is instructive to look at the differences in drive performance between the outer tracks and the inner tracks. On the same drive, data throughput will be far worse on the inner tracks. Benchmarks of course use freshly formatted drives on their outer tracks.

    IF you elect to use a large hard drive for a boot/scratch drive, I highly recommend partitioning it so that you force the system and scratch files to live in the fastest sectors of the drive (the fastest is the first partition created). By partitioning, you are also restricting the physical area the heads have to seek in.

    However, partitioning Boot/Scratch and Data on the same drive does not help the performance when you are alternating between data and scratch files, because although they are on separate partitions, it is the same head that is doing all of the work.

    You can test this for yourself. Take a large file or folder, and Duplicate it, time how long it takes. Now take the same data and Copy it to a second drive. A Copy between two internal drives is almost twice as fast as a Duplicate or a Copy between two partitions on the same drive.

    The assertation that a 10,000 RPM drive is subject to more head wear is simply incorrect. Because it is a smaller platter, the head actuators actually have less work to do. And if you're thinking that the heads "wear out" from reading the platters at higher speed; the heads never touch the platters. If they did, it would be "game over" for the drive, whether it was 7200 RPM or 10,000 RPM. Consider that 10,000 and 15,000 RPM SCSI drives are routinely used in servers and RAID arrays that run 24/7...
     
  23. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

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    #23
    Thanks Rich. I really like my dual 1.42 - hope you're is serving you well. You're right, thanks for highlighting that I will need an SATA PCI card. Which makes a SCSI card and small size drive more competitive price wise as an alternative as opposed to if no card was required for SATA. I don't know that I've ever noticed a spec on cards noting whether it supports a bootable drive. Any suggestions on an SATA card?
     
  24. Ikstej24 macrumors regular

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    #24
    Firmtek Seritek (its bootable)

    Thank you CanadaRAM for saying what I didn't feel like typing all of. 500 gig drives are not good for boot drives.
     
  25. tuartboy macrumors 6502a

    tuartboy

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    #25
    I'm not going to fight you on much of this. I don't care enough, I'm at work, and when it comes down to it, drive selection is based on need. if you need the space/speed, go for it. whatever.

    I don't know what you mean by a smaller platter. Physical size is still 3.5". The platter density is 100Gb per platter on the hitachi. Unless the raptor has less than 1 platter, there is no way that it can have a smaller platter "size".

    SCSI drives are used in servers and are made in order to be. They often are better manufactured and even come with 5 year warranty instead of the standard 3. Not sure about the raptor.

    I agree with you about most things you said, I'm just saying there is a large alternative to the raptor with a better price/size ratio and pretty much the same performance under "normal" use. If you are serving databases from your mac and need the low seek times because of massive (and actually very random) i/o, skip the 7200, 10000 and go straight for SCSI. Normal application usage is not as random as you would like to think. That is benchmark proven.

    This may not be a good primary disk in a multidisk setup, but a great storage drive and a nice drive for single drive setups.
     

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