HDD and System Performance

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by localghost, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. localghost macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2002
    How important is HDD-Speed for the overall system performance?

    I just got a G5 DP 2.0 and need to replace the 160 HDD with two 400-500 GB HDDs (they will be used for Photoshop work on raw Files and SD-DV Video, maybe HDV in the future).

    There are a lot of reviews on sites like barefeats.com, but the difference between the speed kings and the slower drives only seem to be a few percent (with all 7200rpm). Will I really notice a big difference between let's say a Western Digital Caviar SE16 or Hitachi Deskstar 7K500 and a Samsung SpinPoint T166 or a Seagate Barracuda 7200.9? (Recommendations for a not to slow, not to expensive, not to loud drive are of course welcome).
  2. slicedbread macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2006
    I honestly think that with modern 7200 rpm drives, you're not gonna see much difference in speed if you're not benchmarking, and are just using it as a desktop drive.
  3. localghost thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2002
    that's what i thought, but I'm not expert at all - thanks for your comment, i may save some cash by ignoring the latest&greatest.

    i assume random access time is not an issue anymore, for example when cutinng dv (since it's supposed to work well on much slower 2.5 HDDs)?
  4. Angrist macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2005
    MI or NJ
    I don't know about any of those drives you mentioned .... but I CAN tell you that upgrading from a 5400 or 4500 rpm drive to a 7200 rpm drive DOES make a noticeable difference.
  5. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    Upgrading to a higher rotational speed will improve performance noticeably, as will upgrading to a drive with a larger cache. Beyond that, noticeable gains can be had by configuring RAID arrays. If personally recommend installing a Western Digital Raptor or two. They spin at 10000RPM and are extremely quick. I purchased two of the 36GB models when they were first released at $175 each and am very satisfied.
  6. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Highly unlikely the OP has a 5400 RPM drive, and certainly not a 4200 RPM drive, in a Desktop machine. 7200 has been standard on 3.5" drives since shortly after the turn of the century...

    LocalGhost: Performance in Photoshop can be improved by splitting the Data, the Scratch and the System.Application functions onto separate drives (not separate partitions on the same drive). I feel that will give better perfomance than a RAID. In the G5 you are limited to 2 internal drives unless you install a G5Jam or Jive or some other bracket solution. If its a pro PS machine thought, I would seriously consider a SATA card and a 2 bay eSATA enclosure in addition to the 2 internals. If the enclosure is a hotswappable type, you can also use it for backup by having extra drives in trays.

    According to StorageReview.com the best performing 7200 RPM 500 Gb is the Hitachi Deskstar; but its like cars that differ in straight line acceleration vs. cornering, a drive can be built to excel in speed in one area at the expense of another, so a lot depends on how you are using the drive (what features you are measuring)
  7. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    I'm a big fan of the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 drives. They have 16MB cache, which most larger drives offer and perpenicular drive recording which I think is a great feature, especially for what you want to do.

    The 320s and 400s are a better price per GB than the 500s still, but now that 750s and 1TBs are the high end the 500s are coming out. I suggest newegg.com and last I saw the 500s were $199 but may have come down since then. A 320 is $85-95 and the 400s are about $120 or so, best to check the current prices for yourself. I think that line is the best reliabilty and performance and not too much of a premium. I would get those over the 7200.9s but either way you can't go wrong with Seagate. I think they have surpassed WD as the top brand. I got my 500 when they were on sale the day after thanksgiving for $150, but were $230 at the time. Another place to look is OWC but newegg usually has the best prices.
  8. localghost thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2002
    Thanks for all the replies, but Raptors are really out of question for me, I'm looking for reasonable performance at a good price. Indeed I already had a deep look at the Seagate drives, as far as I understand they have a good track record, don't run overly hot or loud.

    The question is if the difference between the 7200.9 (500GB, 8MB = 95 Euro) and the 7200.10 (500GB, 16MB = 140 Euro) is worth it.

    The setup for now will be 2 partitions for each drive - the slow ones for music+movies and backup, the fast ones for system+apps and scratch.

    I'll most definitely ad a PCI card and external SATA enclosure later this year ... .
  9. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    Is the price diff. worth it. For the video you want to do, etc. the RAW and DV you will notice a difference between 8 and 16MB caches. The 7200.9 does come in a 16MB cache. Make sure you're not getting screwed.

    The ultimate decision is yours. How much performance difference and will you actively engage it enough is hard to tell. Here the 7200.10 400 runs US$120 and the 7200.10 500 is US$145. Prices are now lower than I paid for it. I can't believe 140 Euro is your best price.
  10. localghost thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2002
    Well, those prices were just a quick search and include tax, the 7200.9 would be 79 before tax.

    But I indeed found a better price on the 7200.10 (130/110 with/without). I'll also try to figure out what it would be at owc or newegg after shipping and customs.

    Plus: you convinced me to go for the 7200.10, thanks for the advice.
  11. localghost thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2002
    I just found this about the 7200.10:


    The post is half a year old now, does anybody know if there are still issues with this drive?!?
  12. localghost thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2002
    Seagate does not like the G5 factory controler.

    Found an even cheaper WD Caviar (WD5000KS) I'll go for instead.
  13. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    I have a dual G5 2.7 and ended up going with two 250 WD drives, software raid striped with raid 0.

    When I was first considering a fast drive setup with "fast" being primary concern, I looked into WD Raptors drives, sata raid cards, 15K rpm scsi drives and other options. I spent a lot of time researching it, too. My dream setup would have been to use three or four WD Raptors in a raid 0 configuration.

    In the end I decided to to simply add another another 250 GB WD and software stripe with raid 0. I came to the conclusion because my priorities changed a bit and cost became a factor. I also needed to reload the OS because of another issue so doing raid 0 was not a huge undertaking.

    Software raid can't attain the same performance as hardware raid but there is still a gain to be had. I ended up with disk performance the same as the 15K rpm scsi drive in my Dell Precision workstation. Definitely not the same as doing hardware raid but a decent gain for simply adding a drive and not having to install a sata raid card. It was definitely a budget solution that I am happy with.

    One very important note: if you are thinking about doing software or hardware raid 0, a decent backup solution is a must. I use an external drive and perform a full backup every one to two weeks with incremental backups every couple days. I also do another full backup on a second external drive for more peace of mind. I still have files backed up that originated on my Graphite G3 slot loading iMac that were never archived on permanent media such as optical disks or tapes. I have only ever used external hard drives for backups and have yet to experience catastrophe. I suppose a direct lighting bolt to my desk would thrwart this!
  14. snowmoon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2005
    Albany, NY
    I've seen people using iPod and performance USB flash drives for PS scratch with great success. So you could still RAID the drives and get yourself a 4GB "scratch" flash disk for PS.
  15. localghost thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2002
    Software raid will be considered after buying the PCI-card and working with 4+ drives, but I don't think I'll bother unless I have to edit DVCPRO.

    And what the hell am I supposed to use a 4GB drive for? Edit a whooping 20min DV-File? I could almost store that in memory.

Share This Page