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Thread started 23 Dec 2009 (Wednesday) 13:31
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Hard Drive Speed: Does it Really Matter?

 
MDJAK
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Dec 23, 2009 13:31 |  #1

Ever since I can remember, I've always insisted that my hard drives rotational speed is at least 7200 rpm. I find, without any technical or scientific basis, that 5400 rpm hard drives are, well, slow.

I'm talking for every day intense word processing, not even with photoshop or lightroom, as I've never had a hard drive slower than 7200 rpm when doing photo manipulation.

The last Dell I purchased I got the Caviar 10,000 rpm hard drives in a Raid 0 Array. They both burned out within a matter of weeks and when Dell replaced the entire tower (which arrived DOA), it had larger capacity drives but 7200.

So, if I haven't bored you yet, and even if I have, does anyone here have true experience or testing they can point to that the difference between 5400 and 7200, particularly in a notebook, will make a big difference, ALL OTHER THINGS EQUAL? Meaning same amount of ram, same processor speed, etc.

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ErikatSSI
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Dec 23, 2009 13:37 |  #2

Faster drives can make a big difference in how fast a computer feels,(never benchmarked to see if it makes a difference in batch processing) I have my operating system/software installed on an SSD for speed and am using an older Raptor for a scratch disk, I have yet to find a need for faster "storage" drives though I do buy enterprise drives b/c of their much lower failure rate.


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René ­ Damkot
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Dec 23, 2009 13:48 |  #3

While this is about OSX, I'm guessing that it will work similar for windows:

In spite of rpm, a 500GB 5400 rpm drive can be as fast or faster than a 320GB hard drive over the first 320GB

From here: http://macperformanceg​uide.com …acBookPro-HardDrives.html (external link)
Related: http://macperformanceg​uide.com/Mac-BootDriveDogma.html (external link)


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basroil
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Dec 23, 2009 14:07 |  #4

René Damkot wrote in post #9252390 (external link)
While this is about OSX, I'm guessing that it will work similar for windows:


From here: http://macperformanceg​uide.com …acBookPro-HardDrives.html (external link)
Related: http://macperformanceg​uide.com/Mac-BootDriveDogma.html (external link)

That has nothing to do with OSX vs Windows, it's actually a function of the drive. Yes, they can be faster, but for the first 160gb, a 320gb 7200rpm drive will be faster than a 500gb 5400rpm drive.

MDJAK wrote in post #9252280 (external link)
Ever since I can remember, I've always insisted that my hard drives rotational speed is at least 7200 rpm. I find, without any technical or scientific basis, that 5400 rpm hard drives are, well, slow.

I'm talking for every day intense word processing, not even with photoshop or lightroom, as I've never had a hard drive slower than 7200 rpm when doing photo manipulation.

The last Dell I purchased I got the Caviar 10,000 rpm hard drives in a Raid 0 Array. They both burned out within a matter of weeks and when Dell replaced the entire tower (which arrived DOA), it had larger capacity drives but 7200.

So, if I haven't bored you yet, and even if I have, does anyone here have true experience or testing they can point to that the difference between 5400 and 7200, particularly in a notebook, will make a big difference, ALL OTHER THINGS EQUAL? Meaning same amount of ram, same processor speed, etc.

Thanks,
me

All things equal, a 10000rpm drive will have faster seek and transfer speeds than a 7200rpm drive, a 7200rpm drive will have faster seek and transfer speeds than 5400rpm. However, all three are going to look slow and outdated compared to even a cheaper SSD. For medium sized files, all three HDDs will be more or less the same (SSD may be 50% faster), but for loading OS and other small file size activities (the smaller the files, the slower the transfer), a faster drive will make a decent impact (and that's where SSDs really shine thanks to how they work). That's more or less why my boot is RAID 0 of two 32mb cache 7200rpm drives (which i would replace with a 60gb ssd and 1tb HDD in a heartbeat), but file drive is actually a variable speed 5400rpm-7200rpm caviar green (medium size files don't see that much improvement from 5400 to 7200)


I don't hate macs or OSX, I hate people and statements that portray them as better than anything else. Macs are A solution, not THE solution. Get a good desktop i7 with Windows 7 and come tell me that sucks for photo or video editing.
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ErikatSSI
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Dec 23, 2009 14:17 |  #5

I forgot to mention that I'm running a mac pro/OSX. 4 HDs total in my rig. . .

1 Boot drive 64GB SSD
1 Scratch Drive 80GB
2x 500GB storage trives in a raid configuration.

Previous configuration was slower as I did not have the SSD hence a chunk of one of the 500GB drives was used as scratch and they were not set up for raid at the time.


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Dec 23, 2009 14:46 |  #6

MDJAK wrote in post #9252280 (external link)
Ever since I can remember, I've always insisted that my hard drives rotational speed is at least 7200 rpm. I find, without any technical or scientific basis, that 5400 rpm hard drives are, well, slow.

Wait? Are you saying that 7200 rpm is faster than 5400 rpm?

Genius...just pure genius!:lol:;)




  
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nicksan
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Dec 23, 2009 14:49 |  #7

On a more serious note, yes, it does make a difference, since the hard drive is the slowest component.

The laptop I used to own came with a 5400rpm drive. I replaced it with a 7200rpm one and I noticed it right away. My current laptop came with a 7200rpm drive.

But yeah, nothing will beat a SSD, that's for sure. Not much bang for the buck however.




  
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Dec 23, 2009 17:28 |  #8

SSD may be fast, but they have way to many issues at the moment. From firmware updates killing them, to a fairly crappy failure rate, to limitations for long term storage. The speed may be nice, but I think for now we should be sticking to regular HDD for anything that has work carried out on it.


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firstclass
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Dec 23, 2009 18:05 |  #9

Citizensmith wrote in post #9253467 (external link)
SSD may be fast, but they have way to many issues at the moment. From firmware updates killing them, to a fairly crappy failure rate, to limitations for long term storage. The speed may be nice, but I think for now we should be sticking to regular HDD for anything that has work carried out on it.

That's the whole point. I don't know anyone using SSDs for storage. You use it for your OS and that's it. You store your media and such on larger, cheaper, slower drives.




  
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Dec 23, 2009 18:15 as a reply to  @ firstclass's post |  #10

Check out Tom's Hardware for some benchmarks: http://www.tomshardwar​e.com/charts/hard-drives,3.html (external link)

FWIW, I just put in an order at Newegg this morning for a 2TB Hitachi 7200rpm drive for storage and a Samsung 2TB 5400 rpm drive for backup. ;)


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Dec 23, 2009 20:39 as a reply to  @ bacchanal's post |  #11

No it doesn't really matter from a practical perspective. If you're running a web or file server, then it matters, but then only if you're serving LOTS of data and you keep it spinning. If you're running a notebook of some sort and you're using any energy management where the hard drive powers down, drive speed doesn't matter. It must still spin up when you want to access the drive, and that's going to negate most anything the drive can otherwise do.

Get a drive that has the capacity you need. Get a drive (or two) to back up your data, and always be ready for one of the drives to fail and therefore need replacement.


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tkbslc
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Dec 23, 2009 20:57 |  #12

I think you will notice the difference if you open and close files often and/or work with large files and or video. For most basic home/office uses, probably not a HUGE benefit, but it is there.

When laptops were 4200 RPM - Those were SLOW.


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Dec 23, 2009 23:15 |  #13

mathogre wrote in post #9254341 (external link)
No it doesn't really matter from a practical perspective. If you're running a web or file server, then it matters, but then only if you're serving LOTS of data and you keep it spinning. If you're running a notebook of some sort and you're using any energy management where the hard drive powers down, drive speed doesn't matter. It must still spin up when you want to access the drive, and that's going to negate most anything the drive can otherwise do.

Get a drive that has the capacity you need. Get a drive (or two) to back up your data, and always be ready for one of the drives to fail and therefore need replacement.

Not sure what era your computer is from, but my laptop disk spins down after 30 min (because I set it to that), not 30 seconds. Spin up/down has nothing to do with what type of drive or even the computer (except for WD green drives, but you would NEVER use them for OS.... unless you are building a HTPC and like to keep heat down over performance up), rather just settings in your OS that you could change in Vista and W7. I'm sure OSX also has the same type of settings in 10.5 and later.


I don't hate macs or OSX, I hate people and statements that portray them as better than anything else. Macs are A solution, not THE solution. Get a good desktop i7 with Windows 7 and come tell me that sucks for photo or video editing.
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Dec 24, 2009 08:53 |  #14

firstclass wrote in post #9253669 (external link)
That's the whole point. I don't know anyone using SSDs for storage. You use it for your OS and that's it. You store your media and such on larger, cheaper, slower drives.

My SSD contains my OS, Program Files, Lightroom Catalog and the pictures I'm currently working on. The speed difference between this and the old HDD is astonishing. Once I've finished working on the images they get transferred to a HDD.

Last week I updated my firmware (a simple job) so that my SSD supports the 'trim' command. this keeps it working like new. The only people knocking SSDs are those that haven't got one, or those who bought a cheap, low-quality, POS.

People are willing to spend a small fortune on top-ranking CPUs, GPUs, RAM, etc. But spending $300 on an SSD would often produce a much greater increase in speed.

As for spindle-speed, it doesn't always translate into real-world speed. Read these conclusions about 2.5" 500GB drives (external link), where the 7200 Seagate is shown to be a bit of a slowcoach.


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basroil
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Dec 24, 2009 09:25 |  #15

hollis_f wrote in post #9256631 (external link)
As for spindle-speed, it doesn't always translate into real-world speed. Read these conclusions about 2.5" 500GB drives (external link), where the 7200 Seagate is shown to be a bit of a slowcoach.

Well.... Seagate drives have never been all that great in the consumer side.


I don't hate macs or OSX, I hate people and statements that portray them as better than anything else. Macs are A solution, not THE solution. Get a good desktop i7 with Windows 7 and come tell me that sucks for photo or video editing.
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