size of a hard drive

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heatlamp
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size of a hard drive

Post by heatlamp » Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:51 am

Does the size of a hard drive have any noticable effect on it's performance? It makes sense in my mind that a larger hard drive would take longer to perform certain operations on the disc compared to an otherwise equal smaller hard drive.

Am I right in thinking this, and would getting a smaller drive be a noticable improvement over a larger one with equal specs?

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Post by The Scum » Sun Nov 11, 2007 1:41 pm

While it makes some amount of intuitive sense, it's largely untrue.

A couple of reasons:

- A larger capacity hard drive isn't physically any larger than a smaller one, usually. So the data is actually written more densely onto the platters. Thus, the mechanical stuff doesn't need to move as far to get from one bit to the next. So the motions will actually take less time.
-In general, a larger capacity drive will be newer than a smaller one, and contain the benefit of the latest R&D advances. The drive makers are working very hard to make progressive gains in speed and capacity. Generational advances keep pushing drives faster and faster.

Drive speeds are usually rated 2 ways: how fast the electronic interface to it is (look at the various speeds of SCSI or ATA drives for an example), and how fast the platters turn (Laptop drives use 5400 RPM, high quality drives are often 10,000 RPM). In general, faster platters = faster drive.

A faster drive with a larger onboard cache is probably what you want.

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Post by yoink » Sun Nov 11, 2007 3:30 pm

And, if I may be so bold, in general a hard drive with a higher density of data per platter (since there are usually several spinning platers inside a hard disk) will actually be able to access information more quickly since the heads don't have to move as much (provided you maintain your disk to some degree).

Again, while this isn't always true because of other factors mentioned, rotation speed, rotational latency (I could start a flame war with that one), cache size, bus speed etc., as long as the drive is newer than the last they're generally faster regardless of size.

The new high-capacity perpendicular recording method of hard drives also helped to account for the huge leap in disk sizes while maintaining fast access at an affordable price point..

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Post by Lukey » Sun Nov 11, 2007 5:48 pm

I clicked on this, expecting all kinds of immaturity.

I was disappointed.

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Post by yoink » Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:11 pm

Lukey wrote:I clicked on this, expecting all kinds of immaturity.

I was disappointed.
Disappointed because the posts didn't mention the effects based on length or width of the hard disk? Or perhaps the wonderful transition from a floppy culture to a hard one? Or maybe even more exciting is opening up to a completely solid (state :wink: ) one.

As this is post #3 for me, it is obviously the charm.

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Re: size of a hard drive

Post by joel hamilton » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:29 pm

heatlamp wrote:Does the size of a hard drive have any noticable effect on it's performance? It makes sense in my mind that a larger hard drive would take longer to perform certain operations on the disc compared to an otherwise equal smaller hard drive.

Am I right in thinking this, and would getting a smaller drive be a noticable improvement over a larger one with equal specs?
I like using 120gig drives, simply because I dont want 500 gigs of stuff to all die at once. Regardless of what you choose, try to have redundant drives. I do have one big giant drive that I use for backups, but I work on smaller drives. Not for performance issues, as outlined above, but because I have had enough drives freak out that I dont want to put TOO many eggs in one basket. With three drives for a session, your chances of failure feel exponentially more tipped in your favor.

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Post by heatlamp » Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:44 pm

That is quite a point. I make a habit of backing up to dvd after a project has been tracked, but problems could certainly happen before the tracking has been finished... Maybe I should rethink my procedures.

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Post by vvv » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:15 am

What j.h. said, and also, as a compulsive de-fragger, smaller drives finish quicker.

Finally, when I have a full 100 gig drive, about 20 gigs may be shite that I have to search for to delete.

So when I have a full 200 gig drive...
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Post by @?,*???&? » Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:17 am

No clue what the equivalent move would be for the PC domain, but on a Mac, your large drive will work better subdivided into partitions- that said, I know this was the case with OS 9.x and have heard that OS X has a different way to store information- a way that does not necessarily require defragmenting.

One thing you can do for either is be sure you are using the right file format. This will dictate 'data chunk size'. For PCs you will format your drive to the FAT32 standard. For a Mac, you will need to format to the HFS+ standard.

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Post by logancircle » Sat Nov 17, 2007 11:02 am

vvv wrote:What j.h. said, and also, as a compulsive de-fragger, smaller drives finish quicker....
That's what she said.
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Re: size of a hard drive

Post by digitaldrummer » Sat Nov 17, 2007 1:52 pm

[quote="joel hamilton] With three drives for a session, your chances of failure feel exponentially more tipped in your favor.[/quote]

except that statistically your chance of a failure increases in some cases... If you have 3 drives that each have a MTBF (meantime between failures) of 300,000 hours, and you put them together in a RAID set, your new MTBF is only 1/3 of that (100,000 hours). but, your availability usually increases if you are running RAID with redundancy. If you are working with 3 separate drives then I guess you get the standard MTBF.

I should be running RAID (at least a mirror) but I've been too lazy to reconfigure everything so I just make backups very frequently. and remember--only backup what you don't want to lose. :wink:

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Re: size of a hard drive

Post by joel hamilton » Sat Nov 17, 2007 4:43 pm

digitaldrummer wrote:[quote="joel hamilton] With three drives for a session, your chances of failure feel exponentially more tipped in your favor.
except that statistically your chance of a failure increases in some cases... If you have 3 drives that each have a MTBF (meantime between failures) of 300,000 hours, and you put them together in a RAID set, your new MTBF is only 1/3 of that (100,000 hours). but, your availability usually increases if you are running RAID with redundancy. If you are working with 3 separate drives then I guess you get the standard MTBF.

I should be running RAID (at least a mirror) but I've been too lazy to reconfigure everything so I just make backups very frequently. and remember--only backup what you don't want to lose. :wink:[/quote]

"FEEL" exponentially tipped in your favor. "feel" being the operative word there.

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Post by @?,*???&? » Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:42 am

Here are some hard numbers from an application I use called 'Timedrive' of some of the drives in my system.

I have many hard drives, but these numbers are for only 3 of them.

I use a Mac G4 with an OWC 1.5 Ghz processor. Buss speed is 99Mhz.

Main system drive is a Maxtor 7200 rpm 10 GB in Size. It's numbers look like this:

Latency: .260 ms
Average Seek Time: 7.442ms
Maximum Seek Time: 13.013ma
Write transfer rate: 23928 Kbps
Read transfer rate: 24774 Kbps
Typical Rate: 1923 Kbps

This is an ATA/IDE drive.

A second Maxtor Data 7200 rpm drive that is 120GB in size looks like this:

Latency: .104
Average Seek Time: 6.686ms
Maximum Seek Time: 13.067ms
Write transfer rate: 11878 Kbps
Read transfer rate: 13931 Kbps
Typical Rate: 1251 Kbps

This drive is partitioned into small 14 GB sections.

A third Seagate Cheetah 10000 rpm SCSI drive that is 18 GB in size looks like this:

Latency: 2.986
Average Seek Time: 2.083ms
Maximum Seek Time: 6.931ma
Write transfer rate: 13516 Kbps
Read transfer rate: 17860 Kbps
Typical Rate: 909 Kbps

This last drive is hooked up internally to an Adaptec Power Domain 29160 SCSI card.

Interesting that the Maximum seek time drops on the 10000 rpm to half what it does on a 7200 rpm drive. Data transfer rate remains about the same though. More interesting is that the most efficient drive of the bunch is the main system drive.

Could an argument be made to have a large main drive partitioned so that system is on one small area and the data is stored on another?

Maybe.

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Post by kayagum » Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:15 pm

Jeff Robinson wrote:Could an argument be made to have a large main drive partitioned so that system is on one small area and the data is stored on another?
If you believe in the power of raw testing, yes.

If you use the drive in real life, no.

If you're recording on your main drive, you will have data traffic with both the recording itself, plus all of the system/application traffic on your OS/program partition. That's the bottleneck, much more than whatever performance gains/drops you get from the hard drive itself.

If you have a choice, it's better to split that out on two separate drives, if only to use separate data busses for the different tasks.
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Post by rwc » Tue Nov 20, 2007 4:38 am

It's not so much the size as much as it is the platters. Less platters is usually faster, but the 5 platter hitachis were at one time one of the fastest.. so it depends.

Always use RAID. Even with external drives, buy an enclosure that supports raid 1. I'm seeing a lot of enclosures nowadays that support raid 0, but if I find one reasonably priced that supports RAID1, that's what I'll be recording to from now on. :D

I used to have a linux server with LVM and raid 1. I had pairs of drives, say two 200 gig ones, two 400 gig ones, two 500 gig ones, and I'd add them to one huge array, which'd be 1.1 tB. And it'd have redundancy, any drive could die and I'd still be good, and I could add to it over time.

I want to use RAID on the OS drive of every computer I record on. If the OS drive starts clicking, you're fucked. Even if you have another drive with an exact installation at hand, you have to swap them out.. where raid 1 will simply tell you "hey, one of your drives is fucked", allow you to continue your session, and you can swap it out later.

RAID seems like a total waste of money until you lose data. Even if you have backups.. you have to take time restoring the backups.
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