Speedy system drive wanted

Hi folks.
I want to get myself a drive to hold system and maybe office apps only. I'm dedicating an IBM 75GXP 46Gb for everything else.
Preferably, I'd like somthing with heaps of buffer, but minimal size (sounds like a dirty ad.) 1.5 - 3GB ideal.
SCSI considered but would prefer IDE.
 
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Sorry but to the best of my knowledge no drive maker has any thing under 9Gigs in production at this time and they are generaly SCSI drives at that size. Also if you want large cache you will be looking for an AV (Audio/ Visual) rated drive.

Mike
 

Arrow

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I'm not sure if you would find anything within those specs... but check Ebay.


Rob
Please visit <b><A HREF="http://www.ncix.com/shop/index.cfm?affiliateid=319048" target="_new">http://www.ncix.com/shop/index.cfm?affiliateid=319048</A></b>
 

beans

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I've been considering this concept too, except going with SCSI on the system disk to take load off the CPU.

What I had in mind was an Adaptec 19160 controller and a 9- or 18-GB Atlas 10K drive. The second drive would be IDE, probably one of the IBM 75GXP series.

Any (responsible) comments appreciated.


beans
 
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I have re/built a couple of boxes lately and to tell you the truth unless you run your box at the raged ass edge A couple of fast ATA drives will more than work for most. I have a Seagate Cheetah and a Barracuda drive in my box and the current ATA drives are damm close to my SCSI drives in performance until I start to do allot of disk transactional intensive opperations.

Mike
 

beans

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Mike -

Thanks for your interest and comments.

Here's the deal. The user is Mrs. beans, and the application is EverQuest. Mrs. beans' birthday is coming up, and she's getting a new PC. (She's knowledgeable and in the loop.)


EverQuest's world is divided into zones. When the characters travel from one zone to another -- and they do so often -- the client loads all of the new zone's environment from disk. My impression is that zoning is simultaneously CPU- and disk-intensive. And, it's rather slow on a PIII-500, Ultra ATA/66 setup with a good IBM drive.

The other day I was reminded that the SCSI controller takes over a lot of the work the CPU has to do for IDE systems. Also, SCSI drives are available at 10K rpm, and I have not seen anything over 7200 for ATA. So, it looks to me like zoning in EverQuest might be a situation where SCSI would shine.


The usual economic analyses don't apply here. As Mrs. beans herself has pointed out, when she's playing EverQuest, she's not down at the mall shopping.

On the other hand, I don't want to go ALL SCSI -- they don't call me beans for nothing. It's not necessary for this application anyway. That's what led me to the idea of using a single SCSI drive and leaving everything else IDE.


I don't even know if you can mix IDE and SCSI like this -- I haven't seen it done. So, that's my first question -- can it be done at all? Then I'll worry about whether it really makes sense in this case.


Thanks for any help you can give me -

beans
 
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u can mix IDE and SCSI all u want. The IBM 75GXP perform fast like a 10k drive but at only 7200. But SCSI is still better in a way. It takes the load of the cpu, which is good for people with slow systems. As for your SCSI question,right now i have a IDE hard drive, and CDrom, but a SCSI cd writer. So u can guess if it works or not.
 

bw37

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This might be the perfect application of an IDE RAID solution. Data integrity wouldn't be too critical, only speed. Seems a bit much, but when you add up the prices and compare speed, it may be your best option. RAID 0 with a couple of cheap 20GB ATA 100 drives and pci RAID card might cost less than a "cheap" SCSI Drive, let alone the drive and controller (if you have the room for 2 more drives!). I'm not arguing IDE over SCSI if you can afford it. SCSI RAID would be the cat's meow!

See Tom's IDE RAID review:
<A HREF="http://www6.tomshardware.com/storage/00q1/000329/" target="_new">http://www6.tomshardware.com/storage/00q1/000329/</A>
and his review of some new drives:
<A HREF="http://www6.tomshardware.com/storage/01q1/010129/" target="_new">http://www6.tomshardware.com/storage/01q1/010129/</A>

BW

the more I learn, the less I'm sure I know... :eek:
 

beans

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BW -

Thanks for the references. I had seen the disk review but not the one on the FastTrak.

Like the other IDE RAID solutions I've seen, this one seems to be in software.

One problem is I really don't know whether the bottleneck (in EverQuest zoning) is the CPU or the disk. I think they are both getting hit hard, but if it's the CPU, and if IDE RAID takes more processing support than ordinary IDE, it could make things worse.

Do you know of any IDE RAID that would reduce the load on the CPU like SCSI would?


beans
 
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adaptec makes an udma/ata66 raid card that performs the raid functions in hardware for about $350. there's another company that makes one too, but i forget who. the price was about the same though.
 

RamaV

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I could throw in a bunch of stuff ive picked up over the past days..weeks..months hehe.. shopping and talking here about whether to go SCSI or IDE for next sys.
Instead, ill get to one point then others later (G)

Beans, for info about the Promise RAID cards, SuperTrak and FastTrak, after much searching, heres one of the few real reviews ive found: <A HREF="http://www.ebabble.net/Projects/RAID/raid.html" target="_new">http://www.ebabble.net/Projects/RAID/raid.html</A>

For IDE Raid, doesnt look like Promise can be beat, and the numbers are prety impressive. (althought the benchmarks at that site i think were designed only to be read by the uber-geeks out there, and im a lowly standard geek hehe) As youll see, the one thing that confused me is that the SuperTrak with the onboard CPU actually scored worse than the FastTrak which does not.
Well enjoy the read, hope it helps. When im less exhausted, ill prob come back and regale you with my tale of woe reaserchiing this all hehehe.

Rama

" He who (BLEEPS) nuns, will later join the church " Joe Strummer, The Clash - "Death or Glory"
 

RamaV

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PS: to clarify, Promise makes 2 IDE RAID cards (worth bringing up)
The FastTrak is a mostly software RAID controller.
The SuperTrak is a more true RAID controller, with onboard RISC CPU, shipped with 16 megs of RAM, which you can UG to,i think it was 164 So your concerns about CPU usage can definately be addressed. Like i said tho, after reading the review i mentioned above, it was odd that in RAID 0, FastTrak scored better (not in CPU usage, but overall). Im guessing you will most likely use RAID 0 (as will I) if you go with RAID.

As for the skinny on my search, the short version is: i still cant decide~! Right now, leaning back towards SCSI..but it seems ill probably drive myself absolutely nuts before i ever decide. Right now im thinking a pair of Altas 10K II`s or the new Fujitsu MAJ`s Tom recently reviewed, and a SCSI RAID controller that isnt priced in the stratosphere, but still delivers dual 160 channels.
(and i asked Santa for a bright shiny red bike too~!)

Rama

" He who (BLEEPS) nuns, will later join the church " Joe Strummer, The Clash - "Death or Glory"
 

beans

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Rama -

Thanks for the pointer to the Promise cards. I went to their web site and had a look, but IDE RAID still doesn't seem to be a better solution than SCSI. Here's the way it looks to me:

Promise FastTrak is software RAID, so that just doesn't work for my application. I think I have to get some load off the CPU to make a real improvement.

Assuming SuperTrak100 does offload I/O from the CPU as Promise claims, the card costs $419. (To be consistent, all prices quoted here are from buy.com.) And, I would have to get at least two disks and stripe them to get any better disk performance than ordinary IDE. The smallest IBM 75GXP is 15 GB, costs $128, or 2 for $256. So, total hardware IDE RAID cost is $675.

I can get the Adaptec 29160, a more-than-adequate SCSI controller, for $270. A Quantum Atlas 10K rpm SCSI drive, 18 GB, is $337. That totals $607, which to me looks like a better solution for less money. If I go with the very adequate Adaptec 19160 at $216, I'm at $553.


What do you think? Did I miss something here?


beans
 

RamaV

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Nope, sounds like youve come to the same conclusion its taken me months to come to hehehe.

One note tho, the 29160 is a SCSI controller card, not a SCSI RAID card. Also, im thinking of either the Quantum Atlas 10K II`s, or even more likely the Fujitsu MAJ`s for mine. Tom did a recent review, and the MAJ came out real nice in speeds, as well as heat and sound, which is a real factor in SCSI.

Youll see i recently posted a request for help in just this: suggestions on SCSI RAID controller cards. Hehe you think the SuperTrak is bad (i got a price quote direct from promise for $323), someone mentioned the Mylax 3000 SCSI RAID.....that goes for about $1500 hehehehe....so im now lookin for SCSI RAIDs...reasonably priced, and my first criteria is it should be dual channel 160. Id say, look around, and if ya find a good/reasonably priced one let me know~! Also, keep an eye on my post: Lookin for SCSI RAID card.

Rama

" He who (BLEEPS) nuns, will later join the church " Joe Strummer, The Clash - "Death or Glory"
 

RamaV

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Just after i posted, realized that you may be thinking about what i was aways back, and from what ive read heres what ive heard: an IDE RAID 0 will get you about the same speed as a SCSI drive by itself. SCSI RAID will always beat an IDE RAID, but choosing 1 SCSI drive over an IDE RAID isnt the same. With an IDE RAID youll get equal speed (from what ive read) and youll get WAY more space of course.
For $185 each, you can buy an IBM 45 GIG, plus $323 for the SuperTrak (and the FastTrak is ALOT cheaper, although i know your concerns there, but you may wanna look into it more..if the RAID0 scores really were better than the SuperTraks...which strikes me as odd as well) And you get a total of about $700 for 90 gigs, VS $550-600 for 18 GIGS. In that scenario, your talking like $1.40 per gig for 70 gigs, PRETTY CHEAP~!
Hehehe, sorry to complicate this for you, now you know why ive been drivin myself batty over this (G) But i do hope this helps.
Heres the link where i saw the IBM 75GXP 45gig for $185: <A HREF="http://www.accubyte.com/HardDrives/IBM-UDMA.htm#45GB UDMA-100 7200RPM" target="_new">http://www.accubyte.com/HardDrives/IBM-UDMA.htm#45GB UDMA-100 7200RPM</A>
Ill try to find the link for the review i read comparing an IDE RAID array VS a single SCSI.

Rama

" He who (BLEEPS) nuns, will later join the church " Joe Strummer, The Clash - "Death or Glory"
 
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Guys, I will try and put this thing to rest. The ATA100 7200 RPM drives are as fast or faster than the same rotational speed SCSI drives in a head to head comparo. Where the SCSI will shine is in the RAID array configuration with lots of transactions. The way I would go if you must have flat out performance is with 2 15KRPM SCSI IBM drives and the Atto RAID card. Yes it is software RAID but raid0 will not load your CPU enough to even notice it since it is built into the SCSI BIOS drivers. The Atto firmware based RAID performed twice as good as the true hardware based solution by Adaptec. On the cheaper side there are the IBM 75??? 7200 RPM drives that haul ass and a Promise hardware RAID card can be found for much less than at Buy.com and if I didn't have so much invested in SCSI thats where I might be a little more inclined to spend my money since the performance is damm good and you get allot more space for the money.

Mike
 

beans

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Rama -

Agreed on the 29160 - but I wasn't even looking at SCSI RAID. No way I can afford two quality SCSI drives and a RAID controller.


I also agree with you on the space issue, in general, but for this application 18G is way more than enough. Having 90G would be like having a 6-car garage and 2 cars. Mrs. beans would either have a lot of empty space or 4 cars' worth of junk to sort through some day.

Besides, I can always add an IDE drive for backup storage if necessary -- I doubt there would ever be a need for more than 18G on the fast one.


If you or anyone knows how much IDE loads the CPU, I'd sure like to know.

Tom says (January 29, 2001 -- A Look At SCSI-Performance: Fujitsu MAJ3364MC U160-SCSI) "IDE is using the system processor for most actions. That usually slows down Windows considerably when the disk subsystem is under intense load." Elsewhere I read that bus-mastering UDMA doesn't use the CPU much. Which is right?

I'd also like to know what EverQuest is doing in those zoning operations.


beans
 

beans

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Mike -

I'm sure you're right on "same rotational speed SCSI...", but there's a lot of 10K SCSI's out there, even 15K's, and IDE's seem to stop at 7200. That's where the IBM 75GXP's are, and they are supposed to be the best IDE drives.


On the Atto software RAID, I don't follow you on the CPU loading. Seems to me the CPU still has to execute the code, even if it does reside in the BIOS.

On the Atto, and comparing it to Adaptec, can you point me to more information?


beans
 
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Try the following link <http://www.athlonmb.com/> for the review of the 2 SCSI RAID cards.

As to the software it is really easy for the SCSI BIOS to implement RAID, all it has to do is flip back and forth between the two drives after the block is transfered. There is not really much overhead there at all since there is no parity data being generated, stored, and checked as far as RAID is concerned. The new ATA 7200 RPM drives will wpool out data as fast as the 15K SCSI drives now where they fall way behind is in the access times and in command queing of I/O requests. For large sequential data transfers like your talking of I would go ATA, I can't believe I just said that being the total SCSI fanatic but in this case I think ATA is the better route.

Mike
 

beans

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Mike -

Are you talking about the Atto ExpressPCI RAID card? If so, it has an I/O processor on it.


Re data rates, Tom says somewhere* that the best IDE's put out 30 MB/Sec sustained. I looked up a 10K Quantum Atlas last night and I think it said 43MB/Sec max. That fits with the rpm ratio.

But, if you are saying that 2 striped 7200's at 30 MB/Sec could be faster than that single SCSI, I think that's right. In theory you can multiply the rate of the slowest drive by the number of drives in a striped array to get the total data rate.** If so, that's 60 for IDE vs 43 for SCSI -- in sustained transfers.


Unfortunately, re "...large sequential data transfers like you're talking..." -- I don't think that's necessarily the case. EverQuest is always patching, patching, patching, and just listening to the drive I wouldn't be surprised if it's more hash than steak by now. Trouble is, I don't really know. I assume the data's condensed in some way and the CPU has to expand it to build the zone in playable form, but that's just another guess.


So, as of right now I don't have any idea which way to go. I think the SCSI would be better for hash, and IDE RAID -- even software RAID with a fast enough CPU -- for steak. What do you think?


beans



* March 29, 2000
- Fast and Inexpensive - Promise's FastTrak66 IDE RAID-Controller
** same
 
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just want to expend any info that i can on the subject even if its not much more than what's already been said. first the atto expressPCI RAID card is not a true hardware raid solution here's some info on it.

http://www.attotech.com/skits.html

but it is supposed to be good. also i don't know who said it, but 18GB scsi drives do not go for $500. the fastest 18GB drive can be found on pricewatch for $360 (3.9ms seek time 37-49MB/s i/o), while normal 10k drives are about $280 (5.2ms 26-40MB/s). although they aren't available yet, but have been anounced and should be available soon. seagate is coming out with a 36 and 73GB (10k) drives that can transfer over 60MB/s (2 x 30) and the 36GB ibm 15000rpm drive claims over 80MB/s.

$330 IDE RAID + $290 2 ibm 7200rpm drives = $620 for ~7.8ms 60MB/s.

$150 SCSI card +$360 15k drive = $510 for 3.9ms 50MB/s

or $320 SCSI RAID (1ch) (ATTO) + $560 for 2 10k (seagate) drives = $880 5.2ms 80MB/s.

in the next couple of weeks these numbers taking large leaps on the scsi side, while i don't think the ide drives will scale as quickly, but the cost will be higher too.

Also with scsi you get true multitasking if you are running NT or W2K, which i think is easily overlooked but bugs me quite a bit when working on a system with ide drives. If I had the cash and didn't need tons of space i would go scsi. ide can not touch scsi's perfomance even for the price, but can offer lots more space. not really sure who this benefits but hope someone does.
 
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>>$330 IDE RAID + $290 2 ibm 7200rpm drives = $620 for ~7.8ms 60MB/s.<<

just stay away from the Supertrak 100 for 2 drive RAID 0 arrays..(personally I'd stay away from all hardware RAID controllers for that array EVEN Scsi) it's got some limitations (probably due to the processor used on board) beyond the ones imposed by the cache.

>>or $320 SCSI RAID (1ch) (ATTO) + $560 for 2 10k (seagate) drives = $880 5.2ms 80MB/s.<<

Are you saying the ATTO is a single channel board? It's a dual channel card. It better be for that price. As the reviews from the previously mentioned site amdmb.com show RAID 0 does pretty good for RAID 0 two drive array even compared to the best SCSI hardware RAID controllers it still does really well.

So I'd just rule out hardware RAID for both IDE and SCSI. I mean even if they improve it to where you see benefit over software RAID controllers it doesn't scale. So within 1-2 years you're gonna have an expensive piece of hardware that doesn't perform quite so well anymore.


***check the jumpers 1st then check em again***
 
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Read the review of the new ATA drives by IBM and Fujitsu, they both put out almost 40MB/sec for sustaind transfers at the slowest areas of the drive.

If everquest is chatty then the SCSI RAID is the way to go, much better handeling of the read and write commands due to command queing. Hardware RAID does scale, if it didn't servers would use something else, they don't. For the money the Atto RAID controler is the way to go, also look at the next generation of 15K SCSI drives coming out of Seagate in the next couple of monthes, they look to be real scorchers in both transfer rates, access times, and I/Os per second.

Mike
 
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<<Hardware RAID does scale<<
Really? How well can it scale when the processor on board handling the IO on the controller runs at the same frequency regardless of the rest of the system? Some but very little..

>>if it didn't servers would use something else, they don't.<<

That's not true.. There's lots of reasons for server systems to use hardware besides whether it scales. Handling many discs with "MULTIPLE" controllers in a RAID array that is not supported by the OS. Even for RAID 5 which is supported in a lot of software modes would severly tax a system in software RAID with many drives compared to a array that was handled by multiple controllers. But that is a far cry from a two drive RAID 0 array, which most systems today can easily handle the IO of that without blinking and will dramatically increase it's ability as system speed increases to the point of the drives' limitations.

Which again is why I say, leave the IDE hardware RAID controllers to those who want cheap RAID 5, and the SCSI RAID controllers for those who want to build more complex and expensive RAID arrays.


***check the jumpers 1st then check em again***
 

beans

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Mike -

I read what I think are the reviews you were talking about, but they say:

"Within the first 2 gigabytes, the DTLA drive is able to provide a read data transfer rate of over 35 Mbytes/s. At 50% of the drive capacity, it is still approximately 28 MBytes/s. " (Fastest IDE Hard Drive Ever: IBM Deskstar 75GXP -- August 21, 2000)

In the review "New IDE Hard Drives at 20 GB per Platter..." (January 2, 2001) there's a data transfer comparison that shows the IBM drive still the fastest.


I'm with you on scalability of SCSI hardware RAID. I've seen it in action, and it works. I've also seen the difference drive rpm makes (Network Administrator was offered some bigger but slower drives and made a bad choice.)


Regarding the Atto being software RAID, you and DiSilentio are right. Certainly the RAID part is in software. There are both single and dual-channel versions of the cards.


For right now, though, SCSI RAID is too expensive for playing EverQuest. I would really like to know what EverQuest is doing when the player zones. Anybody out there know???


beans
 

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