Speedy system drive wanted

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Only in raw sustained throughput maybe, but how much do you need that?
My old Quantum Atlas V 7200rpm scsi drives are slower in raw sustained throughput than most modern IDE drives, yet under normal use they perform faster than most. Why? For starters, access and seek times of these drives are extremely lower than IDE drives, and as most reads are little bits scattered all over the drive, SCSI drives are done reading while IDE is still seeking (ok, lil over eggerated(sp))

IDE raid setups only make this worse, as although sustained throughput gets almost doubled, access/seek times usually double too to that of the single drive.
 

Ron_Jeremy

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Heaps of buffer in minimla size = scsi. Quantum & Seagate make "small" (9 Gig minimum) drives with 8Mb & 16Mb of cache repectively. Lots of cache = lots of cash.
 
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Preaching to the converted here, I don't own any ATA devices at all but the ATA devices do perform very good for a much smaller price. SCSI is for servers and power work stations and people that hate to wait like me and I will bet you as well. :>)

Mike
 
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What's your price range?????
If you got unlimited cash. Go for a Scsi Seagate X15.
Its is the fastest drive rightnow.
 

beans

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teryan -

There's an interesting comparison of that drive and the Quantum Atlas 10K II on www.gamepc.com, in their "In the Labs" section. GamePC sells both of these drives.

Overall, the Atlas did very well. It costs less and may be a better buy for most applications.


But, I won't go with SCSI at all unless I'm sure it will make a noticeable difference in MY application.


beans
 
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Take a look @ www.storagereview.com
They have a review their on the Promise Supertrak and the 3ware Escalade. These are both hardware based as compared to the Promise Supertrak, Highpoint 370, etc.

3ware completely smoked Promise, and they even get some good read performance increases for RAID 1.

The 3ware cards are about $130 @
http://www.elinux.com/cgi-bin/mgrqcgi?appname=Catalog&prgname=prodsummary&arguments=-a818449

You could probably get the card and two ATA drives for about the price of a single SCSI drive & controller.


In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.
 

beans

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ergeorge -

Thanks for the pointer to storagereview.com. I hadn't seen the site before and it looks like a very useful one. (Between broken Internet connection and broken automobile, I haven't been able to spend much time on it yet.)


IDE RAID solutions certainly would cost less than the SCSI drive/controller, especially by the gigabyte. There's some other questions, though:

1. IDE RAID's big potential advantage is doubling throughput in sustained transfers, but a busy 32-bit PCI bus might not have that much capacity available. And a game machine's bus is likely to be busy -- I saw something somewhere (can't find it now) that said what's left for disk transfers is about the capacity of one good IDE drive.

2. On fragmented files and other small transfers, performance may not be as good as a single IDE drive. In a 3/3 post on this thread, AfterBurn said that "...access/seek times usually double...that of the single drive." If that's true, it's a real killer.


I'm looking and hope to find more information on these issues -- any help will be welcomed.


beans
 
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Take a look at storagereview.com
I was very impressed by the thoroughness of their benchmarks on the ATA RAID cards. They performed benchmarks with various loading patterns (file-server, workstation, random access, sequential access, etc.), and load levels (light, medium, heavy).

I think the 3ware card suffered a little bit in the random access tests.

As far as PCI bus contention, they measured over 100MB/s across the PCI bus with a 4 disk RAID 0 array, so you probably have some headroom. But that's just my guess.
Eric


In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.
 

Pettytheft

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First of all how fast of a zone time are you looking to get?
This is a extreme method just to get a couple of seconds of your zoning times. Alot of it has to do with you connection. Not only do you have to load the zone from your hard disk but your also resynchronizing yourself with the server as you zone. When I switched from 56k to a cable modem my zone times were reduced. From what I've noticed it's a cross between connection, processer, hard disk, and mem speed. My zone times are around 10 seconds tops, and thats when entering a heavily crowded zone. I dont see how a raid config is going to make you zone in 2 seconds. Try the EQ message boards as well. Someone there might know exactly what you need.
 

beans

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ergeorge -

I'ts a huge review, very thorough as you say. All I've had time to do was scan parts of it and jump to the conclusion.

I think we agree it blows the SuperTrak away, though. The Escalade card's performance looks a lot better.


The PCI bus issue is this: Given a bus that's already busy - carrying audio, network traffic, etc., plus its own overhead, what's left for disk transfers? If it's 30 MB/sec, a single good IDE drive would use it all, and an IDE RAID would be completely wasted.

Perhaps the 100 MB/sec the reviewers achieved was on a system doing nothing else?


beans
 

beans

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Pettytheft -

"First of all how fast of a zone time are you looking to get?"

Mrs. beans would be absolutely thrilled with 2-second zoning. I'll bet anybody would.

Ten seconds would be really nice -- right now it's more like 20 or more, although I have never timed it. She has cable too.


"From what I've noticed it's a cross between connection, processer, hard disk, and mem speed."

I'm not sure how big a part the connection plays -- I thought it was more a matter of reading and expanding data that's already on the client. How much did changing to cable reduce your times?

No doubt the processor, disk, and memory are all heavily involved -- along with the bus. It's the mix I would like to understand better.


"I dont see how a raid config is going to make you zone in 2 seconds."

I'm afraid you're right. It's very complex, and there are many potential bottlenecks.


Thanks for your insights. I'll ask Mrs. beans to watch the EQ boards.


beans
 
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I just built my dad a computer with a Seagate 18.2G Cheetah drive and it is far faster than the 7200RPM ATA drive that I just installed in both a customers computer and my brothers computer. It is even much faster than my year and a half old Cheetah drive by a very large measure. ATA is OK but it is never going to get clost to SCSI in terms of over all performance.

Mike
 
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>>ATA is OK but it is never going to get clost to SCSI in terms of over all performance.<<

no in it's current state it won't.. and I use a couple of 10k SCSI drives.. but for most people who ask me is it worth the expensive price tag.. not just the overall price, but the price per gig and controller. I tell them they are better off sticking with ATA drives. I will continue to tell people that, even though I use SCSI drives that I know give me better overall system performance, because it is a subjective topic.

One person will try it and say yeap... this is definitely worth it such as yourself. Others will say.. no, I'd be fine with the 7200 ATA drives out there and happier that I didn't put forth the money. The only way you know is to judge for yourself by taking that plunge.

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

beans

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mike -

No doubt you're right in terms of raw performance, and also where the application can take advantage of a high-RPM SCSI drive.

What applications does your dad run where the Cheetah makes a significant difference?


I'm afraid mine doesn't match SCSI's strengths. It looks like a few sustained transfers are the biggest part of the disk's work, and SCSI's advantage there is less than it would be in a job having many small reads. The bottleneck could even be the bus instead of the drive.

Finally, even if the disk gets its piece done twice as fast, it may not make that much difference in the overall job, which loads the cpu and memory as well as the disk and bus.

Given those uncertainties, should I spend several hundred dollars more for the SCSI, or put the money in a high-quality audio system?


beans
 

phsstpok

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Here is another suggestion and it may be completely off the wall. (I am going a bit out of my element here).

Assuming your problem is related to disk issues, why not use gobs of memory as big RAM disk.

I think this would require you to be using Win2K because Windows 9x/ME has severe memory restrictions. Your mobo needs to be able to handle at least 3 DIMMS as well. 3 256mb DIMMS would be 768 mb of total memory. This would be enough to give you a 640 mb RAM disk with 128 mb to run the O/S plus application. 128 mb appears to be the minimum requirement for Everquest so should be OK in that area. The memory would cost you less than $300, Less than that if you already have one 256 mb module. (More memory would be better but 512 mb DIMMS are around $450). You'd also need software to setup up the RAM disk unless Win2K has that feature.

There would be some logistic problems. Moving the game to RAM disk and protecting dynamic data like character information comes to mind. You need a way to get the data back to hard disk so it is not lost in the event of a system crash.

I told you it would be off the wall.

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by phsstpok on 03/14/01 02:05 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
 

beans

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phsstpok -

I think it's a great idea, in concept.

My first impression is that it would be hard to do in less than a gig, maybe 2 gigs, although it might be possible with some very careful management and Win 2K (neither of which Mrs. beans would want to deal with, I think).


Solid-state disk is a similar approach that could provide the space and be easier to manage. Here's some links:

This discusses the concepts...
http://www.buymemory.com/ss-technology.htm


I had noticed the Quantum Rushmore some time ago, so went looking for prices...
http://www.megahaus.com/cgi-bin/GProductViewer.exe?RU5320F-YF

Three gig for 30 K$ ??? This won't do.


Here's another product...
http://webserver.cpg.com/np/5.7/np10.shtml

Not sure what they mean by "entry level," but something like this, only cheaper, might work...


Only thing I found that's affordable -
http://www.web-tronics.com/webtronics/ideflasdison.html

But, performance specs aren't really great and size is too limited.


Of course, all of these solid-state disk solutions would be limited by the PCI bus. Your RAM-disk would not -- it has potential.


beans
 

phsstpok

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Years ago I used to move DOS based games to RAM Disk when they were too slow from floppy but Everquest is a considerably more ambitious project.

I only have a couple more thoughts regarding this. Some RAM Disk software can compress data. This would make the 768 mb minimal configuration more viable. If that 640 mb were compressed to say 500 mb this would leave about 270 mb available for Win2K plus the application. If you want to get even more ambitious dual processing would be great for picking up all the overhead of the RAM Disk even if Everquest doesn't directly support dual processing.

Oh well, maybe somebody can make it work. I don't use Win2K nor Everquest. I also don't have an adequate system to experiment with this idea.

Have you checked with Technical Support for Everquest? Maybe they have some advanced performance tricks.
 

beans

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phsstpok -

What follows is based on over-the-shoulder observation and guesswork, because I don't play EverQuest myself. (I recall reading a review where the reviewer said he had just killed his 50,000th giant rat, and would like his life back, please.)


To me the game seems kind of quirky from a technical viewpoint. For one thing, they don't want other applications multi-tasked with it, apparently because some folks have hacked other on-line games and cheated that way. They have taken steps to prevent you from accessing other apps while the client is running, too.

Their tech support is OK when something's broken, but Mrs. beans doesn't think they are anxious to give advice on configurations or talk about how things work. They can be excused for being a bit paranoid, perhaps.

Some people do run the game on Win2K. I would like to do that so I could run PerfMon and see what's really going on with the hardware. People using Win2K seems to have more problems, though, and most run 95/98 and now ME. Mrs. beans runs 98 se.


So, I fear getting EQ to work with a RAM disk would be technically demanding, to say the least. It would be a very interesting project, but given my time constraints, budget, and limited expertise, it's more than I want to tackle.

I still think it's a great concept.


beans
 
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Actualy I am very much like you when I talk to people about the difference between SCSI and ATA and in about 80% of the cases I recomend the ATA drives instead of the SCSI. SCSI is by far, to me, the better solution over all but it is far to expensive for the general public to use on their sub $1000.00 PC.

Mike
 
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My father just has the money and wnated to have the best computer money could buy, worst part is he is new to the whole compuer thing and this is his first computer.

Off the top of my head I would be inclined to tell you to save your money and get a better sound card and speakers, that is unless you hate to wait even a couple of seconds then go SCSI.

Mike
 
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2pp, I have a dsl connection, not a great one, I get about 10 second zones. You can read my recent posts entitled "DMA-High Bench, Terrible Performance," but to sum it up, my drive benchmarks as UDMA 0 with Sandra, verrrry slow by todays standards. I have an Athlon 650 running to spec. Anyhow, it would seem that the hd isn't the bottleneck in my system (although who knows, if the drive was working, I'd be down to the mythical 2 sec zone). Now I'm curious, though, and I'll do some poking round. Beans, I'll be looking here for any info you dig up on the zone times, so please post em!

Erethmis strikes his hard drive for 75 points of damage.
Erethmis cheers!

12 monk tholuxe paells

Never cut what you can untie. -Joubert (1754-1824)
 

beans

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Mike -

Mrs. beans agrees. She decided to go with a Sound Blaster Live Platinum and Klipsch speakers. She's happy and I saved a few bucks, at least.


beans
 

beans

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haughki -

I haven't learned anything more, but your experience is certainly interesting.

I will continue to watch this thread, and if I learn anything more, I'll post it.

I hope Erethmis can res the drive!


beans
 

beans

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Ncogneto -


Actually I did talk about that, 'way back on Feb. 26, in a post on this very thread. Here's the key elements:

"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 is] rather slow on [her existing system] a PIII-500, Ultra ATA/66 setup with a good IBM drive.

"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..."


So basically the specs were "better than what she has, and must perform well in EverQuest." Beyond that we tried to avoid self-imposed constraints. I spent a lot of time on this forum, profited from the experiences and recommendations of others, looked at both AMD and Intel systems, and considered both building and buying.

The budget was whatever it took to meet the specs and keep Mrs. beans home from the mall -- the potential return on investment there actually made the other budget issues moot.


I say "was" because I'm sitting at Mrs. beans' new system as we virtually speak. We connected it to the 'net for the first time just a few hours ago, and this is my first post from it.

Our first impressions of this machine are good, but it's way too soon to say if we made all the right choices. There's a couple of issues to be ironed out, but we expected that. I don't want to say much more until everything is settled and Mrs. beans has had more time on EverQuest. Except, we did go with a straight IDE, IBM 75GXP setup (and the previously-mentioned Sound Blaster and Klipsch speakers).

That doesn't mean SCSI is out, either. It just means we were not satisfied at order time that it would make any significant difference is this application. We had that "little bit of knowledge" you mentioned. If that changes -- and we will keep looking at the question -- we may yet upgrade.

If we do, I can easily find a home for that IBM drive -- it's time for me to start thinking about a replacement for MY machine!


beans
 

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