HDD Killers

Bragging Rights

Posted on Thursday 14 September 2006

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, there are a couple of reasons for that. It seems that there is a trend away from blogging sites, people losing interest in them, and as such my site didn’t get many comments on entries any more. As a result of that, I started to lose interest in writing for the site.

However, there’s something that I never lose interest in, and it’s the reason for making this post. As you may have already guessed from the title, it’s bragging. 😉

I recently dropped some cash on upgrading my computer, yeah, I know I’ve only got an AGP system, but WHAT an AGP system. So what did I buy? I’m glad you asked, here’s a list:

  • G.Skill ZX 2GB (2x1GB) DDR 400 2-3-2-5 dual channel kit
  • Gainward BLISS GeForce 7800 GS+ Silent 512MB GDDR3
  • Belkin 1200VA Universal Series UPS
  • Western Digital Raptor X 150GB 10,000RPM

Now, for those of you who don’t speak geek, let me translate all that for you. That’s a large amount of very low latency RAM, and it’s completely awesome. That is THE best AGP graphics card on the planet, I can run Quake 4 on Ultra quality at a resolution of 1600×1200 flawlessly. The uninteruptable power supply (UPS) can power my entire room for an hour in the event of a power cut, I was playing on Quake 4 earlier and I turned the power off at the wall, the game continued on without missing a beat.

And finally, the piece de resistance, the Western Digital Raptor X, THE fastest SATA hard drive on the planet, and it has a WINDOW in it!!! And I have two of these drives in RAID-0, which gives me even better performance than a single drive.

And now for a funny UPS related story, here is a conversation between me and my dad.

Dad: Someone at work unplugged our backup server the other day.
Me: Did the UPS step in OK?
Dad: No, it had a faulty battery.
Me: Ouch, at least it was only the backup server though.
Dad: Yeah, as soon as it powered up again it caught up.
Me: Why did he unplug a server?
Dad: ‘Cause he’s a nob.


    Monday 18th September 2006 | 2:36 pm
    Daniel's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Your dad sounds pretty 1337. Mine is pretty g3h. You’re lucky to have such a 1337 family.

    Thursday 21st September 2006 | 3:20 pm
    David Brent's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Sounds good – the Raptors are awesome. My PC spec as of now:

    AMD 4400+ X2 (dual core) @ 2.65Ghz (default is 2.2Ghz)
    ASUS A8N-E
    1.5GB of-soon-to-be-upgraded RAM
    320Gb Seagate Barracude 7200.10 (best latest release SATA HDD)
    250Gb Maxt0r SATA HDD
    Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard
    Logitech G5 Gaming Mouse

    Dual 17″ Dell Monitors
    80Gb Maxtor IDE HDD (for Vista)

    Thursday 21st September 2006 | 5:06 pm
    David's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Pretty nice system you got there. I’m a little confused though, how come you went for an nVidia chipset, but an ATi graphics card? And there’s only 1 PCIe 16x lane on that board. To be able to run a crossfire setup at a later date, you’d have to get an entirely new motherboard.

    Here’s my complete system spec:

    AMD Athlon 64 3200+
    ASUS K8N-E Deluxe
    G.Skill ZX 2*1024MiB PC3200 2-3-2-5
    Gainward GeForce 7800 GS+ 512MiB
    Seasonic S12 600W
    Creative Audigy 2 ZS
    80GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 ATA-133
    160GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 SATA-150
    2 * 150GB WD Raptor X SATA-150 in RAID-0

    And it’s all contained inside a very quiet case with anti-vibration hard drive mounts and sound deadening panels.

    Logitech Media Keyboard Elite
    Logitech MX510 Mouse
    Dell Ultrasharp 2001FP 20.1″ LCD Monitor

    Saturday 23rd September 2006 | 2:15 am
    David Brent's Globally Recognised Avatar

    I always get asked that! Basically I prefer the nVidia chipset motherboards but I prefer ATI GFX cards as a whlole – it’s a long standing tradition.

    I’m also not planning to run Crossfire on this current system as when I next break the bank, it will most likely be for an Intel Core2Duo (Conroe) system. That would mean new CPU (obviously 😛 ) – new mobo and most likely a new heatsink.

    Still happy with my S12 though – it’s a super PSU – I just wish it was moduler so I didn’t have so many cables running around inside my old coolermaster case.

    I’m thinking about treating myself to a new case soon – maybe one of the uppermarket Lian Li models.

    Played on the Raptors! Have you got them in RAID-0?

    Saturday 23rd September 2006 | 2:15 am
    David Brent's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Oops ignore me, I’ve just read your spec again. How are you finding the Raptors in RAID-0?

    Saturday 23rd September 2006 | 5:24 am
    David's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Yeah, the S12 is nice, it’s quiet too, always stays on the lowest fan speed ’cause my system doesn’t tax it very much. I’m actually glad it’s not modular though. A modular PSU means that the cable runs to the componants have an extra contact to make, which means more resistance, then as the current draw on the lines goes up, there is more and more power loss because of the extra connections.

    And yeah, the performance of the Raptors in RAID-0 is fairly uber. 😀 The loading time for Windows is way down and loading save games is much quicker too. However it seems that my Silicon Image SATA/RAID controller on the motherboard is connected through the PCI bus, so performance tops out at around 110 MB/s, but the graph is somewhat odd. I’ll show you what I mean.

    Single Raptor X
    Two Raptor X In RAID-0

    Just take a look at that second graph, and it’s the same every time I run the test. Bizarre.

    So while performance is slightly limited, an average read of just over 100 MB/s at any point in the array makes for VERY snappy load times, definately worth the money!

    When I upgrade to Conroe, I think I may get two more Raptor X’s and run them all in RAID-5 for a further performance increase and added reliability.

    Stephen Philbin
    Monday 25th September 2006 | 10:05 pm
    Stephen Philbin's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Good to see you’re blogging again. 😀 No idea what all that stuff means, but it sounds good. I would post my specs too, but I don’t really know much about my computer. Well… I’m reliably informed that it’s crap, but that’s about it.

    Monday 25th September 2006 | 11:20 pm
    David's Globally Recognised Avatar

    It means my PC is shit hot. 😉

    And it’s about to get shit hotter. I just “accidentally” ordered two more Raptor X’s, RAID-5 anyone? 😀

    And a Corsair Flash Voyager 8GB pendrive

    And a Netgear 8 port gigabit switch

    And a Logitech Precision Gaming Headset. 😀

    Sunday 1st October 2006 | 8:41 am
    David's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Well, it turns out that my motherboard’s onboard RAID controller doesn’t support RAID-5, so therefore I’m currently running in RAID-0 mode. There’s nothing on here that I need redundancy for, and Raptor drives are known to fail approximately once every never, however I would still prefer a RAID-5 setup. When I upgrade to Conroe I’ll use a RAID-5 setup, but until then I’ll just bask in the extra 150GB I have but don’t even need. 😀

    I’ve divided the array up into three partitions, a 27GB partition for Windows, a 3GB partition for the page file and the rest for installing games to. Here’s a screen shot of the properties for that last partition (the E: drive), it currently only has Steam with Half Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source on it.

    E: Drive, over half a terabyte in size.

    That’s right, it’s over half a terabyte people. 😀

    Saturday 6th January 2007 | 10:07 pm
    Nick's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Hey there – linked over to your website…

    Your systems nice and all, but you don’t have a quadcore system yet tho right? and my two GX2s are sitting here powering my nice linux desktop.

    Saturday 6th January 2007 | 11:07 pm
    David's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Hmm, well I guess I’d have to say, “blow me”.

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