Fastest HDD for Desktop PC

6 replies
Found 3rd Aug 2007
Hi everyone, been reading the forum for a while and it rocks!
Thanks to everyone who's made this site so great - I now visit almost everyday!

Anyways a request for those more techie than me...

I run some database apps on my pc (I have a few little apps using sql I built for my pc) and the HDD speed is really slowing me down.

It's time for me to upgrade and i've been looking at SSD (Solid State Disks for the unitiated) but everything i've seen seems to be for laptops.

When you consider that I only really need 32GB (I could probably get away with 16GB) but would obviously prefer bigger

... If i've got max of £400 to spend, where do I go ...

I've seen the 10k WD Raptors for about £60, is that as fast as I can go using SATA ?

All comments welcome


What about Gigabyte's i-RAM??? not sure about 32GBs though

Some reviews here.

Using regular SATA you won't find faster the Raptor (as they are the only drives to spin at 10000rpm hence quickest access times). You could probably set up a decent RAID array with dedicated controller with your budget (I think the 74GB raptors are the fastest just IIRC (faster than 36GB & 150GB models).

Alternatively you might be able to afford a low end SCSI or SA-SCSI setup up (look to get 15,000rpm drives those these cost a pretty penny).

I'd ignore SSD just for now (maybe in a years time or so, when prices will have halved and performance doubled, but its still a bit too new/expensive at the moment).

Some more SSD's ]here

Original Poster

Thanks for the responses jah128 & the1c3man

the1c3man: I was initally very attracted the the i-ram drive, but even with RAID the maximum is only 8gb ... I need at least 16gb and unless anyone can find if this i-ram2 all the forums are talking about is out?

jah128: Thanks for the great info ... Strangely i've built many computers but steered clear of SCSI ... is it really as easy as buying the controller and HDD, set bios and away one goes?

Problem is its really designed for workstations/servers etc which tend to have different ports (most newer SCSI cards are PCI-X - not to be confused with pci express or standard PCI you'll likely have already).

What setup do you use at the moment?

If the data is non-critical you'll probably get best performance and value of a striped pair of raptor, which should cost under £200, then look perhaps to invest in SSD in a year or so. Really, SSD is such a new market and you will get much better performance in a year or so.

Original Poster

Current Set-up is a Dell optiplex 745 MT
XP Pro (Considering 64 bit as I have a licence)
Core 2 Duo E6600 (2.4ghz/1066/4MB)
2GB 667Mhz DDR2
160GB (far more than I need, SATA 3.0 Gb/s HDD 7,200RPM)
Mini Tower Case

2 x iram 1.3 standard and 8 gb of ram .. I figure would cost £460, but you are correct, a year would mean i-ram2 (16gb .. or maybe 32gb) lower prices and better reliability.

You say the database apps are pretty small, depending on what you are doing you could for example double the ram, run 64-bit windows and set up a 1GB+ ram drive (maps an area of your ram as a volatile hard disc) - a possible option to consider, though it very much depends on your apps.

Remember iram drives should also be considered volatile (yes that can have battery backup but I wouldn't use them for valuble or vital data). They are really an early example/niche example of a technology (memory based mass storage) that will grow massively in forthcoming years. Its a bit like I wouldn't buy a bluray or HD recorder just yet, as in a couple of years they will be well below £100 and no doubt far faster than current models, whereas a traditional HDD (or DVD recorder) is well established technology and improving at a very modest rate.

One final thing worth considering is raptors have a pretty good resale value (probably better than professional parts) so the investment on a couple of drives isn't that great. Mind you, some of the latest 7,200 rpm drives using perpendicular storage technologies (holding several hundred gb) outperform the raptors in many areas (throughput, not access times though where a faster spinning drive will always win).
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