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This is a discussion on hdd and gaming within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. How important is the speed and cache of the hdd when it comes to gaming performance?


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Old 06-12-2011, 10:47 PM   #1
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How important is the speed and cache of the hdd when it comes to gaming performance?

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Old 06-13-2011, 01:53 AM   #2
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Very important

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Old 06-13-2011, 05:09 AM   #3
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If your looking for better performance in your games get a couple of 1 terabyte drives and set them up in raid 0. I say 1 terabyte because they usually come with 32mg cache. This will greatly increase your performance but will also require a OS reinstall. Setting up a raid array is a simple process but you should read up on how to do it properly. Your overall performance will increase and loading times will be cut almost in half. If you were considering a WD raptor it will in crease your performance but not worth the money for a raid array. I have 2 raptors and the performance gain in raid is not worth the extra cash. 2 WD 1 terabyte drives will give you a windows rating of 6.0, 2 raptors give you a rating of 6.1. Not worth the extra money in my opinion. Another option would be an SSD. If you do than get an Intel X25M series. Here is a u tube video on the difference between a raptor and an Intel SSD.
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Old 06-13-2011, 07:17 AM   #4
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There is always a third option, but I'm not talking exactly cheap here. You can get PCI based devices that holds a battery and RAM chips, and use the RAM as storage (with battery to retain the data). I most certainly wouldn't trust it entirely to keep your data safe, but the performance can be incredibly high (I assume). I would tell you more, but I am having a hard time finding many products, or even some performance figures.

Here is a link to give you an idea: Gigabyte's i-RAM storage device - The Tech Report - Page 1
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Old 06-13-2011, 07:19 AM   #5
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Hold on, besides the loading screen, and if you are heading into page file / virtual memory territory, how exactly is getting a better storage device going to help? I would focus more on the CPU/GPU, and maybe even the RAM, since they are all parts that will have demand put onto them the most when you are playing your game.
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Old 06-13-2011, 02:57 PM   #6
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thanks. im gonna go for the wd caviar black in raid.
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:30 AM   #7
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I would avoid RAID 0.
While the benchmarks are often impressive this rarely translates to much improvement under real-world conditions.

RAID 0 has some disadvantages:

1. Greater complexity in configuration and troubleshooting.
2. Reduced reliability. If one drive in a RAID 0 array fails you lose all data, and since you have at least 2 drives that is more likely to happen. Be sure you always have a backup of important data. Fail to do this and you will be sorry.
3. Data recovery is much more complex.

If you go with RAID 0 be sure you understand the implications.
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMiller7 View Post
I would avoid RAID 0.
While the benchmarks are often impressive this rarely translates to much improvement under real-world conditions.

RAID 0 has some disadvantages:

1. Greater complexity in configuration and troubleshooting.
2. Reduced reliability. If one drive in a RAID 0 array fails you lose all data, and since you have at least 2 drives that is more likely to happen. Be sure you always have a backup of important data. Fail to do this and you will be sorry.
3. Data recovery is much more complex.

If you go with RAID 0 be sure you understand the implications.
So I used to think. Yes there is a chance of data loss but it is very rare. One thing I should have mentioned is you should have an extra drive for data storage in case a drive fails, but how often does a drive fail. Chances are you will replace your computer before that happens. There is nothing complex in configuring or trouble shooting a raid array. Even if your a complete noob this is not complicated and trouble shooting is no different than a single drive. If you are a gamer this is the way to go and in win 7 it's easy as pie. Almost every gamer i know runs raid 0. There is no chance of data loss just because your game crashes.
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_JWLH View Post
There is always a third option, but I'm not talking exactly cheap here. You can get PCI based devices that holds a battery and RAM chips, and use the RAM as storage (with battery to retain the data). I most certainly wouldn't trust it entirely to keep your data safe, but the performance can be incredibly high (I assume). I would tell you more, but I am having a hard time finding many products, or even some performance figures.

Here is a link to give you an idea: Gigabyte's i-RAM storage device - The Tech Report - Page 1
Yes this would be a nice solution, another even better is called ram drive. If you have a board that can hold 24 gigs of ram this is a nicer solution but a very expensive one. If I could afford to spend 5-600 on ram I would do this myself.
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:51 PM   #10
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I stand by my comments.
If you understand RAID 0 and feel that this is the way to go, fine. But this forum has many stories of people who want to use RAID 0 who have no real idea of what it is or it's implications. They have endless problems in configuration, and worse, have no idea of what to do when a drive or motherboard fails. And they do fail, often without warning or apparent reason. For the majority of people who have never made a backup a hard drive failure is a very traumatic experience. RAID 0 make it worse. RAID 0 makes it even more important to have a backup of important data. But few people do.

My comments were largely meant for the majority who will read them, and their understanding of RAID is very limited.
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:59 PM   #11
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If you are really wanting to increase load times in games you could always go down the route of SSD (Sold State Drives) you can pick one up now for about £65 and that will give you 40GB of storage, May not be much but if you use it like i do for RIFT, WoW then you can load into an area much much faster.

Just another option, and yes take LMiller7's warnings about RAID0 config
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMiller7 View Post
I would avoid RAID 0.
While the benchmarks are often impressive this rarely translates to much improvement under real-world conditions.

RAID 0 has some disadvantages:

1. Greater complexity in configuration and troubleshooting.
2. Reduced reliability. If one drive in a RAID 0 array fails you lose all data, and since you have at least 2 drives that is more likely to happen. Be sure you always have a backup of important data. Fail to do this and you will be sorry.
3. Data recovery is much more complex.

If you go with RAID 0 be sure you understand the implications.
I have to admit I really don't get this way of thinking. Here is the way I look at it. Running 2 or more drives in raid0 means the workload is distributed over 2 or more drives hence each drive has less workload, in return your drives last longer. How is it more risky using raid then? If one drive has to work harder there is a better chance of a single drive failing then there is in a raid array. If that single drive fails you still lose all your data. I don't get how a single drive is the better option. And when a gamer, benchmarking is real-world conditions. No I don't suggest the average user use a raid array as they will see little performance gain for the extra $, but for gaming it is a better option.
I am also curios, how there is a better chance of one drive failing just because it's in an array. No offense but that makes no sense to me.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:52 AM   #13
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We see at least one raid0 per week come through the lab for recovery. Often not due to physical failure, but corruption. Raid0 is viable IF you maintain a backup of critical data. If the data is not something you need , then for the speed within it's applications it is fine - however peole tend to use the raid for all their storage, including important docs, pics etc. Recovery from a single drive is easier and cheaper if you have to get that data back. As far as HD failure rates? We get a ton of drives less than a year old that have failed.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:00 AM   #14
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Whilst RAID options can be good you have to be aware that when it goes wrong you could be totally screwed especially with raid 0. I would only use raid for systems that I was using a virtual server or workstation not as gaming system

As Lmiller said if you want to speed up gaming performance you are btter to focus on cpu, gpu and ram.

There are certain cpus which work better with some motherboards, some graphics cards and some dimms. If your building a pc doing extensive research on the parts is a must then you should have no really issues.

Look at my sytsem under my name. All thoses parts took a lot of research and reviewing and my system still does very well in every game I play including games that are so-called system killers like crysis. In crysis my system averages 65FPS.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:08 AM   #15
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I have been using a raid array since XP came out, never had that problem. I also repair computers and know quite a few people who use raid0 and never have that problem. As I said earlier, a separate drive or partition for storage is always the better option but is still not fail proof.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:36 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenbrucelee View Post
Whilst RAID options can be good you have to be aware that when it goes wrong you could be totally screwed especially with raid 0. I would only use raid for systems that I was using a virtual server or workstation not as gaming system

As Lmiller said if you want to speed up gaming performance you are btter to focus on cpu, gpu and ram.

There are certain cpus which work better with some motherboards, some graphics cards and some dimms. If your building a pc doing extensive research on the parts is a must then you should have no really issues.

Look at my sytsem under my name. All thoses parts took a lot of research and reviewing and my system still does very well in every game I play including games that are so-called system killers like crysis. In crysis my system averages 65FPS.
Doing research before building a system in my opinion is a must but, you clock your CPU at 4 gig which means you spent at least $200- $300 on your cooling. In my opinion you should have spent the extra cash on the Q9650 and clocked it at 3.6 which is more power than you will use at this point in the game and you don't need to go over board on the cooling (as the stock cooler will do just fine). Depending of course when you bought it as the quad at one point was around $400 more when they first came out. I also run a system almost the same as yours, only major difference being the video card (ATI 4850) and no overclocking,with Crysis average frame rates are 55. This also runs a raid0 array. Let me ask you something, did anybody ever tell you overclocking was risky, did you listen? Or did you say I will find out for my self, and found out it's not that risky as long as you do your research. Even though it's not in my sig I have a 1ter drive for storage as my array is for programs only and would do this whether i am running raid0 or not.
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:08 PM   #17
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Doing research before building a system in my opinion is a must but, you clock your CPU at 4 gig which means you spent at least $200- $300 on your cooling. In my opinion you should have spent the extra cash on the Q9650 and clocked it at 3.6 which is more power than you will use at this point in the game and you don't need to go over board on the cooling (as the stock cooler will do just fine). Depending of course when you bought it as the quad at one point was around $400 more when they first came out. I also run a system almost the same as yours, only major difference being the video card (ATI 4850) and no overclocking,with Crysis average frame rates are 55. This also runs a raid0 array. Let me ask you something, did anybody ever tell you overclocking was risky, did you listen? Or did you say I will find out for my self, and found out it's not that risky as long as you do your research. Even though it's not in my sig I have a 1ter drive for storage as my array is for programs only and would do this whether i am running raid0 or not.
Actually I spent £100 on the case and £30 for the cooler my temps at max never go above 52 degrees in winter and 58 in summer. I have built systems for many years (16 to be exact) and entered and won many overclocking competitions I know all about the risks of overclocking although I have never destroyed a system yet. My CPU is G0 stepping one which is designed for overclocking. My systems was built with gaming in mind and since no game can use more than two cores (well at the time anyhow) I had no need in a 4 core cpu. I could have clocked it higher but I would have had to invest in better cooling but 4GHz is fine for me.

If I remember correctly my whole system at the time cost £1100 I built it in 2006/7 cant remember exactly.
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:18 PM   #18
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Actually I spent £100 on the case and £30 for the cooler my temps at max never go above 52 degrees in winter and 58 in summer. I have built systems for many years (16 to be exact) and entered and won many overclocking competitions I know all about the risks of overclocking although I have never destroyed a system yet. My CPU is G0 stepping one which is designed for overclocking. My systems was built with gaming in mind and since no game can use more than two cores (well at the time anyhow) I had no need in a 4 core cpu. I could have clocked it higher but I would have had to invest in better cooling but 4GHz is fine for me.

If I remember correctly my whole system at the time cost £1100 I built it in 2006/7 cant remember exactly.
Not that I am trying to argue but #1 there are games that use 4 cores, Crysis 2 is one #2 your forgetting about the OS. Having a quad core leaves 2 cores free for games. I have a resource monitor that shows the usage of each thread.
I never insinuated overclocking was dangerous, just that I have heard the same BS about how dangerous overclocking is as you say raid0 is.
If that's all you paid for you system, well your in a different country, things are a little more expensive here, as almost everything is. A good water cooling system will run minimum 200 Canadian, which would be around 300£. My board, CPU and memory cost more than your whole system(not trying to brag just showing you price difference) My system cost 2500 total about 7 months ago. With my quad running 3.3, running games like Crysis 2 my CPU usage doesn't surpass 30 percent total usage. And buy the way Ive been building systems for over 20 yrs and I've built too many to count.
Just a little note, with today's systems any noob could build one,(no offense intended) there is nothing complicated about it anymore. Much easier than 20 years ago. Same with overclocking. All you have to do is use the XMP profiles in your memory and it automatically ups your processor speed and FSB to match. Takes less than a minute with the same results. I know you do it the old way and takes more knowledge but that knowledge is no longer needed for basic overclocking.
A little tid bit games are not the only programs that use more than 2 cores. ConverX to DVD uses all 8 threads in my i7. My system will convert an avi file and burn to dvd in less than 15 minutes(burning at 4x). Converting and burning an mkv (720p)to dvd takes about 25 min. And considering it doesn't surpass 50% usage overclocking any more doesn't make sense for real world applications.
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:36 AM   #19
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There are now games that use multiple cores but there wasn't when I built my system apart from 1 or two. Actually the UK and Europe are more expensive than the US although I am not sure about Canada but I would expect we are.

Yep you can overclock using turbo boost etc but you still get better results doing it properly.

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