Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,700 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Interesting article. All they did is take the 1.5TB drive and use the Seagate DOS disk utility to set the drive size to 300GB. The result is a drive much faster than the Western Digital Velociraptor. With the Seagate at just over half the price, this looks like it has potential. They even set the drive to 819GB, and the Seagate still outperformed the Velociraptor in most benchmarks. With the Seagate 1.5TB around $140 vs the WD 300MB Velociraptor running around $270, it seems like a no-brainer to me. Another plus is that you can reclaim the unused drive space later on if you wish to reformat and reset the drive.

If you put 2 or 3 of these modified drives into a RAID, your programs should be opening before you click on the icons!


Modifying the Seagate 1.5TB Hard Drive: Unleash the Hidden Performance Within
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
274 Posts
I read that before and it's very interesting (and logical) results. The people commenting on the article (at least when I read it) seem to think there is a trick being pulled on them by gaming the test software. Really, all this is doing is using only the innermost 1/5th of the disks resulting in a much higher effective RPM for the heads as they do not have to do long seeks on the outter portions of the drive so these results would carry over into real world use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
all this is doing is using only the innermost 1/5th of the disks
Actually you use the outermost tracks since you get the highest throughput there. BTW, this is nothing new at all - the practice is typically referred to as short-stroking and has been used in enterprise storage applications for literally decades (I work in the storage industry). However, the method used in the above article is very wasteful way to achieve that result. You can simply partition the drive and use the outer partition for your high-performance requirements (OS, swap, application binaries, etc) and use the other partitions for infrequently used data (backups, archive, etc). As long as you rarely access the other partition(s) you still retain the bulk of the performance benefits without throwing away 80% of the drive's usable capacity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
274 Posts
Ok, I can see why that would be more effective as the heads would move less even though it would take longer for a full revolution. As for partitioning to accomplish the same task; I do do that currently with OS/swap/apps on 1 partition, commonly used documents/folders on another, and backups on the last on my laptop. On my desktop I simply use an old 74gb Raptor for OS/swap/apps and large drives for data. Out of curiousity though since you're knowledgable, would the first or last partition be on the outermost portion of the drive?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,131 Posts
I always put the O/S on a small partition at the start of the drive. The difference here is that they are abandoning the rest of the drive instead of using it for extra storage. If the extra partitions are seldom accessed, it achieves the same result. Just make sure that the initial partition does not get more than 75% full. (50% full is close to optimum for reducing fragmentation.) Disk defragmenters work on the same principle by making files contiguous and placing frequently used files close together on disk.

Two advantages to the Velociraptors are their small size and low power consumption. I achieved something similar by using a WD Scorpio Black 7200rpm 2.5" drive and placing the Linux OS and swap on the first 16GB. It's fast, noticeably faster than the 3.5" Seagate 120GB drive that was previously installed. It also reduces the power consumption from about 10w to 2w, in line with the Velociraptor. BTW, the WD Scorpio cost $55. ;)
 

·
Member #1
Joined
·
47,683 Posts
You can simply partition the drive and use the outer partition for your high-performance requirements (OS, swap, application binaries, etc) and use the other partitions for infrequently used data (backups, archive, etc).
So which partition (from a logical perspective) is the "outer" partition?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
846 Posts
The first partition starts at the outer part of the drive. Subsequent partitions move inward to the centre of the platter(s).
 

·
Member #1
Joined
·
47,683 Posts
thanks westCDA
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,700 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for this info guys. Somehow, by sheer fluke and without knowing it, I have apparently been doing this for a while now. Since using linux for the past few years, I have routinely put my root OS on the first partition, followed by extra partitions for testing other OS's. My /home and data is on another drive altogether.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
828 Posts
Do you have to partition the drive? I thought the OS always installs itself first, on the outermost tracks? I usually do a clean install, followed by device drivers, anti-virus and browser. Roughly, the boot order of system services. Hopefully, I have been accidentally optimizing my system all this time without even knowing it.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,795 Posts
Michael, you always have the option to partion the drive when you load the operating system.

WestCDA, I now wonder what amount of the drive will be the fastest the first 30 or 40%?

For me any computers that I have setup for my self, family, or friends I have always setup multiple partion with the first partion getting about 40%.

The rest I usually creat one for Media that once can store photos, music and videos and a smaller last partion for backup. On the back drive I set to store your documents and outlook mail etc.

The reason for this if your drive C crashes and you need to re format and reload the operating system all your files are there.

Some times you cant recover what on drive C.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
846 Posts
WestCDA, I now wonder what amount of the drive will be the fastest the first 30 or 40%?
The first .01% ... :)

Think of a giant rotating disk with concentric rings (tracks) from the inside to outside, and a small diameter inside spindle. Inside each track you have a number of sectors - say they are 1 inch long. Your innermost track (tiny circle) is 4 inches long, so you have 4 sectors. Your outermost track is 500 inches long (big circle), so you have 500 sectors.

Each time the disk does one revolution, the inside track has 4 sectors pass under a fixed point - and the outside track has 500.

So to answer your question, on a rotating disk anything to the outside will have higher throughput as more data is passing under the head for the given physical speed. The larger the partition, the more data is closer to the 'slower' inside of the disk. For data in the same physical location on both partition sizes - no difference in speed, at least until fragmentation occurs and things start getting relocated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
The other thing to keep in mind is that in order to truly benefit from having your OS, etc on the "fast" part of your drive you need to ensure you are using the remainder of the drive very infrequently. The thing that really slows disk drives down is head seeks - i.e. moving the read/write head from track to track. If you have lots of data access on the inner tracks as well then you cause the head to do a lot of jumping back and forth which really slows things down (fragmentation is bad for the same reasons).

If you partition the drive it's much easier to control what data goes where so you can safely use the other partitions for things like videos, photos, backups, etc. If you don't partition then over time things get mixed together and performance suffers. Even though the OS and apps may get installed in the outer tracks initially they will change as you apply patches and service packs, install new applications, etc. Defragmentation tools try to minimize this by grouping frequently accessed files together but it's a lot easier to just avoid it in the first place by partitioning and ideally use a second drive for other frequently accessed data like application and game data, videos or photos you're editing, etc. Hard drives are dirt cheap these days so it's an inexpensive way to get a sizeable performance boost.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,131 Posts
With LBA addressing (used by almost all modern drives), tracks reported by the drive do not correspond to actual physical tracks. Any presumption that the tracks are physical is absolutely false. However, that does not change the fact that data transfer is faster near the outside of the drive, or lower LBAs. Modern drives are optimized to read ahead, that is cache sectors that pass under the drive head just after the last sector read. That makes reading of sequential sectors faster and is why file defragmentation works. They also cache recently read sectors so that repeated reads are faster. As mentioned, seeks slow drive performance significantly. This is particularly true if reads or writes are from/to widely spaced physical tracks and are too large to be cached efficiently. This can be seen if one attempts to read or write two very large files at the same time. It often takes 5 to 10 times as long to complete the task, not twice as long as might be expected. In order gain the fastest access, one would need to place the operating system on one physical (not logical) track (or more correctly cylinder) so that no seeks occur. That way the drive would never need to do any seeks. That's not as difficult as it may seem. Many hard drives have between 1000 and 2000 cylinders. That means by using 1% of the drive capacity, no seeks will occur. (This is virtually guaranteed since the first cylinder contains a larger percentage of the data than the smaller, last tracks.) For example, using the first 10GB on a 1000GB drive will place all of the data on the first cylinder. That is easy with Linux. In fact, many Linuxes can be installed in as little as 2GB. Even Windows can be installed in 10GB if no large applications are installed (say on a server.) If that is done, the only things slowing the drive are rotational latency plus the speed of the internal programming, electronics and cache memory.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top