You Want a 10,000 RPM Boot Drive

I don't go out of my way to recommend building your own computer. I do it, but I'm an OCD-addled, pain-loving masochist. You're usually better off buying whatever cut-rate OEM box Dell is hawking at the moment, particularly now that Intel has finally abandoned the awful Pentium 4 CPU series and is back in the saddle with its excellent Core Duo processor. PC parts are so good these days it's difficult to make a bad choice, no matter what you buy.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

Actually, Scott’s words were: “Go one, treat yourself.”

Typos make life fun!

I believe every new PC build should have two hard drives:
small 10,000 RPM boot drive
large 7,200 RPM data/apps/games/media drive

I VERY MUCH DISAGREE! I would never build a machine with those specs. I would only consider building one instead with FOUR (4) hard drives , mirroring the pairs:

(2) small 10,000 RPM boot drive
(2) 7,200 RPM data/apps/games/media drive

As a matter of fact, that’s the specs for the last machine I built!

Better change that line to say:
I believe every new PC build should have at least two hard drives:


Personally, I’m holding out for a solid-state hard drive.

Honestly, I’d rather build two cheap computers for the price of your one. : 10,000 RPM drives? Why? So you can boot faster? Why not just run a more reliable OS?

And quoting someone who considers upgrading his entire family to Vista ‘spoiling’ himself is… No. Nononononono. Aaahhh. My brain bluescreened.

Spoil yourself by upgrading your entire family to Ubuntu and then changing your cellphone number for a few months. That’s what I call tough love.

Really funny that you wrote this:

I rock 2 raptor 10k rpm’s in a raid0 for my winxp install.

I could never go back to either a single drive, or anything less then 10k rpm.

Another thing thats interesting to note is I set this up over a year ago and use it almost non-stop.

Never had one chkdsk error or anything a few defrags couldn’t sort.

Which software do you guys use to defrag RAID0? Also do you happen to know whether PerfectDisk 8 can do the job?

Interesting article, my only concern is the hassle every time I install an application having to point it to install somewhere else other than “c:\program files”…Is there a setting to set the default to be d:…?


Totally agree with the 10,000 rpm recommendation. This PC has 2 of them in a RAID stripe, and it boots many times faster than anything else I’ve ever used. Great for compiles, great for games!

That’s all nice, but I would never, ever build a machine without RAID 1. Drives are cheap, data is priceless. Yeah, you can move your My Documents to another drive, but everything else in your home directory then needs regular - and I do mean regular - backup to somewhere else, because as far as I know, you cannot move the whole Users / Documents and Settings to another drive. Plus you should create a system drive image at least once a week, or you will face issues when (not if) your system drive fails. Days of reinstalling and tweaking.

I’m still running a mirror array of 60 GB Seagate Barracuda IV drives… But I also have an 80 GB scratch/temporary drive.

I couldnt agree more with the choice of the Raptors. I have a (now aging) 2.8 P4, which has kept up very well thanks to a pair of the 36gig raptors in Raid0. (Yes i do have nightly backups to a raid1 volume :wink: ). I am about to build a new Core2Duo box (thanks vista for finding 1000x more things to do in the name of “security”) and i will definitely be doing another pair of raptors.

Oh, forgot to mention… Where I live, the cheapest 74GB Raptor is $210 (average price $240), and the 150GB model is $310 the lowest, average $350. I can buy one and a half 150GB models with my salary :smiley:

heh, I’ve been using 15krpm scsi drives for years…

Be very careful with RAID, particularly RAID 0, which I consider highly dangerous. RAID 0 (striping) doubles the risk of losing all your data, while offering only marginal speed improvements.

In summary:

  1. upgrading a 10,000 RPM boot drive = huge, noticeable performance improvement
  2. upgrading from one drive to two drives in RAID 0 = marginal performance improvement, doubles your risk of irrecoverably losing all your data.

It is impossible to recover data from a stripeset when one of the striped drives fails. That is why I heartily recommend option #1 and I strongly discourage people from choosing #2.

PLEASE READ THIS ENTRY before choosing RAID 0 (aka striping) or responding to this comment.

If you respond to this comment in a way that indicates to me that you haven’t read the above entry, I’ll delete your comment without a second thought.

If you’re going to use or recommend RAID 0, you better have a highly specific usage scenario in mind. It isn’t appreciably faster for 99% of user desktop scenarios. Doubling your risk of drive failure for 1% perf improvement is a very bad deal and it is downright irresponsible to recommend this approach without severe warnings.

I’m going to need a bigger tower.

" 1. small 10,000 RPM boot drive
2. large 7,200 RPM data/apps/games/media drive"

Why not put your apps on the boot drive with the OS?

  • It can’t be a space reason. My Vista partition with applications included currently has 14.52GB on it. Admittedly, I don’t have many applications installed, but 74GB should be MORE than enough for that.
  • It can’t be a way to make re-installing the OS easier since the various flavors of Windows won’t find old applications sitting on a drive during installation during a clean install and a repair (or upgrade) install would find them wherever they are. And, as someone, above, pointed out, with the OS and applications on different drives/partitions, you’d have to make sure you imaged both simultaneously in order to re-image (ghost) the system back to an earlier state.
  • It can’t be to share the applications across operating systems (assuming compatibility). Wouldn’t the configuration files be overwritten with every booting of a different OS and lead to all kinds of problems?
  • OS/Application integrity? Once the applications were installed, there’d probably be very little writing in the application’s space. Like the OS, most of the writing would be to caches and configuration files. So, putting the applications on a different drive/partition wouldn’t make much difference.
  • OS/Application drive contention? This is really the only thing I can come up with. But, I’d think that having the applications on the faster drive would more than make up for any drive contention. Of course, with Vista’s pre-loading of commonly used applications, your most frequently used stuff (along with parts of the OS) will be cached somewhere on, I assume, the fastest drive. So, regardless of where the applications sleep at night, effectively, they’re going to be running from that Raptor.
  • Multiple operating systems? It would probably be faster and easier to have an eSATA drive enclosure and keep separate physical disks for each OS instead of fighting with a multi-boot disk. That’s somewhat expensive, but I’d say if someone were going to buy a Raptor, re-install the OS, install applications to a non-standard location and maintain that configuration just to shave a couple of seconds off an occasional access here and there, they’d also be willing to spend an additional $150 per OS.

I’m not arguing. I’m just trying to figure out the rationale for this.

“…with Vista’s pre-loading of commonly used applications, your most frequently used stuff (along with parts of the OS) will be cached somewhere on, I assume, the fastest drive. So, regardless of where the applications sleep at night, effectively, they’re going to be running from that Raptor.”

Darn. Vista’s SuperFetch caches that stuff to RAM, not disk. Sorry about that. But, the point still holds. Your most frequently used programs will execute from RAM, regardless of where they sleep. But, then again, when the system needs more memory, stuff will be paged out to the page file which, I assume, will be on that fast drive.

Replace the slowest component in a PC with a faster one? And you’re surprised that it made a difference?

Come on Jeff, you can do better than that.

I install almost everything on my D: – just in case I have to do a MS OS “repair”, i.e., format and reinstall.

Save your registry file every so often too.

A 10K disk sounds like the ideal place to put the swap file.

Used to use (years ago) Partition Magic to move programs between disks.