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You Want a 10,000 RPM Boot Drive


I myself have been looking into using a 10k Raptor (in the 70GB range) as a boot drive and have everything else stored on the other internal 250GB harddrive.

All backed up to my 500GB external.

The only question I have is how to have my OS on one harddrive and my apps/storage on another.

I’m no programmer, just a mild enthusiast so slipstreaming stuff onto a windows CD i’ve made myself or some of that other stuff I’m seeing here is completely confusing me. I’m set on using a 10k raptor as my boot and a 250GB as storage but what boot and storage entail I’m not completely sure.


@David Gittes

What would the problem be ? When you install a program install it onto the larger harddrive, when you store your documents store it on the larger drive. There is nothing saying you MUST use the predefined folders.

I would probbaly try and keep all programs under the faster drive, you want those to load fast.

If you want to move “my documents” and all that it is really very simple, to move my documents you simply right click and select properties and then select to move it under one of the tabs.


I find this blog very interesting as I’m purchasing parts for a new machine. My plan was to use 5 500GB SATA drives in a RAID 5 array and a Raptor boot drive. The only reference I’ve seen to this idea was that is it very slow w/o an expensive controller. The motherboards I am considering all have raid 5 controller built in and provide 6 SATA data connections so I’m assuming it can handle the load.
Anyone have any thoughts about this idea?


That is Perfect, I perfectly agress what you say. In fact, I think the same way. Especially when your OS is Window. Sense there are a lot of stupid app and virus that mess up your system itself. Taking the time to fix them, is way long then just reinstall the system. And Really it will be even better if the 7200 HDD are at Enterprise Level. That will be perfect. Yes, NOISE will be a Problem, but there are always way to redure them. If your system is not a mbtx and have enough space for AT Least two HDD, go for it! too bad my system is mBTX which only have one slot for one HDD (Poor ME)I Will go for enterprise HDD because it is better for photographer like me. (I don’t want my photo to be lose)


The Raptors are good disks. The reason they are good is beyond the sipndle speed. They are in fact SCSI disks with a SATA interface grafted on, much like (most of) the current crop of 7,200rpm SATA are IDE (or PATA if you prefer) with a SATA interface.

The reliability of the drives is much higher, the seek times far higher. These two are much more significant than the spindle speed IMHO. The disks also have other functions which seem to be missing from other disks.

A lot has been written about various simple RAID forms which is mis-information. For example comparing a RAID0 array with different types of disks is misleading (though perhaps makes sense on a cost basis). A stripe utilising two Raptors will be quicker than a single disk for I/O operations. I have run both on my home workstation for some time. Potential data loss doesn’t bother me as I have an additional (non-Raptor) SATA disk for data storage. I wouldn’t touch a software RAID controller where performance is an issue, it also leeches processor performance and lacks caching. Likewise I wouldn’t use a controller for RAID5 unless it was a quality item (someone mentioned hardware controllers being tied to a single motherboard/controller, a decent controller will allow a state back-up which can be transfered to another controller).

Whilst I’m at it RAID1 isn’t just about security, your read times with this array will be significantly quicker a single disk. Write times are, of course, the same. Once the array has degraded you can continue to use the remaining disk until you are able to recreate the array which makes life much easier (you can even just buy two new big disks for the array and transfer the old data if you are lacking a warranty).

Previously I ran a pair of IDE Maxtors in a stripe and then swapped back to operating them as two individual disks. Though the stripe on these disks was great for large write operations it wasn’t much better for general usage.

So what different - well the RAID controller I ran was very cheap, its controller pretty poor and hampered by the interface (PCI). I am also of the opinion that IDE disks are not suited to RAID arrays with their high seek times.

My company has deployed anumber of server platforms utilising large (non-Raptor) based RAID5 arrays and almost exclusively their performance is shocking. Replace their drives with a smaller number of Raptors and the performance increases massively.

I should also add that the failure rate on the SATA disks was aproximately 50%. They would typically fail in batches of 4-6 per server. Even running a hot-spare this was pretty disasterous as you can imagine. We have yet to see a Raptor failure.

This is a very extreme example but does perhaps give an idea of the relative drives reliability under heavy useage.

In short RAID0 isn’t as bad as it’s made out. It is more suited to the Raptors (IMHO) as they offset some of the risks whilst improving apon the advantages. There is a risk, but there’s also a pay-off!


well I have use the raptors 10K SATA drives for OS drives in Unix Servers and I will never use a nother one! In 2 different boxs bought 3 months apart and both drives went down. Leaveing two big Database boxes down. I am staying with IBM drives. I have never had one of over 100 of them go down. 2 drive and 2 bad with WD !!


I am plenty experienced with windows hardware and software development in most areas except am a complete newbie for raid setup though I understand the purpose and pitfalls of each configuration just fine.

I have an MSI Platinum P6N with 2G, Intel E6600 and three Seagate 320G Barracudas and would like to run RAID1 on the boot drive so I can regularly hot swap out the drive in the tray which is part of the mirror and haul it offsite for a backup and then insert the previous drive that was offsite and want it to be brought up to date as a bootable drive for the next time I want to swap backups.


1 - better to run hardware or software raid1 on a Vista system of this type? Why? Any particularly good raid links you can recommend?

2 - using a drive hotswap tray I plan to install, can I pull one of the mirrored drives and insert another and expect the newly inserted drive to be updated to the current mirror status automatically or must you normally run some utilitiy to do this?

3 - I read that older nVidia nForce chipsets had to have the OS reinstalled if you turned on RAID1 for the boot drive. I have the nForce 430i chipset and am wondering if they fixed this problem or must I plan to image the OS back using Acronis and will that even work the same as if I was still using just the one boot drive?

4 - can you in fact boot off the RAID1 partner drive if the original boot drive fails or you have to go get the backup drive and configure to boot the backup drive not part of a RAID configuration?



More and more I am becoming a fan of software (OS-level) RAID, because the existing motherboard implementations are so sketchy, differ per manufacturer and version, and they’re subject to lots of driver issues. At least the operating system RAID solutions are consistent and repeatable, and supported as retail products (in Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows server).

Plus the motherboard implementations are usually quite minimalistic, doing most of the work in the driver software, which means they’re no faster than the software solutions anyhow. You’d have to buy a fancier external RAID enclosure, or an internal RAID add-on card, to get true hardware level RAID anyway.


I’m a convert and especially for VmWare it makes a huge difference. I use dual core xeons at work but with only a single disk it’s painful… just made the request for Raptors… I feel the need… you know the rest! :slight_smile:


Question: I was always taught that you get the best performance by placing the swap file and OS on different drives. If you use the 10k drive for OS/Apps and the large/slower drive for data, where does the swap file go? On the fast drive or the ‘non-OS’ drive? TIA


I have a 74Gb Raptor as my boot drive with all my apps in a new HP desktop. It runs circles around my last machine. My data drive is another Raptor, a 150GB. To back that up I use a third Raptor in an available iternal bay. Because I have money to burn, I bought a WD 1 terabite My Book Pro edition and swapped out the original equipment 500 GB SE2 drives for 2, 150 GB Raptors. The My Book runs the drives in RAID “0” as an external drive with Firewire 800 interface. I wanted to see how fast an external drive could get.(without buying one of those big RAID boxes) The external My Book with the Raptors running RAID “0” seems to match or beat the internal Raptor connected SATA internally. Most files are stored or recalled in just a blink of an eye. Large file transfers, like my monthly “Whole Disc” backups progress at lighteneing speed. I will never go back to 7200RPM. I just wish the My Book Pro edition had an eSATA interface. I’m about to outgrow the 150 GB limit on the Raptor and I need the 300GB volume of a pair of Raptors in RAID “0” internally. I guess it’s time for an internal raid card. By the way I have purchased my Raptors at FAR less than the suggested retail price during rebates and sales at a local MicroCenter store. I now own 5 Raptor drives. I’ve never had a moments trouble out of any of them.


Must admit, I’m surprised we havnt picked up on another issue here which is rather interesting. I was considering doing a Raid 0 with 4 identical harddrives (600GB 150x4). I purely want to hear thoughts on this before I perhaps put this in my next machine. As far as price goes…I dont want to sound like a rich prick but…its so negligable its a laugh. Perhaps from the time the first post was put up to the present, prices have greatly adjusted. Anyways, I appreciate all help and thoughts. Thank you.


Hi all,

I am close to the above setup (using an OCd, non dual core AMD 3200+).

Just replaced a 7200 SATA 150 Samsung drive, with a 1000 74gb Raptor (still running around 140$ btw). Ive had a hard time telling the difference, is there anyway to double check and make sure the drives running at 10k? Is it even possible for it to run slower than advertised?

I ran aquamark3 on the old setup and new. Only difference is the hard drive. The 7200 shows much higher marks.


This thread has been an interesting read. Based on my experience I agree that 10k drives will make a desktop much faster. What I disagree with are many of the opinions about RAID. I’ve been writing software for 25 years and have done lots of sysadmin/dba work within that time. RAID came out in the late 80’s and had an initial cool factor to it. Something about all those heavy drives whirring away gave a (often false) sense of security.

My experience is that no RAID level is completely secure from failure. If you think 2 drives won’t fail at the same time then you just haven’t experienced it - yet. Especially when using identical drives which are subjected to the same read/write patterns and the same physical climate. To make matters worse, subsequent drives will often fail during a rebuild. Rebuilding causes a lot of stress on an aging set of drives. In short, when RAID goes bad it will often get worse before you get things back to normal.

Your best bet for security is periodically backing up to an offline drive. RAID will unlikely give any speed advantage until you fork out the cash ($300+) for a good controller. Good controllers have CPU’s that take care of remapping bad areas, automatic fail-over to hot backup drives and checksum and parity calculations. They also have lots of RAM for I/O caching.

It’s tempting to run RAID when your new motherboard has it built in. Keep in mind that RAID is only on your motherboard because it’s a feature of the chipset being used. It’s part of the same chipset that provides SATA so it’s included in the board specs. This is primarily a marketing gimmick.

Built in RAID is cheap, buggy and very risky to run. In establishing any RAID configuration you should always consider the risk of a controller failure. Especially at the temperatures that Southbridge chipsets run at (which provides SATA functionality). When a controller fails, don’t expect to take your drives to a different controller and recover your data. Controllers are very often incompatible. This is even true of high priced add on cards. When purchasing a server with RAID, I’ve learned to always buy a spare controller of the same model. By the time the controller fails an exact replacement may not be available anymore.

Software RAID is a sure way to slow down your system. It injects an additional layer for any disk I/O and requires the CPU to calculate parity. It can also prevent you from using the disk space on a different operating system. For example, using software RAID in Linux prevents you from mounting the partitions in Windows. Conversely, a normal ext2 or ext3 partition can be mounted and accessed in Windows.

If you decide to run a RAID level where drives can be rebuilt (5/6/etc) then make sure you have a spare nearby. There is no purpose of having rebuild capability if you can’t afford another drive to get yourself back to 100%.

In summary, don’t run RAID on a desktop or workstation with the idea that you’re getting better security or performance. You won’t. If you do run RAID, buy a quality controller with lots of RAM/quick CPU/quick I/O. It’s also a good idea to pay for a support contract.


If you actually want boot speed, use a solid-state disk.


Also, does anyone know what the acoustic differences are between the Cheetah drives and Raptor drives? (Roughly speaking)


What do you guys think about using SAS Cheetah drives, and connecting them to 3gb/s SATA controllers via a SAS to SATA adapter? What I am interested in is the idea of getting two small Cheetah drives (connected via adapter to SATAII interface) and setting them up in RAID 0, and then setting up my two 7.2k data hard drives (they’re identical drives) in RAID 1.

Could this provide better performance than if the Cheetah’s were exchanged with Raptors?

Here’s the link to the adapters I found: http://www.cs-electronics.com/sas-adapters.htm


Actually if you happen to have SCSI on your machine - like I do on my two server boxes. I’d recommend looking for second hand 10K/15K SCSI drives. I’ve scored them for much less than even the smallest new 10K SATA drives (although there may be better deals to be had as the Raptor drives start having an aftermarket).

For main storage, my machines use hardware RAID. Even an ‘old’ card like my 3ware 7500-8. Even using old 7200 RPM PATA drives it gets sold performance under RAID-5.

For example my 10K Cheetah does buffered reads (hdparm -t) at about 37MB/s. My seven drive RAID-5 gets 150MB/s.


I’ve read your discussion with great interest. I’m about to put together a system for professional photography and video editing. (I’m considering a Dell XPS 720 with a Q6600 Quad-Core processor, 768MB Nvidea GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card, and a 24" Ultrasharp Dell monitor.) I’ve read that 2 hard drives are always recommended for NLE Video Production – one for the OS, and the other for the large video files. There’s no question that I’ll make my Boot Drive a 160GB 10,000 RPM Raptor! My question is: should I consider having the second drive with the large video files also be a Raptor, or is that over-kill? Would a larger 72,000 RPM Drive slow things down when doing the editing on the large video files or do those files run from RAM during the editing? And – should I install the apps (Adobe Photoshop and Premiere) on the Boot Drive, or the Second Drive along with the files? You advice would be greatly appreciated!


@ Ruddykin

That SDD vs HDD, thats available in desktop hard drive?