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Building a new system: SCSI or IDE?



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 27th 03, 03:13 PM
Jonathan Sachs
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Posts: n/a
Default Building a new system: SCSI or IDE?

I'm assembling a new system in a couple of months, and am facing the
old dilemma: SCSI or IDE disks?

I have traditionally insisted on SCSI disks because they're faster and
more reliable. Lately I've been having some hearing problems, though,
and the drive noise is bothering me. Thus I'm motivated to use IDE
drives in my next system if I can do so without too much compromise.

What about performance? If I run two or or three disk-intensive
applications under Windows, will there be much practical difference
between a pair of fast Ultra320 drives and a pair of fast IDE drives?

I will have at least three IDE devices: two hard disks and a CD/RW or
DVD drive. I'm assuming that each device should go on a dedicated
channel. If so, should I get a mainboard with four IDE channels built
in, or will an add-on adapter work equally well?

What about reliability? Are modern IDE drives reliable enough for all
practical purposes? (I define this to mean a negligible chance of
failure over a system life of three years, with the drives running
almost constantly.) Are there any popular brands or models which have
particularly good or bad reputations?

My mail address is jsachs177 at earthlink dot net.
  #2  
Old July 27th 03, 04:18 PM
Bob WIllard
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Posts: n/a
Default

Jonathan Sachs wrote:
I'm assembling a new system in a couple of months, and am facing the
old dilemma: SCSI or IDE disks?

I have traditionally insisted on SCSI disks because they're faster and
more reliable. Lately I've been having some hearing problems, though,
and the drive noise is bothering me. Thus I'm motivated to use IDE
drives in my next system if I can do so without too much compromise.

What about performance? If I run two or or three disk-intensive
applications under Windows, will there be much practical difference
between a pair of fast Ultra320 drives and a pair of fast IDE drives?

I will have at least three IDE devices: two hard disks and a CD/RW or
DVD drive. I'm assuming that each device should go on a dedicated
channel. If so, should I get a mainboard with four IDE channels built
in, or will an add-on adapter work equally well?

What about reliability? Are modern IDE drives reliable enough for all
practical purposes? (I define this to mean a negligible chance of
failure over a system life of three years, with the drives running
almost constantly.) Are there any popular brands or models which have
particularly good or bad reputations?

My mail address is jsachs177 at earthlink dot net.


I suggest neither SCSI nor IDE (meaning PATA) HDs, but SATA. SATA
is the successor to PATA, with better performance and better cabling.
I think that a good current choice would be SATA for HDs and PATA
for DVD/CD stuff.

Modern HDs have MTBFs, regardless of bus, on the order of 10 years.
What you get in practice depends a lot on the environment; pay real
attention to cooling (air flow) and make sure that your power supply
choice is based on attributes other than price.
--
Cheers, Bob

  #3  
Old July 27th 03, 08:56 PM
Rod Speed
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Posts: n/a
Default


Jonathan Sachs wrote in
message ...

I'm assembling a new system in a couple of months,
and am facing the old dilemma: SCSI or IDE disks?


SCSI has basically passed its useby date for all except the most
demanding situations. Basically lousy value for money now.

I have traditionally insisted on SCSI disks because they're faster and
more reliable. Lately I've been having some hearing problems, though,
and the drive noise is bothering me. Thus I'm motivated to use IDE
drives in my next system if I can do so without too much compromise.


What about performance? If I run two or or three disk-intensive
applications under Windows, will there be much practical difference
between a pair of fast Ultra320 drives and a pair of fast IDE drives?


I doubt you'd be able to pick the difference in a
proper double blind trial with your ears plugged.

I will have at least three IDE devices: two hard disks
and a CD/RW or DVD drive. I'm assuming that each
device should go on a dedicated channel.


No need.

If so, should I get a mainboard with four IDE channels
built in, or will an add-on adapter work equally well?


2 channels will be fine.

What about reliability? Are modern IDE drives reliable
enough for all practical purposes? (I define this to mean
a negligible chance of failure over a system life of three
years, with the drives running almost constantly.)


Yep.

Are there any popular brands or models which
have particularly good or bad reputations?


I like the WDs myself. I avoid the Hitachi/IBMs because
of the atrocious record they got with relatively recent
drives and the fact that they have a lousy RMA system.

Best to avoid the Seagate Barracudas in your situation
because they have chosen to disable AAM because of
some stupid claim about patent infringement. That means
that the currently buyable drives arent that quiet anymore.


  #4  
Old July 27th 03, 10:53 PM
Folkert Rienstra
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Posts: n/a
Default


"Bob WIllard" wrote in message ...
Jonathan Sachs wrote:
I'm assembling a new system in a couple of months, and am facing the
old dilemma: SCSI or IDE disks?

I have traditionally insisted on SCSI disks because they're faster and
more reliable. Lately I've been having some hearing problems, though,
and the drive noise is bothering me. Thus I'm motivated to use IDE
drives in my next system if I can do so without too much compromise.

What about performance? If I run two or or three disk-intensive
applications under Windows, will there be much practical difference
between a pair of fast Ultra320 drives and a pair of fast IDE drives?

I will have at least three IDE devices: two hard disks and a CD/RW or
DVD drive. I'm assuming that each device should go on a dedicated
channel. If so, should I get a mainboard with four IDE channels built
in, or will an add-on adapter work equally well?

What about reliability? Are modern IDE drives reliable enough for all
practical purposes? (I define this to mean a negligible chance of
failure over a system life of three years, with the drives running
almost constantly.) Are there any popular brands or models which have
particularly good or bad reputations?

My mail address is jsachs177 at earthlink dot net.


I suggest neither SCSI nor IDE (meaning PATA) HDs, but SATA.


Well, that certainly solves the seperate channels problem.

SATA is the successor to PATA, with better performance


Potentially better performance. Currently there is only one drive that act-
ually makes use of it. Others are just PATA drives with a SATA interface.

and better cabling. I think that a good current choice
would be SATA for HDs and PATA for DVD/CD stuff.

Modern HDs have MTBFs, regardless of bus, on the order of 10 years.
What you get in practice depends a lot on the environment; pay real
attention to cooling (air flow) and make sure that your power supply
choice is based on attributes other than price.
--
Cheers, Bob

  #5  
Old July 27th 03, 10:53 PM
Folkert Rienstra
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Papa" wrote in message k.net...
Hi Johnathan:

Although SCSI has always been considered superior, IDE performance
has improved drastically in recent years,


So has SCSI's.

is becoming the standard,


Nope.

is very reliable, is widely available, and has a significant cost advantage.
I have used both, but now (for my stated reasons) I only use IDE, and my
brand preference is Western Digital - which have never given me a failure..

Regards.

"Jonathan Sachs" wrote in message ...
I'm assembling a new system in a couple of months, and am facing the
old dilemma: SCSI or IDE disks?

I have traditionally insisted on SCSI disks because they're faster and
more reliable. Lately I've been having some hearing problems, though,
and the drive noise is bothering me. Thus I'm motivated to use IDE
drives in my next system if I can do so without too much compromise.

What about performance? If I run two or or three disk-intensive
applications under Windows, will there be much practical difference
between a pair of fast Ultra320 drives and a pair of fast IDE drives?

I will have at least three IDE devices: two hard disks and a CD/RW or
DVD drive. I'm assuming that each device should go on a dedicated
channel. If so, should I get a mainboard with four IDE channels built
in, or will an add-on adapter work equally well?

What about reliability? Are modern IDE drives reliable enough for all
practical purposes? (I define this to mean a negligible chance of
failure over a system life of three years, with the drives running
almost constantly.) Are there any popular brands or models which have
particularly good or bad reputations?

My mail address is jsachs177 at earthlink dot net.



  #6  
Old July 27th 03, 10:55 PM
Folkert Rienstra
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Jonathan Sachs" wrote in message ...
I'm assembling a new system in a couple of months, and am facing the
old dilemma: SCSI or IDE disks?

I have traditionally insisted on SCSI disks because they're faster and
more reliable. Lately I've been having some hearing problems, though,
and the drive noise is bothering me. Thus I'm motivated to use IDE
drives in my next system if I can do so without too much compromise.

What about performance? If I run two or or three disk-intensive
applications under Windows, will there be much practical difference
between a pair of fast Ultra320 drives and a pair of fast IDE drives?


Should be, given that SCSI still has the beter access time and IO/s.


I will have at least three IDE devices: two hard disks and a CD/RW or
DVD drive. I'm assuming that each device should go on a dedicated
channel. If so, should I get a mainboard with four IDE channels built
in, or will an add-on adapter work equally well?


There probably ain't a difference unless the extra
channels are on the MoBo chipset. Still, with 2 harddrives
you probably won't spring the PCI bus 132MB/s limit anyway.


What about reliability? Are modern IDE drives reliable enough for all
practical purposes? (I define this to mean a negligible chance of
failure over a system life of three years, with the drives running
almost constantly.) Are there any popular brands or models which have
particularly good or bad reputations?

My mail address is jsachs177 at earthlink dot net.

  #7  
Old July 28th 03, 08:45 AM
Jonathan Sachs
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"Tod" wrote:

A "Quality" high end SCSI hard drive will last longer
under long term disk-intenive (24 hour a day) work.
But you are paying a lot more money.


The drives will be spinning all the time, but since this is a
workstation, they will not be seeking all the time. When I mentioned
"disk-intensive applications," I was thinking of my need for
performance during short periods of high activity, not the effects of
disk activity on the drives.

It never occurred to me that pounding the disk would actually wear it
out. I'm accustomed to thinking that drive life is dependent on
power-up time and the operating environment, and on power-up/down
cycles. Am I being too simplistic?

I would get a motherboard with the built-in Raid controller (only about $20
more).
Put the ATA/EIDE Boot hard drive on the Raid controller.


An interesting possibility, which I hadn't considered. It brings a
couple of questions to mind.

First, will I pay a performance penalty? I investigated RAID several
years ago, and learned that there was a substantial performance
penalty. Even with RAID 0 there was a penalty if the drives were not
synchronized (and IDE drives did not have the hardware necessary to do
that).

Second, what about noise, heat, and space requirements? This would
increase the number of drives in my system from 2 to 4, presumably
doubling all of those factors. Might I not find four IDE drives to be
nearly as noisy as two SCSI drives, or even noisier?

My mail address is jsachs177 at earthlink dot net.
  #8  
Old July 28th 03, 09:41 AM
Tod
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Posts: n/a
Default


"Jonathan Sachs" wrote in message
...
"Tod" wrote:

A "Quality" high end SCSI hard drive will last longer
under long term disk-intenive (24 hour a day) work.
But you are paying a lot more money.


The drives will be spinning all the time, but since this is a
workstation, they will not be seeking all the time. When I mentioned
"disk-intensive applications," I was thinking of my need for
performance during short periods of high activity, not the effects of
disk activity on the drives.

It never occurred to me that pounding the disk would actually wear it
out. I'm accustomed to thinking that drive life is dependent on
power-up time and the operating environment, and on power-up/down
cycles. Am I being too simplistic?


So you are just doing normal disk activity.
I think most people would agree that heat is the drive killer.

I would get a motherboard with the built-in Raid controller (only about

$20
more).
Put the ATA/EIDE Boot hard drive on the Raid controller.


An interesting possibility, which I hadn't considered. It brings a
couple of questions to mind.

First, will I pay a performance penalty? I investigated RAID several
years ago, and learned that there was a substantial performance
penalty. Even with RAID 0 there was a penalty if the drives were not
synchronized (and IDE drives did not have the hardware necessary to do
that).


A 7200RPM ATA/EIDE will have close to the same performance
as a SCSI 7200 drive
Invest in a fast processor and lots of memory.

Second, what about noise, heat, and space requirements? This would
increase the number of drives in my system from 2 to 4, presumably
doubling all of those factors. Might I not find four IDE drives to be
nearly as noisy as two SCSI drives, or even noisier?


My mail address is jsachs177 at earthlink dot net.



  #9  
Old July 28th 03, 11:23 AM
Rod Speed
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Posts: n/a
Default


Jonathan Sachs wrote in message
...
Rod Speed wrote


I will have at least three IDE devices: two hard disks
and a CD/RW or DVD drive. I'm assuming that each
device should go on a dedicated channel.


No need.


That seems to require some explanation.


The short story is that its only simultaneous ops on a pair of drives
that benefits from having that pair on a separate channel. Thats
pretty uncommon in practice. The most common real world situation
where thats seen is when ghosting one drive to an image file on
another drive and even then, the speed of that operation is
dominated by the compression time if compression is used.

Even when say burning a CD from a hard drive, the speed
of the entire operation is mostly determined by the speed of
the burner which is much less than the speed of a hard drive.

I said "I'm assuming" because I know that an IDE
channel can perform only one operation at a time.


Yes, but the modern reality is that you dont often use two drives
literally simultaneously. And you never use 4 drives simultaneously,
so there isnt any need for them all to have their own channel.

Even SCSI doesnt allow the use of all 4 drives simultaneously anyway.

Thus if two devices share a channel, any
operation on one device will lock out the other.


Only if both are being used at once.

Thus if a DVD drive is seeking, for example, a
read or write request on the hard disk will jolly well
have to wait until it's done. Is this no longer true?


Its still true. But you dont normally want to use them
simultaneously and when you do, say with an install
from the drive to a hard drive, the fact that the hard
drive has to pause occassionally while the DVD
drive head seeks isnt normally a real problem.



  #10  
Old July 28th 03, 01:23 PM
Bob WIllard
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Posts: n/a
Default

Rod Speed wrote:

Even SCSI doesnt allow the use of all 4 drives simultaneously anyway.


Sure it does. SCSI allows all drives to be used simultaneously;
up to 7 HDs on a narrow bus and up to 15 HDs on a wide bus. E.g.,
SCSI allows the initiator (the Host Adapter) to issue a read command
to each target (HD) and then disconnect from the SCSI bus; each HD
may then, concurrently, do the seek, then read data from the platter
into its buffer, and reconnect only when it is ready to copy data
into host RAM. This capability is one reason why it makes sense to
use a 320 MB/s (U320) version of SCSI to attach HDs which have STRs
of less than a quarter of the bus data rate.

Moreover, with command queuing, a bunch of read commands can be
issued to each HD, and each HD can execute them out-of-order and
briefly re-occupy the SCSI bus to do the actual data transfer.
And yes, it works the same way for writes and for mixtures of
reads and writes.

I am not claiming that WinWhatever takes full advantage of the
capabilities of SCSI, but there are grown-up OSs which do.
--
Cheers, Bob

 




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