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Are there big differences in speed between different hard drives?

Are there big differences in speed between different hard drives?

When buying a (consumer-level) hard disk, I normally only pay attention to storage capacity. Is it worth to compare drive speeds also, and if yes, how can this be done?

Asked by: Guest | Views: 68
Total answers/comments: 5
Guest [Entry]

"If performance is your main concern, it's also worth considering whether solid state drives (SSDs) suit your needs. They are (usually) significantly faster than (premium) hard disk drives. But SSDs also cost more per GB, so are often used just for the boot/OS/applications drive; HDDs must still be used for bulk data storage.

So, for me, the relatively minor differences in HDD performance are almost irrelevant because SSDs can fundamentally perform better."
Guest [Entry]

"Tom's Hardware has some charts of hard drives benchmarks, using h2benchw. Reads are what you spend the bulk of your time doing, but there are write charts there, too.
Read Access Time
This tells you how responsive the drive is, how quickly it responds to a sudden small request. I believe this is what best gives the impression of hard drive speed. It's analogous to the ""first page out"" for printers. Less is better, so the best performer is at the bottom (those boneheads).
Average Read Throughput
This chart will tell you how fast it should make medium to large copies. Using the printer analogy, this would be ""pages per minute"". More is better, so the best performer is on top.
Storage Review's Performance Database has more benchmarks. They've slowed down the reviewing pace in recent years, but it can give you an idea as to how a family of hard drives is expected to perform. Ignore the IOMeter benchmarks; they only apply to the heavily parallel access patterns found in servers.
Manufacturer supplied stats are a starting point, but you really have to consult benchmarks to have an idea of real world performance. On the Storage Review benchmarks, notice how the 7200 RPM Hitachi beats a 15K RPM drive on the Office Drivemark test. Just citing spindle speeds wouldn't tell the whole story here.

Is it worth to compare drive speeds [sic]

For a system drive where the OS resides, yes. It's one of the slowest data-access components especially considering its high utilization.
For a storage drive/secondary drive, not really. Benchmarks are only useful here to find out if a drive is particularly slow. For this, just look for reliability, good customer feedback, low price and a long warranty period."
Guest [Entry]

"In general you want a faster drive and more cache.

Faster drives have a lower seek time and higher transfer rate.

Large caches help keep the transfer full.

For example, if you use a site such as Newegg, you can filter on drive speed, capacity, interface, and cache via the advanced search :)"
Guest [Entry]

"While I pretty much agree with what other posters have said, in a sense, you don't really need to worry.

Although there are clear differences in performance between certain classes of drive (e.g. 5400rpm SATA vs 15000rpm SAS drives), there is not a lot of difference between drives in the same class. If you compared a number of 7200rpm SATA drives of similar ages and capacity, the differences would be minimal and could be countered by other factors such as RAID and partitioning regimes.

Noise, heat, cost and reliability often vary much more and are perhaps more pertinent to most buyers.

Perhaps you could mention what kind of drives you are considering and the purpose you have in mind, in order for us to give more focused advice? I'm assuming that you are a consumer and are pondering choices of SATA drives?"
Guest [Entry]

Another concern .. if the hard drive is to be used in a laptop, usually the faster the hard drive, the more power it uses and therefore runs your battery down quicker.