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Thread: HDD: Does size affect speed

  1. #1

    Default HDD: Does size affect speed

    With all things equal (RPM, Cache size), does the size of a hard drive have an effect on speed and if so, how big of an effect?

    E.g. is a 160Gb hard drive faster than a 500Gb hard drive?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by HANDsolo View Post
    With all things equal (RPM, Cache size), does the size of a hard drive have an effect on speed and if so, how big of an effect?

    E.g. is a 160Gb hard drive faster than a 500Gb hard drive?
    Platter density has a significant impact on speed, particularly sustained transfer rates. Other than that there is no yes or no answer to every circumstance.

    I say this reservedly - Usually larger capacity drives will exhibit "marginally" better performance given that all other factors are equal i.e. Same family of drives from the same manufacturer.
    Last edited by kb; 28-08-2008 at 02:06 PM.

  3. #3
    King of de Jungle Garyvdh's Avatar
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    no, only rpm and cache size would make the difference.

    If anything a bigger drive will be slower... bigger partitions and longer seek time.

  4. #4

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    No, it's as tb says. Higher platter density generally makes for faster sustainable transfer rates. The Raptors with their high RPMs and low densities have quicker seek and bursts transfers, but a high density 1TB drive will be faster when it comes to big long transfers.

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    King of de Jungle Garyvdh's Avatar
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    but then they are not really equal, are they? the OP said... "all things being equal"

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by kb View Post
    Platter density has a significant impact on speed, particularly sustained transfer rates. Other than that there is no yes or no answer to every circumstance.

    I say this reservedly - Usually larger capacity drives will exhibit "marginally" better performance given that all other factors are equal i.e. Same family of drives from the same manufacturer.
    That makes sense.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garyvdh View Post
    but then they are not really equal, are they? the OP said... "all things being equal"
    but you cant have equal densities on equal platters and then end up with different capacities!? or are you harry potter?

    if all things are equal, besides capacity, then that means the only difference is platter density. more data fits onto the platter, hence it is more densely packed hence in that one zillisecond drive A (less dense) will present less data to the read/write head assembly than drive B (more dense)

    but there is a heck of a lot of variables, so you cant make a blanket statement, except to say that in myadsl-world, where we control all variables, the bigger capacity drive will be quicker.
    I hang about at vernsvapes.com. Use:stingray/nemesis, vtc4, quasar/3d dripper

  8. #8

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    There are quite a few things that can influence performance of larger and smaller disks and it all depends on what drives you're comparing - the main factors would include number of platters, number of heads, cache size, interface, spindle speed and in general any technology that may be specifically on one drive or another.

    You cannot possible say a smaller drive of the same family is faster than a bigger drive of the same family as one may have one platter (80GB drive with 1 80GB platter) and the other may have two (146GB drive with two 73GB platters). The drives would need to be assessed based on each drive's physical construct and as such you'd have to evaluate each drive on a case by case basis.

    Partitions rarely have anything to do with it as you can't say a drive that has 3 partitions will be faster than a drive with 2 partitions or 1 - It varies completely on how much data is being accessed and where it is on the disk. Alot of people partition a drive into two - 1 for OS and 1 for Program files/Data - This is done primarily so that the OS can be more readily reinstalled without having to reformat the entire drive (involving time consuming backups etc) and not as a major performance increase.

  9. #9

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    as far as I understand.. drive are rated on averate seek time... with fastest seek time being at the rim of the platter and slowest at the core.. because of the speed at which the plater head is higher at the out side... I have read its can be 40% faster at the rim... this is one of the reasons the first partioning should be for Os and page file.. forceing this data to the outside of the disk... where seek time is maximised
    42 yrs of Apartheid (1948 - 1990) + 23 yrs of BEE, AA & EE (1990 - 2013) = 65 yrs of sanctioned racism in SA, I hope my kids will see the end of it.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by greggpb View Post
    as far as I understand.. drive are rated on averate seek time... with fastest seek time being at the rim of the platter and slowest at the core.. because of the speed at which the plater head is higher at the out side... I have read its can be 40% faster at the rim... this is one of the reasons the first partioning should be for Os and page file.. forceing this data to the outside of the disk... where seek time is maximised
    Uhh. No!

    Faster transfer rates occur on the outer cylinders.

    Seek times vary depending on the distance (no. of cylinders) from the current head position.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by kb View Post
    Uhh. No!

    Faster transfer rates occur on the outer cylinders.

    Seek times vary depending on the distance (no. of cylinders) from the current head position.
    Would it not make sense that if all sectors are the same size, and the platter is moving faster, then the time it takes to traverse a certain amount of sectors(i.e. 10) would be less at the rim than at the core ?.
    42 yrs of Apartheid (1948 - 1990) + 23 yrs of BEE, AA & EE (1990 - 2013) = 65 yrs of sanctioned racism in SA, I hope my kids will see the end of it.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by greggpb View Post
    Would it not make sense that if all sectors are the same size, and the platter is moving faster, then the time it takes to traverse a certain amount of sectors(i.e. 10) would be less at the rim than at the core ?.
    Yes the linear velocity of the platters under the head is faster on the outer edges and is what gives you your disk to head "transfer rate".

    The traversal of the heads between cylinders (movement perpendicular to the discs rotation) is know as "seek time". It is this distinction that I was trying to correct in your first post.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by kb View Post
    Yes the linear velocity of the platters under the head is faster on the outer edges and is what gives you your disk to head "transfer rate".

    The traversal of the heads between cylinders (movement perpendicular to the discs rotation) is know as "seek time". It is this distinction that I was trying to correct in your first post.
    Quick quessy.. do all cylinders contain the same amount of data at the rim vs the core.. with the cylinder be physically longer ?
    42 yrs of Apartheid (1948 - 1990) + 23 yrs of BEE, AA & EE (1990 - 2013) = 65 yrs of sanctioned racism in SA, I hope my kids will see the end of it.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by greggpb View Post
    Quick quessy.. do all cylinders contain the same amount of data at the rim vs the core.. with the cylinder be physically longer ?
    No the number of sectors reduces as you move inwards, so the number of sectors per track (cylinder )reduces. This results in less data (bytes) being stored as you move inwards. The data density however remains constant.
    Last edited by kb; 28-08-2008 at 05:09 PM.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by kb View Post
    No the number of sectors reduces as you move inwards, so the number of sectors per track (cylinder )reduces. The data density however remains constant.
    So then doesn't it mean for example the 10 MB at the rim would be stored on 2 cylinders and on 3 at the core.. giving you a 33% less change of having to switch cylinders therefore decreasing seek time ?

    The figures are thumb suck.. but I think the logical holds?
    42 yrs of Apartheid (1948 - 1990) + 23 yrs of BEE, AA & EE (1990 - 2013) = 65 yrs of sanctioned racism in SA, I hope my kids will see the end of it.

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