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Data Storage Hardware

Five Years of PC Storage Performance Compared 90

theraindog writes "PC storage has come a long way in the last few years. Perpendicular recording tech has fueled climbing capacities, 10k-RPM spindle speeds have migrated from SCSI to Serial ATA, Native Command Queuing has made mechanical drives smarter, and a burgeoning SSD market looks set to fundamentally change the industry. The Tech Report has taken a look back at the last four and a half years of PC storage solutions, probing the capacity and performance of a whopping 70 different notebook and desktop hard drives, SSDs, and exotic RAM disks. There's a lot of test data to digest, but the overall trends are easy to spot, potentially foretelling the future of PC storage."
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Five Years of PC Storage Performance Compared

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  • It is said... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jo42 ( 227475 ) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @06:48PM (#28663957) Homepage

    It is said that pr0n drives certain sectors of technology. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a single drive to store my whole collection... :-(

  • 12 pages? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 11, 2009 @07:13PM (#28664097)

    12 pages? Yeah, I want to read that. 12 pages of ads.

  • by bmecoli ( 963615 ) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @07:15PM (#28664107)
    It's amazing what feats we have accomplished over the past five years. I really makes you wonder what storage technology we will have 50 years from now. I honestly can't wait to give my "in my day" speech to all the youngins when I'm 76.

    "In my day, all our data was mostly stored on spinning magnetic disks... or platters as we used to call them..."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 11, 2009 @08:00PM (#28664363)

    Looks like slashdot is on its high horse, saying "of course SSDs are faster, duh, what a waste of time!".

    And yet if somebody had written that in a blog, everybody would merrily trolling about how "anecdotal evidence is irrelevant, BTW my HDD is teh fastest".
    I don't understand it. Somebody goes to the trouble of comparing a shit-load of drives in a variety of tests, and apparently the results are boring/irrelevant.

    Slashdotters are always bitching about lack of empirical evidence for claims, yet when an article come along with abundant information to back up its conclusions, it dosn't get any credit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 11, 2009 @08:43PM (#28664593)

    If you have an internet connection, it should be trivial to ensure that you have your data backed up in multiple places that are widely distributed geographically.

    common problem with the world is that everybody assumes everybody else has the same needs as yourself. yes, internet backup might be trivial for your couple of dozen word files (although privacy is not included in the discussion here), but i have currently about 8TB of data spread over at least 15 drives here at my place.

    please explain me again how it is trivial to have that backed up at multiple locations?

  • Re:Overall Trends (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vegeta99 ( 219501 ) <rjlynn@ g m a i l . c om> on Saturday July 11, 2009 @09:05PM (#28664641)

    That, sir, if the Comment of the Week right there.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @09:08PM (#28664657) Homepage

    summary - intel x25 is super fast, super expensive. not much has changed with spinning platters.

    Hmm not the trends I've noticed. From what I've paid attention to:
    1) Spinning platters hasn't changed that much, but they've gone down substantially in price. The sweet spot on capacity/cost including SATA connections and everything has gone up considerably and is now at 1.5TB/disk, which are only minimally more expensive than 1.0TB while the 2.0TB disks are top of the line and very expensive.

    2) SSD prices were in freefall up until around march. Since then there's been 4 months of increased prices, very abnormal for computer equipment. Not sure if this means the prices will go much slower from here, if so that's bad because they're still at enthusiast pricing.

    Basicly, it looks to me like we're header for SSDs as primary drives and 1.5TB+ disks for vast disk arrays that SSDs won't touch for a long while, they still have a 25:1 cost disadvantage compared to the cheapest bulk storage. Now I still got plenty old disks, but if I replaced all 12 in my Antec 1200 with the cheapest 1.5TB disk you can now deliver 18TB for less than 2000$ for the whole system, it'd be close to 100$/TB but slightly over. That's just freakishly huge compared to five years ago, so I still say things are moving along nicely.

    Also I didn't get the Intel SSD, but I did get the 120GB Vertex and it flies. I can start a torrent doing 2MB/s random writes and I barely notice I'm doing it. The world is moving forward a lot, but honesly with faster Internet I don't feel quite the same need to store everything locally anyway. Still, it's nice to have 32GB on the USB stick in my pocket for when I need something. I never thought I'd say this because I've been rather insatisfiable when it comes to computers, but things are starting to bottom out. Even a pack rat like me is starting to wonder what I need all this space for, it's moving past nice-to-have into cool-but-why territory.

  • by ZosX ( 517789 ) <> on Saturday July 11, 2009 @09:59PM (#28664855) Homepage

    I have a 750gb that I filled with compressed video. My huge mp3 collection would be four times as large if I upgraded it to flac. A few terrabytes is not all that much and I could probably fill a 5TB array about as fast as 12mb/s would get me. With video now, especially HD video, drives are going to get filled up faster than ever. Also digital photography is pushing beyond film now with 50 megapixel sensors. They are quite expensive, but imagine what it will be like in another 5 years or so. Even my 10-meg camera stores 12 megabyte raws. Its not hard to fill up a 4gig card at around 300 images.

    What can I say? Hoarding is also addicting. Who knows. Maybe one day society will collapse and these huge caches of media will be some of our only copies of our cultural history. I think it is important for music to be preserved, and with many things going out of print and obscure record companies dissolving, it is getting rather hard to find underground stuff from even the 90s.

  • log scale (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 11, 2009 @10:06PM (#28664881)

    The format of those charts is retarded. They should have time on the x axis and whatever metric in log scale on the y axis. I couldn't care less which drive from 2005 is linked to a specific data point. I just want to see the trends as a function of time. In the later charts, with apparently fully exponential trends, you can't see whats going on at all.

  • by bemymonkey ( 1244086 ) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @04:45AM (#28666067)

    That's weird, the only two drives I've ever had die on me were a Seagate (which is actually quite useful as a paperweight) and a Maxtor. Guess i got the duds that were meant for you...

    Now Western Digital and Samsung on the other hand... the 80 gigger WDs I bought some time around 2002 (or was it 2003?) have been abused so badly (swapped in and out of cheap external cases, thrown into checked airline baggage without so much as anti-static wrap, dropped by idiot friends...) are still going strong as 2nd-and-3rd-in-line backups for the really important stuff (not pr0n :P).

    I'm guessing there's enough horror stories about WD and Samsung out there too, though ;)

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @08:51AM (#28666829)

    Still, it's nice to have 32GB on the USB stick in my pocket for when I need something. I never thought I'd say this because I've been rather insatisfiable when it comes to computers, but things are starting to bottom out. Even a pack rat like me is starting to wonder what I need all this space for, it's moving past nice-to-have into cool-but-why territory.

    Something will come up to eat the space.

    CD-ROM's could store more text than you could ever need. Then came multimedia content. CD's suddenly felt cramped.

    Time was when computer music meant mod files. Who had the space to devote to encoding real live music? Now we have mp3 players in our pockets.

    We'll come up with more and more stuff to eat up the space. Video is the biggest driver right now but even the most hardcore downloader will need some time to fill up a 1.5tb drive. Hardcore geeks who keep the last ten iso's of every software distribution out there are having trouble filling up that space. But we'll come up with something else. I don't do video editing but by all accounts you eat up hard drive space like candy.

    The next revolution we desperately need is reliable archival storage. Tapes tend to suck and backing up to a second external drive just makes me think of the RAID admonishment -- "RAID is not backup." It feels safer to have something like a DVD with no electronic parts to go bad, something you can stick in a new drive whenever you want. Except wait a minute, how good are the discs? When will the dye start to fade, the backing peel off? No, DVD's are worrisome when talking about really important data.

    So the current best advice out there is to backup your data multiple times with different technology so it would take a truly awful combination of failures to fuck 'em all. But there needs to be a better way than this.

Forty two.