Best gaming hard drive

Simply put, what are your opinions on the best gaming hard drive?
Break it down a bit on durability, speed, dependability.
Give me the most expensive and the mid priced.

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Pétur Ingi EgilssonSoftware Engineer -- ConsultantCommented:
Currently the highest performer could be the Western Digital Raptor X. However, it has been noted by some that better performance can be achieved along with substantial reliability gains by using several cheaper hard drives with lesser performance in a RAID 0 configuration. For best performance, multiple WD Raptor X drives could be hooked up in RAID 0 configuration.

To quote PC World,
"it [The Seagate Barracuda 7200.10] came within a hair's breadth of matching Western Digital's swift 10,000-rpm Raptor X."

My personal long standing preference has been for Seagate hard drive technology.
This has not  changed.

You may also check this out:
Considerations and their importance are thus.

Higher RPM is better. [Faster head-to-disk rates. Heads get to the data faster.]
- Large improvements.

Drive overall size. Smaller is better for performance.
- Minor improvement.
It's dependent on how large the difference in drive size is.
Assuming the same RPM a 40G can get the heads to the data faster than a 500G.
There won't be much difference between say a 160GB and a 250GB though.

Interface speed [IDE, Sata-1.5G, Sata-3.0G]
Single drive - Almost ZERO difference.
- With a single drive the interface is not the bottle neck. The bottle neck is the head-to-disk transfer rate and even with 3.0GB/sec interface drives the head-disk is much slower than older 100MB/sec interface speed. [3.0G/s drives have a SLIGHTLY better head-disk rate than 1.5G/s due to improvents in drive design. [I said SLIGHT.] There is effectively NO difference in head-disk between 1.5G/s and 133M/s or 100M/s drives.
RAID drives
--- Accessing more than drive at the same time speeds data access times.
--- The interface speed can make a difference here if it's IDE because the head-disk is additive against the interface's speed with IDE.
Lets say the head-disk is 60MB/sec
(This is a realistic and typical number for ATA-100/133 and SATA1.5 7200RPM drives. SOME (not all) SATA3.0 7200RPM drives are up to around 85MB/sec head-disk the last time I looked. Other SATA3.0 are still back at 60MB/sec. 5400PRM drives are about 20% slower than 7200RPM head-disk. 10,000PRM are about 20% faster.)
[A] One drive:
~ on ATA-100, ATA-133, SATA1.5, SATA3.0 - all limited by head-disk to 60MB/sec.
[B] Two drives stripped {RAID}
~ on ATA-100, ATA-133, SATA1.5, SATA3.0 - dead-disk additive to 120MB/sec. (in theory)
[If these two drives were on an ATA-100 RAID controler the bottle neck would be the contoller speed and that would limit it to 100MB/sec.]

Cache (Buffer) - Bigger is better.
- Huge improvement from 2Mb to 8Mb.
- Minor improvement from 8Mb to 16Mb.
Cache is essentially a memory chip built into the hard drive used to temporaily store data to make up for the difference in speed between the head-disk and the interface. If the interface is sending 100MB/sec data to the drive and the heads can only write at 60MB/sec the 'buffer' is where the data goes until the heads can catch up. A bigger buffer means the system can dump more data to the drive and 'forget it' to move on to other tasks rather than keeping it in a holding pattern waiting for the drive to catch up. Over 8Mb the gain is less because few files are over 8Mb anyway.

High end servers that HAVE to be fast tend to:
Use 36 to 160 GB drives.
Use stripped RAID for speed and mirrored RAID for reliablity. (At the same time.)
Use 7200 or 10,000 RPM drives.
Use drives with 8MB or 16MB buffers.

If you are looking at who made it to tell which is better you are looking at the wrong thing. The numbers of complaints about drives on-line is distorted by the volumes of sales of various drives and the fact that high-end drives are often compared to another manufacturers low-end drives.
[My Eldorado was fantastic so GM is good, but my Pinto sucked so Ford is bad.]

No one make is noticably better than the other if you look at the WARRANTY.
That is how you can tell what 'grade' the drive is.

5 year drives of any make tend to be comaparable with any 5 year drive.
Same for 3 year warranties.

1 year or less warranties are on the bottom lines of drives.
If you care about a good drive you shouldn't be looking at those anyway.


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