Comparing hard drives

Hi,

Another hardware question. I'm trying to now figure out a good hard drive for a scientific app I wrote. It (unfortunately) does a lot of writing to and from disk, pretty big images. So I want the fastest disk I can get, I don't care about noise or power consumption. I need at least a 250gb drive. That knocks out a bunch of the following options dell is giving me:


   160GB SATA, 10K RPM Hard Drive with 16MB DataBurst Cache" [add $260]
   80GB SATA, 10K RPM Hard Drive with 16MB DataBurst Cache" [add $160]
   750GB SATA 3.0Gb/s with NCQ and 16MB DataBurst Cache" [add $360]
   500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s with NCQ and 16MB DataBurst Cache" [add $260]  
   250GB SATA 3.0Gb/s with NCQ and 8MB DataBurst Cache" [add $80]
   160GB SATA 3.0Gb/s with NCQ and 8MB DataBurst Cache" [add $50]
   80GB SATA 3.0Gb/s with NCQ and 8MB DataBurst Cache" [Included in Price]
   146GB, 3.0Gb/s, SAS, 3.5 inch, 15K RPM Hard Drive [add $300]
   73GB, 3.0Gb/s, SAS, 3.5 inch, 15K RPM Hard Drive [add $175]  
   320GB SATA 3.0Gb/s with NCQ and 16MB DataBurst Cache" [add $130]
   300GB, 3.0Gb/s, SAS, 3.5 inch, 15K RPM Hard Drive [add $440]
 

So I listed all of them, some questions:

1) I'm used to seeing disk speeds in RPMs, so some of those are listed like that, others just have Gb/s instead - how does that translate into RPMs? I think I need at minimum a 10,000 RPM drive.

2) What's the DataBurst Cache thing used for?

3) SAS, NCQ?


Thanks
DJ_AM_JuiceboxAsked:
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chuckyhConnect With a Mentor Commented:
The SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) 15k drives are the fastest. Raid 5 and Raid 0 would be faster if you can afford it. Raid 0 isn't safe though.
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DJ_AM_JuiceboxAuthor Commented:
So this one is probably a good options:

   300GB, 3.0Gb/s, SAS, 3.5 inch, 15K RPM Hard Drive [add $440]


still though, how do you know the RPM of something like:
   
   500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s with NCQ and 16MB DataBurst Cache" [add $260]  

where it's giving you the transfer rate instead? I don't know how to compare that vs a 15k RPM drive for example.

Thanks
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Gary CaseConnect With a Mentor RetiredCommented:
The 15K drive is by far the fastest drive listed.   The "databurst cache" is just a marketing term for the drive's cache ... all drives have a cache.

The most important characteristics of a hard drive are access time and sustained transfer rate (NOT the interface rate ... which is what Dell has listed above).   The 15K drive is by far the best of the options listed above in both of those categories.

The drives that Dell doesn't list the RPM for are all 7200 rpm drives.

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DJ_AM_JuiceboxAuthor Commented:
>> The drives that Dell doesn't list the RPM for are all 7200 rpm drives

That's so funny, way to be cool Dell. How did you find out they were 7200 rpm, you just looked up the specs at the manufacturer's sites?

Thanks
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