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Hybrid Drives

Posted on 2015-01-27
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I need to upgrade three desktops for a client.  Right now they have i5 processor, 8G of RAM,  Win7 Pro, 7200RPM HD.
They use heavily QB Pro 2010 and another home grown app, outlook, word and excel. lately they are getting warnings that there is heavy disk i/o and the mouse lags.

I got quotes for an optiplex but wanted 500SSD drives on them, however, only 256G, (not enough) is available.  Dell offered me a 500G Hybrid/5200RPM drive. Which price wise they are happy with.

QUESTION:  Is the Hybrid Hard Drive really that much good than the 7200rpm? Price difference is not much from a 7200rpm drive.  I don't want to tell them to buy them if the issue is not going to get resolved.  Advise?

Thanks,
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Question by:cheto06
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40573609
I have a ThinkPad X230 with 500GB 7200-rpm hard drive and it presents no issues with QuickBooks and Office in the host machine.

The only time I see heavy disk I/O and a bit of a corresponding lag occurs when starting a virtual machine. As soon as the machine is started, no more lags at all.

Try running Disk Cleanup and then running Disk Defrag. Too many temp files and too much fragmentation can cause what you see.

No doubt a hybrid drive will help, but I am not sure it is necessary.
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Author Comment

by:cheto06
ID: 40573616
I have run anti-spyware utility, defrag and disk check.  Like I said price difference is very minimal from a Hybrid vs. Spinning drive. I am familiar with ssd drives, (have one on my mac) but not with hybrids. If they get better performance than a 5200-7200RPM then I am  good.  Just never used them before.

thanks,
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40573633
I have not used a Hybrid drive either but I have zero lags as noted on my 7200-rpm drive. But by all means try a hybrid because they will be faster.
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by:Trenton Knew
Trenton Knew earned 800 total points
ID: 40573643
I don't think you're going to get an alarming difference with the hybrid drive.  I had a 1st generation Seagate Momentus XT and outside of the "issues" I had with it, they are only designed for the purpose of making commonly used programs launch faster.  The firmware on the drive analyzes files accessed frequently and writes copies of those program files to the meager flash available on the disk.  I can't imagine that there would be ANY benefit towards data pulls.

Try using the resource monitor to see what programs are accessing the disk.  Make sure there aren't any weird ones that shouldn't be there.
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rindi earned 400 total points
ID: 40573661
Hybrid Disk perform a lot better than standard disks, but as the SSD part of them is very small, it will be way below an SSD. Why don't you get an SSD and a normal disk? Then the SSD's lower capacity would not be an issue.
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by:Trenton Knew
ID: 40573689
Do your motherboards have the capacity for more than two sata drives?  (the optical is probably 1 and the primary HDD is the other.  You might consider keeping the existing disks as data drives, and moving the OS to a smaller SSD.  128's are cheap now.  but if you only have two sata ports, that means grabbing an expansion card too to facilitate the additional connections, and at that point, you might as well go with an eSata or something to that effect.  Should still be a performance boost because it's on a different HDD controller with it's own i/o stream at that point.  

But still, the windows resource monitor will show you what programs are using disk i/o.  Make sure there's no rogue processes in there, and also, I'm sure Quickbooks' developers don't give two squirts whether they're application is lean or not when it comes to anything i/o, storage, memory, or anything like that.  It's a s--t program.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40573696
I'm sure Quickbooks' developers don't give two squirts whether they're application is lean or not when it comes to anything i/o, storage, memory, or anything like that.  It's a s--t program. \

That is a completely ignorant statement and does NOT add to this issue at all. Know what you are talking about please before spouting off.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40573705
Discussions in E-E need to be useful and professional. Unsubscribed.
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by:Aaron
Aaron earned 400 total points
ID: 40573836
Have you thought about a higher performance HDD like a raptor? or something in the  10,000rpm to 15,000rpm range... The other thing that sticks out to me is this "home grown app" might be worth checking on what performance that pulls. Otherwise I agree with John and don't think you should have any issues with 7200rpm. I am also curious about the mouse lag though. Do they by any chance use wireless mice? I don't think hard drive speed should directly effect the mouse performance. Also look at the page file size. I am not sure if you're familiar with a page file but it is space that a computer can use for extra memory on the hard drive now with 8gb ram I don't think it would be using the page file much if at all but it's worth checking and if it was using that constantly I could see it eating up your disk speed.
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by:Trenton Knew
ID: 40573839
If you are yourself a quickbooks developer, and took personal offense to my claim that Quickbooks is a HEAVY program, (which it is), I apologize for that, but there's no way my statement should have been construed as a personal attack to anyone specifically.  Also, although my statement was a bit malformed, it is most certainly relevant as if Quickbooks itself is heavy and being a resource hog, this is something that needs to be identified and addressed.

That being said, if QB is using an excessive amount of disk i/o, maybe some of the built-in database maintenance tools can help to improve performance.
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by:Trenton Knew
ID: 40573844
As per Aaron's comment, mouse lag plus slow I/O... have you checked to make sure that it's not a filthy dust bowl inside the desktop?  are all the fans working?  Could be heat related.
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by:Aaron
ID: 40573861
Trenton - Heat is a possability... Another question is what kind of graphics are on these 3 computers? I have certainly seen mouse lag from poor GPU or graphic driver issues (though 3 having same problem at same time makes this a hard guess). But thinking if the GPU has lil/no ram or is just an onboard maybe that goes back to what I was saying before and eats up ram which leaves some would be ram eating up page file... Just thought I would add that while I was thinking it though I don't think it to be likely.
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by:noxcho
ID: 40573862
To make it short - either take a real SSD or keep on with 7200rmp drives. You do not get a visible gain by moving to hybrid drives.
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by:Aaron
ID: 40573890
@noxcho - or a higher performance HDD like a Raptor 10,000 RPM but the author should also take into account everything said to make sure the drives are the issue.
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by:garycase
garycase earned 400 total points
ID: 40574188
A hybrid drive will generally outperform a 7200 rpm drive of the same capacity for most activities, but since you only need 500GB, I'd simply go with an actual SSD.    The prices of these have dropped a great deal in the past year or so ... you can get excellent 480GB-512GB SSDs for ~$200

A couple excellent choices:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148821
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167189
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147373

The Crucial is only $180 with the current promotion -- an excellent price for a 512GB unit
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by:nobus
ID: 40574635
as i understood it, the SSD part acts as a 'cache' for the disk, so it will act as an SSD for small data transfers, - and respond like a normal rotating disk for larger transfers
for "normal" use, - it will perform like SSD, except eg for backups, or large transfers
more :  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2025402/ssds-vs-hard-drives-vs-hybrids-which-storage-tech-is-right-for-you-.html
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by:Trenton Knew
Trenton Knew earned 800 total points
ID: 40575424
@Nobus, the "caching" part is as I said, determining what files or bits of information is accessed frequently.  So operating system files, programs that you use everyday, and stuff like that will get stored on the NAND flash memory.  This equates to faster bootups and program launches, and may result in the actual launching of quickbooks happening faster.  But I can't see that there would be much benefit to opening quickbooks company files, and working with the data.  

Obviously the BEST solution would be either SSD or RAID 0 for performance, but those are more costly solutions.  

Before you do ANY of that though, please check the general maintenance things first.  You mentioned having done a disk cleanup and defrag, but have you ran a chkdsk surface scan?  

CHKDSK - Make sure there's no file corruption

From an elevated command prompt, run:
chkdsk C: /r

Open in new window

select "y" for run on reboot, and then reboot the system.  Be prepared for the computer to be unavailable for a couple hours.

HEAT - Keep a cool system

Make sure that your video card and CPU are both staying cool, you can use CPUID's HW Monitor Pro to monitor temps in your system.  Also check that the fans are clean and working properly.  If there is a Video card, make sure to inspect its heatsink also.

the Hail Mary

If chkdsk DOES find a lot of file or disk sector corruption, you should probably test your power supply to make sure it's putting out the correct voltages.

Environment Question - QB

You say three clients needing upgrade.  Does this mouse lag exist across all three computers or only one.  Are they working in networked mode where they are all accessing the same quickbooks data from a single data source, or are they working on separate files?  There may be perhaps a need to upgrade the one computer that is hosting the data and the Quickbooks specific data server if they are running in this environment.  Perhaps the other users are only seeing the lag in the quickbooks data alone due to the performance of this "server."
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by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 40575749
Have you used Perfmon to find out what files are the culprits for this heavy i/o load.
Are you MB/s or IOPS limited or is it a disk Q issue.
What is your memory utilisation - 8GB may not be enough for what they are doing
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by:Aaron
ID: 40577406
@author

Check out this 10,000 RPM drive on newegg:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236244

Notice the rating from 200+ reviews puts it at 5 EGGS!
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Author Closing Comment

by:cheto06
ID: 40599494
Thank you all for your input. Order got put on hold and finally decided to go now with this config.

256 SSD Drive for OS and apps and a 1TB, 7200RPM  drive for storage.  Dell gave me a pretty good deal on this config.

Appreciate all the input in  general, i guess the consensus is that Hybrids don't provide a great advantage.
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