Posted by Deliverator on June 25th, 2005
Got a new DVD burner the other day. The previous burner, an Emprex 8x, started producing bad sectors at the end of disks. I tried a cleaning disk with fluid, took off the front bezel and sprayed it out with compressed air, flashed the firmware to the latest revision and tried the drive in a different computer. Finally, I was tired of wasti ng my time (and media) and decided to get a new one. It has been my experience that most optical drives (for no apparent reason) turn to mush after a few years. If you would like to have the Emprex drive, it is free for anyone local that wants it. Anyways, the new drive is a Plextor PX-712SA SATA drive. With this addition, my system is now totally SATA based. The only ribbon type cables remaining in my case is one for the “live drive” (front panel plugs and knobs for my soundcard) and a rounded floppy cable. I have done a bunch of test burns with the new drive at various combinations of media/speed and they have all burned flawlessly. I like to renew my collection of diagnostic/troubleshooting disks every couple months from ISOs, as I tend to be very hard on them, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Another recent SATA addition to my case is a 74 GB Western Digital Raptor 10,000 RPM hard drive. It is by far the fastest hard disk I have used in a personal desktop system (I have used 15k RPM drives in server), with throughput of 72 MB/sec at the leading edge of the disk and 55 or so MB/sec at the trailing edge and super fast access times. Even its worst performance is on par with the best performance my 250 GB WD 7200 RPM SATA can produce. I moved my 20 GB boot partition to the Raptor drive and created a 50 or so GB partition in the remaining free space. This I have mounted as both drive “R:” and as a folder on the “D:” drive. Thanks to the li nkd.exe utility and the miracle of NTFS junction points, I have been able to move a bunch of programs to the new drive without changing their paths. This means that I don’t have to update shortcuts, backup procedures, etc. Cool beans! Another neat thing that linkd is change the storage location of things that are hardcoded within applications. For instance, I recently found out that Second Life places all its cache files in a directory deep within the “documents and settings” hierarchy. Using linkd, I was able to move all these to the raptor drive for improved performance, while the application continues to think they are located at that long and very nasty URL. The location for things like this really should be specifiable in an .ini file or in the registry, but for those rare (and very frustrating) cases where they are not, Linkd can be a lifesaver. So far, I am really impressed with the Raptor’s performance. I may pick up another and stripe them at some point for some very extreme performance, but for now I am pleased with the speedup it has given to Windows and my applications. About the only real downside to this drive is head thrashing is quite noisey. It is something I can live with, as I usually wear closed-ear headphones while listening to music or playing games, but quiet freaks may want to stear clear.