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Does HDD cache make a difference?

I am looking to get a bigger HDD for storage needs. Have a 512gb SSD for Win10, and progs which is fine for now. I keep work files and other items on a secondary disk which is running out of space. Will get a mechanical HDD as these give the best bang for the buck storage wise. Looking at 4 and maybe 3tb.

 

I can get a 3 - 4tb model running at 7200rpm but with 64mb cache. Or the same capacity but with 256mb cache running at 5400rpm. Does cache size make a difference esp if being used as storage and not a boot disk? Or is rpm more important?

 

TIA.

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5 minutes ago, thefrecklepuny said:

I am looking to get a bigger HDD for storage needs. Have a 512gb SSD for Win10, and progs which is fine for now. I keep work files and other items on a secondary disk which is running out of space. Will get a mechanical HDD as these give the best bang for the buck storage wise. Looking at 4 and maybe 3tb.

 

I can get a 3 - 4tb model running at 7200rpm but with 64mb cache. Or the same capacity but with 256mb cache running at 5400rpm. Does cache size make a difference esp if being used as storage and not a boot disk? Or is rpm more important?

 

TIA.

Nether matters for just storing documents and photos - it matters if you need fast access to the data, when video editing, accessing a database etc. If it's just idle data (photos, documents etc), then I'd go for the 5400rpm simply for the potential long-term power saving vs 7200rpm. The cache would be kind of irrelevant.

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10 minutes ago, thefrecklepuny said:

I am looking to get a bigger HDD for storage needs. Have a 512gb SSD for Win10, and progs which is fine for now. I keep work files and other items on a secondary disk which is running out of space. Will get a mechanical HDD as these give the best bang for the buck storage wise. Looking at 4 and maybe 3tb.

 

I can get a 3 - 4tb model running at 7200rpm but with 64mb cache. Or the same capacity but with 256mb cache running at 5400rpm. Does cache size make a difference esp if being used as storage and not a boot disk? Or is rpm more important?

 

TIA.

You'll probably get better all round performance from the 7200rpm disk because it simply has faster read/write speeds.

Cache is important but for different reasons.

Have you considered an SSHD like the seagate Firecuda? They work really well in my personal experience about 2x faster read/write that a normal HDD

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1 hour ago, thefrecklepuny said:

I can get a 3 - 4tb model running at 7200rpm but with 64mb cache. Or the same capacity but with 256mb cache running at 5400rpm. Does cache size make a difference esp if being used as storage and not a boot disk? Or is rpm more important?

I'm not sure if anyone has ever tested how different cache sizes affect performance, since the drives are offered as is, and performance as a whole should be considered. In general cache is so small the limit will be the other physical limitations of the drive.

 

46 minutes ago, Shabba said:

You'll probably get better all round performance from the 7200rpm disk because it simply has faster read/write speeds.

That would be my leaning also. Again, it depends on the actual disk design so it wont always be the case that a 7200rpm drive will always out perform a 5400rpm one, but in comparable settings a 7200rpm one will be higher performing. Personally, a HD is so slow compared to a SSD, I'd take any performance I can get from one.

 

46 minutes ago, Shabba said:

Cache is important but for different reasons.

Have you considered an SSHD like the seagate Firecuda? They work really well in my personal experience about 2x faster read/write that a normal HDD

I can't say I had that experience myself with SSHDs, and unless they significantly change in future they're not something I'd personally consider. They're supposed to offer the best of both worlds of HDs and SSDs, but to me they ended up with the worst of both. I think it will come down very much to the use case. I tried one for OS install, and one for game installs. The biggest limiting factor is the small cache size. I think the last one I had was 8GB. For OS installs, and light usage, this is fine. You don't need that much at high speed so the overall performance is like a budget SSD. Where it really fell down was for game storage. A single major title is already much bigger than 8GB. If you only play one title at a time maybe you could get some benefit, but if you switch between a couple big titles, you're never going to have the right stuff in cache when you do so. While less of a problem for game storage, write speeds on the FireCuda really suck as it is shingled, at least on the one I had. Again, for light usage, you'd probably never notice.

Desktop Gaming system: Asrock Z370 Pro4, i7-8086k stock, Noctua D15, Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 3200 4x16GB, Asus Strix 1080Ti, NZXT E850 PSU, Cooler Master MasterBox 5, Optane 900p 280GB, Crucial MX200 1TB, Sandisk 960GB, Acer Predator XB241YU 1440p 144Hz G-sync

TV Gaming system: Asus X299 TUF mark 2, 7920X @ 8c8t, Noctua D15, Corsair Vengeance LPX RGB 3000 8x8GB, EVGA 2080Ti Black, Corsair HX1000i, GameMax Abyss, Samsung 970 Evo 500GB, LG OLED55B9PLA

Former Main system: Asus Maximus VIII Hero, i7-6700k stock, Noctua D14, G.Skill Ripjaws V 3200 2x8GB, Gigabyte GTX 1650, Corsair HX750i, In Win 303 NVIDIA, Samsung SM951 512GB, WD Blue 1TB, HP LP2475W 1200p wide gamut

Gaming laptop: Asus FX503VD, i5-7300HQ, 2x8GB DDR4, GTX 1050, Sandisk 256GB + 480GB SSD

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An important thing to note these days is that HDD's with higher cache's *normally* tend to be based on SMR, which personally I would avoid.

 

When buying a HDD to me it always seems to make sense to pick whatever has the best quality / technology, as opposed to looking at performance.  Simply because even the slightly higher performance HDD's are still significantly inferior to an SSD.

 

Buy a HDD for long term quality storage, buy an SSD for performance.

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35 minutes ago, porina said:

I'm not sure if anyone has ever tested how different cache sizes affect performance, since the drives are offered as is, and performance as a whole should be considered. In general cache is so small the limit will be the other physical limitations of the drive.

 

That would be my leaning also. Again, it depends on the actual disk design so it wont always be the case that a 7200rpm drive will always out perform a 5400rpm one, but in comparable settings a 7200rpm one will be higher performing. Personally, a HD is so slow compared to a SSD, I'd take any performance I can get from one.

 

I can't say I had that experience myself with SSHDs, and unless they significantly change in future they're not something I'd personally consider. They're supposed to offer the best of both worlds of HDs and SSDs, but to me they ended up with the worst of both. I think it will come down very much to the use case. I tried one for OS install, and one for game installs. The biggest limiting factor is the small cache size. I think the last one I had was 8GB. For OS installs, and light usage, this is fine. You don't need that much at high speed so the overall performance is like a budget SSD. Where it really fell down was for game storage. A single major title is already much bigger than 8GB. If you only play one title at a time maybe you could get some benefit, but if you switch between a couple big titles, you're never going to have the right stuff in cache when you do so. While less of a problem for game storage, write speeds on the FireCuda really suck as it is shingled, at least on the one I had. Again, for light usage, you'd probably never notice.

I recently put a seagate sshd in my son's PC and ran crystal disk mark tests on his ssd, sshd and hdd.

 

HDD - base

SSHD - Approx 2x faster r/w speeds than HDD

SSD - Approx 5x faster r/w speeds than HDD

 

We moved all his game libraries from HDD to SSHD and game loading times are definitely quicker.

 

So while I wouldn't pay a lot more for a SSHD vs an HDD it is definitely worth paying a little extra.

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Any SSD + PrimoCache + HDD = Best bang for buck at almost SSD performance

 

The cache on HDD's themselves is basically irrelevant as the platters access is so slow anyway it makes basically no difference.

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20 minutes ago, Shabba said:

I recently put a seagate sshd in my son's PC and ran crystal disk mark tests on his ssd, sshd and hdd.

 

HDD - base

SSHD - Approx 2x faster r/w speeds than HDD

SSD - Approx 5x faster r/w speeds than HDD

 

We moved all his game libraries from HDD to SSHD and game loading times are definitely quicker.

 

So while I wouldn't pay a lot more for a SSHD vs an HDD it is definitely worth paying a little extra.

CrystalDiskMark by default I think uses 1GB test files, which is really small and can fit inside the cache of a SSHD and show them best case.

 

It also depends on what specific devices you're comparing. My latest SSHD was a FireCuda and it was the worst purchase I made in a long time. Slow spindle speed, shingled recording, the cache was too small to help out. I was hoping it'll be an improvement over the Momentus XT I had before that, but was actually a step backwards. I'd consider for game drive usage, both are worse than a plain 7200rpm drive, like a 1TB HGST I pulled out of my laptop when I replaced it with another SSD, and desktop 7200rpm drives are even better.

 

It will depend on use case, but to me SSHDs just don't work as well as a plain 7200rpm disk which would be my choice for value performance bulk storage.

Desktop Gaming system: Asrock Z370 Pro4, i7-8086k stock, Noctua D15, Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 3200 4x16GB, Asus Strix 1080Ti, NZXT E850 PSU, Cooler Master MasterBox 5, Optane 900p 280GB, Crucial MX200 1TB, Sandisk 960GB, Acer Predator XB241YU 1440p 144Hz G-sync

TV Gaming system: Asus X299 TUF mark 2, 7920X @ 8c8t, Noctua D15, Corsair Vengeance LPX RGB 3000 8x8GB, EVGA 2080Ti Black, Corsair HX1000i, GameMax Abyss, Samsung 970 Evo 500GB, LG OLED55B9PLA

Former Main system: Asus Maximus VIII Hero, i7-6700k stock, Noctua D14, G.Skill Ripjaws V 3200 2x8GB, Gigabyte GTX 1650, Corsair HX750i, In Win 303 NVIDIA, Samsung SM951 512GB, WD Blue 1TB, HP LP2475W 1200p wide gamut

Gaming laptop: Asus FX503VD, i5-7300HQ, 2x8GB DDR4, GTX 1050, Sandisk 256GB + 480GB SSD

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2 hours ago, Shabba said:

about 2x faster read/write that a normal HDD

and 10x shorter service life

Grumpy Old Man

    Since 1899

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