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Can HDDs cause stuttering in modern games?

jm_bmw
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Hello everyone,

 

I want to expand my storage since 1-2TB seems like nothing for games nowadays... I did install Cyberpunk in an old 2tb drive in order to test and it seems to be running fine (no stutterings so far).

 

Does anyone here play games on old HDs? did you notice stuttering/texture pop or it just affects loading times? I don`t mind if it takes 30sec-1min more to load as long it doesn`t cause stuttering during gameplay.

 

I am currently playing in 4K locked at 60FPS or 120FPS depending on the game. I also upgraded the video card VBIOS to use resizable bar.

 

Thinking to get two of these, are they good for games? any other recommendations?

Seagate Barracuda, 6TB, 3.5´, SATA - ST6000DM003 (256MB Cache - 5400RPM)

 

 

Alienware M15 { i7-8750H . 32GB 2666Mhz . GTX1070 MaxQ . 512GB + 1TB M2 . 15.6" 4K } 

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Cyberpunk is the worst game you can use to test... same with mindcraft... but yes games on a hdd can stutter. if the os is also on the hdd then i think it much better as the hdd is always spinning

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My entire Steam library sits on spinning disks, it's been moved from WD Black drives to HGST drives, to WD Gold drives, never been an issue. Loading times are longer than an SSD, but I think ithey are acceptable.  

 

Personally I'm of the opinion if you are going to put games (well anything) on spinning disk I want it on the best / fastest disk possible. It's not going to be a 5400 RPM disk. 

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Watch out for some of the drives that spin down during inactivity, Spinning down and back up adds like five full seconds of I/O hiccup. 

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4 hours ago, thrasher_565 said:

Cyberpunk is the worst game you can use to test... same with mindcraft... but yes games on a hdd can stutter. if the os is also on the hdd then i think it much better as the hdd is always spinning

You mean because its being bottlenecked by other components? its the most demanding game I have here... which one have you noticed stutters? I can install and test.

 

 

4 hours ago, OhioYJ said:

My entire Steam library sits on spinning disks, it's been moved from WD Black drives to HGST drives, to WD Gold drives, never been an issue. Loading times are longer than an SSD, but I think ithey are acceptable.  

 

Personally I'm of the opinion if you are going to put games (well anything) on spinning disk I want it on the best / fastest disk possible. It's not going to be a 5400 RPM disk. 

Thanks for the input. I was monitoring Cyberpunk installed in both (old hdd vs m2) and it seems fine, pretty much the same fps/frametime. I will test other games (high fps) to see if it keeps the same behavior.

 

The odd thing is price discrepancy, WD Black/Gold costs double than Barracuda`s for the same size... they would not worth it (here).

 

I was also thinking to get used enterprise SAS drives (10-15K RPM), but the additional cost for a controller will not worth it also.

 

 

2 hours ago, TomChaai said:

Watch out for some of the drives that spin down during inactivity, Spinning down and back up adds like five full seconds of I/O hiccup. 

Thanks for the info, but how can I check this? is it listed somewhere in the specs?

Alienware M15 { i7-8750H . 32GB 2666Mhz . GTX1070 MaxQ . 512GB + 1TB M2 . 15.6" 4K } 

PC { i5-10400F . Noctua NH-D15 . B460M DS3H V2 . 16GB 2666Mhz . RTX 3070 Vision OC . 2TB M2 + 2TB HDD . XPG CR750W . Samsung Q80 55" 4K 120Hz }

Previous: i9-9900KF . NH-D15 . Z390 Aorus Elite . 32GB 3600Mhz . RTX 3070 . 5000D Airflow

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25 minutes ago, jm_bmw said:

The odd thing is price discrepancy, WD Black/Gold costs double than Barracuda`s for the same size... they would not worth it (here).

 

I was also thinking to get used enterprise SAS drives (10-15K RPM), but the additional cost for a controller will not worth it also.

I'll leave my opinions about Seagate, aside. However, in this case, you are trying to compare a 5400 RPM, SMR drive, to 7200 CMR drives. Not to mention an "economy" drive, vs performance drive / enterprise grade drives. So yes the Black and / Gold drives are considerably more, but they are faster, and I personally would trust them more. I believe the SMR part is going to be the biggest downside for you.

 

For the WD Drives, I would definitely wait for sales. These fairly routinely go on sale and will be anywhere from $70-100 off through authorized retailers. These sales happen even through WD directly actually. One of my 18 TB Gold drives during the  Chia mining craze came from WD directly, it was the only way to get one at a reasonable price.

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Depends on how the game handles texture and other stuff like the amount of VRAM and RAM available on your PC.

 

If I install Fallout 4 stock and run it from a hard drive then it'll work just fine but add a few big mods to it (overhauls, texture mods, patches, etc) and trying to play it will be both painful and hilarious, I had this particular issue when trying to fire a grenade where the game would completely freeze for 30 seconds and the disk activity LED would be stuck (100% usage) because the drive had to look for the game's grenade files, so I couldn't use any of the ingame explosives available.

I then moved everything to an SSD and the issues were mainly gone. Crashes were still there but 'tis a Bethesda game after all, crashes are a feature.

 

My old PC had a 8GB ATA drive, now THAT was slow, Half-Life loading times were ridiculous to the point I could go afk for 10 minutes and then resume playing. Booting the OS was also that slow, but it makes sense because that drive was made for a time where DOS was still the norm when it came to operating systems and I was running XP.

 

I'd avoid 5400 RPM drives unless for storage. I'd rather run 4x 1TB 7200RPM drives than a single 4TB spinning at 5400, I was unlucky enough to use one of WD's disgraceful green "intellipower", one of the worst computing experiences one could get at the time.

Tender is the night

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28 minutes ago, OhioYJ said:

I'll leave my opinions about Seagate, aside. However, in this case, you are trying to compare a 5400 RPM, SMR drive, to 7200 CMR drives. Not to mention an "economy" drive, vs performance drive / enterprise grade drives. So yes the Black and / Gold drives are considerably more, but they are faster, and I personally would trust them more. I believe the SMR part is going to be the biggest downside for you.

 

For the WD Drives, I would definitely wait for sales. These fairly routinely go on sale and will be anywhere from $70-100 off through authorized retailers. These sales happen even through WD directly actually. One of my 18 TB Gold drives during the  Chia mining craze came from WD directly, it was the only way to get one at a reasonable price.

Ok thanks again, I was not aware about this performance penaulty on SMR vs CMR drives.

 

What I meant by "not worthy" is due the costs here in my country (see comparison below converted to usd) unfortunatelly WD only sell through resellers here

Barracuda, 6TB - ST6000DM003 (195usd)

WD BLACK, 6TB - WD6003FZBX (370usd)

WD Gold, 6TB - WD6003FRYZ (320usd)

SSD Samsung 870 QVO, 4TB - MZ-77Q4T0B (420usd)

 

 

 

 

Alienware M15 { i7-8750H . 32GB 2666Mhz . GTX1070 MaxQ . 512GB + 1TB M2 . 15.6" 4K } 

PC { i5-10400F . Noctua NH-D15 . B460M DS3H V2 . 16GB 2666Mhz . RTX 3070 Vision OC . 2TB M2 + 2TB HDD . XPG CR750W . Samsung Q80 55" 4K 120Hz }

Previous: i9-9900KF . NH-D15 . Z390 Aorus Elite . 32GB 3600Mhz . RTX 3070 . 5000D Airflow

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1 minute ago, jm_bmw said:

Ok thanks again, I was not aware about this performance penaulty on SMR vs CMR drives.

 

What I meant by "not worthy" is due the costs here in my country (see comparison below converted to usd) unfortunatelly WD only sell through resellers here

Barracuda, 6TB - ST6000DM003 (195usd)

WD BLACK, 6TB - WD6003FZBX (370usd)

WD Gold, 6TB - WD6003FRYZ (320usd)

SSD Samsung 870 QVO, 4TB - MZ-77Q4T0B (420usd)

 

Wow, that's brutal. So there is a "premium" on the WD drives here, but  when on sale, they are much closer than that. Actually right now, on NewEgg, that Seagate is $150, the WD Black is $160 (it's on sale), for example (Amazon the Seagate is $140).

 

I could see the SMR drive being an issue especially doing a bunch of random read / writes, which are likely to happen in your case. This might be a reason to make sure you get a CMR based drive. Seagate does make these as well, but I believe it's just there NAS drives.

 

Seagate CMR - SMR List

 

Also keep in mind, most of the enterprise and performance style drives will tend to be "louder" and run "hotter". Personally I don't notice the noise, I'm typing this sitting next to a desktop with two Gold drives in it and I'm not bothered by it. However something to keep in mind if you are very sensitive to noise and want something completely silent. (Basically the Ironwolf line is likely to be a little louder if I had to guess, but I'm basing that off my experience with the WD line)

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6 hours ago, jm_bmw said:

You mean because its being bottlenecked by other components? its the most demanding game I have here... which one have you noticed stutters? I can install and test.

no because it was the buggiest game out there...

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Hot take - go eBay hunting. Get two USED 5400 rpm drives for dirt cheap, toss it in RAID1 and toss a $10ish 16gb optane drive in front as a read cache. Use storemi, Intel rst or primocache to handle the caching from a SW perspective (lvm cache on Linux). The cache will mostly be used for meta data (where data is physically stored on the disk) and a handful of and most common blocks. A little goes a long way. 
 

5400rpm drives tend to last longer and suck less power and they’re usually a lot quieter. 
 

the fact that most reads will come from the cache will drastically improve performance, to near SSD levels. Also less noise because of far far fewer random reads. 

3900x | 32GB RAM | RTX 2080

1.5TB Optane P4800X | 1 TB Adata XPG Pro | 2TB Micron 1100 SSD
QN90A | Emotiva B1+, ELAC OW4.2, PB12-NSD, HD800
 

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