It's probably best to look at each drive on it's own merits and compare that to your needs. I recently installed a 5400rpm Maxtor in a PC. It is extremely noisy (this doesn't mean all Maxtor drive models are). Price wise it was within $10 of a Seagate Barracuda IV which is faster and almost silent.
___I am almost an exclusive user of 7200 RPM drives today because they speed up everything else not related to HTPC use. If you load an OS, Driver, or SW app, the 7200â€™s will load them faster. Boot up times are also slightly shorter. If you have run the lengths of your installed RAM and are swapping, the 7200â€™s are still slow in comparison to main memory but they are faster than the 5400â€™s and the feel is very noticeable in comparison.
___As far as the Seagate Barracuda ATA IVâ€™s, we all know the dB output is second to none in the 7200 RPM drive arena but with the dB output cutting utility running (all Barracuda ATA IVâ€™s come this way that I know of), they cannot touch the latest 7200 RPM WD, Maxtor, or IBMâ€™s to date. This you can easily see in an HD Tach bench (less than 80 MB/S burst rates) as well as feel against the WD 120â€™s in particular.
___I only want to emphasize this discussion is for non-HTPC uses because there isnâ€™t an HTPC app that can challenge even a 5400 RPM ATA 33 drive let alone the 7200 RPM ATA100/133 based drive we have available to us today.
I've got a Seagate U series 5400 rpm drive. It is virtually silent. The performance is not amazing but for my living room htpc it's a great fit. I capture video on occasion with MJPEG 640x480 Q18... the harddrive can just barely keep up with the data (files are roughly 9gig/hour).
I've got a 7200 rpm WD and a 7200 Maxtor... both are noisy but the performance is noticeably better. I can do the same Q18 mjpeg capture on these harddrives without any problems.
So... depends what you need to do. If performance or data transfer rate are really important go for the 7200, if noise and heat are big factors go for the 5400.
A great drive resource is www.storagereview.com. Go to the leader board and check out the respective 5400 or 7200 drive reviews with comparisons to peer drives. They cover performance as well as heat an noise so you can choose based on what's important to you.
___Even the lowly U8/10 series Seagate can transfer just a tad below 15 MB/s on the inner tracks which far exceeds the 2.5 MB/s (9 GB/hr) needed for any Hi-Def recording As for HTPCs, you will see that Storage Review removed the Silent operation feature of the Barracuda ATA IV for its tests in order for it to compete directly with todays latest and greatest. It is in the top 5 with the feature removed but in the HTPC realm, it will still transfer over 40 MB/s on the outer tracks and > 25 on the inner ones while being literally silent with the utility enabled. Slower seeks are definitely seen and felt but the transfer rates appear almost unaffected between the two different setups of this literally silent but great drive.
___The following attachment should help as I have run this one a hundred times if I have run it a thousand on the Barracuda ATA IVs
You're right. The tech stats and tests on the harddrives give those kinds of numbers but it seems that Showshifter (the app I was using for capture) or something lower level like directshow or the disk i/o subsystem does some kind of buffering of the video before writing it out to the harddrive. When the buffer was flushed and some other xp system service occurred I would see frame drops... I think I could have tuned my xp system to take care of the problem but I didn't make the time to do it. I didn't have any problems with the 7200 harddrives... there was a bit more room to breath with those.
Regardless, I agree that 99.999 percent of the time any current desktop drive will suffice for a/v needs.
I haven't tried the Baracuda's yet. I do wish they'd come out with a 120gig version of those (or even the U6's)... I'd buy myself one or two.
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