Is the third of our articles on building your “Crazy but Cool” computer. It may only be a fantasy, but in the first two articles we explored choosing a motherboard and CPU for a maximum speed gaming machine. Then we looked at cases and power supplies. This week we consider storage devices. Get lots of storage You have already, perhaps, a good size hard disc, but on examining It you see that Its connection is a parallel ATA system and your new motherboard only supports serial ATA connections.
You “only” had a 500 KGB drive and now you think that as this was getting pretty full you will need at least a terabyte of storage. If you are seriously gaming or streaming video you may find even this gets full soon. This may seem incredible, but whenever we have installed what seems to be an excessively huge amount of storage that we will “never fill”, along come applications that will fill up the space. You will like the SAT connections as each drive has its own cable and your motherboard will have plenty of connectors. No need any more for those ribbon connectors and daisy chaining your devices!
There Is another choice you will have to make. STATS Is being replaced by STATS – twice as fast data transfer! So, will you look for a STATS drive as your motherboard supports this? Use an SD for the SO For your main storage you will probably use a mechanical hard drive which writes data to a series of “platters” and has a moving read/write head. There is nothing wrong with these devices, but for speed you might be thinking of an SD drive. These are solid state drives which have no moving parts, so are more robust In moving environments such as laptops or tablets. They are also very fast as they use flash memory.
The disadvantage of them is that they are much more expensive than mechanical hard disc drives. One choice you might make is to use a small capacity SD to keep your operating system and programs on, and use a large capacity hard disc for your data storage. The SD will make start-up of the operating system much quicker and your programs will load much more quickly. So, why not go all out for solid state storage? One reason is that even in this fantasy world of building a crazy but cool machine there are limits o finance and two KGB SD drives will probably cost more than the rest of the project together.
Another reason is that currently Sods are said to slow down rapidly when they have made a lot of writes to the disc. Controllers are being developed to “level” the wear and they are now said to be better at keeping to their original programs, and a mechanical hard disc drive for data storage. Here are examples of the cheapest storage devices per KGB in our list. Drives you might consider Type of drive Model Capacity Price pence per KGB HAD SD You will find some other combinations of hard disc and solid state technology. Some hybrid hard disc drives include a solid state cache to improve read/write speeds.
Another consideration is to combine a hard disc drive with an SD to use as high speed cache. Still the need for speed? Here is another consideration. You might want to set up your disc drives in a RAID configuration. You might combine discs for speed or security or both. In RADIO, the data is written across two discs as though they were one. This is called “striping”. This gives extra speed to reading and writing to disc, but has the disadvantage that the loss of one disc means the loss of data on both discs. You will need to make sure you have regular backups of your data.
RAID configuration mirrors the data on two discs. This gives the security of automatic backup as all data is recorded on both discs and if one disc fails, the other can take over. For speed and security, RADIO combines both striped and mirrored data using four discs. This now sounds a bit excessive for our gaming machine, but you might consider a pair of Sods in RADIO for your operating system. Here are some fast solid state drives that you might consider for the system: Happy building! Next week we will examine options for a graphic card.