Buy Now OR Wait?

No, I mean as a replacement drive, not as a second drive. I only want to run a single drive to reduce noise/heat/power draw. I’m using a USB hard disk as a backup device (along with DVDs).

You really want two drives. It’s a better config. Your OS drive access is no longer interleaved with data access. This has huge performance implications for virtual machine usage, for example.

Same reason we have dual core… and SLI… and RAID… and dual-channel RAM… and so forth. Sometimes two really is better than one.

I had a two-drive setup for several years. Yes, they were occasionally pretty fast. No, I really don’t want that again. They’re way too loud, and with two 10,000 RPM drives they’d be also generating too much heat.

Also, the speed improvement isn’t nearly as big as you make out – most of what’s needed of the OS and program binaries is loaded either at boot time or the start of an operation, and so the drive only operates on data most of the time anyway.

Your dual-core and dual-channel RAM analogies are dumb. Dual channel doesn’t have any downsides since smaller DIMMs for a DC configuration are relatively cheaper anyway. Dual core is actually useful because there are always tons of threads running in Windows, and all new CPUs are dual-core anyway so you don’t pay double price or anything. And neither of these options generates any significant amount of additional heat or noise.

Your SLI and RAID analogies are good, though not in the way you intended. They’re both stupid upgrades that waste money and generate noise and heat for no good reason…

They’re way too loud, and with two 10,000 RPM drives they’d be also generating too much heat.

I don’t think you’ve tried a modern Raptor, like I have.

The whole point of having two drives is to avoid having a crappy one-drive-fits-all strategy. You buy an expensive blazingly fast small drive for your OS and core apps, and a cheaper moderately fast large drive for all your games, data, and media. It’s the best of both worlds.

I am a silence fanatic, and I run a Raptor plus the 750gb perpendicular drive. Neither is noisy; neither generates a lot of heat. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you don’t know that hard drive manufacturers have really gotten their act together on noise levels in the last 2 years.

The speed improvement of a 10k drive over a 7,200rpm model is not in any way subtle. If you don’t believe me, look it up yourself.

You don’t ever actually read anything other people write, do you?

My new years resolution is to try out that reading thing that people are always telling me about…

What we got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach.

My machine is literally inaudible from 5 feet away, and I run a Raptor. It runs neither loud nor hot compared to other modern 3.5" drives. So I’m a little confused by your assertion that…

They’re way too loud, and with two 10,000 RPM drives they’d be also generating too much heat.

Which is, in a word, wrong. Do you know how many hard drives I have in my house right now? Upwards of 15. Five are in machines that are inaudible from normal working distance, isolated by sorbothane, and acoustically damped using foam.

Until they sell a 750 GB Raptor, my advice still applies. What you want to do cannot be done with a single drive, nor is using a single drive a rational strategy for the heat or noise reasons you cite. If you’re worried about power draw, then I humbly submit that you haven’t MEASURED power draw like I have using a kill-a-watt. It’s noise relative to the CPU and GPU.

Okay, so maybe Raptors are extremely cool and quiet compared to those Fujitsu SCSI disks I used to run in pairs… but you know what, I’d still rather just have a single disk.

Dual hard disks don’t result in any noticeable speed increase in normal desktop operation. I know; I’ve used them long enough so as not to waste my old disks when upgrading. Until I realised that it was pointless.

“What you want to do cannot be done with a single drive” – failure to communicate indeed. What precisely do I “want”, in your opinion? I want a single 10,000 RPM drive bigger than 150 GB, that’s all… and I know that’s not physically impossible because they already exist, as SCSI models.

Anyway, I’m in no hurry to upgrade since my current hard disk is plenty big enough. All I want is to get rid of that SCSI adaptor which takes up a precious PCI slot (some new motherboards only a have a single one to begin with, and I also have an X-Fi card). But I’m not doing a “sidegrade” without increased capacity.

I find the value of the Raptors somewhat overrated: sure, there’s a performance boost, but not enough of one to justify the expense, IMHO. And a lot of the purported benefits of using multiple HDDs can usually be achieved through sensible partitioning. OTOH, if you have the cash to burn, buy a pair of 150 gig Raptors, put them in RAID 0, and bask in the overkill. :-)

Just to muddy the waters, since you seem to have a decent-sized budget, I would go with the 8800GTX: your video card is the single most critical factor in your gaming performance; and if you have the money, you should splurge on the best you can get, especially since you’re not being stingy with your other components. Put another way: an 8800GTX + 7200rpm HD is a better gaming config than an 8800GTS + 10K HD; if you’re willing to splurge on a Raptor, you should definitely pony up the extra money on an 8800GTX, IMHO. Just be forewarned that the 8800GTX is a big card, so you need a roomy case to fit it: e.g., it will fit the P180, but you have to remove one of the upper HD trays, apparently.

Yeah, the #1 problem with the GTX isn’t really the price – you get a speed increase roughly on par with the price increase – but the fact that it’s physically ginormous and needs a monster power supply. The GTS is modest enough to fit in normal ATX systems.

Gamespot just reviewed the Nvidia card with 320mb. What about that one?

Lorini

The p180 is a stylish and quiet case. 3 120mm fans provide plenty of airflow and hardly any noise. An 8800Gtx will fit it but you have to remove 2 of the 8 hdd trays. Since you only want a single hdd, this should not even come close to being an issue.

I put a system together just last month that’s very similar to what you’re looking at (E6600, 2gb ram, 8800GTX). My research lead me to:

Corsair 620W modular PSU. Amazingly quiet, stable, and a lot of wattage.

WD Caviar SE16 500GB. This is the quietest hard drive I’ve ever owned.

Your pricing is a bit high as well. If you shop around a bit you should be able to pick up the P180 for around $70-$80, a solid 2GB of PC6400 for ~$220, and the E6600 for under $300.

I’d also recommend the Logitech G15 keyboard. I own two, because it’s simply the best keyboard I’ve ever used. Amazon has a rebate on Logitech products this month - buy any 2 and get the second at half price. If you’re already getting the MX518 I’d say try to get in on this.

Edit: I own both a silver and a black p180. I think the black looks better. The silver just doesn’t quite have the right sheen.

You mean besides what they say about it in the review? :-)

It looks like a solid card for the price, particularly if you don’t mind running at lower resolutions, but personally I would rather pony up the money for a full-fledged 8800GTS, at least: the extra RAM clearly makes a big difference in some cases.

EDIT: FYI, you can get a 640MB 8800 GTS for $360 after rebate (plus shipping). I would say the extra RAM is worth the extra cost over the 320MB card.

Are you going to be running Vista or XP on this new box?

Vista handles memory differently than XP did, regularly attempting load as much stuff you might potentially use into memory as possible, so that when you do start programs up it’s already there and off the hard disk. XP takes the opposite approach, attempting to use as little memory as possible when running programs.

With the XP approach a Raptor might be justified, but with Vista you honestly would be better off spending that extra money on another gig stick of RAM.

The tests I’ve seen of Readyboost show that if you have 2GB or more of RAM in your system the performance gain becomes negligible, but if you’ve only got 1GB it can be beneficial.

The other issue with the GTX is that it requires two power connectors. The GTS only requires one. May make a difference depending on your power supply or whether you plan to someday try SLI.

Should be fine as long as you aren’t running very high resolutions and/or high AA settings. There’s about an $80 difference between the 320 and the 640MB card.