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Hard Drive Caches

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Just a question: there are hard drives with 2MB cache and there are hard drives with 8MB cache. In tests I saw those seem to have the pretty much the speed. Is that due to the nature of the tests? And if so what does that mean? In everyday usage, will having a bigger cache make the drive discernibly faster? Enough to spend extra money on it?

April 7, 2005, 17:08

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Comment by Thomas: User icon

depends on what you test: IOPS or bandwidth?

I would expect bandwidth to be the same if you are testing 2 drives that are the same expect for the cache since the physical medium is the limiting factor. If you are testing IOPS I would expect a difference especially if you would turn on fast write cache (wich you shouldn’t do of course unless you have a UPS etc.)

Thomas

April 12, 2005, 19:52

Comment by ssp: User icon

Personally I’m not testing anything…

Of course I can imagine a larger cache having advantages. But what I’m wondering about is whether I’ll see them in everyday use. To which is extent is the cache on a hard drive used? I have no idea about these things.

April 13, 2005, 2:17

Comment by Thomas: User icon

The cache will be used of course by the drive, no user intervention needed and drives are quite clever. But I expect it will make very little difference… yes that 10Meg file that you have just opened might be ready to edit few seconds earlier. Or the machine might be booted a bit quicker… but over all on a home machine that sits idle for 99% of the time I don’t think it will make a lot of difference. The only expection might be if you are a regular photoshop user. Those files are ussually quite big to start with. The thing to keep in mind here is the workload.

Having no cache would probably make a noticable difference though. I guess you can always give that a try, there must be some utility somewhere that can turn of the cache.

Thomas

April 14, 2005, 18:51

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