One thing to keep in mind is that hard drive companies advertise their size with the idea of 1Mb = 1000Kb, same as 1Gb = 1000Mb, instead of the technically correct: 1Gb = 1024Mb. Hence a hard drive rated by them at 500Gb can only hold ~488Gb when we convert it to the actual size. When formatting to a file system you’ll see a further size reduction, hence when we formatted the RAID 0 stripe with 2x500Gb the actual size in Windows was not 1000Gb but 931Gb. For more information about actual HD space check this article
HDD will fail as a matter of time; it is the level of data importance we perceive individually. Having a backup is the best route; it requires the discipline and careful selected easy to use software. Drive Image was my favorite until I discovered Acronis when I switched to Vista 6 months ago. With large capacity HDDs affordable pricing and low cost external enclosure, it makes keeping a backup copy of your valuable data offsite doable for many home users. So, keep those photos and video clip coming or bring them to your distant relatives and friends.
While this article does not focus on hard drive technology, it is the need for increasing capacity and where the capacity goes.... to my songs, video clips and photos. And, yes, there is another channel of sales and distribution of HDDs; thanks to the expanding DIY market, factory certified repair HDDs at reduced price is available. I am confident that this market will remain strong as demand warrants its existence. The Seagate drives tested today are priced at $99.5/piece
, which is quite a bargain, as you can have a redundant 500Gb storage solution when combined with a RAID 1 config, a feature present on most new motherboards.
With the abundance of gigabytes available at cheap prices the hard drive market is quite stagnant the last several years, while Processors and Video Cards evolve to multi core power beasts, the hard drives remain mechanically limited to a maximum transfer rate, hence slowing down the PC and becoming the bottleneck in most systems. With a ~15ms delay between the system requesting a file and the hard drive finding it there is room for improvement; SCSI drives at 15.000rpm are one remedy proved popular for companies; but for home users it’s not practical in the noise/costs sense. The new alternative are Solid State Drives which feature no moving parts and have access times close to 0ms, unfortunately the first generation of these new storage drives come with lower capacity (<100Gb), high price and maximum transfer rate not much better than normal hard drives (if at all). But there is hope and maybe we’ll see fast, affordable and large SSD appear the coming years, to replace the aging hard drives, and without moving parts, hopefully close to zero RMA and failures.
I thank Michael from Geeks Computer Parts for making this review possible.