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Promise FastTrack and "twin" WD Expert 18 Gb hard drives. by Patrick
Started on: 01-20-2000 06:09 PM
Replies: 17
Last post by: Monkeyman on 01-23-2000 05:25 AM
Patrick
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Report this Post01-20-2000 06:09 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickDirect Link to This Post

Ok, for all you computer geeks out there...

A few months ago I bought an 18 Gb Western Digital Expert 7200 RPM drive to use as my video capture drive with a Matrox Rainbow Runner. I have a separate boot drive. My intention was to eventually buy a Promise FastTrack and a second 18 GB Expert drive to stripe to the first one I bought.

Problem... Western Digital apparently has already discontinued this drive and it seems to be unavailable here in Vancouver BC.

Question (1) - If I can't get hold of a new one, does anyone out there who has upgraded to a larger drive want to sell me their "puny, old" 18 Gb Expert drive?

Question (2) - Is it absolutely necessary to get an identical drive to use as the second drive in the raid array? I realize that a larger drive would be wasted because only 18 Gbs of it would be used in the raid array, but is that the only drawback?

Question (3) - If it turns out that I have no choice than to buy a different second drive to use with the 18 Gb Expert and the FastTrack, are there any recommendations out there (compatibility wise, speed, etc)?

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Monkeyman
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Report this Post01-20-2000 07:36 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MonkeymanSend a Private Message to MonkeymanDirect Link to This Post
I think the real question here should be... "What?"
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Formula
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Report this Post01-20-2000 09:22 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FormulaSend a Private Message to FormulaDirect Link to This Post
why and/or how do you need so much hard drive space.

I'm happy with 1 13 gb drive.

I would try to answer the actual question but it blew me away, sorry.

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Cooter
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Report this Post01-20-2000 11:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CooterSend a Private Message to CooterDirect Link to This Post
If these are IDE drives, I saw an ad for a RAID controller in a tigerDirect catalog and you may be able to get some info from them.
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Report this Post01-21-2000 02:07 AM Click Here to See the Profile for ShinerClick Here to Email ShinerSend a Private Message to ShinerDirect Link to This Post
Me and my best bud have had alot of expierience in building computers. Here is my advice: STAY THE HECK AWAY FROM WESTERN DIGITALS! When you hear that somebody just had a HD crash, ask what kind they are using. I would bet you lunch they are (were) using a WD. We have had GREAT expieriences with IBM HD's. They are cheaper than WD's in some cases, and the reliability is unquestionable. They work hard. If you are REALLY on a budget, and need a big HD, get a maxtor. They are made by IBM, they just aren't as nice. I am looking into a 20 gig 7200rpm IBM for my next comp.
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Patrick
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Report this Post01-21-2000 03:46 AM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickDirect Link to This Post

Hi guys. Yeah, this is a bit different than discussing hydraulic clutches and tire sizes, isn't it?...

The reason for all the Gbs is because my other hobby (besides fixing my Fiero ) is videography, and I've just recently started editing video on the computer. In round figures, it takes about one Gb per five minutes of video. So when editing video, there's no such thing as too much hard drive space.

Yes, these are IDE drives I'm discussing. When used with the FastTrack, they are more than able to keep up with the demands of "home" video editing.

It's interesting the views everyone has on the brands of hard drives. When you read enough opinions, it seems that they all balance out in the end. Sorta like with makes of cars...

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Report this Post01-21-2000 04:22 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff PennockClick Here to visit Cliff Pennock's HomePageClick Here to Email Cliff PennockSend a Private Message to Cliff PennockDirect Link to This Post
Most problems with cheaper harddisk are heat-related. It's true that these harddisks crash more often than more expensive ones, but even cheap harddisks can run reliably when given the proper cooling. Large harddisks can get so hot, you are not able to touch them and this will ofcourse generate all kinds of problems.

There are a few simple thing you can do to improve the cooling of your harddisk:

Use a tower case
Desktop cases have a tremendous problem dissipating the heat generated by the components in your computer. Even with extra cooling fans you will never be able to get rid of all the heat. Towers have the big advantage that all generated heat will rise to the top where it is immediatly blown out of the case by the power supply's fan.

Place your components with care
Open the case of your computer and feel around which components generate the most heat. If you have two plug-in boards next to each other that both generate a lot of heat, try to move one to another slot.

If you have multiple harddisk, move them apart
Since harddisks generate a lot of heat, don't stack them on top of each other. Move them as far apart as possible.

Check airflow
Be sure that all cooling fans in the case blow or suck air in the same general direction. You want the cooling fans to be working together, not against each other.

Check your power supply's cooling fan
Some power supplies suck air into the case, others blow them out. In ATX cases, the idea by sucking air in was that it would blow cool air over your CPU. Problem here is that although it will cool your CPU by a few degrees, it will raise the overall temperature inside your case. If your power supply's fan is suckin air in, disconnect it from the mains, open it up and turn the fan around. You want the fan to blow out all hot air inside the case.

I've done most of these modifications on my system and I was able to lower the inside temperature from 140F to 105F. It made my system a lot stabler...

Now, what was the question again?

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DJRice
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Report this Post01-21-2000 08:36 AM Click Here to See the Profile for DJRiceClick Here to Email DJRiceSend a Private Message to DJRiceDirect Link to This Post
I read yesterday that Western Digital is getting out of the Hard Drive business altogether.
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batboy
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Report this Post01-21-2000 11:27 AM Click Here to See the Profile for batboyClick Here to Email batboySend a Private Message to batboyDirect Link to This Post
I looked into getting two identical drive and using that Promise device to mirror the drives. I ended up getting a SparQ back-up drive instead (which is just like a Jaz drive). Now that HD prices are much cheaper, that's a great way to back up your HD. Supposedly if your primary HD fails, it automatically switches over to the back-up drive and gives you a message that the first drive bit the dirt.

To answer your question, I'm not sure if they have to be indentical. Maybe check out the Promise website or email them to find out for sure. BTW, I've used Maxtor, Western Digital, and Seagate harddrives, the only one that had an unrecoverable crash was my 6.4 gig WD drive. Maxtor has a great tech support and a no hassle warranty. Seagate has several 7200 rpm IDE drives that have gotten favorable reviews. I've been using a Maxtor 13 gig drive for a year now. No problems and I use my computer a lot.

Cliff's right about cooling! Not only just harddrives, but also CPUs, 3D video cards, CD-R drives etc. need to stay cool if you want them to last. In addition to the power supply fan, I have a 4" front case fan pulling air in and a "slot fan" (mounted in the back where the cards go) to push the air out the back of the case. I mounted an old 486 CPU fan on my Diamond Viper 3D video card chip and I have a massive Computer Nerds heatsink with triple fans on my Celeron CPU. The inside of my case stays nice and cool, even with the CPU being overclocked from 300 mhz to 450 mhz. Like Cliff said, the ATX style tower case is the way to go.

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Monkeyman
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Report this Post01-21-2000 05:50 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MonkeymanSend a Private Message to MonkeymanDirect Link to This Post
Would someone email me and tell me exactly how to go about switching the fan in my tower? I just checked it and it pulls air in. (There is a "vent" in the lower front that lets out a tiny bit of warm air.) I keep my computer on 24/7 so I don't want to trash anything.

batboy--What did you do to "turbocharge" your computer? I'm planning on upgrading from 64megs of RAM to 128 (I think I have this right) in the spring. What did your upgrade do?

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Report this Post01-21-2000 06:23 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff PennockClick Here to visit Cliff Pennock's HomePageClick Here to Email Cliff PennockSend a Private Message to Cliff PennockDirect Link to This Post
Monkeyman, batboy is "overclocking" his Celeron. It's running your CPU at higher speeds than the label says it should run at. Note that I didn't say "it's running your CPU at higher speeds than it was designed to run at", since these CPU's were actually designed to run at higher speeds. For instance, My Celeron 366 is running happily at 550Mhz without any problems whatsoever. Benchmarking tells me it's even a little bit faster than a PIII/550...

Anyway, turning your fan around is quite easy. But before you go and open up your computer, unplug it from the mains first!!! Next, disconnect all plugs coming from the power supply (the wires to your disks and to the mainboard). Then unscrew the screws that attaches the power supply to your case (at the back of the case). You should now be able to take out the power supply. Open the power supply by unscrewing the four screws. Some components inside your power supply can still hold some current so be careful not to touch anything (it won't kill you, but it'll scare you, maybe causing you to drop the power supply on your dog, which will run outside in front of a car which will try to avoid it and hit another car, causing a major uproar that could eventually start World War III or something). Loosen the fan by unscrewing it. Turn it around (there should be an arrow on the side of the fan pointing in the direction it blows air). Close everything up. That should do it.

Disclaimer: Following the above instructions could result in damage to your computer when not done correctly. I, nor anyone else in this world can and will be held responsible if something goes wrong.

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Monkeyman
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Report this Post01-21-2000 08:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MonkeymanSend a Private Message to MonkeymanDirect Link to This Post
Thanx, Cliff. Now I know how to turn my fan around but I'm too scared to try and do it. Would you care to make a short trip to Indiana? What are the advantages to "overclocking" a CPU? Is it difficult to do and what would the cost be? Is it just a matter of programming or are there physical changes that need to be made? Let me in on the secret! I need more power!!!! (Especially since I just found out today that my computer isn't what I paid for. I won't mention the name of the company I bought it from [cow] but I'm not [moo] pleased!) It turns out that I have a 400Mhz Celeron [blackandwhiteonthebox] instead of the 500Mhz/PIII I paid for. I found this out when I received a small [midwest company] check with an even smaller letter of apology. I also receive a sticker to place on my tower that says, "G6-400c". Whoopee. I immediately called them to "female dog" and asked for the correct processor instead of the money. They politely declined. Something about the price of a new processor was greater than the size of the check they sent me. All this after 6 mos worth of DVD-ROM problems. I [G] think [a] I'll [t] buy [e] from [w] someone [a] else [y] next time.
What were we talking about before I got stuck in the Complaint Dept.? I hate it when my mind wanders.
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batboy
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Report this Post01-21-2000 10:04 PM Click Here to See the Profile for batboyClick Here to Email batboySend a Private Message to batboyDirect Link to This Post
Monkey, if turning the power fan around scares you, then overclocking will absolutely terrify you. I don't recommend it unless you have some computer hardware knowledge. Do a lot of research first. There is a slim possibility of causing CPU damage. Maybe this URL will help get you started, there are hundreds of overclocking websites out there. Think of it as hotrodding a computer.

http://www.sysopt.com/howtooc.html

[This message has been edited by batboy (edited 01-21-2000).]

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Monkeyman
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Report this Post01-22-2000 05:08 AM Click Here to See the Profile for MonkeymanSend a Private Message to MonkeymanDirect Link to This Post
1st, the table doesn't even list my CPU (400Mhz Celeron) and second...Yikes! I didn't even get past the charts and I'm confused already. Does anybody do this for a fee? What would it cost, what would I get out of it, and how much time would it take to get it done? I'm thinking of batboy, Cliff, GT Bastard, and theogre here (only because they come to mind 1st regarding computers). Anyone want to supercharge my CPU? I'm planning on doubling my RAM in the spring (sounds sexual, doesn't it?!) from 64 to 128. Will this do the same thing as fastwatch thing? I'd add nitro to my CPU even if it didn't do a whole lot if it didn't cost much money. (What the he!!. At least I could honestly say that I had a turbocharged/supercharged/nitros boosted computer!) Are there any parts to buy or is this just a matter of changing some connections? I would read the link, but I need something a little more in line with my 3rd grade education! What exactly will overclocking do? I seem to use my computer more and more but I can't afford to buy another one right now. Hopefully next year, but if I can turbo charge it maybe I won't need to buy another one. My brother-in-law is a computer nerd (I don't mean this in a derogatory way!!!) but he's next to impossible to get a hold of. Anybody want to trade emails about this and give me some personal help/advise. I'd hate to take up too much space here for something that there might not be that much interest in. And I seem to have a whole lot of questions.
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batboy
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Report this Post01-22-2000 01:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for batboyClick Here to Email batboySend a Private Message to batboyDirect Link to This Post
Monkey, increasing your RAM like you're planning is an excellent idea and I highly recommend it. That will improve performance in many cases, but it's not the same as overclocking. Overclocking makes your CPU run at a faster clock speed. Celeron CPU chips use a 66.6 MHz bus speed on the motherboard. If your motherboard was designed to also support the P-II or P-III chips, it will probably have jumpers to set the bus speed up to 100 MHz, which is what the P-II and P-III chips run at. Your 400 Celeron chip has a locked multiplier of 6, it can't be readily changed. Take 66.6 MHz times 6 and that gives you about 400 MHz clock speed. If you change the bus speed at 100 MHz that would give you a clock speed of 600 MHz (100X6=600). Not all chips will overclock for some reason. Some will if you bump up the CPU voltage a tad. Not all motherboards have adjustable voltage. Overclocking does produce more CPU heat which is not good, so you have to make sure you have plenty of cooling, that's why I have so many fans, although my cooling system is probably overkill. Clear as mud, right? Check out this old Forum thread.

//www.fiero.nl/forum/Forum1/HTML/000356.html

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Monkeyman
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Report this Post01-22-2000 05:35 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MonkeymanSend a Private Message to MonkeymanDirect Link to This Post
Thanx, batboy, but I'll still be emailing you. Hope you don't mind.
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batboy
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Report this Post01-22-2000 07:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for batboyClick Here to Email batboySend a Private Message to batboyDirect Link to This Post
I don't mind. Send all the emails you want. I might even answer one of them.
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Monkeyman
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Report this Post01-23-2000 05:25 AM Click Here to See the Profile for MonkeymanSend a Private Message to MonkeymanDirect Link to This Post
haha
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