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1. My M.B. is having 8 SATA ports ( 6 SATA 2 and 2 SATA 3 ).When WD1002FAEX-00Z3A0 1TB,SATA600,7200rpm,64MBCache ( which is a SATA 3 disk ) is connected to SATA 3 port instead of SATA 2, I didn't see any significant improvement in the performance.Infact the CPU usage has increased marginally.
2. WD1002FAEX-00Z3A0 1TB,SATA600,7200rpm,64MBCache has fared better than WD1001FALS-00Y6A0 1TB,SATA300,7200rpm,32MBCache. I feel that the extra Cache in WD1002FAEX
is pretty useful.
3. WD10EARS-00Z5B1 1TB,SATA300,5400rpm,64MBCache can be used as a Data disk than as a OS disk.Though it's data transfer rate is less,it is frugal in CPU usage.
4. WD1002FAEX-00Z3A0 1TB,SATA600,7200rpm,64MBCache and WD1001FALS-00Y6A0 1TB,SATA300,7200rpm,32MBCache combination as RAID 0 has given the best performance.When write-back cache is enabled there is a marginal increase in it's performance.I think even a combination of two WD1001FALS will be almost as good as this.( It will save some money ).The combination of two WD1002FAEX will be slightly better than this.( It costs more as WD1002FAEX is costlier than WD1001FALS ).
5. Two WD10EARS disks as RAID 0 hasn't fared that well as compared to the other two RAID 0 combinations.Infact it's CPU usage is pretty high and so is Access time.So this combination as OS disk is not advisable.But WD10EARS as a single disk is not using that much of CPU resources and the Access time is also reasonable.It can be used as a Data disk or as a backup disk.
I thought of buying a SSD for OS.But I find it expensive for it's capacity .So I went for the RAID 0 combination of WD1002FAEX and WD1001FALS.I am very much impressed with it's performance.I have installed OS,Softwares and Games in this RAID 0.Even the most resource hungry games are played with all the frills enabled, without a hitch.The video encoding is also very fast.The data transfer rate is very good within the same RAID Array or from another RAID Array.For the price of a 120 GB SSD we can buy two 1 TB WD1002FAEX disks and create a RAID 0 of 2 TB which will be very good though it may not compare favorably to an SSD as far as Access time is concerned.
I have got two WD10EARS disks and I have created another RAID 0 with these two and using it to store Music and Movies.
The fith disk WD6400AAKS is used for the other OSs ( various flavors of Linux and Snow Leopard ) and personal data.
All the 5 HDDs are connected to SATA 2 ports and of the 2 DVD writers that I have one is connected to SATA 2 port and the other to SATA 3 port.
But with RAID 0,if something goes wrong then all the data is lost forever.There are softwares which claim to recover data from RAID 0.I have tested two of such softwares in my PC.But none of them have worked well.So I take regular backups of all the important data in two external drives.( twice a month I take backup in two separate external drives using them alternatively ).I have been using this combination for the last 6 months.Till this day RAID 0 hasn't given me any trouble.
I feel RAID 0 is the best way to go for a significant performance boost if you can't afford an SSD.

Screen shot of Intel Rapid Storage Technology



Syam
( syam0312@rediffmail.com )

These are the photos of my P.C.