TechSpot

RAM or RPM?

By Lizardman
Nov 21, 2006
  1. I am building a computer, and trying to cut some costs. I am trying to buy 1 GB of RAM right now, and a hard drive that is 74 GB with 10,000 RPM. Later, when I get more money :p, I will buy 1 GB more of RAM. Now, here is the quandary, I have a 160 GB 7200 RPM hard drive, and if I install that, then I can go ahead and get the full 2 GB of RAM. Should I pick RAM over RPM, or vice-versa? (HD size isn't really a prob right now). Thanks for your input!
     
  2. smore9648

    smore9648 TS Rookie Posts: 697

    Definately RAM
     
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Depends on your computer usage really.

    After I hit 1.5GB, I can't tell the difference. The only reason I ever felt the difference between that and 1GB is because of memory-chewing games like World of Warcraft. (I have 2GB at the moment)

    I believe most people would benefit from a faster drive. The exceptions would be high-end gamers and serious graphic/media artists. For most people and even many power users, that hard drive would be a better bet as it is definitely the slowest link in your computer.

    You should keep an eye on your memory usage in Task Manager and see if you ever get close to using all of your current memory. If you do, then that's an obvious sign you should upgrade. If you don't, then definitely get the drive.
     
  4. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 TS Rookie Posts: 766

    I really have played about 80% of all computer games (yes hundreds) The only game I feal that needs 2 gigs is all of the battlefield 2 and 2142 series. Other then that everything else runs good with 1 gig.

    I definitely say get the 10k rpm drive. You load maps way faster.

    But you don't only messure speed of drives by rpm, but by BPSI. (google it if you want to know more).
     
  5. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    RPM is the hard drive parameter with the biggest effect on performance. 7200 vs 10000 is a 30%+ increase. You don't get that with BPSI or anything else unless you are comparing a modern drive with an ancient one. Also, a drive with two platters will perform exactly the same as a drive with twice the BPSI and one platter. So BPSI is not a straighforward measurement like RPM of seek times.
     
  6. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 TS Rookie Posts: 766

    Don't take this offensively, but how often do you run into a drive with two platters? For sever and networking environments sure, but just home and gaming use?


    I meant or think what I said is it is something you should factor in.
     
  7. skitzo_zac

    skitzo_zac TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 418

    so 10k hdds r worth the extra price tag r they then???
     
  8. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Are you rich? Is the hard drive your bottleneck? Would you mind the horrendous noise these beasts make?
     
  9. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 TS Rookie Posts: 766

    Mine in my case makes no noise (case in profile) but my case has hard drive shocks so you can't hear them. But without it they are a bit loud for a drive, but when you got your guns going you don't really notice it.
     
  10. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    Why dont you get 1.5gig ram and the 10k RPM drive? =D

    But then again... I would rather have 2gig and have a nice drive with lots of space
     
  11. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Many, many hard drives have multiple platters.

    Even a 750GB Seagate (.10) has 188GB platters, which is the largest platter in the industry. So any 200GB or greater drive definitely has multiple platters.

    Also, to the best of my knowledge, drives with more platters do not increase performance. However, larger platter sizes will increase performance slightly (Referred to as 'areal density' with the measurement of BPSI).
     
  12. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 TS Rookie Posts: 766

    Thanks Rick for clearing that up I was a little unsure.
     
  13. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/op/media_Number.htm

    The above article talks about multiple platters. The article mentions there may actually be a performance penalty for additional platters as the increased weight can slow response (which translates to seek) times. However, the article also suggests manufacturers may use more powerful spindle motors to compensate for this loss. I have not found much other information though, but interesting.
     
  14. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 TS Rookie Posts: 766

    I'll take a look.
     
  15. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    That response there is only for spinning up and down the drive, Once the drive is running, its platters spin at ne nominal RPM and it makes no difference if you have 1 or 5 platters.
     
  16. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    you won't tell much more performance increase with 1gb more of ram above 1gb that you already have except with a few games. I recommend getting the HDD. However, when you do get more ram, make sure it is an exact duplicate to take advantage of dual slots.
     
  17. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Very well then... :stickout: That makes sense as the drive is always spinning, so it reaches a maximum, consistent RPM while in operation.
     
  18. imastudmuffin

    imastudmuffin TS Rookie

    If you really want to cut costs, them just buy 1gb memory and use your existing HDD.
     
  19. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    Actualy, You're wrong... You could still buy 2 gigs / HDD and only spend about $200-300 ( depending on if you have 512mb / 1gig per stick )

    I built a computer that had 2 gigs RAM, 7900 ( ready to SLI ), 700w PSU, duo core processor, 320gig / 7200RPM Hard drive and the rest of the stuff ( case, monitor, keyboards / mouse and all the other stuff I didnt put ) for only about $1,300


    Check my Profile for the build
     
  20. imastudmuffin

    imastudmuffin TS Rookie

    Hi TimeParadoX,
    I take it mathmatics isn't your strong point, buying 2Gb RAM and a HDD is much more expensive than simply purchasing 1GB RAM. But if you don't beleive me, just ask any 7yr old. ;-)
     
  21. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    512MB DDR2 RAM Single Stick $75
    1GB (2-512MB Sticks matched) DDR2 $130
    I'm building a Intel Celeron D 3.2GHz, Intel EM64T, Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 MBoard, 1GB (512MB matched pair) DDR2 RAM, 250GB SATA Seagate, CD/DVD R/W, Antec Mid-tower 450Watt case... $950 for hardware only
     
  22. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    Well... Would you rather have performance or cheap price tag?

    Also nice build Tmagic650 ;)
     
  23. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Thanks TimeParadoX,
    this is the most expensive build I have ever done for a customer of mine. I am usually trying to find a happy compromise between performance and a cheap price tag... This is becomming harder to do, by the month. I'm lucky to get $100 for my work though
     
  24. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    this is why I left the computer salvage business a long time ago. The profit margins are too slim.
     
  25. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    It's only a hobby with me now anyway. Retrobox.com still does a good job in the salvage business. I love those old Intel Compaqs
     
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