16mb vs 8mb buffer

By zanarkand ยท 5 replies
May 10, 2005
  1. so my 250GB hard drive recently died on me :dead:

    yeah, I've tried everything and the bios doesn't wanna detect it anymore and I lost a LOT of irreplaceable important files that I haven't backed up recently.

    anyhow, I'm looking to buy a new hard drive and I noticed that they have 16mb buffers now that are targeting the multitasking audience. while i do consider myself a multitasker, is there actually any proof or noticeable gain over the 8mb buffers?

  2. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Very little, if any. The most important fact is the drive access-time. Anything between 8-10ms is very good. So getting another 250GB with 8MB (or even 2MB) will save you some cash.
    Go for a Seagate Barracuda harddisk, they seem to be much more reliable than the likes of Maxtor or Hitachi/IBM, or even WD.
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    As RBS said, the buffer size is a useless number presented to you beause of the marketing dogma of "bigger is better".

    16MB is 0.01% of a 160GB drive - the event of a cache hit is nothing less than a miracle especially with all proper operating systems doing their own buffering.
  4. JesseKnows

    JesseKnows TS Rookie

    I would expect the drive's internal read-ahead to be better with a larger buffer. I do not know how to quantify the benefit, though.
  5. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Last I heard, it was useful for people running databases, as there the caching system would allow the write operations to be queued and the system wouldn't have to wait for it...

    Could've been over at toms or extreme tech that had the article... But for the rest of the effect is negligible..
  6. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Oops.. MrG managed to post before me.. I'll adjust.

    The readahead will serve a purpose only when the OS is actually requesting sequential clusters like reading a small block of a data file, then the next block etc. With RAM being big and cheap most files are loaded from the disk as a whole anyway. The exception is databases where loading the whole databse into RAM is not practical.

    Found a nice scientific-looking paper here: http://parapet.ee.princeton.edu/~sigm2002/papers/p284-zhu.pdf
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