Dan Kegel's Fast Hard Drives Page

Note: This page was originally written in 1997, and this paragraph was updated in February 2000. Much has changed since 1997, e.g. 7200 RPM EIDE drives are now common, 26 gigabyte drives are cheap ($200), and 15000 RPM drives are coming soon.
I recently found that my 9.5 ms, 4GB, 5400 rpm EIDE drive might be a bottleneck for my application, so I went shopping for high-performance disk drives and controllers.

It seems that the most important consideration in a disk drive is its rotation speed. As of April 1999, 5400 is the most common speed. 7200 is now very reasonably priced. 10000 RPM disks have been out for several years, but are not yet cheap. At least one 13000 RPM model is available.

It seems that the highest performance drives are always UltraSCSI based; IDE (or UltraATA) drives are a little lower in both price and performance.

Here are the links I've collected in my search so far. They're a bit messy, but they might be of interest anyway. If you see a high-performance disk web page that you think needs to be added to this page, please write me.

Note: This page does not cover RAID controllers! Many people have asked me to cover this or that RAID controller, but this page is about fast drives, not about how to combine several drives into a composite drive. There are zillions of RAID vendors out there - if you're interested in them, try a Yahoo or Alta Vista search...


Benchmarks are programs that let you compare the speed of two drives. Don't trust generic benchmarks too much; the best benchmark is to measure how long it takes to do your own daily chores.
Note: I found benchmarks to be less sensitive to the slowdowns caused by virus checkers than are real applications. If you can't figure out why your system benchmarks fast but runs slow, try disabling virus detection.





Motherboards with Onboard Ultra SCSI controllers


Usenet can be a great source of current info, e.g. what drives need firmware patches, who's selling what, what works well, etc.

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Vendor White Papers

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Copyright 1997-2000
Dan Kegel