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Hard Drive help on HTPC


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9 replies to this topic

#1 of 10 OFFLINE   Steve F M

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Posted February 22 2005 - 12:29 PM

I have bought 2 - 200GB Maxtor Ultra DMA Hard Drives which I am going to use for Movie and Music Library. Do I want to get another Hard Drive to use for my Operating System and all other programs?

My UDMA ATA 133/100/66 Bus Master IDE connectors are full and I could go witha SATA Hard Drive for this. Is this overkill or my best plan of attack?

This will be my 1st PC Building experience so I'm sure I'll be back with tons of questions in the next 2 weeks.

#2 of 10 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted February 22 2005 - 12:56 PM

Yeah, get a 40 or 60 or 80 GB SATA drive for your system and programs. SATA is nice because it uses less CPU overhead. Any reason you didn't go with SATA for the other drives? Anyway, it won't make a huge difference. Oh, but it might be nice to have the separate system/programs drive because if you're running movies from one HD it might be nice to have Windows sucking off of a different one because that way the computer would only be reading the movie from the movie drive instead of trying to read the movie and lots of Windows crap in the background.

This can also make things a little easier when you want to upgrade your OS or other stuff. Simply take out or disconnect the movie drives and work with the OS drive so your movies don't get screwed up.

#3 of 10 OFFLINE   Steve F M

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Posted February 22 2005 - 01:09 PM

When setting this up is there anything special I need to do to seperate the hard drives. I'm only familar with having 1 hard drive per PC.

Reason for the UDMA Hard Drives is I got them for $50 a piece at Staples over the weekend. Can't beat 400GB for $100!!

#4 of 10 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted February 22 2005 - 01:47 PM

Just set one as slave/master.

You want to try avoiding tons of HDDs in an HTPC, because each drive:

increases the noise output
increases the heat level

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#5 of 10 OFFLINE   Steve F M

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Posted February 22 2005 - 02:02 PM

So Chris should I stay with just the 2 - 200GB Hard Drives. i'll use the one for a movie library and the other for operating system and programs and also a music library.

The Silverstone Lascala LC-10B case which I bought has the capabilty to install 3 Hard drives if I remember correctly!

#6 of 10 OFFLINE   WayneO

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Posted February 22 2005 - 04:01 PM

Both Chris and Seth make valid points and suggestions. I'd just make up a partition of about 10GB on one HD that should hold or your OS and program files and use the rest for music and video files.
If the best advice is "listen for yourself", then why offer your opinion?

#7 of 10 OFFLINE   Al.Anderson

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Posted February 23 2005 - 01:14 AM

Using the extra drive for both music and movies might not be the best division. You should consider one hard drive for your movies, and format that drive to have a large sector size. However music files are comparatively small, so I'd look to have a separate drive with a small sector size; this will save you a lot of space when storing music. (A saved file always takes up the full sector size regardless of the file size.) The third aspect is where to put the swap space. If the PC will be used for processing other than movie watching at the same time as the movie watching, keep the swap space off of the movie drive; this will reduce the chance of conflicting read requests to the same drive which could cause movie pklayback to 'skip'.

I don't think I'd worry about the added noise of a 3rd or 4th drive, they're pretty quiet these days. Cooling fans will far overshaddow the drive noise. Power could be a problem, but you either have enough or you don't; so check your power supply wattage first.

#8 of 10 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted February 23 2005 - 05:08 AM

The third aspect is where to put the swap space.


This is also a very good point. Honestly, if you can afford at least 1GB of good RAM, I wouldn't even use any swap space (virtual memory). But you definitely don't want that on your movie drive.

As mentioned in several posts, you really need to consider the noise of the PC when building an HTPC. One thing I regret from my most recent build is using the Intel stock heatsink/fan. It does a fine job of cooling for me (I don't OC), but it's a little noisey. Many of the really good quiet heatsinks require taking the motherboard out for installation, so you almost have to do it during the initial build process.

You should also look at quiet cases like the Antec Sonata to keep the noise to a minimum.

#9 of 10 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted February 23 2005 - 05:51 AM

Quote:
I don't think I'd worry about the added noise of a 3rd or 4th drive, they're pretty quiet these days. Cooling fans will far overshaddow the drive noise. Power could be a problem, but you either have enough or you don't; so check your power supply wattage first.

Exactly. It's not so much the noise of the drive, it's the added heat, which will require heat-triggered fans to run faster, with more noise.

While the Sonata is a nice case, the Lascala is -very- quiet, and the PSU in the Sonata is nowhere as quiet as a good Zalman or Seasonic PSU.
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#10 of 10 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted February 23 2005 - 11:11 AM

Quote:

As mentioned in several posts, you really need to consider the noise of the PC when building an HTPC. One thing I regret from my most recent build is using the Intel stock heatsink/fan. It does a fine job of cooling for me (I don't OC), but it's a little noisey. Many of the really good quiet heatsinks require taking the motherboard out for installation, so you almost have to do it during the initial build process.

I missed your comment on the retail box fan. Definitely agree. I'm going to try and put up a few of the HTPC boxes we test on to get results in the "For Sale" area, but the retail box thus far has been our largest compaint on everyone we've built, so we just don't do it anymore.
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