16MB or 32MB hard drive cache

  FatboySlim71 09:42 28 Feb 2008

A colleague of mine has a 6 month old PC. Its got Vista 32 bit installed, its got a Q6600 processor, 4GB ram (3.5GB show up as he has a 512MB graphics card). So as you can see its a good specification.

However, when he runs the Windows Vista Experience test, he scores 5.9 on everyone apart from the primary hard drive data transfer rate, where he scores 5.2 (I think he said that, could be lower) he tells me that the drive is not fragmented as he defrags regularly. He tells me that he has a 500GB Samsung SpinPoint T 500GB SATA-II 16MB Cache hard drive in his PC.

He was wanting to know if he upgraded the drive to a Seagate Barracuda ES.2 500GB SATA-II 32MB Cache, or a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB SATA-II 32MB Cache. Would he see an improvement in his read/write speeds? also he does mention that he does find that Vista takes a bit of time to fully load up as he can hear the drive been accessed for a while after Vista has loaded up. If there would an improvement would he see his Windows Vista Experience test result go up to 5.9 for example?

  FatboySlim71 09:49 28 Feb 2008

Another thing. If he did decide to change his hard drive, would it just be a simple matter of taking an image of his old hard drive and then transfering this on to his new drive with Acronis True Image 11 (this is his normal backing up program) or would would Vista kick up a stink saying the computer had been modified/changed too much? Its just I can remember reading somewhere that if your PC has been changed too much, then your operating system can stop you from reaactivating it again?

  xania 10:38 28 Feb 2008

To deal with the second point first, I very mych doubt that simply changing the hard drive would make the software bat an eyelid. Using XP Pro, I have replaced the hard disk on many occasions, simply copying the partition using Partition Magic. In any event, should the OS cut up rough, unless you have an OEM version, you just telephone the number quoted by the system and they will get the matter sorted out very quickly.

I suspect that the reason the PC takes so long to load is the amount of features that it is loading - loads of fonts, loads of programs, loads of settings - most of which you will never need. So you need to take a look at what is loaded. In XP, this is via msconfig but for Vista click here.

There will be some small improvement from a HDD with a larger cache, but you already have a more significant speed improvement from SATA, and the amount of RAM installed. Others may disagree, but I suspect changing the HDD will be a waste of time.

  FatboySlim71 10:54 28 Feb 2008

Thanks Xania, to be honest though, he has mentioned that he has checked the startup list to see if there were too many not needed programs running on startup as I had suggested that to him myself. Perhaps Vista takes longer to finish loading up as its a bigger/more complexed OS than XP? who knows.

  FatboySlim71 18:17 06 Mar 2008


  FatboySlim71 13:01 08 Mar 2008


  citadel 16:54 08 Mar 2008

vista has several things you don't need that can be turned off to reduce hard drive activity. file indexing is one.

  FatboySlim71 17:23 08 Mar 2008

Thanks citadel, but he has already tried turning off Indexing.

To be honest I think he is more bothered with his Windows Vista Experience test results than he needs to be, I think its because he scored 5.9 on everything other than the hard drive transfer rate result.

I have mentioned to him that the results he is getting 5.9 on everything apart from hard drive activity (here he scores 5.7) are very very good, I know I have seen a lot of PC's that only score 3.3 (total score).

Thanks everyone for the replies, and I'll pass the information on to him.

  Jim_F 21:26 08 Mar 2008

These are seriously good scores on a well -balanced system - unless your friend has specialist needs like AV work with large file sizes he can go to a RAID0/5 and get the disk IO score up but I just don't think he would get any noticeable improvement.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Dell XPS 13 9370 (2018) review

No need to scan sketches into your computer with Moleskine's new smart pen

HomePod review

Streaming : Netflix ou Amazon Prime Video ?