Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Sep 2012 19:36 UTC
Apple I bought a brand new iMac on Tuesday. I'm pretty sure this will come as a surprise to some, so I figured I might as well offer some background information about this choice - maybe it'll help other people who are also pondering what to buy as their next computer.
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WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

And second, SSDs definitely have the theoretical edge over hard drives when it comes to the speed of reading files that are laid out non-contiguously on the drive. But... at the same time, in all my time running Linux (exclusively for about 6 years), I have not had any major slowdowns due to fragmentation.


Don't try to turn this into an anti-Windows argument. You know perfectly well that both Windows and any average Linux-distro consists of thousands of small files. It doesn't matter whether those files are fragmented or not, they're still not laid out on the disk in such an order that the drive can read every single one of them in sequential order and that is exactly why low seek times matter.

Also, as I said these days SSDs trump HDDs even in sequential speeds. Check out e.g. http://thessdreview.com/our-reviews/adata-xpg-sx300-256gb-msata-ssd... : the SSD can write ~200MB/s incompressible data in sequential order, something that no consumer-oriented HDD can do.

Reading both https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_drive#Comparison_of_SSD_wi... and http://thessdreview.com/ would do you a lot of good.

Reply Parent Score: 3

lfeagan Member since:
2006-04-01

A SSD is many times faster than a HDD for my work (programming). My 5 year old ThinkPad T61p (Core 2 Duo, 8GB) with a slow 128 GB, SATA I SSD absolutely stomps my employer-provided ThinkPad W520 (Quad Core i7, 16GB) that has a 7200 rpm HDD in tasks I care about, like compilation. Generally my compile jobs and large application launches (enterprise DBMS) are 4x faster. And this is with a nearly 5 year old SATA I SSD drive (a whopping 128 GB at that).

Another interesting note is that I also have a Samsung 830 512 GB in a newer system and the performance, while better than the super-old SSD, is less than 2x better. The return on investment for high vs low performance SSDs is minimal. OTOH, making sure you buy a reliable drive is money well spent.

Reply Parent Score: 2

UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

This is honestly such a deep, complex subject that everyone could argue the living hell out of it and no one would ever agree on a conclusion. ;) There are just too many factors involved, and whether you want to hear it or not, the OS involved does make a difference.

I did a quick fsck on my / and /home partitions for the hell of it earlier just to get fragmentation data, and quite honestly, I am amazed at what I saw; it completely backed up what I said, 100%. It was shocking, considering the cringe-worthy state of my system's partitioning. It's in desperate need of re-partitioning, and technically I'm doing a lot of things extremely inefficiently and just downright WRONG, yet far fewer fragments were reported than PerfectDisk would typically report in much better circumstances. And the biggest culprits? Exactly what I expected according to filefrag: three VirtualBox disk images.

And BTW, the reason I focused on data fragmentation is because in my experience it tends to have a far more devastating effect than a bunch of little files scattered all over a drive. That is, assuming you're running an OS and file system combination that is prone to fragmentation in the first place... luckily, in that case there are some excellent tools to keep the fragments under control.

Not to mention, with the general explosion of the data densities of hard drives that has been going on over the years, even if the rotational speeds do not increase a newer drive will still probably read the same amount of data as an older drive, even faster.

The bottom line is that hard drives are wicked fast these days. And with partitioning, it's easily possible to separate your boot files (/boot), main system (/), programs (/usr), and personal files (/home) and keep them all together to minimize seeking between files... but honestly, in my experience you don't even have to go that far, because I've found (for example) Windows XP running practically exactly the same on a 15GB partition at the beginning of the disk as it did on a 60GB partition spanning the entire drive. The only condition? That the number of file fragments are kept to a minimum.

I will just say that I still stand by what I said and will leave it at that.

Edited 2012-09-28 12:51 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

This is honestly such a deep, complex subject that everyone could argue the living hell out of it and no one would ever agree on a conclusion. ;)


What is there to argue about? Less time spent waiting == more time doing something else.

The bottom line is that hard drives are wicked fast these days. And with partitioning, it's easily possible to separate your boot files (/boot), main system (/), programs (/usr), and personal files (/home) and keep them all together to minimize seeking between files...


A seek is a seek, it doesn't matter how you believe you've grouped the files together. What matters is their physical location on the platters: the closer to the outermost edge of the platter the faster the transfer speeds and lower the seek times.

because I've found (for example) Windows XP running practically exactly the same on a 15GB partition at the beginning of the disk as it did on a 60GB partition spanning the entire drive.


This here quite well demonstrates how little you understand about the topic; the size of the partition is irrelevant, the location of the files is not. You get EXACTLY the same speed with a 200TB partition as you get with a 200MB partition if the files themselves haven't moved.

I will just say that I still stand by what I said and will leave it at that.


Go ahead. Come back when you decide you don't wish to be wrong any longer.

Reply Parent Score: 2

aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

Don't try to turn this into an anti-Windows argument.
And if he had used something except Linux (or even cared at all) for the last 6 years (or 10) he would had known that Windows run NTFS now.

Reply Parent Score: 2