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geoffco

Hard Disks and related questions...

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Hi folks,Some background: I am running FS2004 on XP with most things at max and lots of lovely scenery for Scandinavia and Finland where I do most of my simming with Blue1 Virtual. My machine is an overclocked AMD X2 4800+ (at 2.8GHz) with 2Gb RAM and an elderly but still excellent nVidia 6800GT 256Mb graphics card. It currently runs well but stutters when loading scenery plates which I'm fairly sure is because the drives are old IDE ATA ones. My this questions are as follows...(1) Do you agree that the drives are likely to be a bottleneck for FS use? I have to change one anyway but to upgrade or not is the question...(2) Can I "copy" my primary drive (80Gb) to a new one (via software or otherwise) such that I can migrate my system without reinstalling everything? I'm fairly sure I can do it for the secondary disk (150Gb) which is where FS and addons live.(3) In your opinions, what are the best SATA drives to get for this system? I was looking at a pair of WD 150Gb Raptors but perhaps I'm just getting blinded by the 10000rpm tag...Thanks in advance,Geoff

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(1) Do you agree that the drives are likely to be a bottleneck>for FS use? I have to change one anyway but to upgrade or not>is the question...Maybe...After all textures are loaded, do you have a clean and clear experience? If so, you can look to the drives. If NOT, you might have to look to the video card (?) - if getting the textures into video memory is the issue, that might be the hiccup. Your processor specs are superior to mine, but your video and hard drives are slower. I will say that in FS2004 I did not get very many, if any, stutters. (I ran with the FPS slider locked at 25-30)(2) Can I "copy" my primary drive (80Gb) to a new one (via>software or otherwise) such that I can migrate my system>without reinstalling everything?You can do it with either by using a drive imaging program. I personally use Acronis TrueImage. You can take a "snapshot" of your drives, then apply that snapshot to the new drive(s). Do a quick google search on drive image software and migration tools and you will get some reviews. (3) In your opinions, what are the best SATA drives to get for>this system? I was looking at a pair of WD 150Gb Raptors but>perhaps I'm just getting blinded by the 10000rpm tag...I use a Raptor for my MSFS installation (70GB), and would never go back. It loads the simulation at blinding speed. I am running FSX with SP1 now, and I would dare say that the combo loads faster than FS2004 did for me. If you decide against a Raptor, most other SATA drives are equal among themselves. SATA1 vs SATA2 is a bit of a useless tag, as NEITHER standard is fully utilizing the SATA bandwidth that is available. The platter RPM speed is more useful in predicting performance. If you have concerns over HD speed with loading files for MSFS, I would lean towards the raptors.

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Thanks for the info. I think in a few hours I'll be the owner of two 150Gb WD Raptors - OEM from eBay unless someone goes bid-crazy and I don't win them!I have access to drive copying software from our IT chap at work - I don't know which one but he says it will do the job and has used it before. My next question is how do these drives run as stand-alones. I have read in a couple of places that they should be in a RAID configuration but is this really true? I would rather have the two drives separate with one for the OS etc and the other for FS and other games...Cheers,Geoff

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