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Guest JonP01

This is why SCSI 160 should help FS2002

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Here's some logging of disk write bytes/sec, and disk writes/sec shown in the green and blue that are occuring steadily, albeit with variability in the amplitude, during straight and level flight OTW to KORD over some weather. The red graphs shows the disk cache being used is steady at 17.5MB.As SCSI systems use more intellegent controllers that offload some of the CPU's involvement during data transfers, it stands to reason that one could be better off in terms of low level stuttering you sometimes get with FS, particularly with lower end machines where every cycle in the CPU is needed for processing the sim let alone moving data off the drive. This was on a 1120HHz P3, 512mb ram, Radeon 64 VIVO DDR system.From this I lowered the Max Disk Cache size to 24MB--about 6 over the max used here. It was on about 48MB or so from Cacheman. Anywho, it's interesting. I'm hopeful the SCSI160 controller with dual Cheetah X15 15,000 rpms 18GB drives will have a significant affect on smoothness, speed of loading and booting up, etc.The bottom graph which is near zero shows Windows Virtual Memory swap file in use. On this 512mb sys there is not much need for the swap file, hence it is pretty meaningless a tweak as far as FS goes on this rig.Noel

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Noel,I was actually going to ask you today how you were going with your SCSI aspirations. Obviously you haven't bought / installed the parts yet but clearly intend to. Please let us know how you go when you actually do it.btw, I tried the HDtach benchmark on my machine last night. It measured the seek time on my Quantum Fireball LM Plus at 9.4 milliseconds - which of course is about 4 - odd milliseconds off average SCSI standards. It measured CPU utilization at 11%. Do you know how your prospective SCSI setup compares in CPU utilization tests?

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Noel,PCI bus slots have a theoretical maximum of 133MB/sec being 32bit and running at 33MHz. This 133MB/sec is shared across the whole bus, so multiple devices in a machine will compete for clock cycles as required.Be careful reading specs vs standards. The ATA-133 standard just like the Ultra-160 standard does not mean mean you will get that data transfer rate off the drive.Looking at the real specs on the Seagate, the tranfer rate is between 37.4 to 48.9 MB/sec. Just because the electronics can move the data between the drive and controller at 160MB/sec doesn't really mean anything.The lastest crop of these WD's run at just short of 50MB/sec read transfer with a burst rate in the 80MB/sec range. This burst rate will probably saturate your bus, meaning that in reality, your system can not keep up with the data flow.This is just a single drive, add the raid throughput increases and you will be pretty close to that 80MB/sec range non-stop.The 120 Gigabyte WD1200BB retails for $205The 18.35 Gigabyte ST318451 retails for $410 (exactly twice the price!)Don't forget to factor the cost of the SCSI controller into this (another $349 base or $499 raid) vs $90 for a Promice FastTrack TX2000 IDE raid controller.480 Gigabytes of space vs 36.7 Gigabytes is what you are talking about here, or 240 Gigabytes of Protected RAID data vs 18.35 Gigabytes for the same price (removing the controller costs - which in reality gives you 2 additional 120 Gigabyte drives :-lol)The choice is yours, but look at the facts clearly.There is no way your machine is going to be able to use either of these drive subsystems to their fullest capabilities as you need to shift into the server based systems with 64 bit/66MHz bus systems to open up bandwidth to get faster throughput as you are capped currently at the theoretical 133MB/sec range now.Ray

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This is a follow on to a previous post by Noel, I had suggested go check out storage review. Don't know if he saw my post or not? But they have a review of the latest "Cuda" line and it was interesting to see that most all the benchmarks favor the fastest IDE drives. I know the latest cheetah line is not reviewed, and its the top of the line, but I seriously doubt there would be a noticable improvement in FS2K2. I am a cost to performance type of guy and would feel that to make FS2K2 run better is a faster CPU and lots memory. FS my load up faster but is that worth the HUGE investment? I have a 1.4GHz Athlon (running at 1.46) with 512 SDRAM and a 40 gig IBM GXP60 hardrive (no slouch in the speed department) and FS runs great on this machine.Just my IMHO.....Scott...

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Reading this thread, I felt I had an obligation to contribute. Just this past weekend I installed an Adaptec 29160 Ultra 160 SCSI controller to work with an already installed Seagate Cheetah 18 GB 10,000 rpm drive. The controller replaced an Adaptec AHA2940U2W Ultra 80.I can't publish any technical benchmarks, however I can tell you that the effect on FS2002 was instant and very obvious. Much faster, much smoother. I'm pleased with the change.I can't comment about the IDE vs. SCSI issue since my system has been all SCSI for several years. I do know that the change was worth it.Michael VerlinHistoric Jetliners Group

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If you spend just a little bit more money, you can buy a real plane :-hahKerke---

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No doubt, with 90% of the performance and 10% of the cost (at least in my rig) I know who'll get there first saving up for a real airplane! :-lol

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The Cheetah X15 18.3 GB drives are about $209:Seagate Cheetah X15 36LP, 18.4 GB, Ultra160 Wide LVD SCSI-3, 15,000 RPM, 3.6 ms seek, 8 MB cache, A/V rated, 3.5" LP, 68 pin interface, 5-year warranty. And a single channel Adaptec controller that supports SCSI160 is about $185 as of today:19160 KIT U160 LVD SCSI PCI 1CH MAN EZ SCSI CABLE Manufacturer: Adaptec Lowest Price: $185.00 I don't know if I need dual channel or not. Price goes to about $283 if that's needed.-----------So the combined cost in today's dollars is about $601, and this is compared to the WD120GB at about $205 mentioned above. I need two drives, so that bumps up the cost some. That doesn't seem like a terrible expense, to have a file system that is more intelligent, hence with less impact on CPU use, is made to higher quality tolerences with MTBF of 1.2M hours, and 5y warranties, and so forth, with access times over 100% faster. However, the main concern is, "does it help much?" From the few people I've received responses from regarding SCSI X15 or other fast SCSI drives and FS2002, they have all been quite positive. But, as someone pointed out, I've not pulled the trigger on the deal and won't until P4 runs stock or overclock with stock cooling at 3.0GHz+, or if Athlon TBred is doing the equivalent, ie, Athlon XP 3000. That should mean not for many months still. And even then I would wait a few months for the first waves of CPU price cuts to begin before buying. So I figure P4 @ stock 2.8 would probably do 3.0GHz pretty easily with stock cooling. Perhaps SCSI320 controllers will be available then--and the good news is the X15 drives support SCSI320. Again I think the other thing to consider is just how much activity is happening with disk reads while using FS2002 as illustrated above. This suggests the amount of efficiency one puts in the file system may in fact pay significant dividends. We shall see hopefully . . .And here's a quote from Gino I just searched and found:I was in the same boat as you and made the same decision you're contemplating. Let me tell you...it makes a HUGE difference. No more pauses or stutters caused by HD access (ATC in FS2K was a problem before I did this). Programs load CRAZY fast too. I'll never look back. You can get great prices online at www.hypermicro.com - I got an Adaptec 19160 U160 controller (whitebox with cables at $185), a Cheetah X16 36LP (18G for $209), and a Plextor Ultramax40 CDROM ($80)for around $500 shipped! Don't get anything other than an Adaptec controller because they have the best driver support. Also, I wouldn't combine ATA with SCSI - most people that have problems seem to be associated with the combination of the two...go all SCSI (that's why I got the Plextor - FASTEST CD-ROM I've ever seen). One last thing - just to be safe order an active HD cooling fan...they only run around $15-25 and will protect your investment. Good luck...I'm sure you'll like it. Gino CoughranCheers,Noel

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OK, I am sorry 90% of the performance and 12% of the cost. (based on my drive in an upgraded version, the IBM 120GXP 41 gig model $70.00)Seriously though, You have had very few people respond because most people find that todays hard drives are more than fast enough for their needs, me included. On a budget of 600 which you are proposing for your SCSI set up, I would get an 40 gig drive for around 70-80 bucks then be able to get 512 megs of some good DDR ram to pair up with either a 2100+ Athlon or a 2.26GHz P4 with motherboard. For me personally that would be money well spent, but hey I don't have that kind of money laying around, seeing how I am getting ready to be layed off my job of 13+ years. Oh have you looked into how well a IDE raid 0 would work? I actually have my system set up with a raid 1 set up with 2 IDE IBM 40giger's, got it going last year, I felt like the added protection of having two mirror copies of my system was more important than the speed, But it has be very curious how my FS2k2 set up would perform in a raid 0 set up. Unfortunetely I just did a clean install not to long ago and I don't really want to redo everything again.Anyway If you do go ahead and get a system let us know if it was TRULY TRULY worth the expense. I would like to know for sure.Have a good one!!Scott...P.S. Were you using hypermicro systems for your price quote? If you were, they are a good place to get that kind of stuff from. I ordered from them before and found they were awesome!

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Scott and others,Well, we not sure what we will finally do, but I AM very interested in building a high performer in all areas. All previous systems I have built since 1990 have been done with cheap and effective in mind. This time I think I have two other priorities: maximum performance in all system areas, and quietness will matter. Upgrades are coming fewer and fewer nowadays as there just isn't the impetus. I figure this sys will go at least 4 years.I was looking at CPU utilization of Cheetah X15 vs WD 120GB ATA100 drive, the difference is ~ 19% vs 42% respectively. Could be a very fast CPU will make a moot point out of this benchmark discrepancy, though if one looks at it from my very poor knowledge of how these parts really interact, one could conclude that for all those brief I/O's that happen regularly with FS their CPU is effectively alternating between 100% and 58% dedication to running the sim. And as we all know, FS2002 eats CPU cycles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 42% prioritized impact seems huge to me. 19% sounds a lot better. The graphs I posted above looked alot like the stuttering patterns I've witnessed since FS2000: erratic in freq and amplitude, regular, and def worse when loading textures and new sceneries as you fly. Let's face it: we all would like a machine that runs this sucker properly! Who knows eh?!Among the other insane things I am going to spring for in this system:1. Lian Li PC-86 aluminum case w/ Enermax 430W Whisper PSS for cool and quiet and solid PSS. The Cheetahs will need the cooling one can expect from aluminum.2. 1 GB of whatever ram is fast and moderately cost effective. 3. GeForce4 Ti4600--probably by Leadtek. By the time I do this this board should be less than $250. And by then R300 will debut, and Parhelia, yikes@!4. Plextor SCSI CDRW5. SCSI DVD romDunno what mainboard and CPU I'll go for. I'm inclined to go for P4, though I put together an Athlon XP1800 for a friend that seems to work well. I have seen 100% positive responses from FS2002 users with high end P4's is my rationale at this time. Plus I like the cooler running CPU, with built-in thermal protection. I'm sure 2.8GHz will oc to 3.1GHz+. Yes, it will be 3.0+ GHz, or XP 3000+ for sure even if a bit of oc is required to do it.Noel

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Noel,Not to nitpick, but you are obviously looking at OEM pricing yet quoting retail warranties and Mean Time Between Failure ratings. Are you aware that OEM drives do not fall in the same catagories? The prices posted were for reference sake and came directly from the manufacturers web sites store. MSRP etc.Just a minor theory lesson here:PCI has a maximum bandwidth of 133 Megabytes/second.General purpose motherboards have a single PCI bus, please don't confuse the number of slots with the bus itself.All devices connected to that bus share that maximum 133 MB/sec bandwidth and are capped by it.A device that uses 80MB/sec consumes 80/133 or 60% of the bus.Servers have gotten around this by using 64 bit PCI and double clocking it to open up the bandwidth again. bringing you up to 64bit/64MHz in the 532 Megabytes/second range.The Ultra/160 and Ultra/320 (future) fall into this catagory (64 bit pci card, 66MHz). Plugged into a motherboard that supports them, they do perform quite nicely.The ATA-133/100/66 etc standards are 32bit/33MHz based (with the 133MB/sec being the highest achievable on the bus, consuming 100% of the available bandwidth).Apples to Apples make for good comparisons.I am just pointing out to you that using a standard motherboard, the best you are ever going to see performance wise is 4 IDE ATA-100 drives raided together (raid 0) will give you a sustained data rate as close to the limit of the 32bit PCI architecture for roughly the same dollar value of 2 high end NON-RAID'd SCSI drives.Now, given the choice of 240 Gigs of protected IDE for the same price of 18 Gigs of protected SCSI (raid on both), which would you go with? or looking at the other extreme, 480 Gigs of striped IDE (not protected) vs 36 Gigs of striped SCSI (not protected)Yes, SCSI IS FASTER THEN IDE, it will be so until such time as the IDE standard moves into 64bit/66MHz land, but on a conventional motherboard, these differences do not matter and cost becomes the issue ...Ray

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Ray, what do you make of this from Hypermicrosystems today:Seagate Cheetah X15 36LP, 18.4 GB, Ultra160 Wide LVD SCSI-3, 15,000 RPM, 3.6 ms seek, 8 MB cache, A/V rated, 3.5" LP, 68 pin interface, 5-year warranty. $209.002 lb Item: ST318452LW (in stock) Also Ray, what do you make of this argument?:I was looking at CPU utilization of Cheetah X15 vs WD 120GB ATA100 drive, the difference is ~ 19% vs 42% respectively. Could be a very fast CPU will make a moot point out of this benchmark discrepancy, though if one looks at it from my very poor knowledge of how these parts really interact, one could conclude that for all those brief I/O's that happen regularly with FS their CPU is effectively alternating between 100% and 58% dedication to running the sim. And as we all know, FS2002 eats CPU cycles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 42% prioritized impact seems huge to me. 19% sounds a lot better. The graphs I posted above looked alot like the stuttering patterns I've witnessed since FS2000: erratic in freq and amplitude, regular, and def worse when loading textures and new sceneries as you fly. The point is Ray, not theoretical or even real transfer rates, as I thought I made above, my real concern is how much impact the file system has on CPU use, and even more specific, how will a SCSI160 system on a standard PCI bus perform in FS2002? So far, as I said, the few who have responded have been uniformly positive:And here's a quote from Gino I just searched and found:I was in the same boat as you and made the same decision you're contemplating. Let me tell you...it makes a HUGE difference. No more pauses or stutters caused by HD access (ATC in FS2K was a problem before I did this). Programs load CRAZY fast too. I'll never look back. You can get great prices online at www.hypermicro.com - I got an Adaptec 19160 U160 controller (whitebox with cables at $185), a Cheetah X16 36LP (18G for $209), and a Plextor Ultramax40 CDROM ($80)for around $500 shipped! That's the issue Ray. Not transfer rates. Can you speak to these issues?Noel

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Noel,What tool was used to measure CPU utilization for the HD in the specs you just mentioned for the Cheetah? I'd like to compare apples to apples, because in HDTach, my Quantum Fireball only measures 11% CPU utilization. Nowhere near the 19% / 42% you mentioned with the Cheetah / WD ATA drive.The other point I want to ask about is your Disk Cache settings. You mentioned you set it 24Mb after seeing the actual level of utilization whilst running FS2002. I assume you used Sysmon for this? I tried a similar thing last night but left it to Windows to set the Disk Cache size (by actually specifying a zero size using Memturbo). It then seemed to utilize something around 54Mb. Sur enough when I set this size manually both FS2002 and CFS2 particularly had less of the "micro-stutter" syndrome. I'd previously set it at 32Mb but it does seem to work better at 54Mb or thereabouts.To be honest, I am a bit confused as to exactly what Disk Cache does, particularly in terms of what exactly is stored in there compared to main memory (disk cache is part of the main memory isn't it?) and the swapfile, how that cache memory is managed and finally how that relates to the hardware cache installed in the hard drive itself (especially as these latest WD drives have 8MB onboard).

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Your 42% is actually 4.2% according to Toms Hardware. 42% is just plain insane for a CPU utilization rate, thats like turning a AMD XP 2000+ into a P3 1GHz :-lol (sorry, forgot to point that one out in the last post)http://www4.tomshardware.com/storage/02q1/.../wd1200-05.htmlYour single channel SCSI controller for $209 is quite useless if you plan on adding CD & DVD to the channel (you REALLY!!!! want slow devices on a separate channel to not cause the controller to drop into legacy modes, feel free to check Adaptec's white papers for exactly what happens). The two channel version of your white box (OEM) card goes for more coins and does not offer raid capabilties at all, the minimum price on a SCSI raid controller in pretty much $400.$152 for the WD vs $209 for you X15 (assuming you wanted two)net price difference = $114 + $185 single channel controlleror$299 (the price of 2 additional drives at 150ish right?)I still don't see my math being any different using your prices and www.pricewatch.com ... Now, change the equation to raid and you are making the price difference even worse.It still works out to 240 Gigs vs 37 Gigs for a $299 price difference, which will buy you a new motherboard or cpu or more ram which will in turn offer more bang for the buck in FS2002 then a faster hard drive.I am not trying to tell you that SCSI is slower then IDE, because it truely is not. In the interests of performance, they give up capacity hence the small storage space per dollar.What I am trying to stress is that in a non multi-tasking environment, SCSI is a waste of money as in reality, you just can't use that amount of data at the speed you can get it. If FS 2002 is so poorly written that it requires a SCSI/3 array to run from, we might as well all pack it in ... Todays high end IDE stuff is as fast or faster in a single user environment because it is optimized for just that purpose.If you thing FS2002 needs to scrub 80 MEGS of data a second off your hard drive to run (thats the entire FS installation every 20 seconds), you need to rerun your disk monitor and monitor bytes read/bytes written for a FS 2002 session, not Cache utilization. Additionally, it looked like your original post was Windows 98 running this, which uses a really poor performance format for disk, at least run your testing on either Win2K or XP which actually properly supports current hardware.If you want to spend the extra money, feel free, it's obviously your money, it will be well spent, but personally, I prefer Fujitsu to Seagate in the SCSI market, due to warranty issues ;-)BUT, please do not buy a single channel SCSI controller without reading up on the implications of mixing versions on SCSI on a single channel (which you have proposed to do above). If you really want to get the performance out of it, spend the extra money and go up to raid and stripe the drives together, which will give you one blazing 37 Gigger ... although once talking raid, I'd probably tell you that 4 9 Gigs will outperform 2 faster 18 Gigs due to the ability of scsi disconnects where the device only requires the bus during transfers and drops off when servicing a request until ready ... Note the price of the Quantum 9 Gigs on the site you referenced for pricing ;-)Ray

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