Hard drive speed and burning



I was wondering if Hard drive speed can make a difference when burning? I have a 10,000 rpm western digital drive now and I am considering buying another drive for my system sometime in the not to distant future. I like they way my computer responds now burning and if I did get another drive it would be for burning. Should I stick with another 10k rpm drive? or is a 7200 rpm drive ok?


7200 rpm drives work just fine, though you want to make sure that they are defragged once in a while and you don’t multi task during the actual burn (which are good ideas even with a 10,000 rpm drive). 16x burning takes a sustained transfer from your hard drive of about 22MBps. As you can see here, the average 7200 rpm drive can do about 40MBps at their slowest.


Personally, I prefer raid arrays for speed as they are much cheaper than raptors. Scroll down to the sisoft sandra 2005 results to see a single raptor and a raided raptor (the first 2 lines).
Keep in mind that the storage review link gives sustained transfer rate results through the entire drive, where the sandra results just give benchmarks.
Here are some sandra results with plane old hitachi 7200 rpm dirves.
The first (117 MBps average) is a 3 drive raid array with the array about half full. The second (127Mbps) is the 3 drive raid array with the array empty. The rest (49 MBps) are the same 7200rpm drives used in the raid array, but the speed of a single drive. If memory serves, I got in the high 80’s for the drive index, with a 2 drive array. The text file is a breakdown of the results for the 117MBps one (array half full).

Fyi there is a free version of sandra if you want to see what your raptor is doing. On a side note, does anyone know a good benchmark (free) for testing sustained transfer rate?

hard drive benchmark 3raid.txt (1.29 KB)


I’ll assume that WD drive is a Raptor. It should be able to do 2 different burns at 16x at the same time (from different files). You don’t really NEED a second drive, but if it’ll only be doing one burn at a time, any 7200 RPM drive will work fine.

With all due respect to sustained transfer rate tests, they tell you nothing about how a drive performs in a real world setup. For that you need access times, because all drives are multitasking, all the time, if they have an OS or application on them. This is where the Raptor leaves the others behind. A drive or array can have 200MB/sec sustained transfer rates and still fail on a 16x burn if it’s multitasked or fragmented.


You make some good points. The only reason that I linked to a sustained transfer rate test in the first link is that If the drive cannot do a sustained transfer faster than what the optical drive needs, then the burn is going to have problems. It does have to be able to do a sustained transfer fast enough, but like you said, there is more to it than that. If it is a boot drive (which I kind of assumed it wouldn’t be as he said it was going to be a second drive), you have to be able to randomly read as the os and other programs (multiple background program’s, even if you don’t have programs running) will be accessing the derive at the same time, including the burning program. Even still, a 7200 rpm drive as boot drive should be able to do a single 16x burn without problems. There is even less of an issue if it is a data drive.

as far as a raptor being better and faster, to an extent I agree that access times and such are very important, particularly with a boot drive. A raptor tests with a sequential read rate of 69MBps. The 3 drive array that I run has a sequential read rate of 144MBps (207Mbps buffered). You would think that would mean that the 3 drive array is way faster (and in certain circumstances it is). If you are running a boot drive though, that fast access time of the raptor kills the difference. The raptor has a random read rate of 49Mbps. The 3 drive array that I am running has a random read rate of 63Mbps. That huge speed difference is gone due to the fast access time of the raptor (though the raid array does seem to compete and is cheaper per gig). It wouldn’t surprise me if a 2 drive raid might be the same or a bit slower than a raptor (though getting close to raptor random access speeds for a lot less per gig might appeal to some).
All in all, I only look at these benchmarks to get a rough idea anyway. You can run a benchmark 5 times and get different results each time (though they tend to be in the same ballpark). The controller can make a huge difference too (which would apply to raptors too). I have a true 4 channel pata promise raid card (not a cheap card). In a 2 drive raid, it can barely beat a single drive. In a 4 drive raid, it barely beats a 2 drive raid on my much cheaper siig raid card (which rather pissed me off). I’m actually quite amazed by the three drive raid that I am running now (I have only been running it for a short while and it is by far the fastest I have seen). The weird thing is that a 4 drive raid on the same controllers is slower (I’m guessing due to the drives). I have 3 matched hitachi sata drives, and a single pata hitachi. I tried it with a syba pata sata adapter and the forth drive slowed it down. I may have to test it with my abit sata pata adapter as it ran great with raids in the past (but wont fit in this case, dang it). I have even noticed that single drives can have speed differences on different controllers. All in all, there are endless variables. I really don’t want to argue weather a raptor or a raid array is faster, as there are so many variables. I do think it is fair to say that taking cost per gig and speed into account, raid arrays can compete in a certain respect with raptors, no problem. Raptors surely have their advantages too, though they are a little pricey for me (especially considering the performance I have gotten from some raid arrays). If nothing else, a raid 0 with 2 7200 rpm drives will beat a single 7200 rpm drive hands down, and cost per gig is similar.


I admire members on this forum and all the knowledge they have to share. :clap:
Learned a lot just by reading these informative posts. Thanks to all contributing. :flower:

In addition to synthetic benchmarks I would still perform a burst/transfer test (check my sig).
Note, linked Nero “copy” test can also be done with multiple burners.


Thats the truth. I didn’t know nero had these tests (I have just done the burst rate on a dvd, transfer rate etc). You learn something new every day. So is the write back test the theoretical maximum speed you could burn a dvd at? How do these results look? Also, does the simulation read from the hard drive, in an identical manner to what it would do if you were actually burning?


That is some great information from everyone, thanks. I spent the better part of this evening messing around with some of the suggested tools. I am still having a hard time completely understanding what I am seeing. Research will clear thing up I am sure.

Yes my HD is a Raptor. The 36 gig 10,000 rpm model to be exact. I Tried to run the Nero burning Rom test in your sig but I do not own a single DVD rated higher than 8x. T02s are my best friend. :bigsmile: So, I am not sure if I can trust the results.


Just to clarify a little on your first question, yes a 7200 rpm drive is fast enough for 16x burning, more so as a second data drive (as it is not being taxed by other programs using it at the same time you are burning), but its still fast enough if it is your boot drive. If it is your boot drive, it can be a little more important to defrag so that the drive isn’t having to randomly search all over the drive for information.

Your raptor is probably fast enough to feed data to two drive burning at 16x at the same time. Raptors are nice and will improve performance, but at 1.5$ a gig, they come at a premium. Raid is another alternative to get speed at a much cheaper price, as you can use regular 7200 rpm drives. Raptors raided is even beter, but again, there is the premium price.

As far as the nero tests, I don’t think you need 16x media. All it is doing is running a simulation. It never really burns to the disk so it doesn’t mater what speed the disk is. At least that is the impression I got from running the tests.


Well the results I got from the Nero burn test were rather dissapointing. 39x, if my memory serves me.

I have been trying to test my system searching for bottle necks and so far I have only found one problem. My memory seems to be of less than “uber” quailty. I have 2 Gigs of Seimens AG DDR-SDRAM PC-3200 (200 MHz) - [DDR-400]. Running MemTest32 I found that I have at least one bad sector on one of my 2 - 1 gig sticks.

Also you can see from the image below that my HD seems to be maxed out at 40 MB/s which seems a bit low. The random Access times are fine by my estimation.

Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. :smiley:


I also pulled this information about my HD from PC Wizard 2007…

General Information :
SMART : Version 1.1
IDE Controller : Promise Technology Inc FastTrak 378 RAID Controller
IDE Controller : VIA Technologies Inc VIA SATA RAID Controller
IDE Controller : VIA Technologies Inc VT82xxxx EIDE Controller (All VIA Chipsets)

Informations Hard Disk WDC WD360GD-00FNA0 :
Model : WDC WD360GD-00FNA0
Serial Number : WD-WMAH91313505
Revision : 35.06K35
Serial ATA : Yes
Serial ATA version : 2.0
Support : ATA/ATAPI-6
Size : 37 GB
Cache : 8 192 KB
ECC Size : 74
Multiple Sector : 16
LBA Mode : Yes
DMA Mode : Yes
NCQ Mode : No
Multiword DMA Mode : 2
PIO Mode : PIO 4
UDMA Mode max. : 6 (ATA-133)
UDMA Mode Enabled : 5 (ATA-100)

It seems that UDMA 6 is possible but I am only running UMDA5 presently. Could this be part of the problem? I am going to go look at my bios and see if there is anything there relating to this.


It does seem that your drive is performing slow for a raptor. udma mode 5 is capable of 100MBps so that shouldn’t be the problem. I know that nvida ide drivers sometimes run drives mode 5 that are capable of mode 6 but I’m not sure about via. I’m not sure if the memory problem can case speed issues with your hard drive, but I’ll warn you, if your memory is bad, it can cause data to get corrupted.

I would first try defragging to resolve the speed issue. In addition, which controller are you running the drive off? I cannot say in general that all promise controllers are fast or slow (same about via), but I know that the promise pci raid card I have is dog slow. The fast 3 drive raid that I posted results for is on a via controller (actually two via controllers bridged). Normally you can just unplug the sata cable from the one controller and plug it into the other one (with the computer off of course). It might not hurt to back up your system just to be safe but it shouldn’t cause any problems (as long as the drives are not raided). You might also need to set what device to boot from in your bios, though if it is the only boot drive, it usually will find it on its own.


This is the only test I have ever had that suggested that some of my memory is bad. I am going to run the test again to see if the results are similar. I have never had any sort of noticable data corruption in the past or any sort of mystery errors that could be attributable to it.

The drive is defragged. I use the included windows defrag and AusLogics Disk Defrag alternately from time to time.

I am not sure what controller I am using. Looking on the motherboard layout in the manual, I see Ser1 and Ser2, Sata1 and Sata2. The HD is presently plugged into the Ser1 with a rather beefy looking Sata cable. Does this tell you what controller it is running off of? Or is there another way for me to tell? I am only using one drive right now so raid is not a problem.

Back up my system? If you are suggesting what I am thinking you are, I have no way to do that logically outside burning 40 or 50 dvds with my drive contents… lol.

Thanks for the help.


What motherboard/computer do you have?


General Information :
Manufacturer : MSI
Product : K8T Neo-FIS2R
Model : MS-6702
Version : 1.0
Serial Number : 00000000
Support MP : Yes, 1 CPU(s)
Version MPS : 1.4

It is a built to order computer by a local company.


ser1 and ser2 are on the promise controller so it looks like you are running off the promise controller. sata1 and sata2 are on the via controller. The only way to know for sure if one controller is faster than the other is to try both. Normally, you can just turn off the computer and change the cable to the other connector, and it should work fine. I just recommend backing up as a safety precaution and yes it would take 10 dvd’s or so if the drive is full (maybe less if you use a good backup program and it compresses).
In most cases, it will find the drive and boot from it just fine, though occatioally you might have to go into the bios and change boot settings so that it finds the drive to boot.
Here is the manual for your board by the way.
Make sure that is the right model as that is what I went off.


Wish me luck, going to the Sata1 plug now. :bigsmile:

Done, and I did have to make one change in the bios to recoginze the drive where it was. The boot seemed about the same pace as before the change. Going to do a few tests now.


That helped, from 40 MB/s to 52 MB/s. Is this getting more in range with what I should be expecting from my raptor?


Thanks a ton Ripit for all the help. I am still looking for ways to speed up my computer and you helped. The manual you found was the right one also.

:bow: Ripit


Every little bit of speed can only help (and 25% more speed sounds pretty good for something as simple as changing controllers). I always try to compare speeds of controllers when I get a motherboard if it has multiple controllers (which many do). It still seems a little slow for a raptor. I know of one thing that might be the cause. If you look at the transfer rate tests here
You will notice that they start at about 70MBps and go to about 35MBps. the reason for that is that hard drives can read faster in the outer areas of the disk and slower in the inner areas. Its possible that if your drive is pretty full (which I got the impression it was), there may only be areas in the slower area of the disk for the test to use. thats the way I understand it to work anyway. Also, if it is your boot drive, You have windows and all kinds of background programs accessing the disk at the same time the test is running, which can slow it down. I got about the same speed from a 7200 rpm drive, but that was a data drive (so no other programs trying to access it while it is testing), and that is with an empty drive (so its possible it was testing on the fastest part of the disk). Its a possibility anyway, so maybe that is an appropriate speed. I notices playing with that 3 drive raid recently, that when it was empty, it benchmarked faster, but when half full, it lost a little speed.

Maybe there are some real hard drive experts out there that might know a little better than me that might post an opinion, but I don’t think that I would worry too much about it (I’m quite far from an expert on the subject though). Thats one of the reasons that benchmarks (particularly hard drive ones) are a bit subjective and should only be used as a guide line. there are a lot of variables that can effect speed so they cannot really be directly compared and considered absolute.


Can someone help me please. I am having troubles burning at over 12x speed. My system doesn’t seem to be fast enough. 12x speed is max that I can burn without having the burner buffer run out. I am attaching how a 16x burn failed. BTW this was done right after I defragmented the drive and I had all programs closed during the burn.

Here is my system:

CPU: Intel Celeron 2.66 GHz
mainboard: Intel® Desktop Board D845GVSR
HDD (primary master): Hitachi HDS722580VLAT20 7200 RPM ATA100 60 GB
Secondary master: Lite-On LH-20A1H LL0A
Secondary slave: Lite-On COMBO SOHC-5232K NK0J

The Sandra Benchmark shows a drive benchmark of 43 MB/s and Random Access time of 13 ms.

I know my system is old (2004), but still I would expect it to burn DVD’s at 16x.
What can I do to improve the performance of my system?