Waiting For A Delivery

If there’s anything more exciting than waiting for the delivery of a shiny new piece of technology, then I’d like to know what it is.

Today I’m waiting for a replacement hard drive for my two year old laptop, which I’m going to store in the basement as a little database and HTML DB server, on my “shelf of technology” (cable modem, wireless router, NSLU2 and attached hard drive). The new drive is a speedy little Hitachi Travelstar 7K60, which seems to be about the fastest I can get. A bit tricky to come by, but I found one here.

So I’m really changing the drive because if it all goes pear-shaped and I want to get my old WinXP/Suse9.1 dual-boot laptop back then I can just swap the disks over again. That, and it’s a shiny new thing that I get delivered, and sometimes you just have to find excitement where you can.

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12 thoughts on “Waiting For A Delivery

  1. Question: What do David Aldridge and my 12 year old son have in common?

    Answer: today they are *both* waiting for the truck to pull up in the driveway to get their replacement disk drives.

    Alan learned the hard way that dropping your computer is not a good thing. Massive hard disk failure. We ordered on and are having it overnighted (he is going into withdrawal without the computer).

    I would be interested to hear in a week or two how you like this disk, I’m thinking of getting it for my laptop to put linux on as the base image (windows is just freaking me out, driving me crazy). But I want a faster disk and the ability to switch back fast if I need to.

  2. I hope that’s coming out of his allowance — I know that mine is :(

    Is there a command in Linux to get somne stats about raw disk performance? I could do a before-and-after thing. The current drive is a Fujitsu … um … 5400rpm 60Gb as I recall. Pretty standard stuff.

  3. You need to get out more often :D

    Tom,
    Ouch! Replacing the hardware is the easy part. How do you replace the data (if you don’t have backups)?

  4. “Is there a command in Linux to get somne stats about raw disk performance? I could do a before-and-after thing. ”

    Yes. Read on “hdparm” and the “T” and “t” options. Best indicator of raw speed of any particular hardware. You can use “t” against any of the raw devices of a disk but I prefer the first partition.

  5. Ah OK

    hdparm -t /dev/hda gives 27.5Mb/sec

    hdparm –direct -t /dev/hda gives 30.75Mb/sec

    Is that good? Or even an appropriate thing to measure? No idea.

    However what is impressive is the total drive silence when the tests are running. Or when anything is hapening at all, in fact. Granted the CPU fan is a bit of a noisy fellow, but even with my ear to the case I can’t hear anything from the drive.

  6. Oh, I should add that White Box 4 was the smoothest Linux install I’ve ever been through. I let it do it’s default for just about everything that wasn’t obvious, and I think the only “work” I had to do was to type in network interface details as I’m not using DHCP here.

    Considering that this is on a two year old Compaq laptop, I was very impressed. The Synaptics touch pad was recognised and it’s full functionality was used straight away, for example.

    So, thumbs-up so far. Next I’ll go for a re-install with some more funky partitioning, then it’ll be Oracle time.

  7. … And another point.

    The default Gnome interface is very clean and appealing — much more so than SuSE 8.2 or 9.1, which try rather too hard to be Windows XP, I thought.

  8. “hdparm -t /dev/hda gives 27.5Mb/sec

    hdparm –direct -t /dev/hda gives 30.75Mb/sec”

    About as good as it gets with conventional drives, I reckon.
    I can get hdparm -t going at around 80MB/s but that’s with an Apple xserve.

    Our fastest attached raid disk controllers (Compaq) do 30MB/s as well. I’d say you got yourself one heck of a disk drive there!

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