Re: IDE Disk Problems

Hugo Van den Berg (
Thu, 13 Feb 1997 10:32:23 +0100 ()

On Thu, 13 Feb 1997 wrote:


> I have read a number of messages related to the quality of IDE drives
> and WD drives in particular and I believe that I have to respond to give
> the other side of the story.
> I have had what I consider to be a reasonable amount of sys-admin
> experience (including running an ISP for over a year). Currently I run
> 3 OS/2 servers, 5 Linux servers, 2 NT servers, and quite a few
> workstations. All the OS/2 and Linux machines have IDE hard drives,
> most of the hard drives are WD (about 10 WD drives in operation now, but
> I've gone got rid of a few of the smaller ones - 340meg drives aren't
> much use now). I have not had a single problem with a WD drive that
> could be attributed to the drive (mis-use of `rm` doesn't count as a
> drive problem). However with the NT systems running SCSI drives
> (Seagate and Maxtor drives mainly with Adaptec, NCR, and DPT
> controllers) I have had heaps of problems. Strange crashes on boot,
> data loss in running system, systems booting up and suddenly crashing
> when previously they had worked fine.

Now you're comparing NT with Linux. There is a stability differnce you
know. I've had the same thing happen on NT with IDE drives, so the problem
is IMHO NT, and not the disks.

> Based on the experiences with SCSI the client has now decided to save
> money and buy IDE - the extra money they spent on SCSI wasn't getting
> them any extra performance or reliability.
> As for performance, I recall seeing a message from Mark Lord saying
> that in most Linux systems you won't gain anything from SCSI. Save the
> $300 on a SCSI controller and get 64meg of RAM - it'll make your system
> faster and more reliable than SCSI.

That depends. If it's a multiuser system things like tagged command
queueing will give you much better concurrency on a SCSI disk. SCSI also
gives a lower bus load, leaving more CPU time available for processes. I
have a 3 year old IBM spitfire on an Adaptec 2940, with a 486 CPU acting
as a fileserver that outperforms most pentiums with IDE drives, especialy
when users access it concurrently.

On the other hand if you have a single user desktop machine the extra
money is probably wasted.

> Russell Coker

Hugo Van den Berg -
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