View Full Version : u160 SCSI - Worth the Cost?

Joel Hooks
01 January 2003, 10:02 PM
I was discussing SCSI vs IDE the other day with an associate, and it was suggested to me that I would really enjoy the performance increase if I switched my system over to u160 SCSI.

I understand the SCSI system doesn't tap into the CPU and allows for better disc access over IDE. I'm not running any video hardware at all to allow for any sort of realtime video playback.

In my researching I think I'd want a RAID controller so that I can add and chain drives together to form a single larger drive, but the cost of the whole SCSI switch is making me wonder if it woud even be worth it at all.

I did just order one of the 8mb cache WD IDE drives this week. I'm sure that will be nice over the ones I have running my system now, but I keep eyeballing the SCSI controllers on EBAY and wondering if I should make the switch.

Any Comments?

01 January 2003, 01:07 AM
SCSI is great for two things: 1) consistently high IO (eg: file servers) 2) in RAID for sustained high-speed file access (raid 0 or 3).

all good news, if you can afford the high price tag. scsi drives are more expensive than their IDE counterparts, as well as needing a SCSI or SCSI-RAID controller. typically my advice to a home user is unless you are doing some very high-end video editing where you need reliable consistent video streams, or you're running a server that is going to have 100 hits a second, then don't bother. the cost can rarely be justified.

IDE drives are now mostly ata100 and ata133, with speeds at 7200RPM and the newer drives have 8MB of cache. team even two of these up in RAID 0, and you see some good performance. be aware however that RAID 0 means one point of failure for two devices. (effectively doubling your chances of data failure). make sure you back up your data religiously if you are going the RAID 0 way, or use a RAID 0+1 scheme if your data is that valuable to you. it typically means buying 4 hard disks, which then becomes much the same as 3 SCSI drives in RAID 5 for the same reliability and speed.

hope that helps you somehow. not a direct "yes" or "no" answer, but then again mine rarely are. :)

01 January 2003, 04:09 AM
As lowdown said if money is not an option then go for the SCSI setup. My system has 2 onboard U160 connectors and I have a 3 18GB U160 drives striped as a video array for my Video Toaster NT and im getting 130mbs

You can achive similar speeds with an IDE raid using a Promise or Escalade card. Below is a similar question answered on the Video Toaster Forum.

7. Can I use IDE harddrives?

You can definitely use them with Video Toaster NT 1.0. The new Escalade IDE RAID controllers from 3ware, when combined with four or more IBM Deskstar harddrives will produce performance of 100MB/sec read and 84MB/sec write.
For Video Toaster NT 2.0? They might be fast enough but this is still totally unknown. Additionally, even though they may be fast enough, they might cause other problems like inefficient PCI utilization that could still make them fail to be a good solution for 2.0.

8. How do I get 70MB/second transfer speed?

The Video Toaster NT uses Windows 2000's support for striping two or more drives together to achieve faster transfer speeds. You will need at least four harddrives in either an IDE or SCSI configuration (see previous questions or Video Toaster NT Requirements for additional details.

Joel Hooks
01 January 2003, 04:19 AM
So basically, unless I just want to brag about what I got under the hood ( ;) ) the SCSI would not be a good choice in terms of cost/benefit.

whats with the u320 I have caught glimpses of? That sounds like some serious throughput.

01 January 2003, 04:59 AM
in real world terms, u320 won't pay off unless you have a fast bus (and i'm talking PCI-X, not 64bit) and a heck of a lot of IOs per second. single users won't see the difference, but large servers will.

01 January 2003, 06:38 AM
Just FYI...

When Serial ATA was out flaunting their future 300 megs/sec support, Adaptec had a press release about the upcoming Ultra 640 SCSI. Hehe.

01 January 2003, 09:21 AM
horses for course folks. there's nothing stopping me running a quad xeon box as my main system, but i dont want to shell out that kind of money for any sort of increase on what i do day to day on my personal desktop.

same goes for pro video cards vs gaming cards, SCSI vs IDE, and intel vs AMD (IMHO). :)

01 January 2003, 03:59 PM
Can't wait for U1280. :insane: :twisted: hehe

or this:

01 January 2003, 09:57 PM
zoiks! :surprised

wonder how much that baby would cost? (fast) solid state is way expensive.

01 January 2003, 10:01 PM
$5K, plus you gotta buy the ram (i think).

good lord it looks like you can even stripe the things.

01 January 2003, 10:07 PM
yeah, i was reading that. imagine striping across three of those! talk about getting rid of access times. i can see a few of the video editing guys at work drooling over that one! :)

01 January 2003, 01:53 AM
I love my SCSI :D Bit more info here (

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