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Ulysses_ 04-08-2012 07:42 AM

High-performance laptops, especially in the hard drive
 
What are some of the highest performance laptops that exist? Especially in terms of the hard drive. Any benchmark test results?

cascade9 04-08-2012 08:07 AM

You'll find lots of reviews on HDDs. Unless you need the space of a HDD, SSDs are faster (much faster) everywhere. Also, laptops tend to use 2.5'' or 1.8'' drives, mostly 5400RPM or slower. Those drives are slower than 3.5'' drives. Even the 2.5'' 7200 RPM drives are slower than the desktop drives.

If you are looking for reviews on complete 'as from the factory' laptops, notebook check is probably one of the better sites-

http://www.notebookcheck.net/

Be warned, a 'high performance' laptop will cost you a lot of money. So much money that you can get a nice netbook with good battery life and a desktop that would be faster than the laptop for less money.

H_TeXMeX_H 04-08-2012 08:35 AM

It would be nice if you said what it would be for.

A SSD is very high performance, but at a cost and with some down sides.

onebuck 04-08-2012 10:00 AM

Member response
 
Hi,

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 4647625)
It would be nice if you said what it would be for.

A SSD is very high performance, but at a cost and with some down sides.

Care to share your definition for a down side statement with modern 'SSD'?

H_TeXMeX_H 04-08-2012 10:27 AM

Well, my #1 concern is privacy. However, there are more:

1) Privacy, this means that erasing data from a SSD is not as simple as from a HDD. Sure there are ways that are built into many drives, but do you trust them ? I don't.
2) Limited number of writes. This should not be that bad, but I've heard of drives failing at random possibly because of firmware bugs.
3) Firmware is often required and yet not all companies support updating firmware from Linux (OCZ is an exception)
4) It is relatively new technology and has not been well tested, IMO. If you get an SSD and have problems for various reasons, then don't blame anyone but yourself. I personally don't trust my data to it just yet.
5) Write amplification is a problem. It can be controlled to some extent using TRIM, but only btrfs and ext4 support it, and who knows how well it actually works.
6) Price is currently high even with the HDD price hike that they blame on various things.

I know there are people who jump at the chance to try new technology just like they jump at the chance to try new software. Just remember that the bleeding edge often leaves you bleeding. These people are useful because they have money, they spend it on new technology, and even if the technology breaks eventually the price will go down, the tech will improve and maybe I'll buy one then.

Sure, now I'm gonna get people flaming at me for saying this and deconstructing my argument piece by piece in an attempt to "prove" me wrong. Go ahead, but don't expect a rebuttal, you can believe what you want. I just don't find the benefit/cost ratio very good right now. Maybe in the future solutions will appear and I'll buy one. What can I say the major pro for the SSD is the huge performance leap.

onebuck 04-08-2012 11:27 AM

Member response
 
Hi,

Thanks 'H' for your clarification as too your point of view. I for one disagree with some of your points. 'SSD' technology of today (newest drives) does not fall into the category of "Limited number of writes" as compared to earlier 'SSD' technology. Newer 'MLC' & 'SLC' are very reliable for both writes & reads. 'MLC' cost savings is at the sacrifice of speed as compared to 'SLC'. My system will be replaced long before even getting to the manufactures write specifications(typical 5 years) for a new system for me. My first 'SSD' is a 'Intel® X25-V Value Solid State Drive, 40GB'. Presently using newer Patriot Pyro drives for new equipment. Patriot provides a great performance for lower cost of a consumer grade 'SSD'.

Sure the cost per GB is not the best but for a device that will provide performance gains over a typical mechanical drive. Right now my cost is about $1/GB for a 120GB disk.

As to your concern for privacy, no different than concerns for a 'thumb drive'. Most reliable manufactures do have utilities to restore to factory state. You will not have residual effects as you would with a magnetic media.

Most firmware is supported by the Linux Kernel;
TRIM - Wikipedia
OCZ Technology
Solid-state drive - Wikipedia
Solid State Drives - ArchWiki - Arch Linux
Intel® SATA Solid-State Drive

Plus some Linux users do not use the proper scheduler for a 'SSD'. All of my usage and research points to using 'noop' for 'SSD' is better for assigned scheduler for a 'SSD' but not for system wide mechanical hardware;
Quote:

# cat /sys/block/sda/queue/scheduler
[noop] deadline cfq
Since 'noop' is a 'FIFO' the 'SSD' device will be serviced better than with 'deadline or 'cfq'.

Tuning Solid State Drives in Linux is a good guide.

SSDWiki is a good knowledge base resource.

BTW, I still use mechanical drives for static storage.

H_TeXMeX_H 04-08-2012 12:05 PM

Today the limited number of writes is not such an issue, but it is there still. You can't say it doesn't have a limited number of writes, it's just less limited than it used to be.

Quote:

Originally Posted by onebuck (Post 4647704)
As to your concern for privacy, no different than concerns for a 'thumb drive'. Most reliable manufactures do have utilities to restore to factory state. You will not have residual effects as you would with a magnetic media.

My question is how many manufacturers provide a Linux utility for that too, as well as the firmware updater.

Ulysses_ 04-08-2012 03:23 PM

Thanks, especially for that notebookcheck link. Using vmware a lot so it is critical that the laptop has:
1. a processor with virtualization support so VMs run as fast as the host.
2. plenty of ram
3. a fast hard disk with plenty of space
4. a very fast SSD drive

Is there any notebook that has both 3 and 4?

TobiSGD 04-08-2012 03:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 4647672)
3) Firmware is often required and yet not all companies support updating firmware from Linux (OCZ is an exception)

You can add Intel to the list of supporters (firmware can be upgraded from a bootable ISO), while Corsair is not on the list.

@Ulysses: Almost any of the bigger vendors/manufacturers has laptops with 2 harddisk slots, so it should at least not be impossible (but not cheap at all) to have a laptop with SSD and HDD.
When I see your requirements may I assume that portability (means low power consumption) is not a concern here? I am asking that for two reasons:
1. Almost any of the newer high-speed SSDs with SATA-3 interface draws more power than ordinary laptop-HDDs. When you add a second harddisk such a machine will not run for long without connection to a power-supply.
2. If portability is not a concern, you will get faster, more silent and more extendable machines for the same price (or cheaper) if you choose a stationary system (read: a desktop/workstation).

Ulysses_ 04-08-2012 04:13 PM

In reality I seldom use the battery so power consumption is not an issue, the laptop is either plugged at work or at home or somewhere where electricity is available. But the ability to take it in a bag is important and I am prepared to pay for this and lose some performance as a result.

TobiSGD 04-08-2012 07:25 PM

In that case, just do a web search for laptops with two harddisk-bays. Keep in mind that you need SATA-III (aka SATA-6GB) to get the full performance of modern SSDs.
Reviews and comparisons of SSDs and harddisks can be found here: http://www.storagereview.com/best_drives
Information about CPUs can be found here:
- Intel: http://ark.intel.com/
- AMD: http://products.amd.com/en-us/NotebookCPUResult.aspx

Ulysses_ 04-09-2012 03:48 AM

Any opinions on hybrid drives that include a regular hard disk and an SSD as a cache to the former?

TobiSGD 04-09-2012 07:27 AM

As far as I know in the 2,5" class for laptop there is currently only the Seagate Momentus XT which has either the SATA-2 interface and 4GB flash memory (500GB and below capacities) or the SATA-3 interface and 8GB flash memory (750GB version). While the version with 750GB has enough Flash RAM to store an entire Linux system in it will it not really speed up your VMs. For people that do office work, browse the net and watch some videos those disks may have an advantage, but I doubt that there is an advantage about a SSD/HDD combination, where there is much more Flash storage and the user can determine exactly which data should be stored on which medium.

Ulysses_ 04-09-2012 09:15 AM

I think vmware only reads or writes the sectors it needs so out of a 10 GB virtual machine only the same 100 MB or so go through the cache in most sessions. Maybe a small SSD is faster than a large SSD for the same money?

Ulysses_ 04-09-2012 09:24 AM

Can an SSD be software-made to act as a cache for a regular hard disk?


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