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They Say It’s Fish, But It Tastes Like Chicken

Western Digital turned on write caching and futzed around with the firmware a bit, and ends up with a rather odd beast.

It’s odd because it now does everything except what it’s supposed to do very well. It’s meant to be a low and medium-end server drive, and it’s pretty lousy at that.

There’s a review of the drive here, and while Storage Review hasn’t done the write-up yet, their benchmarking of the drive is already in their database.

Of course, most of those reading this couldn’t care less how many server I/Os it can handle, and for you, this is now THE IDE drive to have.

Provided you’re not all too concerned about cost, that is. To get the performance, you’ll pay four times the price per Gb for the Raptor that you would for an IBM 180GXP or WD1200JB.

Put another way, your 36GB Raptor will cost more than a 120GB version of the IBM or WD drive.

If that doesn’t put you off, remember that this is a SATA drive, and it probably would be wise to wait until you buy a motherboard with native SATA support. The KT400A with the VT8237 south bridge (see below) will have that, as will the Springfield/Canterwood ICH5.

You would much rather have that because in both cases, the hard drives will have their own separate channels rather than hog the PCI bus. In at least the case with Intel, you also end up with SATA RAID, too (and with two Raptors, that will clog up the PCI bus).

Adding platters to the Raptor would improve performance a bit, and lower the cost per GB, but Western Digital doesn’t seem to want to do that anytime soon.

It will be an interesting debate in the mind of many. Will it be performance, or price?

KT400A: Late and Later

The main problem with the KT400A is that it will come in two versions. The early ones will come with the old VT8235 south bridge. Only later will we see KT400As with the VT8237 south bridge, which, as noted above, will provide native SATA support.

Since that will give the KT400A a feature-edge over the nForce2 in a terminal-socket A system (meaning the last socket A board you’re likely to buy), best to wait until that chip is in mobos.

nVidia’s Low-End Video Cards

It’s hard to get excited about these cards. For that matter, it’s pretty hard to get excited about any of the mid-range offerings we’ll have over the next few months. If you’re looking for a cheap Doom card; I think you ought to wait some more.

I just don’t see the point in spending $150-170 for either crippled or essentially a cheaper Ti4600 when even now, for another $50-70, you can get a Radeon 9700.

The NV34? That’s a case of not cutting fat, but bone. I suppose it’s better than nothing for those who have to stick a card into somebody else’s machine, for somebody who wants to game, but doesn’t want to pay for it, but that’s hardly ideal.

I Know, Wait, Wait, Wait

Value does not equal cheap. It’s not just what you pay for something, it’s what you get for what you pay.

Value is not just a characteristic of price, it’s also a characteristic of time. If you say that “it doesn’t matter when you buy,” then the day before a big price cut is a fine time to buy, too. Not.

Do you know why we see all these interim products? We see them because the manufacturers know that a lot of people can’t control themselves. They make a lot of money off such people.

Self-control is not a bad thing. It is a very good thing for items like this, and it’s even better for bigger matters in life.

It’s never smarter to not think, to not look ahead.

In all these instances (outside of maybe the video cards), better values should be available within a couple months.

Email Ed

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