"Short-Stroke" Your HDD?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Scataphagos, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. A recent article describes the supposed benefits of "short-stroking your HDD for increased performance". (Short-stroking is nothing more than using a small partition on a large HDD so that (1) all data is near the outer edge of the platter where the linear speed is the fastest, and (2) the HDD's heads have less distance to travel so should reduce access time... tests in the article claim a reduction from approx 15ms to about 8-9ms.)

    Well, I tried that just for kicks... took my 500G HDD and formatted it for a 50G partion... using only the outer 10% of the platter. However, HD Tune reports the same results as before when the partition was 500G.

    So... either (a) short-stroking does not actually reduce access time, or (b) HD Tune doesn't reflect the improvement, if any.

  2. read it too some weeks ago.

    "the performance gain" is really irrelevant if you don't run a server with much random I/O load.

    thus the idea behind it is not too bad.

    if you want to e.g. have your PC boot in half the time get a Solid State Disk with Single Level Cells (SLC).
    (Pricing starting 150$ for a 32GB disk.)

  3. There's a recent article which indicates SSD's performance degrades over time to the point they're no better than platter drives. (Apparently the way to restore SSD performace is to reformat and reinstall everything... but who wants to be doing that all the time?).

    SSD's not really "ready for prime time" yet.... many in another couple of years.
  4. jprad


    "Short-stroking" has been irrelevant for about a decade now.

    All discs now use zoned bit recording to take advantage of the larger area on the outside tracks which ends up with fairly consistent access times across the entire platter.

    There's also transparent bad sector mapping to consider which happens at the on-disc controller level and there's all sorts of schemes for where the reserved cylinders are placed.

    Besides, platter rotation speed is the bigger factor. A 15K RPM drive is 2x a 7200RPM drive and close to 3x a 5200RPM drive.
  5. And yet a recent article extolled its merits... ??
  6. jprad


    And the Bush administration said there was WMD in Iraq...
  7. Hey, I don't know... just passing along info.

    With the desirable speeds of SSD's and the performance gains of Velociraptor being from shorter access times rather than throughput, short-stroking seems logical that it be worth a try....
  8. jprad


    Theoretically, yes, you would see an improvement due to the faster bit rate at the outer edge of the platter, but there's so many factors in modern drives, not to mention the OS itself, that thwarts any chance if it happening.

    And, even if you got everything to line up for faster throughput you're still exposed to failure since it's a single drive. The cost of drives being what they are today, it's much more prudent to have at least a RAID1 running.

    As for SSD, I agree with a previous poster, way too early to get involved with them right now. Sure, they're faster, but who really knows how reliable they are? Need a couple years of other people beta testing them, IMHO.
  9. Well, some kind of adequate backup... RAID (of any sort) not being my preference.
  10. jprad


    RAID was never intended to be a backup solution.
    #10     Apr 27, 2009