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Steve Franklin's Journal: WD1200JB 8MB Cache

Journal by Steve Franklin

I broke down and bought a third hard disk last Sunday. Well, actually, I was having my twice yearly or so overwhelming need to BUY SOMETHING NEW. Installed like a dream. Western Digital seems to have figured out that the easier they make using their products the more often folks will buy new ones. The Seagate 18 GB SCSI I installed a couple of years ago was an absolute nightmare. The "EZ" install program kept crashing the OS. Talk about caught in an endless loop. But I digress. The WD is a 120 GB and, with its onboard 8 MB cache--basically a lot of onboard RAM--supposedly makes it as fast as a SCSI for home use. It doesn't do that in a server because the disk seeks are more random so the algorithm can't predict what's likely to be needed next. We'll see when it runs the OS with the programs on the SCSI drive.

Anyhow, aside from a half-dozen+ reboots to keep Windows happy and having to reset one thing in BIOS--I had turned off the onboard HPT controller on the Soyo mobo that runs IDE 3 and 4 to speed up booting--it was absolutely easy. I was pleasantly surprised that the controller worked at all. Soyo seems to have a problem getting their BIOS's written correctly. The hardware's decent, you just can't unlock the potential because the BIOS doesn't see a lot of stuff. Oh well.

Downloaded Casper XP last night to beat my ISP's Zinc fiber amelioration tonight. 3 hours to replace a floor and remove zinc fibers from all the electronics? Right! Sure! I will be amazed if they're up and running tomorrow afternoon. The Casper is a downloaded program that allows disk mirroring so I can transfer XP to the new (G) drive. I carved out a chunk of it the same size as the old WD the OS is on--6 MB. The new XP drive formatter works quite well, except it has the same peculiarity as Partition Magic. The size of the actual partition turns out to be different from the displayed size in "My Computer," so you have to do some higher mathematics to get the size the same as the other one. We'll see how Casper (a pun on Norton's Ghost I suppose) works later.

I did manage to scare the heck out of myself while playing around. For a few minutes I thought I had blown away the entire SCSI drive with all my programs and data on it. Turned out I had relettered the drive by mistake and Windows couldn't find the programs. The OS doesn't always see the SCSI drive at boot. I figured I could still reformat the G Drive without bothering to reboot. But because of the lack of an F Drive, the default drive letter for the new drive bacame F, so when I rebooted--surprise! the F drive was blank. When I finally figured it out, I just changed it back from "G" to F and everything was cool. Note to self: Pay more attention to the defaults.

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WD1200JB 8MB Cache

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