"I've noted in my last two articles that the configurations I
tested weren't exactly optimal. Because this is supposed to be the
Ultimate Linux Box, I decided to see just how close to optimal I
could get--and I'm pleased with the results.
"The fine folks at Monarch Computer Systems sent me a set of
four Western Digital Raptor 10kRPM serial-ATA drives, plus a set of
Red Hat 8.0 CDs. The original system had three Seagate drives that
spun at 7200 RPM and Red Hat 9--fewer, slower spindles for RAID 5
to work its magic and a version of XFree86 that isn't compatible
with ATI's proprietary drivers. These two improvements should bump
up the testbed's already nice performance to decidedly snappy.
"We'll deal with the drives first. When unwrapping the Raptors,
the first thing that caught my attention was the heat sink looking
design of the left side of the case, as you face the business end.
I don't know if this is put there to be functional or if it simply
looks cool, but it certainly caught my eye. The second thing I
noticed, as I considered installing four of these hotrods in what
had been a three-drive system, was not only did they have the
standard S-ATA power connector but an auxiliary (legacy) Molex
power connector as well, right where it should be. This inclusion
makes things easy. I extracted the drive cage (two screws in the
Lian Li case), removed the Seagate drives with their
horizontal-mount adapter and laid them aside. There is only room
enough to mount three drives horizontally in the lower cage, but
five can be mounted vertically. With a little fiddling, I got data
and power sent to all four drives; Monarch thoughtfully included a
fourth data cable..."
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