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These HDDs will be used mostly for backups and data-storage (pictures, movies) which aren't often read. The price difference is 1.5 Euros in the case of these two:

  • HDD Western Digital Caviar Green Power
    500GB, 7200rpm, 32MB, SATA2
  • HDD Western Digital Caviar SE16
    500GB, 7200rpm, 16MB, SATA2

The only difference is the buffer size (16MB vs. 32MB). Is the larger buffer size worth the extra money?

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Possible duplicate of Difference in performance of 8MB cache and 16MB cache Hard disk – Hennes Dec 17 '15 at 13:05
Closevoters: why are you marking this as a duplicate of the other question? This question is older, has almost 6x more views and has higher-upvoted answers. If anything, the above duplicate should be closed instead of this. – nc4pk Dec 22 '15 at 15:50
up vote 10 down vote accepted

It really worths the extra money. Why :

when you try to access a content from hard disk , it takes time to find the content you need. buffer is made from good stuff with high speed access. So when you find a content, it will save them all to buffer through an algorithm .

Conclusion: It makes your HDD disk works faster :) especially with large contents :)

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As memory prices have fallen into the "dirt cheap" range, drive manufacturers have realized that they can increase the size of their buffers at very little cost. Certainly nothing is lost in doing this; extra cache won't hurt performance; but neither does it greatly improve it. As a result, if interface transfer rate is the "reigning champion" of overrated performance specifications, then cache size is probably the "prime contender". Some people seem to think a 2 MB buffer makes a drive four times as fast as one with a 512 KB buffer! In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find even a 4% difference between them in most cases, all else being equal. Not surprisingly, both external transfer rate and cache size are overrated for the same reason: they apply to only a small percentage of transfers.

The cache size specification is of course a function of the drive's cache characteristics. Unfortunately, manufacturers rarely talk about any characteristics other than the cache's size.

spinning rust HDD performance is a complex thing (lately, determined more often than not by firmware optimizations) and cache size is not a silver bullet by any means.

Rotational speed is a much better predictor of drive performance in my experience: 5,400 rpm is slower than 7,200 rpm, which is slower than 10,000 rpm, which is slower than solid state. Even then there are (rare) exceptions.

That said, at such a low price difference, probably worth it.

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I agree with this comment. I have seen a significant difference when using a WDC 5400 rpm drive vs. a 7200 rpm drive but no noticeable difference with two like speed drives using different cache size with drives running at the same spindle speed. – jtreser Feb 12 '10 at 10:57
Agreed that at around $3(?) why not. Likewise agreed that there is very little difference in how fast it will go. More important is the spin speed. – ssvarc Feb 12 '10 at 11:07

It is probably not worth the money, though it depends on your usage.

  • When you read large continious files (typical for movies etc) then you are limited to the speed of the actual data transfer of the spindles. Cache will not boost this.
  • When you write large files (e.g. isos) then you are limited to the speed of the actual data transfer of the spindles. Cache will not boost this.
  • When you write lots of small files then these can fit in the cache and the drive can reorder this writes for higher efficiency. This will help.
  • When you read lots of small files and you get lucky then the next file to read may already be in a cached track. It is possible that it helps.

Conclusion: It depends on usage.

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The buffer also saves wear and tear by reducing unnecessarily repetitious reads and writes. Buffer size affects speed and wear more in some apps than others, but any time the buffer is exceeded, you lose both performance and durability. That's why they are increasing it---win win situation.

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