Earthquake shows why gamers should secure their hard drives

Earthquake shows why gamers should secure their hard drives

Summary: Why you should secure your hard drives properly ... and not shout in a data center!

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TOPICS: Mobility, Hardware
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What can earthquakes teach gamers? It can teach them the value of securing their hard drives and eliminating as much computer vibration as possible.

Take a look at this awesome chart over on SeatGeek. These guys track the performance of their website which is hosted on Amazon AWS servers in Virginia. These servers were close to the epicenter of yesterday's magnitude 5.8 earthquake which shook the East Coast. What effect did this have on Amazon's servers? Quite an effect!

But, I hear you say, couldn't this be down to the increased web traffic following the earthquake as people hit Twitter (and yes, Twitter news travels faster than an earthquake's seismic waves ... fact) and news sites? Maybe, but if that was the case why didn't the latency persist for longer than the period of the earthquake?

Vibrations can have quite a significant effect on disk latency, and even small vibrations can have noticeable effects. Here is a video by Brendan Gregg of Sun's Fishworks team showing the effect that shouting at a rack of disks can have:

More details on this video can be found here.

And this is why gamers (and everyone else interested in getting as much performance as possible out of their systems) should secure their hard drives correctly and work on reducing as much vibration as possible when gaming (those using solid state drives don't need to worry about this). And it doesn't take an earthquake to hit for your system to be affected - missing screws, rattling caddies, uneven surfaces and knocking a PC around while in use can have a significant effect on performance.

So secure those drives people!

Topics: Mobility, Hardware

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5 comments
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  • RE: Earthquake shows why gamers should secure their hard drives

    Yeah, wouldn't want an earthquake to interfere with your gaming! Sheesh.
    wkulecz
    • RE: Earthquake shows why gamers should secure their hard drives

      @wkulecz I like Adrian, but I was kind of thinking the same thing. Singling out gamers for this is kind of odd. It's like saying only professional racers should make sure there is air in their tires.
      Aerowind
    • RE: Earthquake shows why gamers should secure their hard drives

      @wkulecz Not only that, but if you were playing "Quake" it would rather enhance the realism, no? ;-)
      jgm2
  • Shouting video...

    I watched that video of the bloke shouting at his disk rack and couldn't help but wonder if the vibration/latency spikes shown weren't in fact caused by him unceremoniously propping his hands against the disks, rather than shouting at them.

    I'm far more likely to believe that touching/nudging your hard disks has a considerably larger effect on disk drive latency than yelling at them.
    Alan Burns
  • RE: Earthquake shows why gamers should secure their hard drives

    I can see why changing to well-balanced low speed fans might be helpful.
    opcom