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Balancing reliability, speed and quietness


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#1 Ubtree

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 05:52 AM

I am planning to build a PC (running Windows 7) for image editing (using Photoshop) and for general purpose uses, with three main design criteria:

  • Data security - including running a continuous backup on an internal HDD (probably using Oops!Backup), supplemented by monthly offline backups.
  • Power - Core i7 3770 processor and Sapphire Ultimate Radeon HD 7750 graphics card
  • Quietness - passively CPU cooler, Seasonic Platinum Fanless PSU and Nofan CS-80 case
My current plan is to have 3 drives:

  • a Plextor PX-256M5P SSD for system files, programs and general data
  • a 1T SATA 6.0Gbps HDD of some kind for storing images
  • a Western Digital 2TB Caviar Green WD20EARS for the continuous backup of the other 2 drives
In the case of the 1T SATA 6.0Gbps HDD for storing images, I'm struggling to find a solution that strikes an appropriate balance between data security (= reliability), power (= speed) and quietness.

My current thoughts are:

  • A second Western Digital Caviar Green would meet the quietness criterion and would be reasonably reliable, but would be slow when loading and moving the large image files.
  • WD RE4 drives seem to be the most reliable, but they are optimised for RAID operation and servers. Since I don't intend to use RAID, I should avoid them.
  • WD VelociRaptors would meet the reliability and speed criteria extremely well, but would smash the "quietness" criterion.
  • A WD Caviar Black would be a possible compromise solution.
I will be using the drive only for short bursts - transferring files from the camera's CF card onto the computer, moving large numbers of files in one operation, and loading individual files into RAM for editing. Presumably the drive will spin down and be silent when I am not carrying out these operations. If it is possible to set the drive to spin down after not being accessed for (say) 2 minutes, I would be tempted to go for a Velociraptor - happy to put up with the short bursts of noise whilst performing these operations, and enjoying the silence when working on the images that I've loaded and when not working on image processing. But I would need to be confident that neither Win 7 nor the continuous backup software would not frequently access the drive for some reason, causing it to keep spinning up again. And while this might be a suitable means of taming the Velociraptor, I don't know of any way to apply different spin-down times to different drives, and a very short spin-down time would not be good for the HDD performing the continuous backup.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by Ubtree, 29 December 2012 - 07:58 AM.

#2 FastMHz

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 10:21 AM

The green / 5400 rpm drives are definitely the quietest, and more than adequate for media storage.

Another idea for complete silence is to get a small NAS, and connect it via gigabit Ethernet in another room. Install a 7200rpm drive for media, and a 5400rpm for backups in the NAS.

Then there are no rotating drives in your computer at all...can't get more silent than that :-)

Production: Vishera 8350/32gb RAM/Dual SSD/VelociRaptor/Radeon 7750
Gaming: Phenom II 955/16gb RAM/SSD/VelociRaptor/Radeon 7950
Retro: K6-2 550/256mb RAM/160gb HDD/CompactFlash/3DFX/ATI AIW Pro/SB16/DB50XG
http://www.fastmhz.com

#3 Ubtree

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 01:54 PM

Another idea for complete silence is to get a small NAS, and connect it via gigabit Ethernet in another room. Install a 7200rpm drive for media, and a 5400rpm for backups in the NAS.

Then there are no rotating drives in your computer at all...can't get more silent than that :-)

Thank you for the suggestion. I have considered an NAS, but I would like to keep things as simple as possible. In the past, I've spent too much time dealing with computers, and I now really want to spend more time simply making use of them. It would be a good solution technically, but I don't want to introduce something else to look after!

#4 Brian

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 05:29 PM

To echo the NAS suggestion, they're really quite simple. A medium-powered Synology is simple to use - it's like sharing a network drive.

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#5 rcphotos

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 09:59 AM

Old thread, but certainly up to date concern. I too am a photographer and am waiting for my Synology DS213+ to arrive and need drives to fill it for RAID 1 storage.

 

I'm doing the NAS RAID1 configuration and after reading this thread, I see no recommendations are being made as to the drives for such a device. Leaning strictly toward warranty, I like WD drives, but I am not well versed in reliability of hdd's. I like that FastMHz has suggested a pairing of 7200 and 5400 for the NAS but how does one finally decide, when considering the reliability? I cannot find flat out FAQs on WD lasts longer than Hitachi or Seagate or any other drive.

 

Also I am not seeing any discussion on losing a drive to the circuit board, then just replacing that board from another out-of-service drive. I just did this with an olde Seagate IDE ST332620A Barracuda, and it is up running nicely again, for only $40 board cost from a Chinese company based in vancouver BC. .

 

Question 1: How does one dial in on a given drive based, (all drive functions being equal), on reliability?

Question 2: Are there sources for newer drive circuit board replacements?


#6 FastMHz

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 10:17 AM

1. You look at the lengths of warranty.  Generally, higher warranty means the manufacturer believes it to be more reliable.  User reviews aren't necessarily accurate (people complain more than praise, etc) Otherwise, buy drives from a reputable source with a good return policy and always have backups.

 

2. eBay...


Production: Vishera 8350/32gb RAM/Dual SSD/VelociRaptor/Radeon 7750
Gaming: Phenom II 955/16gb RAM/SSD/VelociRaptor/Radeon 7950
Retro: K6-2 550/256mb RAM/160gb HDD/CompactFlash/3DFX/ATI AIW Pro/SB16/DB50XG
http://www.fastmhz.com

#7 Brian

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 10:23 AM

For a small NAS like that we'd go with Reds or Seagate NAS drives depending on what's available and at what price. There's not a great reason to go with anything else really. As to replacement boards, that's always been tricky. You're better off just doing an RMA if it comes to that.


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#8 rcphotos

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 10:26 AM

Thanks guys, I saw the WD red on Synology compatability list, I'll take a second look then. And do you concur Brian, with FastMHz two drive speeds (7200/5400) in NAS?


#9 Brian

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 11:23 AM

I'd just but the NAS drives honestly, but everyone has their own take on it. You're buying a 2-bay system, the 7200 won't help you there if you intend to keep RAID, which you should. I think his point was more around larger systems where you can segment LUNs and maintain RAID (4+ bays).


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#10 rcphotos

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 11:49 AM

Ok, I got it, thanks. Now are you saying that keeping both drives at 5400 would be fine? I don't think the cost it much more, but I have heard that higher speeds create more heat, and I'm not sure in this RAID-1 setup that it matter.


#11 Brian

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 12:56 PM

You're not going to need the speed unless you have a bunch of users streaming video on that NAS, you'll be fine with the slower NAS drives. 


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#12 rcphotos

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 06:13 PM

Nope I am only using these as a backup for photography, should save me a litte, so thank you for all your help Brian. I'll go back to the Synology hard disc compatibility chart and order my drives. And if you don't mind I'll include a link to your site on my blog post I wrote, as an update: http://outsideshoote...time-again.html


#13 Brian

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 07:40 PM

Hah, thanks and good luck. We've never had issues with any drives in our dozen or so Synology units in the lab.

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#14 janiy

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:05 PM

For a small NAS like that we'd go with Reds or Seagate NAS drives depending on what's available and at what price. There's not a great reason to go with anything else really. As to replacement boards, that's always been tricky. You're better off just doing an RMA if it comes to that.

 

Brian, as you recommend WD Reds for this solution what is your take on the quite large DOA/early fail rate that has been reported quite widely with WD Reds?


#15 rcphotos

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:14 PM

Brian, I just updated my post (at ShootingOutside) with a link to your site. And just ordered from BHPhoto a DS213+ and 2-SEST3000VN00
3TB NAS Internal HDD's. I hope this will take care of my needs for awhile. Thanks again for the advice.


#16 Brian

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:48 PM

Awesome, best of luck with it!


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