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Old Dec 4, 2012, 04:25 AM   #1
macstatic
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Reliable SATA hard drives -what to get?

I need another set of internal 3.5" SATA hard drives (I always have 3 drives with the same content: original, backup and off-site backup) for file-storage and am wondering what I should get (2 or 3TB).
Reliability is my foremost concern, but also noise levels.
I've read countless reviews, recommendations and comments online but I'm just getting more confused about which brand/model to get and stay clear of -everybody says different things.

Another thing: is it a good idea to buy different brands/types of drives within each backup set, or are hard drive issues usually random so that I'll be just as safe with 3 of the same type?

Last edited by macstatic; Dec 4, 2012 at 04:32 AM.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 04:33 AM   #2
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Do you have the option of Thunderbolt on your Mac? If so, you might want to consider a solution that's external and thunderbolt attached.

FWIW I have the Promise Pegasus R4, rock solid and real-time capable...I run it in 2X RAID0 arrays.

http://www.promise.com/storage/raid_...sn1=40&rsn3=47


Not cheap I know, nut you get what you pay for.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 04:41 AM   #3
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That's pretty awesome!
No, I don't have Thunderbolt in my current Mac. My file storage/backup drives are all removable using this 4-bay Proavio S4 Firewire 800 rack enclosure, so I just need the bare drives.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 04:47 AM   #4
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That's pretty awesome!
No, I don't have Thunderbolt in my current Mac. My file storage/backup drives are all removable using this 4-bay Proavio S4 Firewire 800 rack enclosure, so I just need the bare drives.
I have Hitachi's in my R4...no issues at all, Segate's seem to have a few issues lately, but they are pretty much the same, platter based devices...Go with a name brand and you should be fine. Some people think that the drives installed in Promise and NAS unit s are better, but I doubt that.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 04:54 AM   #5
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You have to read the reviews, make a judgement call and stop worrying. Any given drive can fail and will eventually, so be sure to have backups of your backups. Some people will even have a backup they keep at a friend's house or in the cloud.

All the platter drives I've bought lately have been Hitachi, the largest being a 3TB time machine drive that backs up a fast RAID array. They are fairly quiet -- I don't notice the drives with all the other gizmos plus the fans in my MP.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 10:16 AM   #6
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WD Greens here. Used them for years, currently have 4 1TB Greens (WD10EARS) living in my home server in a RAID 5 array. I hear that the WD Reds are made for NAS/RAID box usage; might look into those.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 04:45 AM   #7
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Yeah, I actually have six of those Western Digital Green drives (WD10EARS and WD20EARS) which I've used for external file storage and backups. I chose them mainly because they were said to have low noise levels.

I've had no problems with them at all but became worried when reading about their "intellipark" feature which I didn't know about prior to purchasing. The drive automatically parks after 8 seconds of inactivity IIRC and besides waiting for the drive to get ready again it probably causes lots of unnecessary tear and wear. It can be disabled using a DOS utility from WD (not much help for many Mac users such as myslf) although I've also heard that the utility doesn't really work at all. I haven't had a chance to try it out.
Also I suspect those drives are very slow. WD doesn't disclose the drives' RPMs (they call it "Intellipower", apparently a "feature" which adjusts the rotational speed up and down automatically) but I've read elsewhere that speeds are around 5400 RPM which isn't much.
So despite not having had any problems with them I'm concerned about these "features" and wonder what else is out there which works reliably, but with better specs without costing an arm and a leg.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 09:58 AM   #8
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I haven't noticed my Greens spinning up and down any more than the Blue I have in the same server. Then again, the Greens are part of a RAID-5 array; maybe that has something to do with it? And they're not THAT slow - read speeds in the neighborhood of 90MB/s (not blazing, of course, but decent) and still pulling around 78MB/s or so in RAID-5. By comparison, my much louder and hotter Blue (WD10EALS) gets close to 120MB/s reads; that's why it's the server's boot drive. I have all of these in an HP Microserver (very quiet, btw) that sits right beside my desk and my Mac mini.

But my drives aren't new - I've accumulated them over about 3 years. If I were buying all new right now, I'd probably go for WD Reds or RE3 or RE4's.

EDIT: Just thought of something - I have HD Tune running in the system tray (this is a Windows Home Server box) to monitor temps; maybe THAT is why the drives don't spin down.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 01:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Yeah, I actually have six of those Western Digital Green drives (WD10EARS and WD20EARS) which I've used for external file storage and backups. I chose them mainly because they were said to have low noise levels.
+1. WD have always proved ultra reliable for me, and their Green drives provide energy efficient and quiet storage. Their new Red drives for NAS 24/7 operation also review very well.

On the other hand, i know people who wont touch WD drives due to failures. You'll find the same love/hate relationships with all hard drive manufacturers though.

When looking for a hard drive i tend to take these 4 things into account:
1: Read lots of reviews for models to get a feel for others experience.
2: Read more technical reviews of models you are interested in. They'll give you a detailed breakdown of speeds, temps, noise, power usage etc and compare them to other drives in their class.
3: Check the manufacturers warranty - Some are much longer than others, which to me shows a manufacturer has confidence in the product.
4: Some argue that drives with less platters are more reliable due to being less mechanically complex.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 02:30 PM   #10
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I will vouch....

Western Digital and Seagate drives, having used both in a 24/7 basis for some setups.
But almost ever leaned towards WD ones

Good trick to buy different brands or batchs, to nulify manufacturing errors and measure preformance

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