QUIET external storage: possible?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jimthing, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. jimthing, Mar 19, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018

    jimthing macrumors 65816

    jimthing

    Joined:
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    London, UK (Europe, Earth, Space)
    #1
    Does anyone know of any WHISPER QUIET external storage devices?

    Something that can do 400-500 MBytes/s speeds with around ~15TB+ of storage.

    I live/work in a small space so noise is an issue, hence the need to store loud storage devices in a closable cupboard away from my Mac. And basically, apart from those small single few tera drives, virtually everything on the market that I find makes a complete and utter NOISE!

    Problems I can see:
    1) Running 1GbE over long Ethernet cables, is just crap speed, being much too slow.
    Moving data at that speed is tortuous in this age. AFAICT, there's just no point using 1GbE NAS currently, as it's just so slow (I know in the near future, I'll want to mass store commercial 4K movies, et al.)?
    What's even the point of a NAS box, compared to an always on Mac+DAS storage, with file sharing enabled, anyway?

    2) USB-C connections have a max allowable cable length of 2m, and you can't seem to do USB-over-Ethernet with them either.

    3) There are no optical Tbolt 3 cables on the market, to run long distance to achieve quiet.

    4) 10GbE to a (non-iMac Pro) Mac is basically impossible without spending £700(!) on the Sonnet TB3-to-10GbE adapter (the slightly cheaper adapters from Promise/Akitio are apparently slow.)

    5) ...anything else I haven't thought about?!...

    Basically, anyone wanting this we're screwed AFAICT...?

    Does anyone have their own solution to this noisy external storage problem?
     
  2. jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816

    jimthing

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  3. Ledgem macrumors 68000

    Ledgem

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    #3
    I have a Drobo 5C (direct attached storage) and it's pretty darn quiet - in fact, I pretty much need to put my ear up to it to hear it. It sits behind my 5K iMac (which is also silent unless I push it). Drobo has two networked units, the 5N (older model) and 5N2 (current model); the difference is that the 5N2 has two ethernet ports to double its transfer speeds.

    The Drobo doesn't seem to meet your speed demands, however; reviews seem to vary in posting speeds, going anywhere from the mid-100 MB/s to mid-200 MB/s. Synology's NAS units seem to get into the 400's, which is what you're asking for. But I don't own a Synology NAS, so I can't comment on the noise level.

    Why a NAS over a computer with a DAS? I guess the NAS has the benefit of purely existing for storage, and its uptime could exceed your computer (and wouldn't be subject to the whims of any computer trouble you might be having, or when updates are running). There's also no performance hit to your computer when another device is accessing the drives. Some NAS boxes are adding on other functionality, such as transcoding... again with the idea of offloading tasks from your computer. Granted, computers these days are far faster than what people are needing in most tasks, so it's not really critical to offload those tasks, but it's a feature all the same.
     
  4. Ifti macrumors 68000

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    UK
    #4
    I have a NAS with 10GBe, but its not the quietest TBH. I also have a couple of WD external drives (both single and duo) that aren't really too bad.
    For something silent you'd need to be looking at SSD territory, which isn't going to be cheap!

    OWC have a ThunderBlade V4 which is silent, and seems like an awesome drive with 4 NVMe SSDs in a RAID configuration - but as you can imagine its very expensive!
     
  5. jimthing, Mar 20, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018

    jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816

    jimthing

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    #5
    Yeah, I saw that OWC box, it costs a mere $5k for just 8TB, lol (or $625/TB)!
    SSD solutions aren't going to be thing for normal people for a loooooong way if ever, until SSD's are only marginally more than HDD's. And that looks a long way off, especially as manufacturers are continually going for increasing the performance (e.g. from SATA to PCIe/NVMe connections) on drives/boxes, making them even more expensive than they have to be for average users needs. Clearly box makers are aiming virtually all SSD boxes for pro's with the money, who need a few Tera's while editing projects, rather mass longterm storage; hence them increasing performance. So they're out.

    For those of us who are not network engineers who work with this stuff daily, there are a couple of questions re. 10GbE:
    1) Is it likely Apple will update the standard iMac's 1GbE to 10GbE anytime soon, or if it's a way off yet?
    2) Is it likely the price of 10GbE adapters (mainly from TB3 ports, but even USB-C 10Gb/s ports?) will reduce?
    3) Is 10GbE going to be a lot more 'normal' generally, or is it always going to be a specialist thing?

    I just look at the whole market for storage, and there seems to be a massive affordability hole between the slow 100-200 speeds to superfast 1500-3000 speeds you can buy – and worse, it's basically impossible when you need to run a box away from your workspace.

    £700 for a 10GbE adapter is unrealistic for most of us to spend.
    @Ifti - how do you connect to the 10GbE box from your Mac? I'm guessing you're not on a new iMac Pro, so...
     
  6. jdelgado macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Location:
    Chile
    #6
    I have an Akitio Thunder2 Duo Pro and a Thunder3 Duo Pro daisy chained. They are two-bay units, but you can daisy-chain them as I do and have four drives available.
    They have an on/off switch for the fan. I think that depending on your use, you might get away keeping the fan off. Nevertheless, the fans are quiet when working.
    I used one of them with a couple of SSDs and the fan off and never ran into any issues.
    I think you might want to check these out.
     
  7. BlazednSleepy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    #7
    Anything that has spinning drive's is going to create varying degrees of noise. No getting around it and I think it's something you need to accept. With that said though, there are one's that are more silent than others. I currently use an OWC Thunderbay 4 and it's pretty darn quite in my opinion. I can still certainly hear it slightly since it's right next to my iMac, but in your case though, if it's tucked away, then it should be quiet "enough".

    Plenty of size options available and I run it at Raid 5 and get around 400-500 mbps read and write. They also have a good warranty on the enclosure and hard drives and don't use crappy seagate or western digital drives. I've had mine for close to 2 years without any issues.

    https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/thunderbay-4/thunderbolt-3-raid-5

    It uses a software raid controller instead of hardware one. Less heat and noise and works just as good with minimal processing stress.
     
  8. jeyf macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    #8
    instead of spinning rust for storage research into a NAS SSD array box:
    -Expen$ive
    -unlike hard drives the concept of a raid array may be un necessary
    -improved speeds with a SSD


    I have an old Drobo NAS box running junk Segate hard drives. I located the box across the small room where i work (about 10 feet) and its is totally quiet.
    -
     
  9. jimthing, Mar 20, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018

    jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816

    jimthing

    Joined:
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    #9
    Thanks for the recommendation. Unlike other brands like WD/Lacie/CalDigit and others, OWC don't seem to have very good non-US distribution of most of their products. What drives do they ue in them if they're not WD Red or Seagate Ironwolf? I guess I'd just buy the enclosure and use self purchased WD Red's in them. Can those be bought directly in the UK?

    I wonder if there are any non-TB3 vanilla USB-C 10Gb/s RAID's out there yet, that are similarly quiet?

    Also, is software RAID good to go for? Two points with that:

    1) Do hardware RAID boxes create more noise, given they have controllers in them?
    I once owned a second hand TB1 Promise Pegasus R6, and that sounded like a jet engine when running!

    2) Are there any negatives about running software RAID's?
    I know they tend to use host Mac system resources (not sure how much), but is there anything else to know about? Have I got it right that you can't use Disk Utility in Sierra/High Sierra to build software RAID's anymore?

    Sure, but while SSD's cut down on noise, surely the speed is still very limited, given the maximum throughput of 1GbE NAS's are ~100MB/s? (don't know how joining the GbE lanes to achieve 2x or 3x speed, into a Mac, works?)
     
  10. BlazednSleepy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    #10
    I believe they use either Toshiba drives or HGST drives. Both are considered the most reliable.

    I would maybe look into resellers that possibly sell their products. If not, reach out to them and see if they have good options for you.

    This version uses USB-C rate for 10gbps
    https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-mercury-elite-pro-quad/raid-5

    1) I would think having a hardware controller would generate more heat and spin the fans more often and at higher rpm's. That in it's self would obviously create more noise. I don't think it would be a huge difference though.

    2) Here's a great short article comparing both technologies.
    https://blog.macsales.com/37868-tech-101-discussing-benefits-of-software-raid-vs-hardware-raid

    I'm not sure regarding disk utility, but the provided SoftRaid application takes care of everything for you.
     
  11. jimthing, Mar 21, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018

    jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816

    jimthing

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    London, UK (Europe, Earth, Space)
    #11
    Thanks again.
    I checked in Disk Utility, and if you go to the File menu in it, you'll see "RAID Assistant" – but it only offers 0 & 1, with JBOD. So for other Raid levels you're going to need third-party software like SoftRaid.

    Of note, I notice the version OWC provide is "SoftRaid XT", which only works on HDDs inside an OWC storage box. You can however seemingly upgrade from XT to the full version for an extra $99 later, which allows the functionality to be used on any drive in your setup. A bit of an obvious up-sell method, given OWC own "SoftRaid" itself.

    Yes, software RAID maybe the way to go for less noise, hence why the previous TB1 Promise Pegasus R6 I owed (with hardware RAID) was so loud.

    The main problem is that both TB3 cables and vanilla USB-C cables can only run a maximum of 2 metres. There is no optical version of the TB3 ones yet either. So it looks like I'm stuffed in getting storage away from my desk. :-|

    Although I could use a spare 10m Corning TB1/2 optical cable I have, with 2x Apple TB1/2<->TB3 adapters on each end to cover the distance, no doubt at the sacrifice of speed.
     
  12. Ifti macrumors 68000

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    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    I don't actually use the 10GBe yet - waiting and hoping the new 2018 iMAC incorporates 10GBe (although I doubt it will :( ) but there are some 10GBe switches available now that are affordable, such as the NETGEAR ProSAFE XS708E. Again this would add some noise though, as all switches do, due to the built in cooling fans....

    All of my boxes incorporate Hardware RAID. These do not emit any extra noise - its an onboard controller, so a circuit board, that handles the RAID operations. No moving parts, so no noise. The only noise you get is from the spinning HDDs it controls. With larger RAID systems you will get some extra fans on the rear of the box to help keep the HDDs cool, which will naturally add to the overall noise level.

    So my NAS, for example, contains 8 HDDs - all emitting the standard HDD noise - as well as 2 large fans in the rear of the box to help draw heat away, naturally creating a little more noise.
    The My Book Duo drives I use for editing video on the other hand, each contain 2 drives with no other external cooling, so the only noise is from the HDDs themselves - and they also contain hardware based RAID.

    Ive always stayed away from software based RAID. I just personally prefer the work to be done on the actual drive itself, freeing my system up to concentrate on the main task at hand.

    As I said, for something completely silent you'd need to be looking at SSD territory, and the added expense, or look to house the drive/s away in a cupboard a bit further away from your work space.....
     
  13. jeyf macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    #13
    do what you want.

    i expected the storage marketplace this year to continue to move more into replacing the home mechanical storage. but not. to that ends mechanical hard drives are low cost. NAS box products have been out in the market for years so buy one as opposed to re inventing the wheel. Personal digital junk is not going away, its just another appliance.

    If your looking for the quality drive(s):
    -consider the length of the warranty, manufacturers screen for those drives expected to last longer and attempt to sell them at a premium. Drives may also have firmware slightly tweaked for a particular application, say NAS storage or for Windows or for a dvr.
    -TigerDirect may have low quality drives and the better drives go out to Dell or Apple.
    -newegg.com has customer reviews that seem sane.

    just moving the NAS box 10 feet from your work space will solve 66.6% of the noise. Residential equipment runs low power and noise free out of the box.

    I have had my drobo NAS box for years. It proved a stable storage environment. Not saying Drobo is a premium manufacturer but rather I lucked out. do the research. best of luck.
     
  14. jimthing, Mar 22, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018

    jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816

    jimthing

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    #14
    This one?
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/NETGEAR-ProSAFE-XS708E-Ethernet-XS708E-100NES/dp/B00B46AEE6

    If so, it still costs around £600 though – sure, it's not the £thousands that I presume previous 10GbE switches were, but not an everyday price for average users, lol!

    I'm not "knowledgeable" on networking, exactly.

    So how do you connect a current (non-iMac Pro) Mac to it, though? Surely you need the Sonnet TB3<>10GbE adapter (for another £600-700!) to do that anyway?

    Given that, could you not just use the Sonnet adapter to connect directly to a 10GbE NAS box? Ignoring the use of a 10GbE switch. Or am I missing something here. :-|
     
  15. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    Yes to get any client without a 10GBe port to connect at 10GBe speeds you would need the adapter still. :(
    You could connect directly to the NAS with a crossover Ethernet cable.....although you still need the adapter or a computer with a 10GBe port.
    I held off purchasing the switch as I'm holding out to see if the 2018 iMAC incorporates a 10GBe port... (wishful thinking?!)
     
  16. jimthing, Mar 22, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018

    jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816

    jimthing

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    #16
    Ah, so my understanding was correct (although I thought crossover was natively handled within devices these days, so no need for a specialist crossover cable?).

    Anyway, AFAICT there are only two models of (3.5" HDD's) NAS with TB 3 functionality out there, both from QNAP:
    "TS-453BT3", 8GB RAM, ~£1080:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/QNAP-TS-453BT3-8G-Bay-Desktop-Enclosure/dp/B076ZXZ2SF

    TIP: could buy from Amazon.com instead of Amazon.co.uk – even after import costs, saves ~£160!
    https://www.amazon.com/TS-453BT3-8G-US-Thunderbolt-Celeron-Apollo-Quad-core/dp/B0768N5J5Q
    £915! ($1276: 999+277 shipping/fees).

    "TVS-1282T3", various options, from ~£3300:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/QNAP-TVS-1282T3-Powerful-Thunderbolt-Attached/dp/B06Y15X343

    ...plus HDD costs, of course. Presume @Ifti you have the TB2 version of the latter one (I think it was only 8 3.5" HDDs, without the extra 4x 2.5" ones, though?).

    TBH, neither is viable AFAICS.

    The latter is MASSIVELY expensive, so a no go. Minimum £3300+HDDs, as you decide.
    Even the former is pushing it. Minimum £1080+HDDs, as you decide, though you'd likely want 8TB's =£860 (215@ x4) = £1940 total.
    At that overall price, you're pushing into TBolt hardware RAID box pricing.

    I don't see them as viable given the adapter costs to get distance connection via 10GbE on them. I suppose I could use my 10m optical TB1/2 cable with the couple of spare Apple TB1/2<>TB3 adapters on each end of it, that I have lying around, but I'd still only get ~300MB/s in RAID 5, which is hardly an 'exciting' leap of speed above the 100MB/s plain 1GbE offers, really. :-|
     
  17. Ifti macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Yup I have a 8 bay, with 8x6TB WD Reds, and it has TB2 ports. Fortunately I only had to pay for the drives and was given the NAS ;)
    I've never used the TB ports to be honest, and wouldn't bother upgrading since the speed of the RAID array wouldn't saturate a TB2 connection let alone TB3.
    I use mine as a basic NAS for everyone in the household to store documents and share files - so basic use really with a few extra services like PLEX etc.
    Personally I use external drives for anything else, such as for editing etc. When it comes to looking for the fastest or the quietest drives, things can quickly get ridiculously expensive, as you have noticed!
     
  18. FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

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    #18
  19. benoitc macrumors member

    benoitc

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    #19
    how quiet it is?
     

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