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Best Internal HD For Tracking?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by BrianaW, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. BrianaW

    BrianaW Active Member

    Hello everyone,
    I'm just wondering what everyone out there is using as their internal audio drive/drives. I've been using Barracudas, and I just bought a new one (the ST3500320AS), but a lot of reviews are claiming that Seagate has gone downhill since they changed the way the drives write data. Apparently there's a film on the platters that gunks up the heads causing these drives to malfunction and die VERY early on (anywhere from a month to a year).

    So, my question is this:
    I want to buy another large capacity internal SATA HD that's quiet as heck, has good seek times, and serious durability. What are you guys using? Anyone know what the best is for audio right now? I plan to upgrade to solid state when they get larger and the technology becomes more refined, but for now I'm just wondering what people's opinions/experiences are with the newer HD's... especially the new Barracudas. I've been hearing a lot of bad stuff lately about the longevity of the newer drives by all manufacturers.

    Is this post too geek? :?
  2. fmw

    fmw Guest

    No, traditionally Seagate and Western Digital have had the most reliable drives. That is why they became the two largest players in the market. I would stay with those two brands despite what I read on the internet. Personally, I have Barracudas in all my computers and have for years. Just get a drive with a 7200 rpm spindle speed or higher. It isn't complicated.
  3. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Western Digital.
    There tech has no head to plate contact.

    The stuff changes so fast I'm not all that current.


    I've seen old-school dual raptors connected in raid munch data like a beast.

    Expect all drives to fail and run redundant data storage for stuff you want to archive.
  4. BrianaW

    BrianaW Active Member

    Thanks for the reply! :)

    I'm with you on Seagate being one of the best... but really, their new ones seem to be seriously tarnishing their reputation. Looking on Newegg I can see that out of around 1100 reviews, 11% gave the drive I bought a "Very Poor" rating (and the 67% positive reviews are mostly people who haven't had it that long). And looking through the ones that are neg'd, they are all saying the drive was DOA, died within a week, or died within a few months.

    Obviously the issue isn't getting a replacement... Seagate gives a 5 year warranty, it's what to do when I lose say 300 Gigs of audio data? I think I could fill a 500 gig drive pretty quickly these days and I want to be sure it's safe to do so. I could have a backup drive, but the question of the drives integrity still remains. Any more input you or anyone else may have on the quality of new HD's is definitely welcome. :) I really appreciate it!

    Greener: Thanks for the info! That Velociraptor seems to be the way to go. I think I'll nab that one. :)
  5. Greener

    Greener Guest

    They are pretty loud drives though. They were at least.
  6. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    I've been in IT for 20 years and in tech for +35...

    Everyone wants bigger drives, but they don't want the additional risk that goes with it.

    Bigger SATA drives will NEVER be as reliable as smaller SCSI drives. There's too much going on with the high capacity drives with SATA architecture for it to ever be as stable as the SCSI drives. That, is a fact of physics and electronics.

    Does a SATA drive out perform a SCSI drive? IMHO and with my requirements... no. But are they more stable? No.

    If you're looking at a truly comprehensive professional operation, you use a SATA as your performance drive for production, but use SCSI RAID arrays for your main storage prior to tape backup.

    Just realize that cheap SATA drives are just that... cheap expendable storage that gives a decent performance for the dollar... and not much more than that.

  7. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Good advice all around here... My own personal preference is with Western Digital, but I agree that there's potential trouble lurking anywhere, with any brand. I read somewhere that all the bigger drives now are using the newer, smaller way of reading data on the platter. (I think the readable bits are stacked vertically on the platter, not horizontally, saving a LOT of room. Notice how LIGHT the 500 and 1T STATA drives are these days?)

    I expect EVERYTHING to fail, sooner or later, and so I work to avoid it.

    Consider this: These days, a 500 gig or 1T drive is now cheaper than a 2" 30 minute roll of 24 track analog tape ever was, now, or way "back in the day". You can get DAYS of recording (in stereo, anyway) on a new high density drive. It's just silly to go cheap and try to reuse them over and over again until they fail. (You wouldn't do that with a roll of tape, would you?).

    I think the real key is to break them in initially (to make sure there's no "Crib-death") and then fill them up, and put them away when full. Period. After they've been used for a project, and assuming you may want to revisit a project again someday, mark it or label it as to what it is, and PUT IT AWAY. Reusing a drive over and over again is just asking for failure. Spin them up once in a while to make sure they still work (create regular test periods for drives if you have the time.)

    I do a lot of location work, with mixing back here in the studio, and the track count & data pile really can add up. I used to use tape as a backup to the HD as well. (stopped that a few years ago....) It's not unusual to put an entire year's worth of work for each client on their own hard disc. A local choral group, for example, does a fall concert, a Holiday concert, a Winter concert, and a spring concert. Suddenly I have 250 gigs of multitrack and stereo mixes to keep around indefinitely. I long ago rolled the cost of a new HD each year into their budget, and simply mark their hard drives as 06-07, 07-08, 08-09, and so on. Once their drives are full, I put 'em away and move on. It's just not worth the risk of trying to keep reusing things and worrying about the inevitable failures.

    I have three extra internal drives on my main DAW for "Temporary" projects under construction, but everything else is moved in and out (as quickly as possible) via external drives. While a project is being worked on, there is still a "temp/backup copy" sitting on another drive, until it's all done and off to the client. I never feel comfortable until there are at least three copies of the finished master somewhere, and the drive with the multitrack and final mix is OFFLINE and in storage on the shelf. Once that's done, I can consider it safe and backed up for the ages. Or until they come up with something better for long term storage.

    Always minimize risk when it comes to data, no matter who the manufacturer is.
  8. BrianaW

    BrianaW Active Member

    Very good ideas everyone, thanks! After reading your responses, I think I will buy another and start using RAID. Basically the only reason I haven't is because my drives are in the same room as the tracking room so I try to keep things as silent as possible. I spent quite a lot of time building a silent PC so adding more drives wasn't appealing to me.

    Now that I better understand the importance of it, I may start using SCSI backup drives or a networked RAID array placed somewhere else. Can you run RAID over a network? I assume so. Again, thanks everyone for all of the input... very knowledgeable and insightful! :)
  9. KingSix

    KingSix Active Member

    These days, you ve got 2 x 1to SATA drive for the price of 1 73 go SCSI drive. So I use big mirror drive to archive, and fastest drive (Raptor and Velociraptor) as production drive. I sync the data manually with the storage server at the session end.
  10. camsr

    camsr Active Member

    I'm using 4 WD1600YS (Western Digital) in a RAID 0 on a 3ware 4-LPML 9650SE with battery backup unit. Backup solution is an external disk drive through USB. Write times are very good for large files. With SSD going down in price I might pick up one or two soon.
  11. fmw

    fmw Guest

    I use SATA for everything (IDE before SATA.) If I need reliability, I use a RAID. In fact, I do use a raid for backup on my NAS. I replace hard drives after 4 years of duty on a regular basis. I have never, repeat never, had a hard drive failure on my own 12 year old network. I'm not suggesting it can't happen but I am suggesting that with the right kind of management and the use of RAID's it doesn't take SCSI to make a reliable network.

    Yes SCSI is more reliable, mostly because SCSI drives are generally smaller in capacity. Smaller SATA drives are more reliable than larger ones too. SCSI is pretty much obselete except for some specialized server applications. I quit installing SCSI drives in business networks 10 years ago.

    SATA RAID's are plenty reliable. You can have one with swappable drives and keep a couple of spare drives laying around with very little cash outlay. Get a warning, pull the bad drive, replace it with a new one and then buy a new spare for the next problem. All that without so much as turning off a single piece of equipment or losing a single bit of data. How much more reliability do you want?
  12. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    I agree that you don't have to have a SCSI drive for a reliable network. SATA's and IDE's are fine. You just have to be very proactive in maintaining the drives and overall system integrity.

    I've seen 100% failure of SATA's in heavy use workstation environments... they last about a year or so if you're lucky.

    I've seen about a 10% failure rate of SATA's in sever RAID environments, and 2% failure rates on SCSI sever RAID.

    My network is about 18 years old... and has seen a huge growth in terms of storage and workstation numbers, storage capacity and bandwidth.

    However, I don't see SCSI drives being general business drives as much as I see them STILL being used for high data throughput and critical application/high availability servers.

    SAN applications are where the SATA RAID's are showing their colors. I've got an Equallogic box that I'm absolutely willing to recommend to anyone. It's THE most amazing piece of server storage that I've seen in a 30 year career.

    Problem is that good stuff ain't cheap and cheap stuff ain't good... and Equallogic AIN'T cheap.

    Dollar for dollar, unless you can afford a good box, like the Equallogic, you're probably going to be better off building a RAID box of your own. Which, in that case... SCSI RAID's make more sense, IMHO.
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Just looked for more info on SSD. found this excerpt off of http://www.internetnews.com

    Hope these things are reliable and price goes down.
  14. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    They're shock resistant (within reason).

    There's a marketing vid from Samsung (I think) where they put 24 SSDs into various RAID configurations and managed to get 2GB/s read speed from it.

    Then the guy grabbed all 24 SSDs by the power cables and jumped on a trampoline while the system was running.
  15. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    At this time due to the way data is written to solid state drives, solid state is better as the OS drive and not as an audio drive. I use SSD as my laptop OS and a SATA II as audio storage either via usb or secondary internal. And according to the documentation I can use it while I'm in an Osprey or Cobra. (y)
  16. MC3DPCS

    MC3DPCS Active Member

    I follow many of the same logical flow, but I've been burned by putting drives away. These days I make sure to spin them up at least 3 or 4 times a year. I've managed huge archives and in the process have had to replace many, many drives. I used to think in terms of brand loyalty only to get angry at Seagate, angry at WD, angry at Hitachi, etc.

    My current plan is to focus on the best / most valuable stuff on the most regular basis. I finished a 16 month project a month ago and have 7 copies of the master folder, which contains alternate mixes and masters, etc. I have four copies of the source files on that one. My backup workflow takes up too much of my time and money, but I hate losing stuff. So I use RAID 10 on a good RAID card on my main PC and use a couple of WD Velociraptors as my short term work surface. I call the process "raking" where I keep pulling the good stuff forward over time onto new drives. I burn CD and DVD copies of the good stuff at least once a year. Burned discs have a finite lifetime too.
  17. ChefBee101

    ChefBee101 Guest

    I have both Seagate & West Digi. I found the Seagate drives to be the loudest so they have been relegated to external drives.
  18. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    2 questions:

    1. where (google, I know) should I go about "reliably" reading up on RAID setups?

    2. is there a big longevity (durability) difference between standard 500, 750, 1tb, SATA drives?
  19. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    The most reliable drives of any brand are single platter 3.5" drives. These are getting difficult to find and of course being single platters, are smaller capacity. The lifespan of 1TB and higher drives is significantly less than 500 GB drives. That said, the whole purpose of a RAID array is to failsafe your data. If one drive goes the rest are still good. I've been sticking to the 400-800GB drives personally since they are getting pretty cheap.

    I don't use RAID on my recording laptop to minimize latency and maximize write speeds. On my desktop and on my work desktops I do run RAID arrays in place of running daily backups. Reputably there are now firewire boxes that provide multi drive RAID capabilities and then one wouldn't even have to crack a machine open. No opinion on those though since I haven't worked with any.

    A couple of articles:




  20. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    Thank you for those articles, I will read up on them, and see then see if I have any further questions.

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