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Which drives for RAID5 array?

Last response: in Storage
May 12, 2009 2:01:06 PM

Hello folks,

I have a question I hope you can help with. I'm looking to purchase 6 1TB (or higher) drives for a single RAID5 array (controller is 3ware 9550sx-12mi). These will be in a Win2008 server. If money was no object, I'd probably get the WD 1TB RE3-GP drives, unfortunatey those are about $160 a pop and I need six of them, so the cost quickly adds up.

I'm considering WD 1TB Black and WD 1TB Green. With the green being the best prieced (Newegg currently has a deal for $85 shipped). This RAID array would be to store documents, movies, music, pictures. Top performance is /not/ critical. Reliability is.

Would the WD 1tb green be ok? Would black do in case green doesn't? Is there another drive I should consider? I hear Seagates have terrible time with RAID arrays, so I excluded that from my list of considerations.


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a b G Storage
May 12, 2009 2:06:36 PM

I would go with the WD black. Great quality drives. The Green version is for low power consumption and noise reduction. Since these are going in a server, the noise probably isn't a big deal?

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May 13, 2009 7:23:36 AM

Seagate's don't have a hard time with Raid. I have been using 4 7200.10s in either Raid 5 or Raid 10 on an Intel board and on a 3ware 9650 for the last 2+yrs. I have also used a total of 8 7200.11s(500GB) mostly on a 3ware 9650 and briefly on an Intel board for the last 1.5yrs with ZERO problems.

If you want reliability AND redundancy with 6 drives, you need to use Raid 6. I have never gone above a 4 drive Raid 5 array with important data because the chance of a 2nd drive failing while awaiting a new drive or during the rebuild is very high. Rebuilding a Raid 5 array with 4TB should take 1-2 days.

Another option is to create 2 3-drive Raid 5 arrays.
May 13, 2009 5:12:34 PM

I have heard of people having trouble with the WD Cav Blacks in RAID arrays because they periodically timeout from the array when the drive takes too long to come out of 'low power' mode. The RE (RAID Edition) drives are designed specifically not to do this. I think this may be dependent on the RAID controller and it's configuration, though.
May 13, 2009 5:39:32 PM

because this array is designed for storage purposes (I'm assuming you have in mind some kind of media server?), I advise you to take WD green drives. The performance between greens and blacks will be a non-issue at 6 drives and you will be happy to save power (including on your electricity bill) and the reduced noise and vibration means a longer lifespan as well. 1gb wd greens are also very competitively priced in the current market.
May 13, 2009 6:05:20 PM

I would avoid the Seagate 7200.1 series drives. Those in the market right now have a serious firmware problem that can cause them to never start up if you shut them down. The fix is possible, but still not a good one.

I would suggest the WD Green series. Runs much cooler than the black ones.
a b G Storage
May 13, 2009 6:19:07 PM

^ that applies to the 7200.11 series.