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RAID 0 + 1 Array WD Green, Blue OR Black

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July 9, 2010 9:31:27 PM

I am looking to retire an old A7N8X-E Deluxe PC to becoming a file server. Hope to install Windows Home Server on it and then simply leave it to collect backups, be an FTP server and the like.

However, I am looking to make a RAID 0+1 array of around 2TB or so. I have always stuck by WD drives due to their reliability and warranty service, as well as decent performance (especially from their Raptors and Blue drives), but if anybody can give a convincing argument to buy another drive, I am open to suggestions.

I am torn between Green, Blue and Black drives from Western Digital.

Green as I understand is a nice energy saving drive which consumes less power and spins down when idle. Nice on the electricity bill but surely the 5,400rpm speed means performance will be rather laclustre. Also, the idea of one of the drives spinning down in a RAID 0+1 is surely a recipe for disaster??

Blue as I understand is a nice middle of the road drive, runs at 7,200rpm. Cache size of these are typical sizes that you would find in many aftermarket drives.

Black as I understand it (the RE editions and stuff) are the same as the Blue except supposedly designed for RAID arrays. Their cache is slightly larger but so is the price tag.

People, please enlighten me with your experiences on the above drives, especially if you have used them in a RAID array. That way I can make a decision between the above drives. Again, if you can suggest other convincing alternatives through experience, I welcome your suggestions.

Thanking you in advance
a c 82 G Storage
July 10, 2010 1:07:49 AM

Black is not the same as RE (Raid Edition) and that's why they don't cost the same. Ideally you should use RE drives for an array, but I'd probably trust the Black for a RAID 0+1. Unless you absolutely want WD drives, you should also consider using Samsung F3 drives. Just monitor your RAID on a regular basis just in case a drive is dropped from the RAID. Does it really make a difference if a drive uses 5W or 7W when you only have 4? It does if you have thousands of drives in a computer room, but not at home.
a b G Storage
July 10, 2010 1:14:46 AM

> I'd probably trust the Black for a RAID 0+1.

I wouldn't: they don't have TLER (Time-Limited Error Recovery).

Others have tried this, and they've posted really angry
messages here, blaming WD for defective hard drives.

However, as non-TLER HDDs fill up, their error routines
take longer, almost guaranteeing that they will
not respond to "polling" by the RAID controller.


> Just monitor your RAID on a regular basis just in case a drive is dropped from the RAID.

You won't need to do this, if you use WD's RE (RAID Edition) HDDs.
Whenever we've assembled RAIDs with those RE drives,
they never drop out.

RTFM (Read The Fine Manuals):

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/productcatalog.asp?langu...

WD's specs will say whether any given HDD supports TLER.


MRFS
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a c 82 G Storage
July 10, 2010 1:18:34 AM

Unlike RAID0, the OP can probably take that calculated risk in a RAID0+1 configuration on a home server. I would definitely go with RE drives in a RAID0 configuration.
a b G Storage
July 10, 2010 1:18:43 AM

> Black as I understand it (the RE editions and stuff) are the same as the Blue except supposedly designed for RAID arrays.

Not correct:

WD's Caviar Blacks are not the same as Caviar Blues,
and neither is the same as their RAID Edition ("RE") HDDs.

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/productcatalog.asp?langu...


Other important differences are cache size, PMR or not,
interface speed, rpm, and enterprise-class features or not
e.g. SAS v. SATA.

Some Caviar Blues also come with PATA/IDE parallel interfaces.

See the WD Product Line above, for full details.


MRFS
July 10, 2010 8:57:40 PM

Interesting - looks like there are some more finer details which I have missed....

WD RE drives do cost a pretty penny though. Although I guess one could argue that its better to pay more upfront for peace of mind, rather than skimp and end up tearing my hair out at a later stage when one of the drives fails.

Does the extra cache really make a difference in a RAID array?? From previous tests on THG, the following was observed:

2MB Cache - 8MB Cache = Big Performance improvement
8MB - 16MB Cache = Moderate Performance improvement
16MB - 32MB Cache = Not as noticeable

Thus, this leaves me to believe that the 64MB drive will not bring as much of a benefit as one would have hoped. Or maybe cache only comes into play within certain circumstances......

As for the Samsung F3 drives - how do they compare in terms of value and performance over the drives I was looking at?

Only reason I am sticking with WD is because I have used their drives for a long time, and on the rare occasion they go wrong, they are the only company I know who provide a smooth effortless advance replacement where you can get the new drive in advance, copy what you can off the old one onto the new and then send the old one back. Especially with the 150GB Raptor, it was kindly replaced with a new Velociraptor model!

Also I should have made this clearer, but the RAID 0+1 array is simply to hold the data on the server. The OS itself will be installed on a Raptor which is directly connected to the mainboard controller. Since the server isn't mission critical in terms of up-time and availability, I am happy to chance the OS to just one Hard Disk (the other SATA port on the mainboard is for the eSATA port on my case). It is the data that is of higher importance!!

Thanks for your help so far!
a c 82 G Storage
July 10, 2010 9:36:39 PM

If you trust WD and like their RMA process, then you should stick with them. I mostly have WD, but I also have Seagate and Samsung drives and I have had no issues with any of my drives for the last several years.
!