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Buying two 1 tb hard drives or just one 2TB drive

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December 20, 2010 1:20:35 AM

im looking in to buying more hard drives for my media server on my network and the question im trying to decides would be to spend the cash and get one large 2TB drive or get two 1TB drives each for different file types ? what would u guys recommend ? i got room for up to 6 HDD in my case so size is not really a question more on the performance factor of the drives is what im having a hard time deciding

RAID is not a option also
December 20, 2010 10:57:33 AM

I would always prefer mutliple drives. There is nothing wrong with a single, larger drive.. but I like the idea that if one drive fails you still have half your stuff saved.. It also allows you to do such things as write to one drive while playing from another without any lag, and being able to defragment one (for example) and still have the other one open for use.

I would suggest getting two 1TB Caviar Black drives from WD. They're probably the best 7200RPM drives you can get for stability and performance.
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a c 385 G Storage
December 20, 2010 11:01:24 AM

I agree with acer. Losing 2Tb would suck. It's also quicker to backup or defrag a 1Tb drive.
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a c 415 G Storage
December 20, 2010 4:29:45 PM

I'm going to take the contrary position and recommend a single 2TB drive. If the arguments for a 1TB drive were really valid, then they'd be even more valid for using four 500GB drives. etc.

Drives become obsolete over time because of declining storage costs and increasing demand for storage. 1TB drives will be obsolete well before 2TB drives will be.

The only valid reason I can see to choose two drives is for performance reasons - if you often need to copy files between directories or if you access files very heavily you can get better performance by spreading the files over two physical drives. But for most people's bulk storage needs it's not going to make that much difference whether they're on one drive or two. A single drive is more than capable of playing back several movies simultaneously with no performance issues.

Regarding reliability: Two drives are TWICE as likely to fail as one, so you have TWICE as much chance of loosing SOME data with 2x1TB drives. I'm sure you don't want to loose ANY data, so you really need a backup strategy whether you're using 2x1TB or 1x2TB. Once your backup strategy is in place, any differences in reliability are moot.

Regarding backup time: It takes just as long to back up 2x1TB as it does 1x2TB.
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December 20, 2010 4:42:40 PM

how about performance?

Better to get say 2 500gig or 750gig or even 1tb in RAID 0 ??

vs a 1.5 or 2tb single ???


Would the raid be better assuming it is only movies and stuff I can stand to lose if the drive fails ????
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a c 385 G Storage
December 20, 2010 4:47:10 PM

sminlal said:
I'm going to take the contrary position and recommend a single 2TB drive. If the arguments for a 1TB drive were really valid, then they'd be even more valid for using four 500GB drives. etc.


This needs to be balanced with how much space is available in you case and how well you can keep all these drive cool.

sminlal said:
Drives become obsolete over time because of declining storage costs and increasing demand for storage. 1TB drives will be obsolete well before 2TB drives will be.


This is true, but I still have some IDE drives that are 8 years old or older that are still in use. I think SATA will be around for at least that long.

sminlal said:
The only valid reason I can see to choose two drives is for performance reasons - if you often need to copy files between directories or if you access files very heavily you can get better performance by spreading the files over two physical drives. But for most people's bulk storage needs it's not going to make that much difference whether they're on one drive or two. A single drive is more than capable of playing back several movies simultaneously with no performance issues.

Regarding reliability: Two drives are TWICE as likely to fail as one, so you have TWICE as much chance of loosing SOME data with 2x1TB drives. I'm sure you don't want to loose ANY data, so you really need a backup strategy whether you're using 2x1TB or 1x2TB. Once your backup strategy is in place, any differences in reliability are moot.


I can agree with most of this.

sminlal said:
Regarding backup time: It takes just as long to back up 2x1TB as it does 1x2TB.


Yes, but you can schedule backups for each drive differently if needed and if they are at alternate times you will have access to your computer sooner.

In the end, I don't think the OP can go wrong with either choice. It's dependent on his needs.
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a c 415 G Storage
December 20, 2010 9:53:48 PM

> This needs to be balanced with how much space is available in you case and how well you can keep all these drive cool.

Exactly. And if you add two drives to your system then you're using more power, paying more money and leaving less room for future expansion than if you add just one larger drive.


> ...you can schedule backups for each drive differently if needed

These are presumably data drives that do file-level backups and not the OS drive (for which you'd use a partition-level backup). Even if the OS was on one of the drives it would probably be in it's own, separately backed-up partition.

With that in mind, a decent backup package should be able to schedule/backup selected folders on one disk just as easily as it can back up entire selected disks.
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a c 415 G Storage
December 20, 2010 9:58:16 PM

Mfusick said:
how about performance?
Better to get say 2 500gig or 750gig or even 1tb in RAID 0 ??
vs a 1.5 or 2tb single ???
Would the raid be better assuming it is only movies and stuff I can stand to lose if the drive fails ????

Two drives will give you better performance potential than 1, and in RAID you can choose to add redundancy (RAID 1) or to split the I/O load evenly between the two drives (RAID 0).

But the extra performance isn't going to do one bit of good if you don't use it. If you're just playing movies, for example, then even a dead-slow single drive by today's standards is way, way faster than you need.

If you need it, then buy it. If you don't then why spend the extra money?

EDIT: I had RAID-0 AND RAID-1 swapped - fixed now.
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a b G Storage
December 20, 2010 11:56:00 PM

If reliability were equal, I'd agree that one drive makes more sense. Unfortunately, I seem to recall (discount as you will since I don't have links) that the 2TB and larger drives are experiencing higher than "normal" failure rates. If anything, that reinforces the need to have a backup strategy. You say RAID isn't an option, but Windows has the ability to mirror two drives (RAID-1). It's slower than a mobo-based solution, which is slower than an add-in card, but for serving media, plenty fast enough.
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a c 415 G Storage
December 21, 2010 2:24:29 AM

Onus said:
.... If anything, that reinforces the need to have a backup strategy. You say RAID isn't an option, but Windows has the ability to mirror two drives (RAID-1). ...
Are you quoting me as saying RAID isn't an option? I don't think I said that, did I?

But be aware that RAID, even RAID-1, does not eliminate the need to make backups. There are plenty of ways that you can loose your data other than due to simple drive failure (accidental deletion, theft of your computer, common-mode failures such as a lightning hit that causes a power surge, etc. etc.). RAID or not, your data isn't safe unless you make offline backups, with one of them preferably stored offsite.
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December 21, 2010 7:59:19 AM

sminlal said:
Are you quoting me as saying RAID isn't an option? I don't think I said that, did I?

But be aware that RAID, even RAID-1, does not eliminate the need to make backups. There are plenty of ways that you can loose your data other than due to simple drive failure (accidental deletion, theft of your computer, common-mode failures such as a lightning hit that causes a power surge, etc. etc.). RAID or not, your data isn't safe unless you make offline backups, with one of them preferably stored offsite.


OP said RAID wasn't an option.

Although I agree with you that one 2TB drive is a good option in todays market and prices.. and yes it takes less power, less space.. creates less heat etc etc. I still like the idea of multiple drives. If I were building a business server I know I wouldn't get a 3TB drive and hope nothing goes wrong (if for some reason I have no backup in place), but I would feel so much better having 6x 500GB drives, 4x 640GB/750GB, or even just 2x 1.5TB. Maybe it's just me?

I've always had seperate drives.. I currently have a 640GB (boot), and two 500GB for storage. The biggest reason I like my setup like this is that I watch videos or play music from my storage drives while working and gaming, and when I used to have everything on one place the video (or sometimes the game) would jerk about. It's not my GPU limiting it, it was the drive trying to read and write to two different places.
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a b G Storage
December 21, 2010 3:13:34 PM

Yes, the OP said RAID wasn't an option. I absolutely agree that RAID does not eliminate the need for backups.
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a c 415 G Storage
December 21, 2010 6:26:56 PM

acer0169 said:
OP said RAID wasn't an option.
Ah, so he did! My bad. :??: 
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December 22, 2010 1:18:10 AM

thanks guys for all the advice , it help i ended up going with 2x1TB drives the WD blacks do in part that the rest of my HDD are all WD blacks i did not want to have a mix of drives plus there performances is top of the line in the past

thanks for all your help
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