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Buying my first hdd

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August 12, 2012 10:47:22 AM

I'm looking at building my first PC (HTPC) and not sure what I need. I do plan to have a SSD, however I need to do more research on ssd's and have a better understanding of hdd's before I actually look at ssd's, I figured its important to mention when discussing hdd's though. I dont know what the determining factors are in selecting hdd's. I'm looking at 2x 3.5" 1tb drives, one for main storage and the other for backup. I'm not sure if this requires RAID, or what raid is, I just know it involves connecting multiple drives.

I did a lil research. I read that sata 6.0 is useless, that its just an excuse to charge more, however 3.0 and 6.0 are pretty equal in price and 6.0 is more common. One thing I'm unsure of is cache size (32mb/64mb) and RPM speed (5400/7200) in relation to performance, and sacrifice of heat/reliability/efficiency. Im also confused with the relevance of latency and seek/write times. Another thing is warranties, whats covered under WD's 3/5yrs, I see the other companies only offer 1yr.

WD categorizes their drives in colors green/blue/black, can someone explain the difference between the blue/black? All three 64mb's are priced the same (considering the black has free shipping), I see why the green is a "eco" drive being its the only 5400 1tb and I don't see why its a 64mb. The only 32mb they offer is a blue and its 6.0, while the green is 3.0. If 64 is noticeably faster it makes my choice easy as WD and Seagate are the only two to offer 64. I found the WD black for $88 shipped so thats probably the one I'll go with. I considered the Samsung pinpiont based on the popularity on newegg however its only a 32mb and its only $2 cheaper than the WD black. The other would be a Seagate barracuda.

Any suggestions or help is greatly appreciated.

More about : buying hdd

a b G Storage
August 12, 2012 11:19:19 AM

How much do you want to spend?
How much do you really need high performance if it means spending a lot more?

In a home theater PC an SSD is not recommended. You will not be able to store much on an SSD. its just for your OS and Apps, and with the majority of data use being shifted to the secondary drive that holds your movies and music, a 7200 RPM 32 or 64 MB cache on SATA 3 GBps will more than suffice, so long as power management doesn't power down the drive.

So, buy good name brand drives like Seagate and get em as cheap as u can find.

Disk1 1TB 7200RPM 32MB SATA -> OS & Apps
Disk2 1TB 7200RPM 32MB SATA -> media storage
Disk3 1TB 7200RPM 32MB SATA -> backups & the system page file (swap)

This will give you the best performance for the least cost and least amount of effort.

Next would be the same disks but in a RAID 10 configuration. RAID will give you excellent performance with built in backup system but you will loose strage space, and this is more difficult to set up. don't let you motherboard manufacturer fool you. if you are running raid, you really want to use a good dedicated raid card.
August 12, 2012 11:36:49 PM

Dr_JRE said:
How much do you want to spend?
How much do you really need high performance if it means spending a lot more?

In a home theater PC an SSD is not recommended. You will not be able to store much on an SSD. its just for your OS and Apps, and with the majority of data use being shifted to the secondary drive that holds your movies and music, a 7200 RPM 32 or 64 MB cache on SATA 3 GBps will more than suffice, so long as power management doesn't power down the drive.

So, buy good name brand drives like Seagate and get em as cheap as u can find.

Disk1 1TB 7200RPM 32MB SATA -> OS & Apps
Disk2 1TB 7200RPM 32MB SATA -> media storage
Disk3 1TB 7200RPM 32MB SATA -> backups & the system page file (swap)

This will give you the best performance for the least cost and least amount of effort.

Next would be the same disks but in a RAID 10 configuration. RAID will give you excellent performance with built in backup system but you will loose strage space, and this is more difficult to set up. don't let you motherboard manufacturer fool you. if you are running raid, you really want to use a good dedicated raid card.


Hi, thanks for taking the time. This will be my main PC so performance is first and for most, next to reliability. That was my plan with the SSD, OS and games. I'm completely confused with the way RAID configurations are explained on Wiki, so I'll have to do a LOT of reading, and I did not know it requires a special card :/ . As for my budget, I don't really have one, preferably less than $300. I dont have to raid, I'd just like an easy way of backing up my data. I dont mind manually dragging and dropping if necessary. One thing I just thought of is, is it possible for the second drive to become infected if the main gets infected? If so, how can this be prevented?

Also, being that its a PC, heat and noise are important too. I hear WD is faster as a result it runs hotter and is naturaly noisy. Where as seagate is a lil slower but runs cooler and quieter. I do like WD's 5yr warranty though.
a b G Storage
August 12, 2012 11:58:42 PM

mopar_kid said:
Hi, thanks for taking the time. This will be my main PC so performance is first and for most, next to reliability. That was my plan with the SSD, OS and games. I'm completely confused with the way RAID configurations are explained on Wiki, so I'll have to do a LOT of reading, and I did not know it requires a special card :/ . As for my budget, I don't really have one, preferably less than $300. I dont have to raid, I'd just like an easy way of backing up my data. I dont mind manually dragging and dropping if necessary. One thing I just thought of is, is it possible for the second drive to become infected if the main gets infected? If so, how can this be prevented?


Okay. You are on the right track. SSD for OS, Apps, and swap.

As for reliability: SSD should contain OS, swap, and apps. This will reduce wear and tear on the other drives, and make it easier to restore a down system. The backup drive should not be stored in the computer for 2 reasons: increased wear and tear. it could be the first drive to die, then what? also you cant fully protect it if its connected to the system.

Use anti virus software and keep it up to date. (MSE and Avast are good examples)

The backup drive should only be connected during a backup proceedure and should be stored in a safe location at all other times.

As for backups, what i normally do is write a batch script ( .bat file) and put a shortcut to it in my start menu
(placing an xcopy /m script in the Startup folder is an easy way to perform daily incremental backups)

here is an example of a startup script i use on my HTPC (Its basicly a thin client, all user folders are pathed to our mediacenter in the kitchen. when the computer starts, it pings the kitchen computer to wake up, then creates a mapped network drive.)


Contents of: PlatinumConnection.bat

@echo off
color 04
prompt=... . . . . . . . . . . ... Did u get a reply? If No, Wait a lil longer for MonsterPlatinum to fully awaken.. . . . .
ping 192.168.1.65 -l 666
cls
ping 192.168.1.65 -l 666
color 02
@echo on
pause
@echo off
subst X: \\MONSTERPLATINUM\Users\Public\UserX
exit
!