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RAID 1 array make sense for HTPC system?

Last response: in Storage
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November 12, 2012 6:54:15 PM

So, hopefully someone who knows a lot more about storage systems can give me their advice here. I am coming up short on answers just searching around- it seems like everyone only considers RAID 0 or single disks these days.

I am building a HTPC to use for storage of HD movies and television shows, along with all of my music in higher quality than space allows for on my MP3 player or tablet. I want a storage solution that offers the best possible mix of reliability and read speed- for this use, write speed is a small factor.

I am considering getting a pair of Seagate Barracuda 1tb discs to run in a RAID 1 array. The rational is two-fold if I have my facts straight. First, I would feel comfortable not having to externally backup the massive amounts of data, which is ideal. Nothing on the machine will be personal or irreplaceable, so having to manually backup the machine is something I would love to get around. Second, I assume that the read speed would be faster on a RAID 1 setup than it would be on a single disk.

I mention the Seagate only because I know WD goes out of their way to warn against using their normal desktop drives for any type of RAID array, and the $80 Seagate drives seem a lot more reasonable than dishing out for RE4 disks to keep my brand loyalty. I normally would be concerned over Seagate reliability, but again, I am hoping a mirrored setup gives me some assurance there.

Thoughts?

For reference, full build specs:

CM 343 Case
Seasonic S12 430w
Asus M5A88-M
Athlon II X3 455
8gb Crucial 1333mhz
Intel 330 120gb SSD (OS+applications)
(storage disks)
HD 6670
Pioneer BD-R drive
a b G Storage
November 12, 2012 7:20:16 PM

WD actually does support raid 0 and raid 1 on their consumer line of drives.

I believe increased write speed depends on the controller, as some controllers will not actually read from both drives at once.

For non-essential data raid 1 seems reasonable, although something like crashplan which $50 a year or so would basically take any concern out. Obviously it would take a while to get everyone out to them.
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November 12, 2012 7:42:54 PM

Might be noisy. Have you considered Network Attached Storage for your HDDs, and the SSD in your HTPC for the OS and bufferspace. You could access the device at 1000 Mb/s ethernet speeds on your local subnet. Not as fast as a local subsystem but how fast do you really need.
40 Mbit/s max – Blu-ray Disc
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November 13, 2012 3:13:13 PM

tomatthe said:
WD actually does support raid 0 and raid 1 on their consumer line of drives.

I believe increased write speed depends on the controller, as some controllers will not actually read from both drives at once.

For non-essential data raid 1 seems reasonable, although something like crashplan which $50 a year or so would basically take any concern out. Obviously it would take a while to get everyone out to them.


Good to know- I wonder if WD cautions against that use strictly for purpose of marketing their more pricey drives then. I don't see other manufacturers warning about RAID on drives far less dependable than the blues or blacks.

I was planning on using the onboard sata controller in bios- the project is 100% spare parts except for the psu and data storage, so I can't really justify an independent controller or NAS enclosure. Crashplan might be worth looking into, but I am curious how the data is recovered (hard media or network transfer?). The time it would take to receive a 1tb .iso image is unimaginable....
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a b G Storage
November 13, 2012 5:00:21 PM

They setup their drives specifically so they will not work properly with raid sets using parity. If you research tler you can find a lot of info about this. Some people seem to get by using them, particularly if they are a few years old you could manual set tler, but personally I had 3 in a raid 5 set working great until one died, got a replacement and it dropped out every few days, rma'ed that one, and it dropped out every few days as well.

Crashplan uses network transfers, you can set the speed to whatever you want and just let it slowly send things out. Obviously it could take a while to pull the day back down depending on your internet connection, but the point is the data is safe and you can get it back over the span for a few days or a week rather then it just being gone.
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November 13, 2012 6:08:10 PM

Best answer selected by ocmusicjunkie.
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