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Picking A Hard Drive For Your NAS: New Green Beats Old Speed

When buying a BYOD NAS device or upgrading an existing NAS server with newer drives, users have to choose which hard drives are the best for their purposes. Indeed, buyers have a vast selection of choices where capacity is concerned, with modern drives ranging from 160GB to two terabytes per drive. However, with energy costs continually rising, it makes sense to keep a drive’s efficiency in mind, especially for NAS devices that house several drives.

Data Throughput is Limited by the RAID Engine

Our comparison showed that the difference in write performance between faster and slower spinning hard drives is minimal to nonexistent when they are used in a NAS. Instead, the NAS’ RAID engine becomes the limiting factor. Even when reading, drives with a spindle speed of 7,200 RPM aren’t necessarily faster. Indeed, our test bed achieved better read performance when it was equipped with the slower-spinning eco drives, since Samsung’s newer HD103SI achieves a better average data transfer rate than the HD321KJ to which we compared it.

Lower Power Consumption and Less Heat

Higher read rates aren’t the only advantage to an energy efficient upgrade, though. The system’s overall power consumption also drops because 5,400 RPM drives draw less power than their 7,200 RPM siblings. A welcome side effect of this is that the eco drives also produce less heat, meaning your NAS can run cooler and, since its fans can operate more slowly, and quieter to boot.

Check for Compatibility

Despite all of their advantages, there is one caveat when it comes to using energy-efficient drives in a NAS. Before you buy the drives of your choice, make sure to check your NAS’ hard drive compatibility list. After all, not all disks, regardless of spindle speed, may be compatible with your device. Some of the drive’s features may not be supported. If, for example, HDD Sleep Mode is ignored, the drives never spin down and the power consumption advantage of the eco models would go to waste.

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