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WD Caviar Green vs WD Caviar Black

    General discussion

  • I have four 1 TB WD Caviar Black drives and one 1 TB WD Caviar Green drive.  I was using the Green drive in my storage pool, but after having some problems (http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/whssoftware/thread/b01df100-598b-45d6-8b4b-386eddbcfcd5) and reading some concerns about using a Green drive with WHS, I replaced the Green drive with a new WD Black.  Eventually, I got a SATA capable enclosure and set up the Green drive as an external backup drive for WHS.  I just got off the phone with HP for the problem in the link above and in the course of our conversation, the tech indicated the Green drive should not be used as an external USB drive, but is fine as an internal drive.  The reason given was that if the Green drive is a USB drive, WHS will not be able to detect when it goes into standby and may report it as missing.  If installed internally, there is probably enough activity to prevent it from going into standby, but even if it does, WHS s/b aware and handle it.  The tech also said a Green SATA drive might be okay as an external drive if connected via eSATA rather than USB as the more direct connection should make WHS aware of a standby condition.

    I guess I'll soon find out if the Green drive is okay in the internal pool, other threads seem to indicate no problem.  I'll be using one of the Black drives for my external backup drive.  But, I had not heard this explanation with regards to a Green drive as an external USB drive and thought it worth passing along for others to consider.  It might save some head banging.
    • Moved by Ken WarrenModerator Thursday, September 24, 2009 1:07 AM hardware issue (From:Windows Home Server Software)
    Wednesday, September 23, 2009 11:54 PM

All replies

  • In general, you don't want to use a drive that will spin down on it's own in the Windows Home Server storage pool. That said, using one as a server backup drive is fine; the activity involved in backing up your shares will prevent it from spinning down.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, September 24, 2009 1:06 AM
  • Good info and thanks for posting.  This may sway others from buying into the "pre-builds" and into building their own.  I've built my own with a huge case for internal drives.  I use the WD black for the system drive (runs about 34 C) and the storage pool (6 TB) are the WD greens (runs about 31 C).  Never had the issue you describe.
    Thursday, September 24, 2009 1:52 AM
  • Interesting, Ken.  You are essentially saying just the opposite of what the HP tech was saying.  I certainly understand the concern about having a drive spin down in the pool, but just how likely is that to happen?  Seems like my system never stops pushing data around long enough to allow that.  And if it does spin down, being SATA, won't the system just crank it back up when needed?

    There appears to be about as many on one side of the fence as the other.  I'm as confused as ever.  Is the jury still out on this?
    Thursday, September 24, 2009 4:59 AM
  • Hi,
    I dont see any difference between what the HP tech said according to you (USB drive could be an issue, which is valid for each disk, not only "green" ones, depending from enclosure and other factors) and what Ken said (because only USB drives tend to spin down sometimes on their own).
    For eSATA these problems should not exist, but there is still the enclosure, which may have its own green behavior, or there could be power save settings active for the eSATA controller.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Thursday, September 24, 2009 6:13 AM
  • Thanks for the wrist slap, Olaf.  It made me review everything to see where we parted trails.

    My system is a HP Ex485 with four 1TB internal drives.  I have an external USB drive I use for backup.  I have NOT ventured into using any type of external drive as part of the storage pool and as a consequence, I really hadn't considered it and wasn't including that option in my discussion.  That is why I thought Ken meant internal when he said "you don't want to use a drive that will spin down on it's own in the Windows Home Server storage pool".  I now see Ken's statement was a bit broader than that.  Sorry for the misunderstanding, Ken.

    The HP tech said it was okay to use the Green drive in the internal pool, but NOT okay to use a Green USB drive.  Maybe he meant as storage pool, maybe not, that's not clear to me as that is not what he said.  In any case, his discussion was specific to the WD Caviar Green drive and the Ex485.

    So here's what I take from this when applied to a HP Ex485:

    A Green SATA drive
    1.  may be used in the storage pool when connected internally, although not recommended, generally.
    2.  should NOT be used as part of the storage pool when connected via USB.
    3.  may be used as an USB backup drive.
    4.  might work as part of the storage pool when connected externally via eSATA depending upon enclosure and controller settings.
         (I need to find out from HP what power save settings are active in the Ex485 eSATA controller)

    (please say I'm on the right track)

    Thursday, September 24, 2009 3:49 PM
  • So here's the deal:

    If your drive will spin down to save power, you shouldn't use it in the storage pool. It doesn't matter whether spin-down is controlled through external bridge electronics or firmware on the drive; if the drive can spin down, don't put it in the storage pool. Whether it's a SATA, eSATA, or USB interface is unimportant, the only thing that matters is that the drive can spin down at a time other than when Windows tells it to. If that happens, Windows Home Server may throw errors when the drive is accessed, because it times out waiting for the drive to respond.

    This isn't a factor for a backup drive becuase of the way Windows Home Server uses that drive. It will be written intensively and constantly for a period of time (during the backup) and will obviously not spin down during that activity. Then when the backup is done, the drive can spin down if it wants; Windows home Server is done with it then.

    And yes, Olaf, the HP tech, and I are all really telling you the same thing. We're saying it in different ways and that's probably confusing. :)

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, September 24, 2009 5:17 PM
  • Thanks, Ken.  Your explanation is far clearer than the bits and pieces I've been able to glean from other threads, even this one up until now.  Few threads offer any real information on this subject beyond someone's configuration preference or opinion.  Your post is very clear and addresses the "Green" issue & WHS far better than any I have seen in one place.  Perhaps it s/b included in some kind of sticky for everyone's quick reference.
    Thursday, September 24, 2009 5:34 PM
  • It's not clear to me.  Sorry I just installed a HP WHS and have a 2TB WD Green drive coming in the mail and I also have one in my current pc that I intend to move over

    So now what is the disctintion between backup drive and storage pool?  Both sound the same to me.

    Monday, January 25, 2010 5:01 PM
  • Server backup drives are explained pretty well in the console help files.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, January 25, 2010 5:47 PM
  • The only reason I would consider using green is because with the thing on 24/7 you'd want it to be somewhat energy efficient. I'd also thing the green technology would be better that we wouldn't have these problems is 2010 as far as the drive and os talking to each other. But you would highly recommend black over green? And blue is garbage for a server correct?
    Tuesday, January 26, 2010 2:39 PM
  • I know that i'm late to this discussion, and i do understand the issues you are making, but i'm just a little confused on the spin down point. 

    I have a frankenbuilld using 6 Hitachi 1 tB drives that i have set to energy savings mode in the firmware.  This system has been running for a little over a year and a half now with the only changes being an increase in drives from the initial 3 to 6 and the addition of a sata card to allow for the extra drives.  During this time, I have been able to audibly hear the drives spin up when i access certain data files for the first time in a while and i notice a delay in accessing folders initially.  Once the drives appear to be up to speed the data access shows no degredation and there are no notifications of a problem from the system.

    I must admit that i don't know if the drives truly spin down to a zero rotation point, but that was my initial understanding.  The initial delay in accessing data that has not been accessed in a while doesn't pose any problems to my home server nor the pc's and ps3 that is accessing the data.  I can only assume at this point that i have been very lucky in with my Hitachi drives, or the spin down function of these drives works well with Home server.  Now that I am looking for a 2 TB drive, I'm not sure if I should stay with the Hitachi brand and continue to set them to energy saver mode or take a risk with another brand.   

    Monday, April 05, 2010 4:24 PM