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WD vs Seagate for WHS RRS feed

  • Question

  •  

    If one were to choose a HD for a reliable and responsive WHS which HD manufacturer would you choose?  I have been looking at NewEggs deals below and need to decide which drives to use.  I realize that if you buy a 1TB drive right now you pay a premium, but is the premium worth it?  I have pre-ordered an HP EX470 WHS which has an installed Seagate 500GB 7200 drive (don't know the model).  Of the two drives below, the Seagate has 1 TB, 32MB cache, min/max MB/sec read/write tranfer rates of approx 51/100 and of course a 5 year warranty, but costs $0.30/GB.  The WD on the other hand has 750GB, 16MB cache, min/max MB/sec read/write tranfer rates of approx 48/94 (Tom's Hardware), a 3 year warranty and costs $0.2333/GB.  Between the two which one would you choose?

     
    N82E16822136131
    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - $174.99  
     

     

    N82E16822148274 Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31000340AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - $299.99

    Monday, November 12, 2007 4:01 PM

Answers

  • It depends. All else being equal, I will typically buy the cheapest drive of a particular size I can find. Over sufficient time, hard drives have a 100% failure rate, and "sufficient time" is typically much shorter than the drive manufacturer wants you to think. In addition, research has shown that choosing drives based on manufacturer typically doesn't work well; I think because the reasons for drives to fail in a particular environment are environmental for the most part, not manufacturing issues.

    For use with WHS, larger drives put off the date when you're out of space or cooling in your case, out of power connectors, or out of watts from your power supply. So the larger drive is probably a better buy on that basis. But is power consumption important? Is noise level or quality important? Those are questions that you will have to sort out yourself.

    BTW, I think this is the drive you meant to link to.
    Monday, November 12, 2007 5:57 PM
    Moderator
  • I have no trouble believing that you have never had a Seagate die. I have a drive (in an external USB case; don't recall who the manufacturer was) that's 7 years old and still working. However, I've owned drives from a half dozen manufacturers over the years and I've lost drives from every one. Disk drives are mechanical devices, and mechanical devices wear out; it's a fact of life. Since recent studies indicate that overall all manufacturers have similar failure rates, I don't choose drives on that basis. I generally go with cost, unless power consumption or noise are factors. And then I still generally go with cost; a cheaper drive with the same characteristics otherwise is the better choice. Smile

    I think the question of the WS Green drive comes down to two things. First, how important is it to you to have a "greener" drive? Second, how important is price to you? I honestly don't think you'll see much performance impact one way or the other; even Tom's Hardware says it'll deliver sufficient performance:

    "All three drives deliver decent sufficient performance to power a modern high-performance PC." (from the conclusion of "The Terabyte Battle".)
    Monday, November 12, 2007 8:16 PM
    Moderator
  •  boliek wrote:
    However looking at Tom's Hardware tests it seems to function rather dismal in transfer rates and response times.

     

    The performance benchmarks reflect use when attached to the host in question. The GPs definitely do not stand out from the crowd. But in the absolute, they are competitive with contemporary drives. There are *many* other variables in the WHS scenario that interfere with the performance compared to what you'd get with any drive directly attached to a host and are of a larger order of magnitude impact than the differences that surface in these kinds of benchmarks. In particular, I was surprised at the decay in write rate for LARGE files written to WHS. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong--but I doubt it having read other threads on the same subject--but the write rate for big files deteriorates significantly. The drives don't seem to be the issue as read rates seem fine.

     

    What we really need is somebody to benchmark WHS against 1/2/3 drives of various flavor, single/dual/quad CPUs of various flavor, and various amounts/speed of memory. My suspicion is that we would find real world read/writes over the network less affected by these variables than the normal workstation trade would lead us to expect. Until someone does it, anthing we can guess is just that.

     

    If you want to maximize performance and reliability over noise, heat, and cost to operate, I'd surely go with the Baracuda ES drives. (Seagate Barracuda ES.2 ST31000340NS et al.) But they will be significantly higher in price. As others have noted, I wouldn't count on any given unit being any more reliable than a WD or Hitachi. Run 1,000 of them? Maybe you'll see a difference over time. Run 1? Forget it.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007 2:41 AM

All replies

  • Your numbers got a little garbled (second choice is 1T not 500 GB) but I think I understand the question.  Faced with the same type of question I decided to go with the 1T drive such as http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136151 which is $279 - $0.28/GB.

    Shark
    Monday, November 12, 2007 5:47 PM
  • It depends. All else being equal, I will typically buy the cheapest drive of a particular size I can find. Over sufficient time, hard drives have a 100% failure rate, and "sufficient time" is typically much shorter than the drive manufacturer wants you to think. In addition, research has shown that choosing drives based on manufacturer typically doesn't work well; I think because the reasons for drives to fail in a particular environment are environmental for the most part, not manufacturing issues.

    For use with WHS, larger drives put off the date when you're out of space or cooling in your case, out of power connectors, or out of watts from your power supply. So the larger drive is probably a better buy on that basis. But is power consumption important? Is noise level or quality important? Those are questions that you will have to sort out yourself.

    BTW, I think this is the drive you meant to link to.
    Monday, November 12, 2007 5:57 PM
    Moderator
  • Shark:

    Thanks for the reply!  I edited my post with the right 7200.11 Seagate (although the 500MB version with 32MB cache for $124.99 seemed interesting).  I looked at the WD Green drive but was concerned that the transfer rates and response time might be an issue if the primary drive was a 500GB 7200 drive.  I plan to do a lot of HD streaming on multiple PCs and was concerned about the ability of the WD spinning at over 5400 would handle the stream with multiple I/Os.  What is your experience so far with your drive?

    Thanks,

    Boliek

    Monday, November 12, 2007 6:00 PM
  • That drive is also quieter, cooler, and lower power consumption than the non-GP model Caviar SE16 that the OP was asking about. I bought three of them for my WHS box--at a higher price only three weeks ago.

     

    The Caviar GP drive comes labelled as a Caviar SE16 with a separate GP label and the GP model number WD10EACS. I suspect it's a SE16 with different firmware for the GP feature. WD says they will offer the GP drive in 750GB and 500GB, but good luck finding either of those. The WD store has the 750 at $239. The 500 must not really exist as nobody has a price on it, not even WD. If the 500GB Caviar GP were available at a competitive price point for a 500GB drive ($100?), that would make a great low cost choice for WHS unless you really required the TB capacity. I didn't require it now, but figured I'll only have one shot at it for what I hope to be an 8 or 10 year service life for my WHS box, so why not get the biggest drive now available. On previous builds, I've ended up kicking myself sooner or later for making the cheaper, smaller, choice.

     

    I hope the WD choice proves out over time. I have had very good luck with reliability of the Seagate drives but have no long term data points on WD drives. So far all 3 of them run very cool and quiet. If they give up performance, I can't tell it under WHS.
    Monday, November 12, 2007 6:06 PM
  • Mr. Warren:  (out of respect since you are a moderator Smile

     

    Thanks for your reply.  Believe it or not I have never had a Seagate die on me - ever!  I have my office PCs spinning near 24/7 and believe it or not the Seagate Barracuda ATA (Model ST327240A) in one of my old Compaqs still has life!  I have also owned WD, but had to replace it.  The jury is out on a pair of 500GB Hitachi's that are used in my DELL 9100 Media Center PC that was purchased a few years back.

     

    My question to "Shark" delt with the "green" WD 1TB.  It is selling at NewEgg for $279.99 - which is an awsome price.  However looking at Tom's Hardware tests it seems to function rather dismal in transfer rates and response times.  What to you think about this?

     

    Respectfully yours Smile,

    Boliek

     

    Monday, November 12, 2007 6:08 PM
  •  

    What I am concerned about most is having enough storage for a fast growing number of HD mpeg files that I record off antenna with Beyond TV and a HDHomeRun dual HD network tuners.  I almost have filled up the 2 500GB HItachi's with content.  So if I can afford to squeeze in a total of 3.5TB in the EX470 it think it would be better than having to later buy an external drive or array with eSATA to add to the EX470.  This would mean that a 2nd machine would have to be always on for the WHS to function.  Right?

    Monday, November 12, 2007 6:27 PM
  • I have no trouble believing that you have never had a Seagate die. I have a drive (in an external USB case; don't recall who the manufacturer was) that's 7 years old and still working. However, I've owned drives from a half dozen manufacturers over the years and I've lost drives from every one. Disk drives are mechanical devices, and mechanical devices wear out; it's a fact of life. Since recent studies indicate that overall all manufacturers have similar failure rates, I don't choose drives on that basis. I generally go with cost, unless power consumption or noise are factors. And then I still generally go with cost; a cheaper drive with the same characteristics otherwise is the better choice. Smile

    I think the question of the WS Green drive comes down to two things. First, how important is it to you to have a "greener" drive? Second, how important is price to you? I honestly don't think you'll see much performance impact one way or the other; even Tom's Hardware says it'll deliver sufficient performance:

    "All three drives deliver decent sufficient performance to power a modern high-performance PC." (from the conclusion of "The Terabyte Battle".)
    Monday, November 12, 2007 8:16 PM
    Moderator
  • I agree with Ken. Having tended to many, many drives over the years, both at home and at work, the failure rate amongst the various manufacturers is a wash. That said, I think the WD GP drives are a great way to go for WHS. Cool, quiet, plenty enough performance, and a great price for 1TB right now. In fact, I plan to start with two, or three, for my upcoming build.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007 12:35 AM
  •  boliek wrote:
    However looking at Tom's Hardware tests it seems to function rather dismal in transfer rates and response times.

     

    The performance benchmarks reflect use when attached to the host in question. The GPs definitely do not stand out from the crowd. But in the absolute, they are competitive with contemporary drives. There are *many* other variables in the WHS scenario that interfere with the performance compared to what you'd get with any drive directly attached to a host and are of a larger order of magnitude impact than the differences that surface in these kinds of benchmarks. In particular, I was surprised at the decay in write rate for LARGE files written to WHS. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong--but I doubt it having read other threads on the same subject--but the write rate for big files deteriorates significantly. The drives don't seem to be the issue as read rates seem fine.

     

    What we really need is somebody to benchmark WHS against 1/2/3 drives of various flavor, single/dual/quad CPUs of various flavor, and various amounts/speed of memory. My suspicion is that we would find real world read/writes over the network less affected by these variables than the normal workstation trade would lead us to expect. Until someone does it, anthing we can guess is just that.

     

    If you want to maximize performance and reliability over noise, heat, and cost to operate, I'd surely go with the Baracuda ES drives. (Seagate Barracuda ES.2 ST31000340NS et al.) But they will be significantly higher in price. As others have noted, I wouldn't count on any given unit being any more reliable than a WD or Hitachi. Run 1,000 of them? Maybe you'll see a difference over time. Run 1? Forget it.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007 2:41 AM
  • Mr. Watson:

    Well reasoned post!  Could the problem of write rate drop-off be a non-RAID issue?  Perhaps if the WHS utilized RAID things might be different?  Then there is the peculiarities of the WHS operating system dealing with duplicating files?  After so many MB of data does the WHS OS pause to do these extra tasks - and could things improve if they could be turned off during daylight use and turned back on at night? 

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007 3:13 PM
  •  boliek wrote:

    Could the problem of write rate drop-off be a non-RAID issue?  Perhaps if the WHS utilized RAID things might be different?  Then there is the peculiarities of the WHS operating system dealing with duplicating files? 

    I suspect that the DriveExtender overhead is involved here, but don't exactly know how. Hardware RAID1 might be faster, but certainly not as powerful/flexible,

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007 3:28 PM
  • I would go with the 750GB WD Drive or the 1TB GP WD Drive  purley due to costs of the seagate @ $299.

     

    Any modern drive will be fine for multiple HD streams. 

     

    People tend to be brand loyal, and once stung by a hdd failure they tend to stay away from that brand.  Personally i will stick with WD as i have had no problems on many installs, but may be that will change once one fails( and it will) and loses my music, lol

     

    Saturday, November 17, 2007 5:45 PM
  •  

    I've been a strong supporter of Samsung HDDs over many years, but after checking out the new WD GP drive - I was impressed with the power reduction (approx 50% power saving in idle mode - when not being accessed).

     

    We've checked our most 'quiet' drives, including AV style drives, and can conclude the 1TB WD GP drive is our preferred drive (we now use it exclusively as the 1TB choice in our Home Servers) - as soon as the 500GB GP drives are shipping, very soon we're told, we will move from WD AVS drives to GPs too.

     

    Power = cost, but also heat - and that's not good - so keep down the power, keep down the cost, and extend operartional life -  it costs a little more at the outset - but in the meduim / long term, every one should benefit - for a little more ingo - check out :

     

    http://green-pcs.co.uk/2007/09/26/western-digital-drives-now-shipping-2/

     

     

    Saturday, November 17, 2007 6:01 PM
  • I've been going for the drives with the 5 year warranty.  I am still able to use PATA drives and have room for a couple more.  I'm paying about $0.21 / GB for 320 GB 7200.10 drives.  I know they will die eventually, it is unfortunate that a factory repair does not reset the count down timer to 5 years, but that's just too much to expect.

     

    Sunday, November 18, 2007 5:00 AM
  • Other than price, why would anyone care about performance? It's a network device - a floppy drive could almost keep up.

    Sunday, November 18, 2007 5:11 AM
  •  DMaria wrote:

    Other than price, why would anyone care about performance? It's a network device - a floppy drive could almost keep up.

    I'm buying the parts with the intention if have them prove useful for the long term. probably a bad call on my part, time will tell.

    Sunday, November 18, 2007 5:22 AM
  • As is the case with many of you, I have had the luxury of starting over with new hardware for my WHS.  The guiding principles that led me to my selection of 1-500GB primary and 2-1TB Data Drives we cost and foremost simplicity.

     

    I have 4-SATA connectors on my MB and wanted to maximize my storage without exceeding the number of SATA connections.  I didn't want to have to connect 5-6 drives on 2 or 3 busses (STAT, ATA, IDE...).  This way I am using a single internal bus connection with room to add an additional drive in the future.

     

    I've seen some posts here with folks adding up to 15 drives to a WHS server.  The only reason I can think of to do this might be to just prove that you can. 

     

    Keep it simple!

     

    Friday, November 23, 2007 4:36 PM
  • As the owner of a computer repair business, I can tell you one thing for sure........they are all equally as bad.

     

    Just the other day I bought a new WD drive and it would not even spin up.

     

    Last month I put a new Maxtor in one of my systems and it ran for one day before it locked up.

     

    I personally would not touch a Samsung drive, I have had more of those failing than any other kind, but another poster here said they love them.

     

    So I just simply suggest you go by price for a given size of drive.

     

    Most important, pick the ones with 3 and 5 year warranties, and keep the receipt (you will probably need it).

     

    Bob

     

     

    Saturday, November 24, 2007 2:31 PM
  •  Bob Millard wrote:
    Most important, pick the ones with 3 and 5 year warranties, and keep the receipt (you will probably need it).
    Note that this means you will be buying OEM drives, usually bare. Everything you can buy in a box at Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA, etc. is going to come with a one year warranty these days.
    Saturday, November 24, 2007 3:18 PM
    Moderator
  • Actually amost all of the Seagate drives you find on retail shelves come with a 5-year warranty.

     

    Saturday, November 24, 2007 8:44 PM
  •  njlyle wrote:
    Actually amost all of the Seagate drives you find on retail shelves come with a 5-year warranty.

    I was going to point that out but I've never bought a retail one, just bare drives.  I have used the Seagate warranty, and it was fast and painless.

    Saturday, November 24, 2007 8:50 PM
  • I physically damaged a Seagate drive while sliding into the drive cage on top of another drive (I knocked a SMT inductor off the board).  I got on their website and got and RMA number, they cross shipped the replacement.  No proof of purchase required when date of manufacture clearly precludes it being out of warranty.  Until something changes that makes think otherwise I'll stick with them. 

     

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008 1:48 AM
  • Hello,

     

    Performance is an issue for servers.  If you have a gigabit network, that should be able to transport nearly 100MB/s, so add your background task overheads and you have a degredation in performance over what could be achieved if your CPU or hard disk(s) cannot keep up.  Although, that said, adding as much RAM as possible to the server will improve it's throughput under load since more data will be held in memory (disk cache).

     

    But, frankly, the difference between any of the drives currently available will be fairly minimal in real terms.  Even performance benchmarks show little difference between 7,200rpm and 10,000rpm drives under many tests.

     

    I entirely agree that the warantee is the most important feature by far, not because you can expect the drives to last that long, but because it demonstrates that the manufacturer is confident in their products.

     

    I also agree environmental considerations are paramount.  Careful instalation and good airflow are key to longevity.  This is why a purpose-designed server chasis is such a good idea.

     

    Western Digital and Seagate both have ranges of drives targetted for use in servers, but unfortunately they are also designed to be used on RAID controllers.  This means better vibration tolerance (with multiple drives close together the performance can drop off rapidly with desktop drives due to vibration), 100% duty cycle rating, and ECC on transfers, all improving reliability.  Unfortunately they also include a feature called TLER which could potentially make them more prone to data loss in WHS when they approach the end of their lives, because you generally wouldn't have a RAID controller (Ken - I owe you an apology on this point, Western Digital do indeed state the RE2s should be used only with hardware RAID).

     

    For me, I'm still very comfortable using the RE2s despite the last point since I use the folder duplication, but with hindsight the mechanically identical Caviar range may be more appropriate for WHS despite the lack of ECC, shorter warantee, and firmware that is set up to work in a single drive environment mechanically (i.e. less resistant to vibration and less concern over seek power consumption).

     

    So in short, for what it is worth, I would strongly suggest that the WD Caviar or the Seagate 7200.11 ranges will be very suitable for WHS when coupled with a decent case.  If you can get hold of one, Dell and HP have some mini-tower server's based on Xeon 3040 CPU which are very suitable, and cheap too (in the region of £180 in the UK).  I would just buy whichever is cheaper at the time!

     

    Hope that helps!

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008 11:51 AM
  • I have had failures from both Seagate and Western Digital.  The Western Digital ones were older and out of warranty. 

     

    My recent Seagate 400GB died and had to return it under warranty.  I did not like the fact that I would have to pay approx $20 for the them to ship me the drive right away then return my drive. I was surprised when they sent me a brand new 500GB as a replacement for the dead drive.

     

    I also killed 4 Maxtor drives due to my own error. I had complety fried some of the chips under the drive due to an electrical short.  The chips were literally fried.  I mailed them back to Maxtor expecting them to send me a letter advising they were not covered.  They sent me replacement drives.

     

    Of all drives used, I have had the most success with Western Digital. Maxtor was really fast in sending out replacement drives. They were Fedexed if I remember correctly.

     

    Todd

     

     

     

    Thursday, March 13, 2008 2:57 AM
  • This is a great question, i guess this is the biggest headache i had when building my server. The one thing i told myself was, hd's die no matter what brand or price there are bound to die someway or another. After i got through that, i decied to go with WD, reason why i saw more stable reviews. Meaning the seagate users seemed to send in HD's within the five years for a replacement, however some WD's users say its been ruuing strong even after the warrenty. I would of liked to go with the green WD's HD's, but i recently got the WD RE2 drives. That are made for servers that are always kept on. Here it is its only a $30 difference than the regular drives and also has a five year warrenty. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136205.
    Interms of size i would been okay of losing 500gb of data compared to 1tb.If it ever came to that.
    Friday, March 14, 2008 12:04 AM
  • I personally prefer Seagate.  They don't perform as fast, but they are more stable in my opinion.  Only have had one seagate die on me, an old 80GB (ST380020A), and it was probably due to the faulty power supply I was using.  And this was recently (about 2 months ago), and in my WHS box. 

    I've had several WD's, hatachi's, a bunch of maxtor's and a few other generic drives die on me.  But only the one seagate.  Most of the companies are getting much better about their HDDs, but I still stand by Seagate.  Not as much performance but more reliablity.  And reliablity is what you want.  Its going to be always on, and constantly used.
    Friday, March 14, 2008 2:44 AM
  • This is how FIRM opinions come about.  Years ago I had responsibility for several computer labs.  One was full of 286s.  They were Gateways.  They all had WD IDE drives in them (200 MB) if that puts the time frame firmly in perspective.  A hard drive in one of them refused to spin up, there were more than 20 computers in the lab, I called WD and despite the fact that the drive was clearly out of warranty they sent me a replacement.  Around the same time or a little earlier, a major firm sent us a donation of cases of MFM Seagate drives they had replaced.   Some of them were also not spinning up, but clearly less than a year old, I called Seagate and the response was 'Those drives were sold OEM and there is no warranty.'  

     

    Those experiences put me firmly in the WD camp for years, in fact right up until recently.  I bought a WD SATA  as a replacement for my workhorse computer, that drive refused to be recognized correctly, I returned it and got a replacement of the same model.  The second drive was recognized correctly, but would not make it through format and mount.  I returned that drive, paid the restocking fee, bought a Seagate and I've bought 4 more Seagate drives for my WHS since then.  My next drive will also be a Seagate as will those after that unless something happens to change my opinion.

     

    Is anyone that matters listening?  One good experience can make you forgive a few bad ones, but it doesn't last forever.  Two bad ones in a row can ruin a 20 year old trend.

     

    Friday, March 14, 2008 11:01 PM