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Hey guys - A hot topic that hasn't been discussed too much around here is hard drive manufacturers. Let everyone know what you are using currently and what you've used in the past. Words about performance, heat, noise or any other item you see relevant is much appreciated.



I've used just about everything in the book.


Currently I stick to Seagate and Hitachi only.


My LaCie drive has a Maxtor drive in it and the whole thing is less than good. The enclosure and the drive are not recommended. I've used Western Digital internal drives in the past and they have been hit and miss. The 10k raptor drives were so loud I stopped using them. The other drives worked pretty good, but a couple had a real short life span.


I haven't used an Samsung drives.


External cases are not all the same either. I highly recommend cases with the Oxford 924 chipset. I've tried a couple others, but none as good as this chipset.


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  • 1 month later...

to add my comments. At work, we buy hard drives by the dozens. For less critical systems, we mostly have Maxtor ATA drives. If one goes bad, we simply take the machine down for a while and replace the drive. For the more critical systems, we tend to have Hitachi and Seagate drives (both PATA and SATA). Disks in systems with RAID arrays can be replaced on the fly, so it's also not that important to have the most reliable drives in them. In the most critical systems we use SCSI disks (Fujitsu).


For the home user, I would recommend getting drives that have a 5-year warranty, such as the Seagate Barracuda line. I think the reliability of a drive is directly reflected in the warranty that a company is willing to give. I also use Hitachi drives at home and have had good experiences so far, but none of them is older than three years.


Best - MM





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... at work. At home I make better choices.


For external removable drives in the modern era, I definitely recommend enclosures with the Oxford 924 chipset. My particular price point and service requirements for 'in the listening area' direct connect removable drives were met by the Glyph company. Heat, sound and performance leave nothing to be desired for me - I lean toward the pro-audio side though. Remember, as has been mentioned here on C/A before: 'one mans quiet, is another mans airport noise'. Be sure you can try the unit out at home first. I'm leaving out the 'looks factor' here however.


For your backup drive systems - most likely NAS is the best way to go, noise and heat are probably not as important because it won't be in the main listening area so one can probably save some money on the enclosures. IMO Get a linksys (NAS200 for example) enclosure that will hold (currently) 2TB of HD's for $130 or less (minus the price of the drives). You can add more units to your router later. ** Keep in mind that by "backup drive systems" I do not mean a drive that is used for anything other than backing up your data that is on other drives on your systems. These backup drives do not have to be on except when performing backup duty.**


For the drives themselves I agree with all that was said here so far:

- 7200 RPM is the minimum drive spin speed recommended. Your other drive access numbers will fall in line if you chose this.

- PATA/SATA - Seagate isn't always the most quiet mechanism, but does quite well. Drive mounting and enclosure vibration dampening have a huge effect here. I too would agree that the statement of warranty (5yr) is probably directly reflective of the quality of what goes into the makeup of the drive. Seagate Barracuda is what I look for first of late. Keep in mind that Maxtor has been owned by Seagate for a few years now, and are improving what to me was a 'bad reputation' for quality steadily ever since. I (now) like Hitachi Deskstar drives as well - when Hitachi bought IBM's HD division, they had multiple problems starting up, but now seem to have solved those issues and are on a definite upward trend as well - I have a couple of IBM branded Deskstars that are VERY long in the tooth but still working well...

- Now, SCSI drives still rule (not an opinion). Fujitsu especially. But for most folks (non mission-critical enterprise duty) the cost doesn't justify the reliability delivered by traditional SCSI drives. I love 'em though - they just feel like quality when you pick one up.


As said here before, setting up a good RAID 5 system with cheaper SATA drives is probably the most cost effective and 'all around' solution at this point. The RAID 5 setup simplifies replacement of worn out drives and the cost is not too prohibitive because you can use any 'dang' brand that you want to use based on its cost and your experience with it. If it falls apart too fast, don't buy that brand again..... and the drive noise factor isn't as important because you *are not* going to want that RAID box in the listening area anyway. Too loud and hot.


**Keep in mind here: RAID drives are for a different purpose than strictly 'backup'. RAID does provide pretty secure backup, but not in the traditional fully recoverable sense. One can deploy everything from just the drives in the system and external direct attached drives (or NAS), to a good RAID 5, to a RAID and a backup system or any combination that your budget and 'worry factor' allow**


That's all I've got...






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It is 'just' another piece of the data storage puzzle. I do know that when its standard spec surpasses parallel SCSI in speed (soon), it should be more cost-effective, faster than ( ~ 2X so ), and even more 'nearly infinitely' expandable than the parallel SCSI solution. It will (does?) also support lower cost SATA-II type drives as well as the SAS SCSI drives. There are other key advantages over the 'mere' parallel SCSI architecture as well: arbitration worries dissolve, termination issues disappear, allowable cable lengths increase dramatically, there is more. All this while retaining the functionality that IS SCSI. Now THAT is 'all good'. This is definitely more toward the enterprise side than the typical home user side though. Most people I know, even some 'technicians', couldn't even put together the connections in a parallel SCSI subsystem without bending pins, never mind being able to finely hone the function of it. I suppose that 'audioerotics' will love SAS! - sorry about all the techo-cryptology there......


The ubiquitous wiki link (please always use wikipedia as a starting point rather than a definitively accurate data source, y'all....): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_Attached_SCSI




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This is really timely information. I am continuing to record my LP's and with over 250 LP's recorded so far at 96/24 my little 400GB drive is getting full. It's time to spend the money and get an appropriate storage/backup system. All of this is great information but for us non technical types with no experience in the computer fields it's way overwhelming. I can see myself going online or into a store and trying to explain what I want... and if they don't have it, or try to persuade me to something else I would be lost. Perhaps CA could make a spreadsheet with the various options and use a "star" system to rate them for reliability, ease of use/set up, bang for buck, best used for what function,etc. I don't know enough to even suggest what things are important. Likewise Raid (0,1,2,3,4,5,???), NAS, PARA/SATA, SATA II, SCSI, SAS SCSI, which chipset is better, I'm sorry but it's all Greek to me, let alone what type of case to put it in! I could try to educate myself but there is no way I could assimilate the knowledge contained on this forum. A guide to what is available, ease of use, reliability, bang for the buck,etc. would be very helpful. And also where to get it so I won't have to try to explain myself to the salesman or search the web to find what I want. Thanks again for the info... I'm just a little overwhelmed. Rod



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RHA - Give us some more info, so that we can recommend you something. How much money are you willing to spend? Is noise an issue? Are you looking for a storage solution that is attached to your network and that would then be available to all machines (a so-called NAS), or are you attaching it locally to just one computer?


If noise is not an issue, and you are not interested in a NAS, and 1TB is enough storage, I would simply get two 1TB drives; one to serve your music to the computer. You would use the other one only occasionally make a copy of your music. Store that disk in a safe place, ideally not in your home. Let us know if that would roughly fit your bill.


One place to get drives is here: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/

Excellent choices are: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ministackv3/

and http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/1394/USB/EliteAL/


Hope that helps. Best - MM


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Thanks for responding MM - I was in mid sentence when I saw your post come through and it had pretty much everything I was going to say.


Developing a matrix with a lot of hard drives and stats would take a huge effort and keeping it up would be just as difficult. Plus, noisy to me is quiet to someone else. You'd think with all the objective specs on hard drives the answers would all be black & white. In my experience this is totally the opposite.


As MM said, I think providing your wants and needs and considering some of the recommendations offered here will be your best bet. As long as your honest about responses that you think are way out there then we should be able to come up with the best solution for you.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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  • 4 weeks later...

I am new to this forum and am trying to catch up, and contemplating jumping in to the computer audiophile camp. I am still confused about hard drives -- for play and for backup. I followed the link above to see the NewerTech miniStack, which seem stylish and relatively cheap @

Keeping it Time and Phase Accurate

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Hey proth - Welcome to Computer Audiophile. The fact that you're at least contemplating jumping into the computer audiophile camp is a good thing. I waited until I new the technology was ready before I jumped in. I am a stickler for good sound and I wouldn't push you in this direction if I honestly didn't think this was the best path to greater audio reproduction.


I do have one recommendation that I think you should try before ruling it out. That is wireless disk storage. Not to be confused with wireless streaming of the audio signal which doesn't really thrill me yet. Storing your music on a hard drive outside of our listening room will insure silent operation. You can get reliability in several ways. Without knowing what kind of capacity you are looking for I will start by suggesting a simple RAID1 disk. This will mirror two hard drive automatically for you and appear as one disk to store you music on. As an offline backup solution you could get a cheap single disk enclosure and backup whenever you deem it necessary.


I don't know of any non-switching PSU in the computer hardware world.


As far as avoiding RFI, I think you are far better off moving your disk storage out of the listening room and going with a NAS wireless disk as I mentioned above, than keeping the disk in your listening room. I can offer tons of great storage options if you want to discuss it a little more. Just let me know some specifics and we'll continue on.





Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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proth - There are a few options.


If noise is an issue, you should look into fanless cases (the NewerTech miniStack has a fan and is quite loud). These, however, tend to get hot, and heat is the number-one hard drive killer. Alternatively, you could get a dedicated enclosure for your computer equipment. Search for 'silent PCs', and you should find sources with lots of info. Finally, as Chris mentioned, moving the storage out of the listening room might be the best way to go. In order to minimize RFI, you could run an Ethernet cable from your server to your music system.


WRT reliability, you could get so-called Enterprise-quality hard drives. The best option for critical applications is to use SCSI drives (Fujitsu makes very good ones), but they are expensive.


WRT backup, there are tons of solutions. Chris has offered to supply you with more info, so I'll leave it at that. Just to make sure though, is a backup what you really want, or are you looking for an archive (huge difference)?


Best - MM


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I haven't seen the Macpower Taurus before so I can't really offer an opinion. There are many two drive enclosures available from all the mainstream and not so mainstream vendors. One product I have on the way for review is from QNAP. This particular unit has four drive bays, but I know they offer the full range of options for two bay enclosures as well.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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Hello Chris and all;


I posted on here a couple of months ago about HDD reliability issues and brands etc. I think I left the reader in little doubt as to what was the worst brand in my experience. In that vein, I am sorry (if not surprised) to hear that you are experiencing problems with your Lacie. The original comment is at the URL post below and might be useful information for anyone contemplating HDD purchase...




Ultimately, SSD is what we all want. A year or two and it will be a reality in terms of size and cost





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.... the latest version of my resume is designed to get me an interview for a position at Samsung Semiconductor. They are building a new Fast Static Ram Wafer Fab here...... what the heck, I did 12 years at Motorola Semiconductor back in the 80's and 90's .... and SSD looks *SO* attainable from a cost competitivness standpoint...... Very soon now....




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  • 7 months later...

I have been using an Iomega 1TB USB Hard drive since Christmas - no trouble yet (touch wood..lol).

I heard from some reviews of the product that heat was an issue, but I have mine connected all the time and it just seems to get warm, not hot. I can hear it working but it is right on my desktop in front of me - when I have a bit of time I will repositon it out of the way (of my ears!).

I don't know enough about it to give you any technical details - it was only CAD$130 at a Boxing day sale. I just wanted to give it a try.

I am ripping CD's to it through iTunes in the AIFF format, and it seems to sound OK so far, but I am upgrading to Audioengine 5 speakers and a Devilsound DAC soon so I will repost if I can hear any faults based against CD playback (of the same music).

Cheers -


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