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sphinxsix

WD External Drives.

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I need to get a 6TB external drive to store music files and integrate my files currently stored on two drives. I trust WD, have their 6 Elements drives (3x2TB and 3x3TB), all of them working flawlessly. I expect reliability and low drive noise levels. Which one to choose: Elements, My Book, My Book Duo (does RAID have any meaning as far as music storage is regarded?) or 2x3TB WD Reds (Greens?) in some inclosure.? (enclosure recommendation.?). Will appreciate some advice. I need it quick! :)

 

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Hi,

Not wishing to dampens things - but i have had multiple WD drives fail - of the order of 25% for my purchases. From testing - the optimal drives are HGST (purchased by WD i think)  :

 

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/2018-hard-drive-failure-rates/

 

Also, the WD MyBook (My Cloud too), if you share, do have vulnerabilities :

 

https://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/77259/hacking/vulnerabilities-nas.html

https://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/us/security/news/vulnerabilities-and-exploits/vulnerabilities-and-a-backdoor-plague-western-digital-my-cloud-nas-devices

 

Regards,

Shadders.

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16 minutes ago, Shadders said:

Not wishing to dampens things - but i have had multiple WD drives fail

When did you buy them if I may ask?

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Hi,

I have a 4TB used every day, from 2014, still going. I also have had 1TB used all day, every day for 8 years - never failed. It is pot luck.

 

Regards,

Shadders.

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1 minute ago, mansr said:

All drives will fail eventually. All drive manufacturers have had bad models or batches.

 

To improve your chances, pick a model intended for the usage you expect. For an always on system, choose "enterprise" models. If the drives will be spun down or powered off frequently, go for something else.

 

Always keep backups of valuable data. RAID is no substitute for backups, but it does help with availability.

Depends when you bought them - NAS was not around when i purchased the 320GB nor the 1TB's. Readily avialable from Scan/Ebuyer now.

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@Shadders having potentially helped cure Chris of posting tech gossip site links as if they were reputable news sources. LTT is quite honestly bubble gum kiddy flavored chewable Ritalin nonsense.  B|

 

@sphinxsix Have to question the futility of buying in at every storage level. If one 6TB is going to grow into two. Why not start with 10 or 12 TB?  

 

Could you clarify if this external drive will see active use or serve in a backup capacity?  This is possibly the most important factor leading on from what mansr said.  For long term unpowered storage, SSD are a reversal on what I said above per storage level.

 

2x 4TB SSD safely stored eliminates the "in a hurry" problems you appear to have encountered. Zero degradation of data or ability to function after years of inactivity is hard to argue against. 

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5 minutes ago, rando said:

@Shadders having potentially helped cure Chris of posting tech gossip site links as if they were reputable news sources. LTT is quite honestly bubble gum kiddy flavored chewable Ritalin nonsense

Hi,

Check the following 1-star reviews :

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seagate-inch-Barracuda-Desktop-Drive/dp/B0073Q7GU6

 

And :

 

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/222267-seagate-faces-lawsuit-over-3tb-hard-drive-failure-rates

 

There is an issue.

 

Regards,

Shadders.

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You'll kindly note lack of disagreement with the meat of your post. Whether or not I felt there was an argument against it in some relevant quarter.  

 

Consumer format HDD production is prone to a very high level of variation simply unheard of in true server/data center equipment.  

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Hi,

I fail to see your point. Whether LinusTechTips is a useful source of information is up to the reader. The thread i pointed to reflects what the issue is, as per Extremetech.

 

Let the reader decide what they find useful.

 

Regards,

Shadders.

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12 minutes ago, Shadders said:

Yes, that 3TB model is infamously unreliable. As was the IBM DeathStar back in the day. And many others over the years.

 

Don't buy drive models with a bad reputation, but there's no reason to avoid any of the major manufacturers because of one incident.

 

If you want reliability, buy the slightly more expensive server/enterprise drives. These have much better specs than the consumer models and are meant to run continuously. I've had four 4TB Seagate Constellation ES.3 drives running for nearly 5 years. About two years ago, one of them reported a few bad sectors, so I replaced it as a precaution.

 

You guys are overthinking this. Disk drives are cheap. Treat them as consumables with a half-life of a few years. Use RAID for zero-downtime replacements and backups to cover catastrophic failures.

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2 minutes ago, mansr said:

You guys are overthinking this. Disk drives are cheap. Treat them as consumables with a half-life of a few years. Use RAID for zero-downtime replacements and backups to cover catastrophic failures.

Says Mr. Moneybags...... 😋

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I've got Two WD Ext drives, and after 3 years they are still working fine ( knocking on wood :))

 

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My own limited experience has been that external drives have become far more reliable in recent years.  Whereas 10-15 years ago I seemed to have a drive failure every 2-3 years, of my current lot the following are all doing pretty well:

 

1. 1TB Buffalo is now almost 7 years old.

2. 1TB WD 2.5 inch drive now 5 years old.

3. 1TB Samsung 2.5 inch drive now 4 years old.

4. 2TB Seagate NAS now 5 years old (though its read/write performance has always been awfully slow, but that is not the drive's fault).

 

As my set up and usage has changed, these drives have all become back-up drives but are still called into action everyday.  They are all cheap, domestic units.  As @mansr says, drives are cheap and so I have tended to work on the basis of using and backing up to many cheap drives.

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1 hour ago, mansr said:

Yes, that 3TB model is infamously unreliable. As was the IBM DeathStar back in the day. And many others over the years.

 

Don't buy drive models with a bad reputation, but there's no reason to avoid any of the major manufacturers because of one incident.

 

If you want reliability, buy the slightly more expensive server/enterprise drives. These have much better specs than the consumer models and are meant to run continuously. I've had four 4TB Seagate Constellation ES.3 drives running for nearly 5 years. About two years ago, one of them reported a few bad sectors, so I replaced it as a precaution.

 

You guys are overthinking this. Disk drives are cheap. Treat them as consumables with a half-life of a few years. Use RAID for zero-downtime replacements and backups to cover catastrophic failures.

 

Very sensible points from mansr, and it's really all you need to know:

  • Certain models/years/batches are known to be bad. Try to Google around for those and avoid them. It's not hard, as fortunately there aren't very many lemons out there (relative to the total number of models available).
  • Mechanical HDDs are cheap, no matter your budget. If you have enough money to own a computer-based music server, a decent stereo system, and a large enough digital-music collection to require a large hard drive for backup, then by definition you have enough money to buy 2-3 hard drives.
  • Even the best HDD will eventually fail.
  • Redundancy is the simplest and best way to safeguard against failure. That way it doesn't matter if all your drives fail - it only matters that they don't all fail at the same time. When one fails, get another one, problem solved. So in addition to getting 2-3 drives and making redundant backups, why not ensure that each of those drives is a different model/brand? That way if by chance one of them turns out to be part of a bad batch or failure-prone product line, you still have one or more others that will be good, and you'll have plenty of time to replace the bad drive in your backup rotation before the good drive ever fails.

There's really nothing more to it than that.

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Thanks for your suggestions, guys!

8 hours ago, mansr said:

To improve your chances, pick a model intended for the usage you expect. For an always on system, choose "enterprise" models. If the drives will be spun down or powered off frequently, go for something else.

It will be on only used to play music which means on average 1-2 hours of usage a day.

6 hours ago, rando said:

6TB is going to grow into two. Why not start with 10 or 12 TB? 

Well, I already have 15TB on my 6 drives (all my WDs still work fine). I estimate 6TB will be enough to put all my music there (mostly hi res files from 2 separate drives which is a problematic solution - I'd simply prefer to have it on 1 drive) and still have some free space. I believe this should be enough (for some time :)). No, it won't be used for back up.

6 hours ago, rando said:

2x 4TB SSD

Don't want to spend that much now (maybe because I haven't had problems with my drives yet, knock, knock..)

 

If RAID doesn't really make sense in my case and Elements and My Book are essentially the same I think I will simply get the cheapest one. I'm a little bit surprised no one advocates the 2x3TB WD Red in a chosen inclosure solution, I heard lots of good things about WD Red drives in the past, also here on AS.

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1TB is a _huge_ amount of data. Please read that again. 

 

Now that we've all agreed that we're storing multiples of huge amounts of data I have to ask how are you protecting that data? Are you storing copies "offline" or do you have an active online way to safeguard that data (like a RAID set-up)? How much work is it to go to your safeguard and restore your data?

 

There are plenty of easy ways to go to Network Attached Storage (NAS) and I highly recommend you investigate this in a RAID configuration to protect your data. Then you can restore a failed drive simply by sliding in a replacement. Additionally, you can store the noise away from the audio system. If you're in this configuration the "life" of any one drive is less important just try to buy drives without adjacent serial numbers. 

 

Software RAID is bad please try to avoid. 

 

Otherwise.. if you ignore all of the above then look to the Enterprise grade/data center drives and put them in your own enclosure. It's very difficult to identify exactly what drives are inside the WD USB attached storage solutions (or how many drives are actually in there as some of these things are multiple drives in a RAID0 configuration). 

 

I believe that WD uses their blue drives (budget) in all their enclosures except their Duo enclosures where they use their entry level Red drives. The Red drives include some vibration dampening. WD also makes data center class drives and drives optimized for constant read and/or write operation for video streaming. If you go with the Duo put it in RAID1 mode. You'll lose half your capacity but gain the ability to replace a single failed drive and rebuild the array with no data loss. 

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, sphinxsix said:

I need to get a 6TB external drive to store music files and integrate my files currently stored on two drives. I trust WD, have their 6 Elements drives (3x2TB and 3x3TB), all of them working flawlessly. I expect reliability and low drive noise levels. Which one to choose: Elements, My Book, My Book Duo (does RAID have any meaning as far as music storage is regarded?) or 2x3TB WD Reds (Greens?) in some inclosure.? (enclosure recommendation.?). Will appreciate some advice. I need it quick! :)

 

I have been using 6TB MyBooks for a several years now. 😎 No issues thankfully.

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27 minutes ago, ipeverywhere said:

Software RAID is bad please try to avoid.

What gave you that idea? "Hardware" RAID controllers still have a CPU that runs software. If you're thinking of OS level RAID as opposed to a separate controller, the former is actually preferable. Why? Because the on-disk format is documented. If a "hardware" controller breaks, chances are that model is no longer being made, and the new ones use a different format. All your data is lost, even if the drives are intact. With "software" RAID, you are no longer reliant on a single vendor.

 

Most, if not all, of those little NAS boxes use Linux software RAID, by the way.

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13 minutes ago, mansr said:

What gave you that idea? "Hardware" RAID controllers still have a CPU that runs software. If you're thinking of OS level RAID as

 

Two reasons:

1, and primarily,) The extra tax on the CPU to maintain/manage the array. My opinion is that the machine processing the audio should be processing the audio and not trying to do much else. I agree that most of the cheaper "RAID" solutions out there are simply using soft RAID under Linux to manage the array. The point here is that it's external and doesn't impact the machine serving the music. 

 

2) It's less reliable (maybe unreliable in certain situations?). Without diving deep into what a memory backed hardware raid array does compared to a software raid I truly believe the software arrays are significantly less reliable than the hardware option. A lot of Hypervisors won't even install across a soft array for this reason.   

 

*I've never, and don't have the capability, but I bet you'd get better sound quality with set-up A vs. B:

A:

Get two identical external USB drives. 

Copy your music collection to each drive. 

Stick one drive in a cool dark dry closest.

Attach the other drive to your machine and play music.

 

B: 

Get two identical external USB drives.

Attach both to your machine and configure/format them for RAID1 in your OS. 

Put your music collection on your array. 

Play music. 

 

Both give you the same reliability of having exact copy of your music on 2 physical drives but I'm guessing A will sound better (if there were SQ gains to be had). This is because the machine is doing less work to pull the data off the drive, there is less contention on the USB bus, etc. etc. 

 

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, ipeverywhere said:

1, and primarily,) The extra tax on the CPU to maintain/manage the array. My opinion is that the machine processing the audio should be processing the audio and not trying to do much else. I agree that most of the cheaper "RAID" solutions out there are simply using soft RAID under Linux to manage the array. The point here is that it's external and doesn't impact the machine serving the music.

The overhead on reading is low (zero for RAID1). At audio data rates, it is utterly negligible.

 

14 minutes ago, ipeverywhere said:

2) It's less reliable (maybe unreliable in certain situations?). Without diving deep into what a memory backed hardware raid array does compared to a software raid I truly believe the software arrays are significantly less reliable than the hardware option.

You're talking about RAID controllers with battery backed RAM. The advantage of those is mostly about performance. Thanks to the battery, writes can be considered complete as soon as the controller has received the data rather than when it has been written to non-volatile storage. For certain workloads, this can make a big difference. Audio streaming is not one of them.

 

The battery also means that on sudden power loss, the very last writes will be preserved whereas without it a handful of blocks may be lost. That difference is of little consequence in most cases since the power failure might as well have happened moments earlier. Either way, the filesystem and applications need to cope with partially written data.

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9 hours ago, Shadders said:

Says Mr. Moneybags...... 😋

 

Ditto for the suggestion of 2x 4TB SSD .:o

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