4TB Hard drives (WD or other no Seagate) - what is the best option?

grepawking

Junior Member
Mar 8, 2014
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I have been using 4TB Red's for about 4 years and have been EXTREMELY happy with them. 2 of them are in a NAS that gets little use, but when it does, it is very reliable and fast enough for my needs. I got a 3rd and placed it in my main desktop as a all purpose storage drive. It seems something went wrong with the drive as the "fdisk -l" showed there was something wrong with the partition table (it didn't end properly) and it was fine when first set up. I was loosing space - I'd clear 20GB, download 10GB and the drive was full, repeat that over and over and after about 300-500GB, I only had abour 40-50GB of files where I had cleared up the 300-500GB. (I have 20 years as a technician, sysadmin/eng and network admin/engineer - so I know how to use my hardware, especially under Linux). Upon disconnecting the drive, I couldn't boot again and got unrecoverable errors while processing the /etc/fstab and the when I finally booted in "recovery mode", the drive wouldn't' show up anywhere, no matter what.

I dont' know how I can recover the data, I might try pulling the cover and swapping parts (done this before and have a positive pressure, dirt free "glove box" - but I would need another working drive to swap components, and IDK if I want to spend $$ to just rip a drive apart.

I'm thinking I need a more robust drive if it is going to be used as a main storage drive on my main desktop, possibly something enterprise class, meant to run much higher hours (possibly 24/7/365) though that is over-kill, but at least it wouldn't be under-spec'd. The problem is that if another drive dies, that is another 4TB of data I'm out. So I'm wondering about using 2 drives, 1TB or 2TB drives and run them in RAID 1, and keep all my "important" data on this, and then back this stuff up to my other 4TB NAS drives. I do have some Perc5/6 SAS RAID controllers from old Dell Poweredges, but IDK how large a drive they support, and with this I could go to SAS drives (though I think they support SATA as well).




Here are the WD drives available in 4TB, stats, pricing, etc.
WD Gold Enterprise Edition - 7200rpm, 128MB cache, (built for 24/7/365 operation) 5yr limited Warranty - $175 WD4002FYYZ
WD RE Datacenter (Gold) SAS - 7200rpm, 32mb cache, $141 WD4001FYYG
WD SE Datacenter (black or gold color label), 7200RPM - 64MB cache, 5year warranty $178 WD4000F9YZ
WD Black - 7200rpm, 256mb cache, 5 year limited warranty- $185 WD4005FZBX
WD Black - 7200rpm, 128mb cache, 5 year limited warranty - $215 WD4004FZWX
WD Red Pro - 7200rpm, 256mb cache, 5 year limited warranty - $190 WD4003FFBX
WD Red (NAS) - 5400rpm, 64mb cache, 3 year limited waranty - $125 (promo for tax rebate) WD40EFRX
WD Purple - 5400rpm, 64MB cache, 3 year warr - $115 WD40PURZ
WD Blue - 5400rpm, 64mb cache, 2yr lim warranty, $100 WD40EZRZ

What I'm wondering is how much the cache size effects these drives. From what I am looking at it seems that there are 3 that stand out all have 5 year warranty, 7200 rpm, 128 - 256MB cache and an expected high level of operation time.

WD Gold Enterprise Edition - 7200rpm, 128MB cache, (built for 24/7/365 operation) 5yr limited Warranty - $175 WD4002FYYZ
WD Black - 7200rpm, 256mb cache, 5 year limited warranty- $185 WD4005FZBX
WD Red Pro - 7200rpm, 256mb cache, 5 year limited warranty - $190 WD4003FFBX

I would think that these would be a much more suitable for a drive that gets 80-90% of the systems incoming/outgoing data as well as much of the temporary storage and such. I just don't know if I should go with one of these, or look for 2 2TB drives (SAS or SATA) and then run them in RAID 1. I know I get less storage, but I can deal with that, by off-loading files to permenant NAS storage as needed. I just don't know if Linux software RAID would be adequate for this or if that would cause problems (due to possible corruption down the line).

Does anyone have any thoughts on this situation? I really am not interested in any other brands ATM, I've used them all extensively and have had massive problems with many other manufacturers and have always come back to WD for "consumer level" drives.
 

killster1

Banned
Mar 15, 2007
6,208
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why was there a 4tb limit on the drives? any reason not to use 4x8tb wd red's? thats my current setup each drive was 160 or less.
 

grepawking

Junior Member
Mar 8, 2014
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why was there a 4tb limit on the drives? any reason not to use 4x8tb wd red's? thats my current setup each drive was 160 or less.


I don't want anything bigger than 4TB ATM. Too much data to loose should one go bad. Are you talking about using (4) qty 8TB drives?

i guess I might consider (2) 4TB drives if I can run a good RAID 1 array. I can then use a backup 4TB to back up that array, but at this point it is getting to be much more than I want to spend ATM.
 

grepawking

Junior Member
Mar 8, 2014
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Also, the 2TB drives aren't that much less expensive than the 4TB drives. IMO the 4TB are the sweet spot for $/TB for what I need.
 

ImpulsE69

Lifer
Jan 8, 2010
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I use 3x 3TB external (taken out and put internal) seagates. I've had 2 go bad in 7 years(and replaced them, one I could tell something was wrong and got the data copied off, and the other just died immediately and lost everything), but I don't keep anything on them I don't want to lose. I don't run them in raid or back them up.

Frankly, spinning disks can go bad on you at anytime for unknown unforseen reasons. It doesn't really matter what brand or type you get. It will die on you at some point and in most cases you won't get any advanced notice. If you are running 4TB's I strongly suggest raiding them. I mean you could keep 2 on hand and use one as an occasional back up. Really comes down to what works best for you. If multiple 4TB are too much for you, look into 3TB's.
 

grepawking

Junior Member
Mar 8, 2014
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Well I have to admit that the failure rate of HDD vs SDD is MUCH lower as over the last 20+ SDD's I've had I've had a failure rate of over 40% in 3weeks to 16 months, and they weren't cheap drives (except 2 of them). I did find that buying high priced drives seems to be the best choice when it comes to SSD's, I haven't had any of my high end drives fail (knock wood), but mid price, not so much..
 

kschendel

Senior member
Aug 1, 2018
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You're going to have to back stuff up regardless. Mirroring can save you from individual drive failure, but you need backups to save you from OS failure, human failure, etc. (But you knew that already.) I think linux software raid is pretty reliable, at least as reliable as most of the desktop grade hardware controllers I've seen.
 

ImpulsE69

Lifer
Jan 8, 2010
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I was going with the assumption that his OS was on SSD and backed up to the 4TB as this is how I do this. Chances of both the SSD and backup drive going bad at the same time is....*knocks on a lot of wood*.

That being said, I think we've only touched on a portion of his question.

Not knowing exactly what you are using them for it's hard to give much of an in depth answer. I use 7200 64mb cache drives and love them and I do transcoding on them. I can't really speak to anything faster/bigger than that.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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OP, you claim that you don't want to use HDDs bigger than 4TB. But, TBH, for any given qty. of data, less drives storing it, is preferable than more drives storing it, assuming redundancy is present, at least, I think so.

Well, it would be interesting to do the math, on whether 4x4TB RAID5, or 2x8TB RAID1, is more reliable.

I was thinking, with 4 spindles, there's 4x the possible failure rate at any given time, mechanically. But with 2x 8TB in a mirror, there would only be half as many possibilities for failure. But the odds of any particular drive failing, in the 4-drive array, are 1/4, but for the 2x 8TB, 1/2.
 

Shmee

Memory & Storage, Graphics Cards Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
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Is this a boot drive or storage drive? SSD for boot drive, probably samsung or crucial, and I agree WD is best for HDDs.
 

manly

Lifer
Jan 25, 2000
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The OP already said he's only buying WD, so the real question is what drives to get. In general, "enterprise" drives are more reliable than desktop drives, but that doesn't mean you need enterprise drives.

If you're definitely using a Dell PERC, then you should get RAID-compatible drives. In practice, all this means is that the drives support TLER. Generally speaking, only NAS-rated or enterprise hard drives will have this. In my opinion, get the Gold drives with SATA interface. If cost is an issue, it seems like WD4001FYYG you listed have some type of clearance price? Confirm what type of warranty you will get.

If you're not using a hardware RAID controller and using Linux, then desktop drives and software RAID (mdraid) are just fine. The only thing you'll lose is that you don't get drive bay signaling (assuming server hot swap bays). You might want to check Backblaze, they have tons of real-world data on disk drive failure rates.

I would never use chipset RAID.
 

cfenton

Senior member
Jul 27, 2015
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Even if money is a big concern, I'd still go with two cheap drives and mirror them rather than go with one expensive drive. The chances of two drives failing at the same time is extremely small, and in a desktop system you'd notice right away. I'd take two of those WD Blues over one Enterprise Gold any day.
 

Charlie22911

Senior member
Mar 19, 2005
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HGST is another brand to consider, and is part of WD. I have literally never had a HGST drive fail, only a hand full of WD drives fail (mostly 2.5"), and quite a few segates fail (but never a 2.5inch funny enough).

You want the fewest number of drives you can have with parity. But remember, nothing is a substitute for good offsite backups!