Western Digital Red HDD for HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 07:13 AM - Thread Starter
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I want to get a 2-3 TB 5400RPM drive that will run cool and quiet for my first HTPC build but have been scared off from the WD Green's reviews. The Red seems to be similar to the Green with a better warranty and different firmware optimized for NAS. I'm installing Windows 8 with WMC on a 128 GB SSD so this will be a secondary drive and I will be using this build as my DVR. For right now it will be a standalone HTPC/DVR that will stay on 24/7 but I may want to stream from it in the future.

I've read the Green drives have head park issues that cause the drives to fail prematurely. I want a power efficient drive but not at the cost of reliability. The Red drives seem a better compromise but they are new with less reviews. This will not be used for NAS but will the firmware work efficiently for a HTPC used as a DVR? The Red seems worth the higher price based on the better warranty alone. What do you all think?
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post #2 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 08:04 AM
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Using multiple WD and Samsung Green drives now. No issues and no failures at all. Haven't had any hard drive failures from customers either that I can recall and we use a lot of Green drives for data storage.

Nothing wrong with the "Red" drives (great marketing strategy, btw) but I think they are overpriced compared to the Green drives which I still prefer because of price alone.

As always take reviews with a grain of salt.


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post #3 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 09:56 AM
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On a somewhat related note, one of these just died on me this morning. Thank goodness for Flexraid. Anandtech has a good review of the Red drives here. I just ordered one because I was intrigued. As you suggested, it's also only slightly more expensive and has a 3 year warranty. It sounds like they put them through more testing, although that could just be marketing bull.
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post #4 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 11:47 AM
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I had a DOA 2TB Red drive. Really disappointing, since these should be more reliable. From the reviews on Newegg, Seagate is having problems with their drives too. Not sure where the problem lies...
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post #5 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by StanF View Post

I had a DOA 2TB Red drive. Really disappointing, since these should be more reliable. From the reviews on Newegg, Seagate is having problems with their drives too. Not sure where the problem lies...

DOA drives are due more to poor handling by the retailer or distributor like their employees dropping the drive onto the floor and shipping it to you anyway.

I have had this problem with online as well as local retailers and across all brands I have purchased.

I burn in all my drives destined for the NAS by reading and writing every sector and RMA those that fail
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post #6 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 01:02 PM
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I burn in all my drives destined for the NAS by reading and writing every sector and RMA those that fail

What program do you use for doing this?
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post #7 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 01:38 PM
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What program do you use for doing this?

Chkdsk on Win7 or Seatools from Seagate
http://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/seatools/

Here is a quick overview of what is out there.
http://www.labnol.org/software/test-hard-drive-for-problems/17430/

A proper sector test for a 2TB drive takes 1.5-2 days to complete. Anything less than that is suspect.

I put mine into a USB enclosure and run it on the lowest powered machine in the house (a Mac Mini).

I expanded my NAS about a 18 months ago, from a batch of 8 drives 3 were bad, these were 2TB units.
Complained quite loudly to the retailer about lousy handling practices.

The replacements and the rest of the good drives have been running 24x7 since then. The OS monitors the SMART data from the drive and it has been good so far.

When you buy an enterprise grade drive, this type of validation is what you pay for.
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post #8 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 01:49 PM
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I have FOUR WD Red 3 TB drives. They are great. No problems at all. I tried and returned some Seagate 3 TB drives and some WD green drives. The Reds are keepers. Just don't buy from Newegg, their packaging results in dead drives. NCIX US was fantastic with their packaging.
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post #9 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Using multiple WD and Samsung Green drives now. No issues and no failures at all. Haven't had any hard drive failures from customers either that I can recall and we use a lot of Green drives for data storage.
Nothing wrong with the "Red" drives (great marketing strategy, btw) but I think they are overpriced compared to the Green drives which I still prefer because of price alone.
As always take reviews with a grain of salt.

I don't think the Red drives are overpriced if you can get them at MSRP or slightly less. Versus the green drives, you get an extra year of warranty (3 versus 2), they can run 24/7 and pro reviews have shown them to be slightly superior. Plus, they have a special 24/7 line for support just for the Red drives. These points were worth paying for if you ask me.
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post #10 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by pbmpharmacist View Post

I don't think the Red drives are overpriced if you can get them at MSRP or slightly less. Versus the green drives, you get an extra year of warranty (3 versus 2), they can run 24/7 and pro reviews have shown them to be slightly superior. Plus, they have a special 24/7 line for support just for the Red drives. These points were worth paying for if you ask me.

The warranty difference is worth a small premium. Although in my experience drives fail within the first year or after multiple years so it might not be as much of an issue.

Don't really care about the 24/7 support line. That's marketing at its best.

Don't understand what you mean by "can run 24/7" as that doesn't really mean anything for HTPC or even general home usage.

I have read the "pro reviews" and haven't seen much that applies to HTPC or Home use. Don't really know what you mean by "slightly superior". If you are talking performance that is a worthless measure as the greens are plenty for storage and playback.

Finally let's discuss price. A 2TB drive still is your best bang for the buck. Currently the cheapest at Newegg is $120 for a Red and $110 for a Green. However at NCIX (which was mentioned in this thread) the Red is $120 and the Green is $95. You also can routinely find Green drives inside external enclosures for $90 or even $80.

So are the Red drives worth $30-$40 more per drive (almost 50%) for HTPC and storage? I say they are not. But you can make your own decision.


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post #11 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawne11 View Post

I want to get a 2-3 TB 5400RPM drive that will run cool and quiet for my first HTPC build but have been scared off from the WD Green's reviews. The Red seems to be similar to the Green with a better warranty and different firmware optimized for NAS. I'm installing Windows 8 with WMC on a 128 GB SSD so this will be a secondary drive and I will be using this build as my DVR. For right now it will be a standalone HTPC/DVR that will stay on 24/7 but I may want to stream from it in the future.
I've read the Green drives have head park issues that cause the drives to fail prematurely. I want a power efficient drive but not at the cost of reliability. The Red drives seem a better compromise but they are new with less reviews. This will not be used for NAS but will the firmware work efficiently for a HTPC used as a DVR? The Red seems worth the higher price based on the better warranty alone. What do you all think?

The RED is 20% faster than the green in sequential data transfer, and consumes less power (5.34W vs 6.68W on sequential read), these are part of the important things in a 24x7 DVR. You have already done the research on the other aspects that are important to you.

Storage review (the sequential tests are almost at the top)
http://www.storagereview.com/western_digital_red_nas_hard_drive_review_wd30efrx
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post #12 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Tong Chia View Post

The RED is 20% faster than the green in sequential data transfer

Tell me why this is necessary again?


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post #13 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 02:39 PM
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Tell me why this is necessary again?

1)Skipping ahead on commecials on recorded streams. Where I live it is 25% of the stream
2)Multiple streams at the same time doing the same thing as (1)
3)Delay live TV, starting to use it more and more like when I get a call and when I do not want to record the show, every little bit of speed helps here as the PVR is constantly reading and writing.
4)Simultaneous record and playback, at any given moment in time i have 2 -4 tuners active recording shows, any increase in drive speed helps even in the basic case where there is a recording going on and we want to watch something else on the disk.
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post #14 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Tong Chia View Post

1)Skipping ahead on commecials on recorded streams. Where I live it is 25% of the stream
2)Multiple streams at the same time doing the same thing as 1
3)Delay live TV, starting to use it more and more like when I get a call and when I do not want to record the show, every little bit of speed helps here as the PVR is constantly reading and writing,

I don't have any issues doing those things with the Green drives though. In fact I streamed to 6 devices at once (was playing back a 6th on my bedroom HTPC) with all HD feeds with no issues a few months ago. Even made a video of it.

I am just not sure the 20% extra performance is going to be noticed. For $10 extra sure the Red drives make sense. For an extra $30-$40 when you are buying multiple drives? Not sure its worth it.

Please feel free to disagree as I am interested in your opinion.


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post #15 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 03:10 PM
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I don't have any issues doing those things with the Green drives though. In fact I streamed to 6 devices at once (was playing back a 6th on my bedroom HTPC) with all HD feeds with no issues a few months ago. Even made a video of it.
I am just not sure the 20% extra performance is going to be noticed. For $10 extra sure the Red drives make sense. For an extra $30-$40 when you are buying multiple drives? Not sure its worth it.
Please feel free to disagree as I am interested in your opinion.

What kills the greens is simultaneous read and write and DVRs do this alot. On low cost drives the read/write channel is multiplexed.

The Reds do better here as the IOPS numbers are better, these are the number of discrete read/write events the drive can handle at any given moment in time.

I have no argument with the cost points you brought up and that is a decision the OP will make.

On a purely financial considerations, I think the discussion boils down as to whether it is better to own the drive for 2 years (Green) or 3 years (Red). If you amortize the cost of ownership the cost difference is just the adjusted cost of the drive for the extra year.

Utlimately it boils down to whether the extra money should be spent upfront or in 2 years time.

I did not go into the multiple drive discussion as the OP was initially interested in a single DVR drive.
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post #16 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 03:29 PM
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What kills the greens is simultaneous read and write and DVRs do this alot. On low cost drives the read/write channel is multiplexed.
The Reds do better here as the IOPS numbers are better, these are the number of discrete read/write events the drive can handle at any given moment in time.
I have no argument with the cost points you brought up and that is a decision the OP will make.
On a purely financial considerations, I think the discussion boils down as to whether it is better to own the drive for 2 years (Green) or 3 years (Red). If you amortize the cost of ownership the cost difference is just the adjusted cost of the drive for the extra year.
Utlimately it boils down to whether the extra money should be spent upfront or in 2 years time.
I did not go into the multiple drive discussion as the OP was initially interested in a single DVR drive.

"Kills" is a little strong Imo.

Do the blacks and reds have better performance than the greens? Sure. Does that equate to any noticeable difference for htpc? I don't think it does. I can't remember the last time I or anyone else on avs complained about the performance of the DVR in their htpc.

Again, for $10 extra its possibly worth it for the extra warranty. Any more than that and I think its pure marketing BS.

When discussing use for htpc of course.


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post #17 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

"Kills" is a little strong Imo.
Do the blacks and reds have better performance than the greens? Sure. Does that equate to any noticeable difference for htpc? I don't think it does. I can't remember the last time I or anyone else on avs complained about the performance of the DVR in their htpc.
Again, for $10 extra its possibly worth it for the extra warranty. Any more than that and I think its pure marketing BS.
When discussing use for htpc of course.

The part where we can help the OP is to show both sides of the argument to help the OP understand his/her requirements and make a decision.

Margins are very thin in this end of the HDD business, WD is just passing on the cost, as the failure rates go up exponentially with age due to design tradeoffs on component quality on low cost drives. The Greens have done extremely well for what they are worth and WD is beginning to realize this, so I do not expect this to last. You might recall Seagate dumbed down the warranty to 1 year before getting out totally
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post #18 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 04:18 PM
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The part where we can help the OP is to show both sides of the argument to help the OP understand his/her requirements and make a decision.

Sure. Which is exactly what I am doing. Without my counter argument he would have already purchased the Red drive without thinking about whether he would ever notice a difference or see any benefit in the extra $30 that he is spending.

My point is that many many many people use Green drives for HTPC without issue. I am not sure there is any benefit of Red for HTPC usage --- even with DVR use. So color me skeptical.

Don't take my word for it though. Here is an independent reviewer using a Green hard drive for storage/DVR/playback in actual HTPC use with one of my machines. Here's what he had to say...
Quote:
Over the course of several months we've used the Elite as our daily Media Center PC in our living room. It also serves content to four Xbox 360 extenders throughout our home. During this time, the Elite has been nothing but exceptional when it comes to the demands we've placed on it. The system has yet to lock up, dump running programs or have any sort of hardware issue while in use.

Recording and viewing television is the main function for our family and the Elite never hesitates when accessing all of the content we record. When you consider that this includes all of the metadata associated with the recordings, this is no small feat. Accessing and displaying this much data can pound on an HTPC and the Elite never stutters or drops the ball when it comes to pulling content.

The same can be said when accessing our archived media. With full gigabit support to the server, movies and TV shows load quickly and playback begins almost instantly. Once Total Media Theater 5 was installed, Blu-ray playback within Media Center (though not perfect) was excellent. Any issues during playback had everything to do with TMT5 and not the hardware running it.

The whole point here is that no matter what I've asked the Elite HTPC to do, it has done the task without issue. From streaming Netflix to pushing HD TV to three extenders at a time to recording up to six HD shows at once, nothing has phased the system. It doesn't even seem to blink no matter what is asked of it. (And yes, we are heavy TV and movie watchers.)

http://dvr.about.com/od/capturetvwithacomputer/a/Assassins-Elite-Htpc-Three-Months-In.htm


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post #19 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I've enjoyed reading this discussion and appreciate everyone's response. I'm sure it's inevitable that I'll be adding a second HDD to this system in the future. I'll also be using it for BT in addition to DVR duties if that factors into the discussion. It seems any performance gains might not be noticeable in day to day use but long term reliability could be worth the additional up front costs for the Red. I plan to buy sometime between now and Black Friday and with the current prices it's a close call.
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post #20 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by shawne11 View Post

I've enjoyed reading this discussion and appreciate everyone's response. I'm sure it's inevitable that I'll be adding a second HDD to this system in the future. I'll also be using it for BT in addition to DVR duties if that factors into the discussion. It seems any performance gains might not be noticeable in day to day use but long term reliability could be worth the additional up front costs for the Red. I plan to buy sometime between now and Black Friday and with the current prices it's a close call.

If you aren't going to use a SSD for your OS/Programs then a Red drive makes a little more sense. As I said if you are spending $30-$40 per drive on multiple drives you have to gauge whether the cost is worth it to you. I think everyone is different there.

For me I absolutely love Green drives and as I stated have had no issues at all with Samsung or WD drives in the many years I have owned them.


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post #21 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 06:41 PM
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Chkdsk on Win7 or Seatools from Seagate
http://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/seatools/

I used WIN7 Chkdsk a few months ago & it took an hour or two to check a 1.5TB HDD. I'm not sure what options there were, if any, to run a check. But it did find some sectors labeled as used but were not, & it corrected this.

Without starting Chkdsk again, is there a specific option to do the 1-2 day test?
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post #22 of 42 Old 10-28-2012, 08:12 PM
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I used WIN7 Chkdsk a few months ago & it took an hour or two to check a 1.5TB HDD. I'm not sure what options there were, if any, to run a check. But it did find some sectors labeled as used but were not, & it corrected this.
Without starting Chkdsk again, is there a specific option to do the 1-2 day test?

Take a look at Seatools.

If you need to keep data on the drive do not use a mediascanner it will overwrite the contents the drive with test patterns.
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post #23 of 42 Old 10-29-2012, 01:54 AM
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I have a single HDD for everything. When I did the CHKDSK it did not overwrite anything so I'm guessing whatever options I might have chosen were safe to use.

FWIW it is a 1.5TB Seagate Green and it is a 5900 rpm spinner vs 5400. I have recorded 4 OTA HD programs at the same time while playing a different recording and it seemed to work just fine.
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post #24 of 42 Old 10-29-2012, 07:10 AM
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Save your money. RED is an excuse to charge more for something that is perfectly fine in the previous cheaper version.

Your chance for reliability with a RED vs a GREEN is not significant enough to warrant the difference in cost up front. I'd rather get the green drive and use the money saved for another HDD or a "real" back up plan depending on your priority for storage vs reliability.

If you really must have a reliable solution- then a red drive is not the solution. Thus- it is not worth the cost in a normal consumer PC.

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post #25 of 42 Old 10-29-2012, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

I have a single HDD for everything. When I did the CHKDSK it did not overwrite anything so I'm guessing whatever options I might have chosen were safe to use.
FWIW it is a 1.5TB Seagate Green and it is a 5900 rpm spinner vs 5400. I have recorded 4 OTA HD programs at the same time while playing a different recording and it seemed to work just fine.

That is the default behavior of chkdsk. It will try to recover the bad sectors it you ask it to, the /r option, be careful though in trying to fix the problem on a live disk, it may make the problem worse.

Your current setup is fine, lots of small random access read/writes is what gives the green drives trouble.
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post #26 of 42 Old 10-30-2012, 12:51 AM
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have to throw in my 2 cents.

i've got a server up with 11 drives [Antec 1200]. ive had drive failures for all brands with the exception of samsung drives.

now that wd and seagate have gone to 1 year warranties for their green drives , i think its worth the additional cost of investing in the red series, simply for the 3 yr warranty

imo, wd/seagate know their green drives are luck of the draw and only providing 1 year warranty, they expect alot of those drives to fail within 24 months.

i still have a few drives under 1 tb [ 500gb / 750gb] over 5+ years old and they are running strong. i dont expect any >2tb drive to run any longer than 3 years at this point. they simply dont make them like they used to

dealing with backups and restoring backups from failed drives gets worse when you are dealing with drives >2 tbs.

last 3 drives i bought were hitachis simply because they still come with 3 year warranty.
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post #27 of 42 Old 10-30-2012, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ratbrain View Post

i've got a server up with 11 drives [Antec 1200]. ive had drive failures for all brands with the exception of samsung drives.

I am curious about the failures you have seen and would appreciate your comments.
I have a file server with a similar number of spindles.

I divide them into 3 general categories
1)Interface/Controller failue, drive won't respond, diaappears from host.
2)Head or platter related, load/unload failure, head getting stuck and won't seek, read/write data errors
3)Motor and bearing related, ie motor won't start, makes too much noise
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post #28 of 42 Old 10-30-2012, 09:13 AM
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i've been lucky so far.

i had a couple of failures where i distinctly heard the clicking noise of death with a few seagates. was able to copy the data.

i had a couple of wd ears 2tb drives that just started taking forever to read and write, so i knew they were dying. also was able to copy the data

i had a hitachi that just stopped detecting after 2 weeks of use. when i went to my disk management , it appeared as foreign disk. this one was odd, but i tried to add the disk again and due a full format. the full format would never complete.

i always full format all my drives when i first put them in service. i then use hd tune pro and do a full error scan after the format as well. so far every drive i've bought has passed , but i know folks that receive DOA drives and never have a chance to try formatting or error scan.

i weekly maintenance also includes checking the health readings from hd tune pro. im constantly monitoring the allocation errors and things like that.

its a pain to deal with.
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post #29 of 42 Old 10-30-2012, 08:24 PM
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Thanks. I do weekly data scrubs of my drives as well, part of the compromise of consumer quality drives.
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post #30 of 42 Old 10-30-2012, 10:01 PM
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Interesting topic. From what I've gathered though, Red, Green, Blue or Black today's 2TB HDD have a limited life span so regardless of which one is chosen, you might has well purchase 2 and use one for back up. So during my HTPC build, If I decided to purchase two, regardless of color, is this where the whole RAID back up strategy comes into play?

The case that I am purcashing has more than enough room and can easily hold 8+ 3.5 HDD. If I decided to purchase more than one HDD, would it be the smart thing to turn my htpc into a mini nas in of itself to back up the HDD since it is only a matter of time before the HDD fails. If yes, besides the 8 to 9 pieces that would be needed to purchase to build the HTPC what would be needed to purchase to turn the HTPC into a NAS as well. What are the pros and cons into building this all in one system.
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