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Recently my desktop HDD failed and I am considering replacing it with two laptop HDDs, 7200rpm, 16mb buffer in RAID 1.
I am not able to find anything relevant in regard to MTBF or performance for Laptop vs Desktop HDDs.
Any suggestion on this, would it be a good idea?
Why are desktop HDDs larger than laptop ones? Is it also performance wise (besides the obvious portability issue)?

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Laptop HDD are designed to be lightweight, small, and power savy. Performance comes as secondary constraint.

Note that some of the fastest desktop HDD (velocity raptor) are 2.5" size. But they require as much power as 3.5" HDD. They should not be considered as normal 2.5"HDD.

MTBF is the same according to http://serverfault.com/questions/244629/is-there-a-reliability-difference-between-2-5-and-3-5-hdds

Most desktop can fit several 3.5"HDD. It would be cheaper to use 2 of these.

Edit : Using 2.5"HDD in desktop case could be good choice for :

  • saving power if the computer is 24/7 the power saving will pay for the price difference within 1 year or two
  • silent computer : most 2.5" HDD are more silent than 3.5"
  • heat issue : as they consume less power 2.5" HDD generate less heat
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I'm tired of 3.5" ones. 2.5" would be easier to cool down, especially when the case is getting really hot from the GPU. –  w00t Aug 31 '12 at 12:15
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If the case is really getting that hot, you should invest in proper cooling first. There's no reason that 3.5 vs 2.5 HDD should make the case that much hotter. –  BBlake Aug 31 '12 at 12:29
    
It's not the HDDs which make the case hotter, it's the HDDs which get hot. And I have proper cooling, that is not the issue. –  w00t Aug 31 '12 at 14:18
    
A good desktop case has air flow though the entire case. This also cools the drives. If your drives get almost no cooling via air then I suggest changing the placement of your fans. Also check that in which direction they push the air (e.g. front fans to suck air in, past drive, MB, plugin cards etc and rear fans to blow the air out of the case. Other configurations also work, but make sure all parts get cooled). –  Hennes Aug 31 '12 at 15:01
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