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When I assembled my current system two years ago, I bought a Crucial M4 128 GB SSD, which was truly worth its price and I bought a Samsung EcoGreen 2 TB HDD, primarily for storing large media data like movies etc. This was likewise the last time being up to date about the actual market situation.

I've just been checking out the most recent releases on the hard disk market, because my EcoGreen gave up a couple of days ago.

I just grabbed dat cheap EcoGreen, because HDD's in 2011 were pretty cheap anyways. Green was in and the market was just flooded with a vast variety of different models being worth their price. There was a lot of silly stuff out there either: green monitors, green power supplies, even green USB flash drives. Despite the EcoGreen gave up after 2 years, I don't regret buying it at all. It's still the cheapest disk space, I've ever bought.

I might get a new EcoGreen, because its 3 years warranty didn't expire yet, nevertheless I searched for potential ones to buy, which might have released in the past two years. And pretty early I found the Western Digital RED.

Here what Western Digital writes about their product:

  • Compatibility: Desktop hard drives are not always tested for compatibility in NAS and can present problems during integration.
  • Reliability: Most desktop drives are not designed for the high operating temperatures or for 24x7 operating environments making them less reliable when used in a NAS system.
  • Error recovery controls: Desktop drives are not traditionally designed for RAID environments and have controls that prevent the RAID controller from assisting in the event of an error which can cause the hard drive to drop off the RAID after a period of time. Rebuilding a RAID often requires several hours and can have a significant impact on downtime and productivity.
  • Noise and vibration: Typically designed for single drive applications, average desktop drives are not optimized for multi-drive systems which have higher noise and vibration levels. When these drives are added to a NAS, the additional vibration can reduce the reliability and life span of the drive.

Since I always thought a system's overall power consumption is impacted by the HDD power consumption at least, I'm suspicious if this might not be another hype? EcoGreen's were about 0.5W more efficient over desktop HHD's, or am I wrong informed? Or am I completely wrong and EcoGreen was not even a hype? I have to admit, that purchasing the EcoGreen already made me expect not such a huge benefit from getting a green one. It's been solid, but nothing special.

What do you think about this?

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closed as not constructive by grawity, CharlieRB, Dave M, ChrisF, Scott Mar 8 '13 at 0:42

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Isn't the main point the Reliability one? And thus MTBF? Because that's the main reason behind using server HDDs versus "normal" ones. –  0xC0000022L Mar 13 '13 at 14:23

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Drives designed for RAID use often have additional condition reporting hardware or firmware and numerous minor, but important differences in the machining/material from which internal components are manufactured resulting in a much longer Mean Time Between Failures (MBTF).

For a home use NAS none of those things will be of much use to you. Although, if you check the drive specifications for several drives that interest you chances are one has a higher MBTF than the others. That's what I would choose for a NAS.

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What about using those in a desktop machine? Non-sense? One reason for not choosing one for desktop use'd be the noise of the HDD, wouldn't it? –  ebeeb Mar 13 '13 at 14:18
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Generally noise is of lower importance in enterprise storage than home use. The average MBTF of consumer HDDs is around 1 million hours. For enterprise RAID drives it's roughly double that. MBTF is a predictive value of probability, not a statement of observed behavior. Observed failure frequency is actually about 1/15 of MBTF. This means the average home use HDD will fail after about 7.5 years of non-stop 100% utilization. In other words, the typical drive will far outlast our performance expectations. Choosing a drive with a higher MBTF usually just means better quality manufacturing. –  OCDtech Mar 15 '13 at 17:09

AFAIK, "Green" Drives are designed to spin down when not in use to save power... but this will cause a delay when a request is made and the drives have to spin up again. Like most things labelled "green", the savings in electricity costs look insignificant (to me).

In a NAS that is constantly under load, heat can be an issue if the NAS is not adequately ventilated. It seems to me that the Red drives are designed primarily for use in a high-uptime NAS or one that in which the drives are running hot. Neither would be an issue in the typical SO/HO setup.

Given that 1) all drives fail and 2) NAS is all about handling drive failure without losing data, I would be more concerned about warranty length (and price!), and buy accordingly.

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