Desktop Storage: SSD vs Magnetic Hard Drive

HP Pavilion HPE H8 Desktop PC & Seagate DiskIt has been said that you have to sometimes look back to see how far you’ve come. A little over a week ago the traditional hard drive in my desktop computer started to fail. The BIOS reported a SMART alarm indicating imminent disk failure.

While this HP desktop was a good deal when it was purchased, the 1.5TB Seagate hard drive, spinning at just 5400 RPM, was part of what motivated the addition of the 256 GB SSD as the boot volume. The traditional hard drive was only for user data.

Despite the alarm state, the system seemed to be running fine. I ordered a 1 TB WD Black hard drive from Amazon. In making the choice of the WD Black I looked around online for research on hard drive reliability. I found a blog post by Backblaze, a company that provides online backup. They have consistently found Seagate drives to be the most failure prone. As a huge user of hard drives, it’s great that they make their data public.

Continue reading “Desktop Storage: SSD vs Magnetic Hard Drive”

Good NAS Going Bad

Our household NAS, known as HAL, is suffering. A LaCie 5Big Network Drive, HAL arrived in December of 2008 loaded with five 500 GB hard drives, yielding 2 TB of RAID 5 storage.

HAL was a Christmas present. He addressed my wife’s need for a storage strategy for her digital photographs, amongst other things. Within the family I was widely known as a geek. The fact that she welcomed a NAS as a gift cemented her standing in that regard.

HAL was twice upgraded such that he presently sports five 2 TB Seagate Barracuda hard drives configured for RAID 10 + a hot spare. One drive failed a couple of months ago. At that time it pulled in the hot spare, spending a weekend rebuilding the volume. No data was lost.

Continue reading “Good NAS Going Bad”

Newsflash: SSD Pricing Is Getting Enticing

Back in January I rather impulsively purchased a 120 GB Sandisk Ultra SSD. At $120 it was just too tempting to pass up. Until recently that disk lived in my HP Mini 5102 netbook.

In truth, 120 GB was on the borderline of being large enough for what I need. I have a 50 GB paid Dropbox account. That dictates that s very small disk will present certain inconveniences.

The SSD in the netbook achieved what I had hoped. The little PC booted faster, ran faster and had longer battery life than with the stock WD Scopio drive.

The events of past week or two have resulted in my having a spare 750 GB Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive. I’ve swapped that into the netbook for now. That leaves the SSD without a home, a situation that I will surely remedy shortly.

Continue reading “Newsflash: SSD Pricing Is Getting Enticing”

Another Hard Drive Bytes The Dust, But Is It A Momentus Moment?

HP dc5750 desktopIf I may take a moment to anthropomorphize…hard drives are not immortal. I was reminded of this very fact when overnight on April 11th a drive in my primary desktop failed.

Given that I was just one day away from my making annual forced trek to Las Vegas for the NAB Convention, and the fact that our income tax return was on that media, it certainly could have been a a problem. However, it wasn’t a catastrophe. Not at all.

The two computers that Stella and I use as our primary desktops sport internal RAID 1 disk arrays. Both desktops came that way. In fact, that was part of their appeal. I was concerned that Stella would have a drive fail one day when I was travelling. Such a failure at an inopportune moment would surely heap calamity upon my very existence.

These desktops are now getting older. Last fall Stella’s system did lose a disk. She told me about the event, advising that she received a desktop prompt noting that “Logical Drive 1 had become critical.” I said not to worry, if it was still running it wasn’t being critical of anything she had done. All would be well until I resolved the trouble.

Continue reading “Another Hard Drive Bytes The Dust, But Is It A Momentus Moment?”