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HGST Deskstar NAS H3IKNAS40003272SN (0S03664) 4TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: These drives are FAST. Much quicker than the Seagate 4TB DM-series drives. They're a bit more expensive, but if performance is important the difference is likely worth it.

Unlike many others I've not had reliability problems with the Seagates, but performance is always an issue with rotating media, especially on a ZFS raidz2 config where writes require multiple physical writes to complete. Then again being able to lose two drives without losing data is a major comfort when you just can't get hosed. And no, raid (ZFS or otherwise) is NOT a substitute for backups!

Time will tell on the reliability front, but my initial impressions from a performance perspective are extremely favorable. These aren't SAS disks but for a SATA drive they turn in extraordinarily nice performance numbers and are competitive for what you get.

As with all computer hardware thermal management is important. If you're stuffing a bunch of these into a cabinet pay attention to airflow for best reliability. These appear to run a bit warmer than similar Seagate 4Tb drives I already own in the same cabinet (~3 degrees Celsius or so) and approximately the same as the 3Tb Seagates. Note the 4Tb Seagates are 5900 RPM .vs. 7200 for the others.

Caution: These are "advanced format" drives, as are all beyond 2TB. This means 4k sector sizes so when you install them make sure your software (or you!) properly align your partition(s) to 4kb boundaries or performance will be materially impacted, especially for writes.

Cons: None so far. Ask me in a couple of years.

Western Digital Black WD2002FAEX 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

Pros: Very fast for its capacity; in the 2TB size it's very hard to get something that will beat it in raw I/O performance in the real world. Synthetic benchmarks don't tell the whole story, but real-world I/O numbers do and this drive is a winner. Higher capacity = higher areal density (usually) = faster I/O, all other things equal -- the 3tb 7200RPM drives are faster, but they have a density advantage.

Cons: Heat! Use with good airflow. These units run hotter than some of their competitors and if not properly cooled you'll have reliability problems. Nothing is free.

Other Thoughts: The 2TB class is more-or-less passe these days, but if you need storage in this class these are a good choice for RAID arrays and similar. I get an honest 100MB/s of sustained transfer rate off these in real-world (not synthetic benchmark) use which is a solid 30% better or so than the Hitachi 7200rpm drives return of the same capacity. I have had some failures but WD is good about warranty replacements and as noted then run hot so use them in a cabinet with proper airflow.

LSI Internal SATA/SAS 9211-8i 6Gb/s PCI-Express 2.0 RAID Controller Card, Single--Avago Technologies
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: There is really not a lot to say about this card, other than (1) it works, (2) it's stable and (3) it's fast. You're going to be limited by your OS and the drives themselves, and there's no fancy cache memory to cheat with, but if you're running ZFS or similar on a NAS box you don't want those things. It's also inexpensive, which is a big bonus.

Cons: It's NOT for those who want on-board RAID or battery-backed cache. If that's your thing then buy an ARECA card, stuff it full of memory and add the battery unit to it.

For host-software-based disk storage (e.g. ZFS file stores on a Unix box), however, this is the cat's meow.


Karl D.'s Profile

Display Name: Karl D.

Date Joined: 12/19/04

  • Reviews: 19
  • Helpfulness: 13
  • First Review: 07/06/08
  • Last Review: 09/14/14
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