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Keith O.

Keith O.

Joined on 05/02/06

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 10
Most Favorable Review

Confirmation of drive manufactured in China vs Thailand

Seagate BarraCuda LP ST32000542AS 2TB 5900 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive Bare Drive
Seagate BarraCuda LP ST32000542AS 2TB 5900 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: 110MB write speeds at beginning of a drive 50+ MB write speeds when drive is near full Read speeds are comparable to the write speeds quoted above. All in all, the drive seems to have really good performance.

Cons: None yet, but the drive is still new, so I'll just have to wait and see.

Overall Review: A recent reviewer claims that drives manufactured in China are bad, but drives manufactured in Thailand are good. The first drive I received was made in China and had severe clicking noises,and slow write speeds, and severe stuttering during playback of video files. I RMA'd it for a replacement and this new drive, made in Thailand, hasn't clicked a single time, even though I've tested it twice by copying 2TB of videos to it, then erasing the videos and copying them all over again. Video playback seems smooth, the drive is quiet, and I'm willing to believe that maybe, just maybe, we should ask Seagate to close its China facility.

Most Critical Review

Ridiculous price not to include all 8 cables

ATEN CS1708 8 port USB KVM Switch
ATEN CS1708 8 port USB KVM Switch

Pros: Control 8 computers with a single switch.

Cons: Unbelievable high price, and they only include 2 cables. Sheesh! My IT manager bought this switch. I think he must have been stupid.

Overall Review: Beware of the fact that the special VAG/USB 'combo' cables are very expensive, and you'll have to buy six more of them if you want to use all 8 ports on this switch. There are many 8-port switches from other manufacturers that are cheaper, and use cheaper cables.

10/22/2006

Chinese drives bad - Thailand drives good

Seagate BarraCuda LP ST32000542AS 2TB 5900 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive Bare Drive
Seagate BarraCuda LP ST32000542AS 2TB 5900 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: Fast read/write speeds. Approx. 110MBps when drive is empty. Still a pretty decent 50MBps when the drive is almost full.

Cons: Have to do a low-level format on these drives to make sure the entire surface of the drive is good. The "Quick" format just assumes the whole drive is good. Only as the drive starts to fill up will you discover whether or not the platter has bad spots.

Overall Review: A previous reviewer stated that drives manufactured in China are bad, but the ones made in Thailand are good. This seems to confirm my own experiences.

Works with HighPoint RocketRaid 2680 in RAID 50

Seagate BarraCuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive
Seagate BarraCuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: Own a total of 16 of these drivrd purchased over a 4 month period. Bought 4 for testing purposes 4 months ago. Used them as individual drives for 2 months copying data back and forth over and over again. Let them run 24/7 during the whole 2 months with no signs of failure. Then I bought 4 more drives, along with the RocketRaid 2680 controller card and built an 8 drive RAID 50 array (2 RAID5 arrays of 4 drives each). Out of these 8 drives, the SMART feature shows 1 drive with 48 bad sectors repaired. The other 7 drives show 1 to 12 bad sectors repaired. I then bought 8 more drives and built another RAID50 array using a 2nd RocketRaid 2680 and SMART shows 6 drives with NO bad sectors at all, and 2 drives with 2 bad sectors each. Have completely filled the arrays with data multiple times and they show no signs of failure or excess heat, and they power up without trouble anytime I reboot the computers.

Cons: Many people have reported high failure rates, (hence the 4 star rating even though I personally have had good experience) which means you can't trust these drives to last very long, but the price is so cheap now that anyone building 4 or 8 drive arrays should buy a couple of extra drives so you won't be in a panic if/when they fail. Remember that the whole purpose of a RAID array is to protect your data in the event of a failure, so even home users should always keep a spare drive or two in a closet. The extra peace of mind is well worth the very modest extra cost.

Overall Review: I have no doubt that many people have had trouble with these drives, but I wonder if at least *some* of the problems have to do with the particular controller card being used and/or the fact that many people are building their arrays with various Linux distros. My arrays are running on 5-year old WinXP SP2 machines with the old Athlon 64 x2 939-pin processors and MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum mobos. The RocketRaid 2680 cards are software RAID, so they're not as fast as the far more expensive cards with hardware XOR engines, but maybe those super-sophisticated cards are, in effect, the root cause of the time-out and dropped drive problems. My advice - stick with a simple controller card and monitor the SMART info every day and keep one or two spare drives on hand for emergencies. Also, these drives may not be available a year or two down the road, so it's best to buy your spares now instead of waiting for the inevitable failure to occur.

11/29/2009

Now own 3 of these

HighPoint RocketRAID 2680 PCI-Express x4 Eight-Port SATA and SAS RAID Controller Card
HighPoint RocketRAID 2680 PCI-Express x4 Eight-Port SATA and SAS RAID Controller Card

Pros: This is an update to an earlier review when I only had 1 of these cards. Now I have 3 of them: Works great under Windows XP Pro. Great web interface for administration. Cheapest card I've found that supports RAID 50. Reports individual temperature of each drive. Reports how many bad sectors detected on each drive. Uses S.M.A.R.T. to give early warning if a drive starts to fail.

Cons: No on-board cache. Software RAID. To those who have observed that the controller interferes with on-board RAID arrays. You can configure the card's BIOS, as recommended by the reviewer below, but it's easier to just set up your motherboard arrays first, then plug in the RR2680 and add your new drive arrays. I'm using four old 320GB WD drives as RAID 10 in the first 4 SATA (1.5) slots, and four more 320GB WD drives as RAID 10 in the second 4 SATA (3.0) slots. Although I lose the ability to manage the second 4-drive array during boot up, I can always unplug the RR2680 temporarily if I need to check the status of the array. A bit inconvenient, yes, but I just thought I'd mention it as an alternative.

Overall Review: About 5 years ago I built 4 computers using the MSI K8N neo4 Platinum motherboard because it had dual-Gigabit Ethernet, and on-board support for 12 hard drives (4 IDE plus 8 SATA). I started out with single core AMD 64 3000+ CPUs and later, when the price went down, upgraded to dual-core 4800+. I went through several generations of hard drives (250GB Maxtors - which were garbage - then 320GB Western Digiatal - which were great - and finally 750GB Seagates - which are great but run hot). I thought I'd finally reached the end of life on these machines when I discovered that the RocketRAID 2680 allowed me to add 8 more drives to each machine by making use of the lone x4 PCIe slot that I'd never paid much attention to. Now I have two 8-drive arrays using Seagate 1.5TB drives, and I re-used 8 of the old 750GB drives on a third machine. The 1.5TB drives run almost 30 degrees cooler and are much faster than the 750s. Now I can get a couple more years of life from these great old machines.

Great RAID 50 performance

HighPoint RocketRAID 2680 PCI-Express x4 Eight-Port SATA and SAS RAID Controller Card
HighPoint RocketRAID 2680 PCI-Express x4 Eight-Port SATA and SAS RAID Controller Card

Pros: Great price for and 8 drive controller card. Also has great RAID 50 performance.

Cons: An 8 drive RAID 5 array using Seagate 1.5TB drive and 4KB sector size was r-e-a-l-l-y slow. Maybe the XOR engine is not up to the task of 8 drives? Or maybe it was the 4KB sector size that was taxing the XOR engine. Don't know.

Overall Review: After getting abysmally slow write performance on an 8 drive RAID 5 array, I re-initialized the array as RAID 50, which is essentially two RAID 5 arrays of 4 drives each that are then striped together as RAID 0. The write performance increased dramatically, and the read performance is OUTSTANDING! Was a little unhappy at first that I was losing 2 drives for redundancy instead of 1 as originally planned for an 8 drive RAID 5 array, but after awhile I enjoyed the extra feeling of security. Also, I am not having any trouble with the Seagate 1.5TB drives as reported by other users.