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Hard Drives buy now or wait it out?

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#1 PhilT

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 17:04

Ive been looking at the hard drive prices in the sales (for some reason only the externals are being reduced) for a raid array. My current configuration is 5X 1TB + 1X 2TB in RAID 5.

The best Ive found online is

WESTERN DIGITAL WD Elements Desktop External Hard Drive - 2 TB (black) from WESTERN DIGITAL

€ 101,64
You save 32% off ( € 48,36)


The closest internal 2TB is €138,

Would it be safe to power off the entire array, remove the 2TB and use it plus the 3 externals (after removing the enclosures) to build a 6TB RAID 5 copy everything across from the 5 drives and make a new array using them ?

Or should i just buy 1 and try to wait this price hike out ?


#2 Draconian Guppy

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 17:13

Prices won't start to go down for at least 6-8 months according to anywhere and everywhere on teh internets so if you're that worried power off the entire array. IMO you're being paranoid :wacko:

#3 PGHammer

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 17:17

Ive been looking at the hard drive prices in the sales (for some reason only the externals are being reduced) for a raid array. My current configuration is 5X 1TB + 1X 2TB in RAID 5.

The best Ive found online is



The closest internal 2TB is €138,

Would it be safe to power off the entire array, remove the 2TB and use it plus the 3 externals (after removing the enclosures) to build a 6TB RAID 5 copy everything across from the 5 drives and make a new array using them ?

Or should i just buy 1 and try to wait this price hike out ?


Wait it out.

There are three reasons that prices are supremely high right now - recovery from flooding *anywhere* takes time, and the flooding affected hard-drive-component manufacture especially heavily; popular sizes for OEM construction are also the popular sizes for RAID arrays for the same reason - the third letter in the acronym (Redundant Arraid of Inexpensive Devices - Inexpensive, naturally, being relative), the 500GB-1TB range; and prices will go back down once that pent-up demand is satisfied, causing bulging once more in warehouses.

I wound up *working out* a deal which got me a new 1TB (formatted capacity of 931GB) ex-external (WD My Book, to be exact) drive (external case/component failure due to plug-ology error; the drive itself was completely undamaged) which is now my new boot drive; the old boot drive will be *passed down*.

#4 OP PhilT

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 17:20

My reason for wanting to buy is rapidly dwindling space 170GB atm, I guess ill have to go with the 3 2TB externals and hope the array survives without fault tolerance for the time it takes to copy the contents.

Are the drives inside the externals suitable for RAID or are they slower cheaper variants of the internal ones ?

#5 stevember

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 17:32

If you can wait a little I would, I would say over the next 8 weeks they are going to drop at least by 30 to 40%.

Basing that purely on my own experience in the components industry, market conditions, Christmas over and no external Manufacturing problems at present.

#6 Tony.

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 17:37

Ive been looking at the hard drive prices in the sales (for some reason only the externals are being reduced) for a raid array. My current configuration is 5X 1TB + 1X 2TB in RAID 5.

The best Ive found online is



The closest internal 2TB is €138,

Would it be safe to power off the entire array, remove the 2TB and use it plus the 3 externals (after removing the enclosures) to build a 6TB RAID 5 copy everything across from the 5 drives and make a new array using them ?

Or should i just buy 1 and try to wait this price hike out ?



I thought you couldn't mix hard drive sizes in RAID because it only follows the size of the smallest drive?

If I had a 3x1TB array and I added a 1x2TB hard drive, I wouldn't be able to use the other half of the 2TB drive because the first drives are 1TB?

#7 stevember

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 17:41

I thought you couldn't mix hard drive sizes in RAID because it only follows the size of the smallest drive?

If I had a 3x1TB array and I added a 1x2TB hard drive, I wouldn't be able to use the other half of the 2TB drive because the first drives are 1TB?


Absolutely correct. If performance is massively important but you still need to have redundancy it is recommended to have the same drives. But the performance is not affected like it used to be.

#8 Tony.

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 17:52

Absolutely correct. If performance is massively important but you still need to have redundancy it is recommended to have the same drives. But the performance is not affected like it used to be.


But, I'm not talking about performance, I'm talking about the fact that he has put in a 2TB drive which he'll only be able to use 1TB of because the rest of the array is 1TB. :p Seems like a bit of a waste. If he is going to upgrade to a 2TB drive array then I can see what he is doing, but he may as well stick with 1TB drives or finally upgrade to 2TB and rebuild the array each time he replaces a 1TB drive.

#9 +BudMan

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 18:41

"without fault tolerance for the time it takes to copy the contents."

You do understand when you fail one of the drives by pulling it out, your performance is pretty much going to go into the dirt!! Your restoring files from parity when drive missing from the array -- performance is going to take a hit!

If me I would just wait it out, prices are going to get back to normal pretty quickly -- your crazy if you ask me to drop the extra cash for doing it now, in a few months for the same money you can prob do 2x the space.

Also with all those drives you might really want to look into something other than raid 5 which allows for easy growth of your storage while still maintaining parity. Unraid comes to mind -- http://lime-technology.com/

Or Raid-Z, FlexRaid or even SnapRaid, not sure if you can do BeyondRaid on your own - but I know drobo nases can use it, etc.

Raid 5 is so 5 years ago ;)

#10 Draconian Guppy

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 18:49

"without fault tolerance for the time it takes to copy the contents."

You do understand when you fail one of the drives by pulling it out, your performance is pretty much going to go into the dirt!! Your restoring files from parity when drive missing from the array -- performance is going to take a hit!

If me I would just wait it out, prices are going to get back to normal pretty quickly -- your crazy if you ask me to drop the extra cash for doing it now, in a few months for the same money you can prob do 2x the space.

Also with all those drives you might really want to look into something other than raid 5 which allows for easy growth of your storage while still maintaining parity. Unraid comes to mind -- http://lime-technology.com/

Or Raid-Z, FlexRaid or even SnapRaid, not sure if you can do BeyondRaid on your own - but I know drobo nases can use it, etc.

Raid 5 is so 5 years ago ;)


Wow this unraid is very interesting! Might have a look, though don't have the cash for that kinda setup now, still, nice to know these things! ( $699 for their RB server :s )

#11 +BudMan

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 19:21

Have not seen any systems prebuilt available for quite some time actually -- if you like unraid, you should also take a look at flexraid -- runs in windows, don't have to wipe drives to create your pool. Kind of like drive extender in older version of WHS if you ask me. But sure you can put together some really sweet boxes that can do easy 15 some drives for not pretty low budgets.

My point is there are many ways to skin the cat and provide parity for your large collection of files, etc.

And want to make this VERY VERY CLEAR!!!! Parity is NOT A BACKUP!!!

So make sure your CRITICAL FILES ARE BACKED UP -- not just in some array with parity..

Its just seems people get so stuck in their ways -- raid 5, raid 1, etc.. Where more and more data is stored in the home, mostly video media I am talking about, and sure storage of your ISO's etc.. Where today your using 2TB, but you want to rip your BluRay collection and it make it available on your 60" TV using some player like popcorn hour or wdtv, appleTV, or any other HTPC, etc.. You need large amounts of storage! And it may have to expand very very quickly -- and you might not always have the same size drives around and want to use them, etc.

Again Parity in some array is NOT a BACKUP -- but it does provide you some protection from hardware failure, so that when that 1 drive dies you do not have to recover from your backup, your data is still available while that 1 drive is offline, etc.

So as we need more and more space - and next month we want double that. The old school Raid 5's and 1's etc.. just no longer cut it if you ask me! I want my data in 1 pool to make it easy to access from any device, and I want parity as well -- and I don't want to recover ALL my data from backup or rerip from the original media on loss of just 1 drive, or for that matter with these new systems even if loss of more than 1 drive you just have to restore/rebuilt/rerip the data that was on the drives that failed -- you don't have to restore the whole array!

#12 PGHammer

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:35

My reason for wanting to buy is rapidly dwindling space 170GB atm, I guess ill have to go with the 3 2TB externals and hope the array survives without fault tolerance for the time it takes to copy the contents.

Are the drives inside the externals suitable for RAID or are they slower cheaper variants of the internal ones ?


Before the flood happened, that's why I was looking (my existing 500GB Caviar Eco-Green was filling up - less than 100GB free out of 491GB formatted capacity).

For me, the big space-eaters are video files and virtual drives (desktop virtualization).

The external drives are basically encased internal drives; remember, my current boot drive came from a WD MyBook with busted external components.

The issue is strictly due to price.