Hard drive recommendation

TexPhotogTexPhotog Major grinsPosts: 187Registered Users Major grins
edited January 21, 2015 in Digital Darkroom
Good morning to all.

First of all, if I'm posting this on the wrong location, please feel free to let me know so I can post on the right place.

I'm curious as to what y'all think about the newest batches of hard drives out there.

I have a couple of older Seagate drives that are getting filled up and I'm looking to get either a larger 4 TB or maybe 2 2TB drives.

I've always liked Seagate since I've never had any issue with them, but the more that I research, the more I see negative reviews on them... then again, most reviews sadly are on the negative side on all the hard drives that I've looked at on Amazon and Walmart.

So here I am looking for advise from people that actually used them for photography.

Does anyone have any pros/cons for Seagate/WD and such?

Thank you in advance for your help.
Miguel
www.kabestudios.com
Nikon Gear
Smith Victor Lighting Gear
Sony Video Gear

Comments

  • NewsyNewsy Major grins Posts: 605Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 15, 2014
    HGST (formerly Hitachi) are said to be substantially superior to either Seagate or Western Digital.

    http://www.extremetech.com/computing/190708-why-are-some-hard-drives-more-reliable-than-others

    https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-reliability-update-september-2014/


    As to hoping to get advice from people that actually use them for photography, I think that is the wrong approach. It is said that most people that respond to such inquiries in forums are the ones that have been through a recent bad experience and are emotionally driven to share the event. So you get 80% of the responses coming from less than 10% of users and these are mostly negative. The Backblaze report is probably the most accurate picture you will get.

    I don't believe there is a whole lot of difference in using a spinning platter drive for manipulating and storing photos as versus documents, database, or music files.

    You will find some differences between drives intended for use in NAS (Network Attached Storage) RAID devices as versus a PC drive. Western Digital has their Red line for NAS and Black line for PC's. Seagate has similar.

    What you should also be looking into is the use of SSD's (solid state drives) to enhance the performance of your PC. My next PC, which I hope to build within 6 months, will have at least a 256GB SSD for the primary drive to hold the OS and then in all likelihood two additional traditional spinning platter drives of 2TB each. If you are in the Windows OS world, you should have at least Win7 installed for the most effective and reliable use of an SSD.

    Backing up all this data is also a concern. Some people use NAS and others use external drives via a hard drive dock.

    A good resource re NAS is >> http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/nas

    .
  • OstravaczechOstravaczech Big grins Posts: 45Registered Users Big grins
    edited November 15, 2014
    I had used Seagate but I swore never to buy them again! I have Hitachis and Toshibas.
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 18,859Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator
    edited November 16, 2014
    I agree with most of what Newsy wrote. There's nothing special about photography that should influence your choice of a disk drive. It's all just ones and zeros. That said, I would encourage you to consider moving to an SSD for your primary storage--the performance gains are remarkable. As for secondary storage, all of the major brands give generally good results, but any drive can fail without warning. Rather than spend a lot of time comparing the arcane specs of WD, Seagate, Hitachi and others, I'd focus on making sure that you have a robust backup scheme in place that will protect you in case of failure.
  • time2smiletime2smile Major grins Posts: 835Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 16, 2014
    You should consider that all brands can and will fail eventually, redundant backups is the way to go, especially with the current price of mega-drives. I have three drives (plus Smugmug) and update them when needed, and I keep them in different locations, in case of fire, flood or theft.
    Ted....
    It's not what you look at that matters: Its what you see!
    Nikon
    http://www.time2smile.smugmug.com
  • cmasoncmason Old dog, new tricks Raleigh, NCPosts: 2,506Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 17, 2014
    Agree. I buy whatever branded disk drive I can find on sale. Note, I won't purchase a store brand, like Razorfish etc. But I am indifferent to whether its is a WD, Seagate, Toshiba, etc.

    I don't think Photography has any special need regarding hard drives, though my photography is the most use my hard drives get. If you are looking for disks that have best mean time between failures (MTBF), note that brand really isn't a factor, they all fail about the same. If MTBF is the key issue, you should consider purchasing a server drive, which are much more expensive, but offer better MTBF numbers. WD offered their 'Black' drives for this, now they are called Re or Xe. Seagate offers the Enterprise Performance line.

    But really, if MTBF is the biggest issue, then getting a multiple disk RAID solution is your best bet. These systems have multiple drives, and if one fails the other continues, and prevents loss of data as a result. Synology, QNAP or Drobo are the leading solutions to look for. For less expensive, WD makes similar models like My Cloud, My Book Pro, etc.

    If you are looing for speed, the RAID solutions above are faster than a single hard disk, but neither are as fast as a SSD. Many of the RAID solutions support multiple SSDs, so that would be the fastest (and most expensive) of all.

    Finally, no matter what you do, back up your drive, preferably one copy locally, another offsite. Lots of posts about backup solutions here on DGrin, so search around.
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Posts: 4,550Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 17, 2014
    cmason has some good points about mean-time-between-failure (MTBF) and RAIDS. If the ability to keep running even when a drive fails is important, RAID is the best way to go. If not, then a good backup plan is sufficient. But bear in mind, having a RAID is NOT a substitute for a backup. Even with RAID you will want a backup strategy as well.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,303Administrators moderator
    edited November 17, 2014
    I used to manage a fairly large storage array that relied on a number of different brand disk drives. Honestly, failure rates on big name (WD, Seagate, ...) were about the same. The most notable exception was the IBM "sticktion" problem-lubricant collected on the heads and while running, were fine. If the drive was shut down, there was a better than average chance it would not spin up again.

    My suggestion would be to always buy from a reputable source and to adequately format the drive prior to use. I would also be reluctant to buy the latest and greatest drive capacity.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • NikonsandVstromsNikonsandVstroms *and Olympus Boston, MAPosts: 990Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 21, 2014
    I've had no issues with WD or Seagate internal drives but the Seagate external enclosures at least in the past have been a mess for myself as well as a few other people I know.
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 11,459Administrators moderator
    edited November 21, 2014
    I've had no issues with WD or Seagate internal drives but the Seagate external enclosures at least in the past have been a mess for myself as well as a few other people I know.
    I've had a few of those Seagate external enclosures fail as well. I've salvaged the drives from them which were still good and threw the enclosures away. I now purchase just naked drives and use these Startech Enclosures as my working storage.

    BTW, I don't use RAID. I use just plain old hard drives for my pictures. My system has 32GB of RAM, and two SSD drives, one for the OS and apps, the other one is dedicated to LR and PS scratch areas. LR is so fast on my system that I can't imagine the performance would be any better with RAID due to all that fast caching.

    For backups, I use an ancient free incremental backup program from Microsoft called SyncToy. It works so well I've seen no reason to replace it. I run it after every important shoot. I backup to naked drives. I have a hot-swap SATA port in the top of my PC and I just chuck one of the bare backup drives in that port when I back up. Normally, I just keep my latest backup drive in that port. If I didn't have that port in the top of my PC, I'd use an external HDD docking port like this one. http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-SuperSpeed-Drive-Docking-Station/dp/B0033AF5WW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1416617210&sr=8-4&keywords=startech+plugable+enclosure

    Once a month or so, I take that backup drive to my bank safety deposit box and swap it with a second backup copy which I bring home and synch against my most recent pictures disk. Then I use that backup for a month or so and swap it back again at the bank. So that way, each picture of mine is immediately copied to two drives and eventually migrates to all three different drive copies, one of which is stored off-site at the bank. This scheme is infinitely scalable. I'm actually on my third series of three drives right now. I archive about 2TB of pictures and video a year.

    BTW, I used to buy only Enterprise class drives which are about twice the price of non-enterprise versions due to their alledged better MTBF. After reading some recent reports however, I've concluded the extra cost of those drives are a waste of money and next time I'll just buy cheaper drives. That especially since I'm backing up everything in triplicate anyway.
  • cmasoncmason Old dog, new tricks Raleigh, NCPosts: 2,506Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 23, 2014
    +1 on SyncToy, I still use it on my Windows machine. I also use Synkron on my Macs, works the same way: http://synkron.sourceforge.net/
  • NikonsandVstromsNikonsandVstroms *and Olympus Boston, MAPosts: 990Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 26, 2014
    kdog wrote: »
    I've had a few of those Seagate external enclosures fail as well. I've salvaged the drives from them which were still good and threw the enclosures away. I now purchase just naked drives and use these Startech Enclosures as my working storage.

    BTW, I don't use RAID. I use just plain old hard drives for my pictures. My system has 32GB of RAM, and two SSD drives, one for the OS and apps, the other one is dedicated to LR and PS scratch areas. LR is so fast on my system that I can't imagine the performance would be any better with RAID due to all that fast caching.

    For backups, I use an ancient free incremental backup program from Microsoft called SyncToy. It works so well I've seen no reason to replace it. I run it after every important shoot. I backup to naked drives. I have a hot-swap SATA port in the top of my PC and I just chuck one of the bare backup drives in that port when I back up. Normally, I just keep my latest backup drive in that port. If I didn't have that port in the top of my PC, I'd use an external HDD docking port like this one. http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-SuperSpeed-Drive-Docking-Station/dp/B0033AF5WW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1416617210&sr=8-4&keywords=startech+plugable+enclosure

    Once a month or so, I take that backup drive to my bank safety deposit box and swap it with a second backup copy which I bring home and synch against my most recent pictures disk. Then I use that backup for a month or so and swap it back again at the bank. So that way, each picture of mine is immediately copied to two drives and eventually migrates to all three different drive copies, one of which is stored off-site at the bank. This scheme is infinitely scalable. I'm actually on my third series of three drives right now. I archive about 2TB of pictures and video a year.

    BTW, I used to buy only Enterprise class drives which are about twice the price of non-enterprise versions due to their alledged better MTBF. After reading some recent reports however, I've concluded the extra cost of those drives are a waste of money and next time I'll just buy cheaper drives. That especially since I'm backing up everything in triplicate anyway.

    How big of an improvement did you see? What specific areas did it speed up? And how much have you dedicated to them? Sorry about all the questions...I've got my workstation from 2010 and its w3540 Xeon is getting long in the tooth. I did a refresh in 2012 with a small SSD for the OS/programs & a new GPU which helped in PS but I could use another performance boost to extend the life a little bit further on this box.

    Also a quick note on external drives, I've got about 7 WD's in total now going back about 8 years and none of them have failed on me. I also have 1 Toshiba which still works fine just the connectors are a bit finicky.
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 11,459Administrators moderator
    edited November 26, 2014
    How big of an improvement did you see? What specific areas did it speed up? And how much have you dedicated to them? Sorry about all the questions...I've got my workstation from 2010 and its w3540 Xeon is getting long in the tooth. I did a refresh in 2012 with a small SSD for the OS/programs & a new GPU which helped in PS but I could use another performance boost to extend the life a little bit further on this box.
    I built the system from scratch for photo-processing, so the only comparison would be to my old system which was nothing like this and thus no comparison. This kind of configuration has been described in other threads and follows guidelines that are posted by Adobe, and there are even companies who sell systems like this for photographers. I have a 180GB SSD for the system drive and a 120GB SSD for the scratch drive, which also contains my pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys files. Not that my system pages at all. At one time I ran without either of these files, but eventually turned them back on for some reason. My CPU is a six-core I7 which I got at cost from an Intel employee who was on the design team, even before it was generally available in the stores. mwink.gif

    I actually had a third SSD when I built the system to be used as a "work in progress" drive. The idea was that I would work on my latest shoot on that drive to make things really rip and move it to secondary storage after the work was done. But sometimes I would forget to do the initial copy to the WIP drive and I discovered that I was running just as fast from magnetic drives. So I decommissioned the WIP drive and used the SATA port for a big magnetic drive.

    So my take is that you don't need to put your pictures on SSDs if you have your LR and PS scratch areas on SSD and you have plenty of RAM.

    One thing I haven't yet tried is putting my LR catalog on SSD. Again I'm not sure that will buy me anything since my system is already so fast. It may be the case that LR already caches my catalog in RAM since I have so much of it available. But it might be an interesting experiment nevertheless. If nothing else, it may speed up my catalog backups which are pretty slow because I have one huge one with many terabytes of pictures in it. (Just to be clear, the actual terabytes of picture data are not contained in the catalog, but are referenced by it.)
  • NewsyNewsy Major grins Posts: 605Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 27, 2014
    Laughing.gif... had to upgrade my boot drive today in my old old photo PC due lack of space. Took out the old 320GB and replaced it with a 1TB just to get me by for another 6 months at most. Turns out the 320GB is a Seagate. It was installed in December 2008 and has been rock solid ever since. Can't say the same about the ASUS motherboard though or the original Corsair power supply.
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 11,459Administrators moderator
    edited January 16, 2015
    kdog wrote: »
    For backups, I use an ancient free incremental backup program from Microsoft called SyncToy.
    cmason wrote: »
    +1 on SyncToy, I still use it on my Windows machine. I also use Synkron on my Macs, works the same way: http://synkron.sourceforge.net/

    Just for the record, I no longer use nor recommend SyncToy. It turns out it's got some nasty habits, especially when you're using it to maintain multiple backup copies of a drive. I discovered it not backing up some new files, and at one point it actually wanted to delete some of my new files. (Fortunately I always ran it in preview-mode first.) There's something about the fact that it keeps track of changes to files, and doesn't really compare file structures per se.

    I now use a program called RichCopy. It's a true incremental backup program in that it examines your disk structure from scratch each time to determine the list of files that need updating.

    Here's a link to one dude's blog who discovered my same problem with SyncToy, but well before I did. He's the one who recommended RichCopy and it's working great for me. https://thegadgetreviewblog.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/a-word-of-warning-on-the-use-of-synctoy-in-a-back-up-strategy-utilising-multiple-external-disks/
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,410Super Moderators moderator
    edited January 16, 2015
    For Macs, get SuperDuper from Shirt Pocket software. -- http://www.shirt-pocket.com

    I have used it for years, it works without question, creates exact bootable back ups, and is cheap to boot!

    I use it to create multiple back ups of my boot drives, and my data drives, even my Raid devices. I can't image owning a Mac without Super Duper, and I have used it for almost a decade.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • NewsyNewsy Major grins Posts: 605Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 17, 2015
    I don't mind paying for a good product and one I use for back-up to drives in my external dock is...

    Beyond Compare latest version is 4

    http://www.scootersoftware.com/index.php

    .
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Posts: 4,550Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 20, 2015
    pathfinder, you need to sell me better on Super Duper versus Time Machine. :) I currently have two USB drives, both of which are Time Machine targets. The Mac automatically cycles from one drive to the next, each hour. It may not be bootable, but you can restore from them, which is just as good. Time Machine creates an archive, not just a backup, which is very useful. With dual drives I consider it a poor man's RAID setup. And its built into Mac OS-X.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • cmasoncmason Old dog, new tricks Raleigh, NCPosts: 2,506Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 20, 2015
    I use Carbon Copy Creator (like SuperDuper) to create a local recovery drive. I refresh it once a month. This allows me to get a working computer back very very quickly. It is not intended to be file backup. I can boot from this disk, and restore from it to create a new hard drive that is only about 1 month old if needed.

    For files, Originally I used Time Machine, but it is much too flaky over wifi, with constant requests to build a new sparsebundle. It was solid with a directly attached drive, but frustrating with a wifi attached drive. I gave up and switched to Crashplan for file recovery.
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,410Super Moderators moderator
    edited January 20, 2015
    mercphoto wrote: »
    pathfinder, you need to sell me better on Super Duper versus Time Machine. :) I currently have two USB drives, both of which are Time Machine targets. The Mac automatically cycles from one drive to the next, each hour. It may not be bootable, but you can restore from them, which is just as good. Time Machine creates an archive, not just a backup, which is very useful. With dual drives I consider it a poor man's RAID setup. And its built into Mac OS-X.



    You do not have to do one or the other - I run SuperDuper to create three back up copies of my boot disc - 2 on other hard drives, and a third on a USB 3 128Gb solid state thumb drive. AND I do run a copy onto Time Machine on my Airport as well. The thumb drive I store in a fireproof safe, or off site.

    I guess I am a belt and suspenders kind of fellow.

    For my data I run two Raid arrays, and a third hard drive copy of the data as well, done by Super Duper also.

    I KNOW my back up copies are direct bootable drives because I have used them several times over the years due to failing boot drives. Redundancy is a virtue when it comes to digital storage. I can just reboot my computer and tell it to boot from an alternate drive with my back up OS and applications on it, and be up an running after a drive failure in less than 10 minutes.

    I have not set up a Crash Plan account yet, but it is on my to do list this winter.

    SO I am not saying do not use Time Machine I do use it, I just don't depend entirely on it... Belt and suspenders!
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,303Administrators moderator
    edited January 21, 2015
    pathfinder wrote: »
    You do not have to do one or the other - I run SuperDuper to create three back up copies of my boot disc - 2 on other hard drives, and a third on a USB 3 128Gb solid state thumb drive. AND I do run a copy onto Time Machine on my Airport as well. The thumb drive I store in a fireproof safe, or off site.

    I'm not sure what drives that decision for four copies? It's a lot of extra work for not a lot of return. If you want that level of security, a RAID array and snapshot style backups in addition to the two d2d would be easier to manage.

    I like that you're using two tools. That's actually pretty smart. Why? It covers tool failure that could be induced by a software upgrade.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
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