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What is the most reliable hard drive and backup system?


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#1
eholm

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I run my business on my computer, so reliability is something I'm willing to pay for.

My PC's main hard drive (a Seagate 750GB) has some errors, so I'm going to go get a new HDD.

Some people are saying SSD is the best drive for your OS. Others say it's not.

Some say you should put your OS on a separate HDD from your other data, others say to keep it all on one.

Some say to use RAID... others say simply use a backup program like Acronis.

I want your EXPERT opinion...

Specifically, what are the best consumer HDD's on the market? And what is the best array and backup system?

I do have 3 internal SATA slots to work with. I'm running Vista 64, and I have 8GB of RAM.

I use my PC a lot (usually leave it running 24/7). I have over 300GB of data, and will accumulate more. I have at least 20+ software programs that I use regularly.

Thanks
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#2
Kemasa

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Solid State Disks are relatively new, so it is unknown how they will last long term. If quality parts are used and air flow is considered, they should last a long time. Disk drives tend to last a long time, but often there can be electronic component problems with them, rather than a head crash. This would be the same with a SSD.

It is a good idea to have your data on a separate partition than the OS. Depending on what you are doing, having it on a separate disk can be a good idea as you have a separate disk so it can speed things up with heavy access. Adding disks means that you have more things to fail, but putting everything on one disk means that you have all your eggs in one basket.

RAID is a good idea to protect your data, BUT it does NOT reduce the need to backup the system. If files get corrupted, RAID will NOT take care of that, so you need to be able to go back in time.

I personally like NetApp and NetBackup, but that is going to cost a lot of money and is not really consumer based. For lower end, I don't know.

One thing to realize is that disks are designed for different uses. The cheaper disks are designed for reduced use. Since you leave it on all the time, you might want to consider a server grade disk. I don't recall where a friend of mine found this info, but it is available. Most disk makes have a wide selection of options.

I would suggest using RAID, either RAID1 or RAID5. This is to protect the data against disk failure. The amount of data is low enough that you could get away with RAID1. You could also have a hot spare. If you want to increase the amount of data, you might want to consider RAID5.

You can also add an additional SATA card or even SCSI to be able to increase the amount of disks that you have. You also want to make sure that your case is good with respect to airflow, many are not. Again, there are server cases and then there are cheaper (although not always pricewise) cases.
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#3
eholm

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Thank you Kemasa.

Do you or anyone have any recommendations of specific products?

I'm looking at Best Buy and it seems the best HDD available is the Western Digital - VelociRaptor 300GB Internal SATA. Only problem there is it's a bit too small to keep everything on it.

But maybe I could go with that one for the OS and programs? And then use a larger HDD for data?

OR... I could get two Western Digital - Caviar Black 1TB Internal Serial ATA drives and run them in RAID1? and then use Acronis to periodically create a backup image to an external...

?

Edited by eholm, 25 August 2009 - 12:11 PM.

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#4
Kemasa

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Check out places like newegg.com for more selection and perhaps better prices. Also, go to the website of Western Digital and see what they have to offer for the different types of uses. You might have to pay more for a better drive, but hopefully it will be worth it.

If your motherboard supports RAID3, you could put in three of the 300Gb disks, which would give you a total of 600Gb for your data and the OS, with some data protection.

You could get two 1Tb disks and run them in RAID1 as well.

You still need to backup the data, regardless of whether you use RAID or not. Perhaps someone else can give you some ideas about Acronis. I know there are also Internet solutions, although there is the trust issue.
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