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Marc L. 11-26-2005 12:29 PM

purchase of a new hard drive: which brand to choose?
 
hello everyone!

i'm running low on hard disk space, and i intend to counteract this problem by adding a new hard-drive. i was thinking about ~300GB, 7200 rpm.
i have an asus a7v600-x motherboard. it has the usual two ide buses, of course, plus a sata-1 controller. i already have two hard drives connected to the primary ide bus, and two dvd-drives on the secondary.
i'm talking about my home pc, so my budget is'nt unlimited. however, i still want my data secure.

so,

(1) is it possible to connect a sata-hd to the sata-socket, without removing any of the other drives? would it be recognised, and if yes, how would it appear to the os'es? will windows and linux support it out-of-the-box?

(2) if it is possible to plug in a fifth drive on the sata bus, then which manufacturer should i choose? i've seen that maxstor offers hds at significantly lower prices that western digital or seagate, for example. so i wonder if their disks are as good. my first priority is safety of data. a 16MB cache is no use to me if the disk wins any benchmarks for 5 years and then head-crashes.

someone who is more involved with hard-disks than i am should easily be able to give me advice for the first issue.
anyone is welcome to post their opinions about the second issue, i would appreciate it. and, be verbose.

thanks in advance

mebrelith 11-26-2005 12:37 PM

Get yous hands on a Seagate Barracuda 300GB Ultra ATA/100 7200RPM ST3300831A. Totally recommended, actually any Seagate is totally recommended (and no I neither work for nor sale any Seagate HDs :) ).

futz 11-26-2005 12:49 PM

Re: purchase of a new hard drive: which brand to choose?
 
Quote:

(1) is it possible to connect a sata-hd to the sata-socket, without removing any of the other drives? would it be recognised, and if yes, how would it appear to the os'es? will windows and linux support it out-of-the-box?
Yes you can do that. It will be recognized and it will appear to all OS'es as just another drive. You should have no problems at all. Windows and Linux don't care - it's just another drive to them. Linux will see a SATA drive as something like sda1 instead of hdb1.


Quote:

(2) if it is possible to plug in a fifth drive on the sata bus, then which manufacturer should i choose? i've seen that maxstor offers hds at significantly lower prices that western digital or seagate, for example. so i wonder if their disks are as good. my first priority is safety of data. a 16MB cache is no use to me if the disk wins any benchmarks for 5 years and then head-crashes.
I've read a lot of Maxtor bashing. I guess I've been lucky. I've used a lot of Maxtors over the years and have something like 12 spread over three machines here right now, with 8 of those in big RAID-0 arrays that have been up for a year or two. I've never had one fail. I do backup important stuff regularly tho.

On the other hand, I have had Western Digital drives fail when way too new (still under warranty). And a friend had an older Maxtor fail.

Other drive manufacturers to consider are Samsung and Hitachi. I've used a few of them and had no trouble at all.

slackhack 11-26-2005 01:11 PM

i have 2 seagate drives now, and i prefer my old maxtors. they were quieter and faster. the seagates make all kinds of weird quiet off and on buzzing sounds, are slower to wake up, and have noticeably louder disk seeking. i never had any data problems with the maxtor.

samsung spinpoint drives are also really nice. i put a 40gb in my sister's computer and it is fast and silent. they also have the smaller height form factor, which is probably better for cooling. i really like those drives. western digital imo are the worst, i would choose those last: samsung > maxtor > seagate > wd.

Marc L. 11-26-2005 01:41 PM

thanks for your posts!

as i see, there are quite different opinions about subject (2), but it seems to boil down to western digital not being recommended. that already helps me.
i would still like to hear more opinions.

according to mebrelith, seagate is the alpha and omega, according to slackhack they are too loud. has anyone had different or the same experiences with seagate?

J.W. 11-26-2005 03:47 PM

My 2 cents: Everyone's recommendation is going to be highly skewed in favor or against a particular brand, based on their own personal experience, and debates over the "best" hard drive are not all that much different over debating which distro is the "best". I'd say that as long as you stick with a reputable brand, you should be OK, and even if one goes bad, chances are pretty good that it will do so while it's still under warranty.

As for me, anytime I've used any brand other than WD, I've run into problems. That's just my own experience - YMMV

makuyl 11-26-2005 03:47 PM

I have an older maxtor and a newer seagate. When I got the seagate I asked the in the shop which hd's get fewer returns due to faults, and the seagate had a return factor of ~3% whereas the maxtors had ~8%. I would suggest you do the same and ask the shop between models your interested in.

jughead 11-26-2005 04:59 PM

I prefer Seagate hard drives to the other major manufacturers, although I like Western Digital. I know/hear of people that have prblems with Maxtor, but I've also seen some very old (>1gb era) Maxtors still kickin'. I choose Seagate because I have found them to be quieter than WD. It might be case acoustics/drive placement, but the SG Ihave in my box now is silent compared to the 2 WDs I am running.

I'm not sure about out of the box SATA support.

slackhack 11-26-2005 05:10 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by makuyl
I have an older maxtor and a newer seagate. When I got the seagate I asked the in the shop which hd's get fewer returns due to faults, and the seagate had a return factor of ~3% whereas the maxtors had ~8%. I would suggest you do the same and ask the shop between models your interested in.
that's why i bought my seagates. :D they're actually v.good drives, just loud for my tastes compared with samsung/maxtor (though some people complain that maxtors are loud -- maybe it's a frequency thing). they definitely are slower, however, and that is based on objective measurments, not subjective. overall i think J.W. is correct that if you stick with the major brands you'll be okay. i think by now most all of them have at least 3yrs of warranty anyway. :)

makuyl 11-26-2005 05:17 PM

Well, I paid a few eur more to get the seagate with larger cache mem to get slightly better performance. But yup, it's a bit loud. The old barracudas were called shitgates for a reason, but they seem to be ok nowadays. The warranties don't cover data loss btw, so take those backups ;)
And all this being said, my older maxtor is purring along just fine.

WhatsHisName 11-26-2005 05:52 PM

1) Using both SATA and PATA drives with the Asus A7V600 worked fine for me in both windows and linux (2.6 kernel). I think windows needed a driver for the SATA controller, but it was on the CD that came with the motherboard.

2) No matter which drive you buy, you should test it with the manufacturer's diagnostic software before you use it.

My current drive of choice is a Western Digital, for both PATA and SATA, but I do occasionally use Seagate SATA drives. Five years ago, my drive of choice was a Seagate. I don't have an exact count, but I would guess that I purchased about 20 WD's in the past year.

The newer “black” WD drives are fast and extremely quiet. I have 3 spinning next to me right now and I cannot hear them. No whining, no thumping, nothing. Even my newer Seagates make noise and most certainly, my older “silver” WD's make a little noise. If for no other reason, the WD's quietness makes them the number one choice for a replacement drive.

If you buy the WD OEM version, they are not only much cheaper than the retail version, but you get a 3-year warranty with them instead of a 1-year warranty. I can afford to buy a few screws and a cable for the US$30 or so difference in price on a 200GB drive.

Regarding reliability, I have never had a WD fail while in service and obviously, have never lost any data due to a WD drive failure. I had some WD's a long time ago that got so loud that I replaced them out of fear, but they still seemed to work fine.

I have returned one new out-of-the-box WD in the last five years. It seemed to work fine, but it failed the diagnostics (WD Data Lifeguard Diagnostic).

I have also returned two older WD's for warranty replacement, which I am fairly sure were damaged by my mishandling (i.e., static discharge resulting in a “clicking” drive). They were both working fine, until I moved them to different systems. I learned my lesson and became much more careful when handling hard drives after the second one. I have never had that problem again. You can't blame a manufacturer for your own stupidity and ineptitude.

Also, regarding a WD warranty replacement, returning a WD drive for replacement is about as painless as it gets. And if you send them an “old” 40GB drive, don't be surprised if they send you a 200GB drive back.

DISCLAIMER: I have no business relationship with WD, other than I buy their drives.

leandean 11-27-2005 12:14 AM

Whichever drive you settle on, I would strongly recommend running the drive manufacturer's diagnostic program before installing it. One note: Maxtor's PowerMax will not detect SATA drives when used with most onboard SATA controllers. You can use a different manufacturer's diag on them though.

Electro 11-27-2005 01:15 AM

Quote:

(1) is it possible to connect a sata-hd to the sata-socket, without removing any of the other drives? would it be recognised, and if yes, how would it appear to the os'es? will windows and linux support it out-of-the-box?
From reading the manual it should just be an extra PCI device that will give you two extra hard drives. You just need VIA SATA compiled for your kernel. Kernel version 2.6.x has it. I think the latest 2.4.x kernels has it too.

Quote:

(2) if it is possible to plug in a fifth drive on the sata bus, then which manufacturer should i choose? i've seen that maxstor offers hds at significantly lower prices that western digital or seagate, for example. so i wonder if their disks are as good. my first priority is safety of data. a 16MB cache is no use to me if the disk wins any benchmarks for 5 years and then head-crashes.
Seagate drives does put a performance penalty on the system. Really there is no hard drive that is reliable. You said "I still want my data secure." No data is secure, you just have to make backups and hope the backups are not corrupted. If the hard drive is going to be in a system all the time, I suggest either Hitachi or Western Digital. I recommend that you do not use ReiserFS because it does corrupt files if you are not careful. I use XFS. Any hard drive you buy is up to, but be very, very, very careful while handling it.

Marc L. 11-27-2005 10:39 AM

thanks everyone for your posts!

i think i'll follow makuyl's suggestion and ask the vendor which brand has the best return stats. based on the other posts, i'm slightly biased in favour of w.d. and seagate; i'll probably get my hands on one of them.

@Electro: I'm surprised to hear that reiser screws up, because suse totally favours it. I'd like to know more about filesystems.
I want to use the new hd completely for data storage, the system partitions will go to one of the old ones. the data should be accessible from both linux and windows, which would make vfat the fs of choice. but i also want to be able to store files larger than 4gb, which is kind of a problem with vfat. i found the solution on the ubuntu homepage: there's a kernel module for windows available that allows windows to access ext2 partitions (they will only be mounted as ext2, not ext3). So my question is: Since ext2 uses no journaling, does that mean a crash during a write operation to the partition could corrupt the entire filesystem? would it be safe to use ext2 for that purpose, or should i stick to vfat to be safe?

Joey.Dale 11-27-2005 01:26 PM

I would go with seagate, simlipy because they have the longest warrenty (5 years)


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