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 Post subject: How quiet is a 2.5" hot-swap cage?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:42 am
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Location: Sweden
Hi, I have an idea of moving to 2.5" disks on my antec solo, less power, less heat etc. I found this drive cage which takes 2x2.5" disks in a 5.25" slot, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6816215223

I suppose the fans can be disabled by modding the cage, but the drives themselves in the hot-swappable cages may do some noise. What do you think, will there be audible noise if I use 5400 rpm laptop drives (ie. samsung M2 1 TB) for example?


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 Post subject: Re: How quiet is a 2.5" hot-swap cage?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:19 am 
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There certainly will be no reduction of noise, and there is much greater likelihood of some amplification of noise. There is usually a fan built into these and that will almost always be noisy. (Just saw that this one has 2 40mm fans)

Just suspend 2.5" drives in a Solo. Works great for me.

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 Post subject: Re: How quiet is a 2.5" hot-swap cage?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:06 am 
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Hello, thanks for the feedback. My idea with the drive cages is to be able to replace the drives easily but I don't want to sacrifice in noise... I have 6 3.5" drives which are mounted with elastic bands in the antec solo, using the holes on the case for the upper 5.25" "slots". The thing is I need more disks for mirroring and striping ZFS but it's hard to fit more disks in the antec solo case. However if I do elastic mounts for the 2.5" inside the case I could surely increase the number of disks, maybe it's even possible to stack two 2.5" disks with the circuitboards separated by a electrostatic protection sheet?


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 Post subject: Re: How quiet is a 2.5" hot-swap cage?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:30 am 
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Sounds to me like you need a bigger case or rethink your storage setup to use a fewer number of drives. Maybe investing in some higher capacity drives to replace older, smaller ones will help. I see that newegg currently offers a 3TB Hitachi 5400rpm 3.5" drive for $120.

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Support SPCR by buying your gear through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: How quiet is a 2.5" hot-swap cage?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:54 pm 
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Do you know if the 3TB hitachi drives are silent? Yep, I have to think some more on the setup, have to figure out which redundancy I can afford as well. Is there any place which lists the failure rates on different disks?


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 Post subject: Re: How quiet is a 2.5" hot-swap cage?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:00 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
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Location: Switzerland
2.5'' drives potentially allow you to store a lot more data in a given volume but you'd have to use something that packs more drives than 2 drives per 5.25'' slot.
Noise-wise, 5400rpm 2.5'' drives are quieter in my experience (at least if you're not suspending). The seeks and idle vibrations simply have less energy.
They don't need fans provided they've got some room to breathe. So you should be able to put 5400rpm 2.5'' drives in hot-swap bays without them making a racket (assuming the bays are adequately designed in that respect).
But high-capacity 2.5'' drives are expensive and I would be wary of their reliability.

You can probably hot-swap 18TB (not accounting for redundancy) with the Solo (6 3.5'' drives in the 4 5.25'' bays).
Obviously that should be a good bit noisier than 2.5'' drives but, so far as I know, you can't get anywhere as much capacity with hot-swappable 2.5'' drives without an external enclosure or building your own racks. Plus you'd need the controllers to support so many drives.

In general, given the same platter density, the higher the drive capacity, the higher the failure rate. And the older the drive, the higher the failure rate (except for new, untested drives). Drive failure shouldn't be much of a problem if you have six drives anyway. It'll happen sooner or later.
So far as I know, aside from a few particularly bad models, there is no publically available and reliable data on which brand or model is the most reliable.

If you have to ask about failure rates on drives, you may not be aware of the shortcomings of redundancy on ZFS. I should warn you: in most cases, ZFS isn't the safest thing but even if it was, it wouldn't replace backups. I don't know your exact situation and your goals but, unless you already have good backups or you're planning to backup using these hot-swap bays (not such a great idea considering the noise impact now that we have eSATA), consider going with minimal ZFS redundancy and investing in backups instead: that would be much safer, and less noisy too.

Finally, if you care about noise, think really hard about moving most of your storage capacity to a NAS. Most people have no real need for hard drives in their PCs (an SSD or two would be sufficient) anymore. If your NAS is out of the way, you can hot-swap 3.5'' drives on it without being bothered by the noise.


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 Post subject: Re: How quiet is a 2.5" hot-swap cage?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:55 am 
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Using the hot-swappable 4x2.5" drives would give me a total of 16 TB, using 1 TB drives and 4 backplanes. But it would be very costly...

What I plan with my setup is to use a mirror (2x1TB) for my important stuff, which is scheduled for daily backup on a third external sata disk which is switched on using a usb programmable power jack. This is is very similar to what I use today.
Then for media storage I plan to use a raidz using five disks, here I've not decided which redundancy level I should use.
The last sata port would be the OS disk.

If I buy some new large capacity disks I may consider raidz1 and use the old drives as a backup pool.

This server is for multipurpose use, both file server, media player and number crunching :) . However, this is not my main workstation, so if I had room I would find some "silent" place for it.


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 Post subject: Re: How quiet is a 2.5" hot-swap cage?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:38 pm 
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Location: Switzerland
Boris Bilinsky wrote:
Using the hot-swappable 4x2.5" drives

Nice. I didn't realize stuff like that was available.
But very expensive as you say. And look at SPCR's latest review: with low-power 3.5'' drives, 3.5'' hot-swap bays needn't be that noisy.

Boris Bilinsky wrote:
scheduled for daily backup on a third external sata disk which is switched on using a usb programmable power jack.

Extra coolness points for the programmable power jack but that's not quite what I'd call good backups. It's a lot better than nothing of course but I'd put a little more effort and funds into backups before going overkill with redundancy.

Boris Bilinsky wrote:
The last sata port would be the OS disk.

You probably don't need one. It might actually be better to put it on the two 1 TB drives (mirrored so as not to waste time in case of a drive failure).


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 Post subject: Re: How quiet is a 2.5" hot-swap cage?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:34 pm 
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Thanks, I read the review of the backplane, but seem to get a bit hot when the fan is disabled.
Maybe it's fine to have the disks suspended inside the cage. There shouldn't be more than one failing disk per year, then it's nevertheless time for cleaning inside the case :)

How would you recommend to do backups, do you mean backups offsite? The incremental backups which I use now is timestamped and archived, so if I accidentally delete something I can recover data.


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 Post subject: Re: How quiet is a 2.5" hot-swap cage?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:24 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1730
Location: Switzerland
Boris Bilinsky wrote:
I read the review of the backplane, but seem to get a bit hot when the fan is disabled.

With WD Greens, the noise on Auto is surprisingly mild (at least when the drives are not stressed). Have you listened to the recording?

Boris Bilinsky wrote:
The incremental backups which I use now is timestamped and archived, so if I accidentally delete something I can recover data.

I normally use hardlinks when backing up to a hard drive. But that's not the issue. There are three problems:
Most obviously, you're not backing up all your data. If your five drives in raidz are not worth backing up (are you sure?), there's no point in having more than minimal redundancy.
You also have only one backup drive. So when you're backing up all your drives are vulnerable. And your backup might fail when you're trying to restore. If you had two eSATA drives which can be switched on separately, you could rotate between them automatically.
And finally the matter of offsite backups which is probably not a big concern but the risk of cascading drive failures with two mirrored drives is very small as well.


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 Post subject: Re: How quiet is a 2.5" hot-swap cage?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:10 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:32 am
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
I've used both the Welland ME-220PN and ME-240. Not as quiet as a good suspension setup, but they seem to work well.


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