Is this true about 2.5" drives?

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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Palindroman
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Is this true about 2.5" drives?

Post by Palindroman » Mon May 21, 2007 1:04 am

I read on a forum somewhere that 2.5" drives aren't built to be left on 24/7. If you use them in a file server for example they croak within 2 years. Is this true?

Bluefront
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Post by Bluefront » Mon May 21, 2007 2:06 am

Tough question......hard to prove one way or the other. About the only real proof would mfg. data about RMAs on the different drives, or mfg data on projected failure times of their various drives. Even drives with a long warranty don't prove anything....the mfg. may have calculated more returns of dead drives may be offset by increased sales. When large bunches of a particular drive failure leak out, about the only thing that proves is that there was a defect in that particular model.

Laptop drives are made to survive in operation conditions much worse than any 3.5" drive. So maybe using a 2.5" drive the same way you would use a big drive......makes a 2.5" drive more likely to last longer. Unknown for sure..... :lol:
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jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Mon May 21, 2007 2:12 am

if you look at Samsung specs,2.5" have MTBF of 330K POH,whereas 3.5" are rated 500-600K POH, so may be partially true.

adam_mccullough
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Post by adam_mccullough » Mon May 21, 2007 2:35 am

HP are using arrays of 2.5" drives in some of their servers, such as the ProLiant DL385, so I doubt there's any serious problem inherent in the 2.5" form factor that make them less suitable for this kind of use.

However, it would make sense that many 2.5" drives are designed specifically with portables in mind - more attention given to shock resistance, quietness, power efficiency etc. than to server-level reliability. Perhaps find out what models are being used in servers and keep that in mind when selecting drives?

klankymen
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Post by klankymen » Mon May 21, 2007 4:10 am

FWIW, my experiences in this thread do nothing to disprove it. I have had this drive for about 18 months, and while silent when new, it has gotten noisier. not to say it's dead, but I would say it is definitely deteriorating.
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IsaacKuo
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Post by IsaacKuo » Mon May 21, 2007 6:52 am

I only have one 2.5" drive that's been in constant 24/7 use long enough to make a useful data point. It's a Western Digital Scorpio that's been in near constant 24/7 use for almost two years cooking within a crude homemade silencing enclosure.

For all appearances, it still looks as good as new, and hasn't gotten louder. I had a bit of a scare yesterday when I had file read errors after transfering it to a new boot server. When that happened, I opened up the enclosure to see/hear/feel the drive to make sure it was turning on and stuff. As it turns out, it was actually a problem with a BIOS setting.
Isaac Kuo

Palindroman
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Post by Palindroman » Mon May 21, 2007 7:45 am

Thanks for the replies!

I'm selling low power computers with 2.5" drives in them (of course) and some radio company bought two to use them as 24/7 music stream-servers. I realized this only after I delivered the systems.

Let's hope all goes well for a few years! :)

austinbike
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Post by austinbike » Mon May 21, 2007 6:04 pm

I used to work for one of the big system oems.

I agree on the 2.5 EIDE not being as reliable for 24x7 operation, but they started offering 2.5" sata and sas drives for servers after doing a lot of extensive testing.

We were trying to position sas as "more reliable" than sata but engineering told us that in their tests, they were projecting the same life expectancy.

If you are going 2.5", make it the new sata drives and you should be fine. SAS is probably overkill and the cost of the controller will price you out of the market in most cases. Hard to justify on a non-enterprise environment.

dppa
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Post by dppa » Tue May 22, 2007 10:23 am

Hitachi has the E-serie drive which are made for 24x7 use.
They are going to release E7K200 drives this summer. I think seagate also has a 24x7 serie for blade servers.

bitpoh
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Post by bitpoh » Tue May 22, 2007 6:34 pm

Fujitsu also has what they called Extended Duty series of 2.5" HDDs that are meant for 7/24 operations, check out the spec sheets here:
http://www.fujitsu.com/downloads/COMP/f ... et-ext.pdf

Palindroman
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Post by Palindroman » Thu May 24, 2007 6:37 am

Thanks, all of this is very useful!

By the way, one last quick question: Which are the best brands to look out for on a level of reliability and silence? Up till now I have mainly bought Samsung drives, due to their availability, but I've read their after sales isn't that fantastic. I can also choose from WD, Hitachi, Fujitsu and Seagate. For silence it's just more or less luck of the draw, right?

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Post by IdontexistM8 » Fri May 25, 2007 1:57 am

Palindroman wrote:Thanks, all of this is very useful!

By the way, one last quick question: Which are the best brands to look out for on a level of reliability and silence? Up till now I have mainly bought Samsung drives, due to their availability, but I've read their after sales isn't that fantastic. I can also choose from WD, Hitachi, Fujitsu and Seagate. For silence it's just more or less luck of the draw, right?
Depends where you live..the third party RMA/Support service for Samsung is excellent in the UK.

whiic
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Post by whiic » Fri May 25, 2007 4:16 am

"Laptop drives are made to survive in operation conditions much worse than any 3.5" drive. So maybe using a 2.5" drive the same way you would use a big drive......makes a 2.5" drive more likely to last longer."

Take a look at ZIL-131: http://tietokannat.mil.fi/kalustoesitte ... IL_131.jpg

It is pretty much the most robust thing on planet: it can climb steep slopes (even without planetary gear locks), it can use pretty much any imaginable fuel from low octane gasolene to kerosene or lamp oil. If ignition system get busted, there's alternative ignition source. You can crash it into pretty much any imaginable obstacle and it'd probably keep on running. If you drop a screwdriver into the carburetor, it'd probably come out in one piece from exhaust pipe... if it didn't leak through piston rings and end up in oil sump... in one piece. OK. I'm joking a bit here.

Either way, while this marvel of offroad transportation is very robust in terms of external threats, it has one weakness: it doesn't tolarate normal use. Whether you take good care of it (changing oil at least once a year*) and drive only on paved roads, or whether you push it to the limits and drive offtrack, using lamp oil and never changing oil, either way it's going to die at pretty low mileage.

* You'll have to drill a hole to the oil sump to drain it, they say, because Russians never change oil to these pieces of sh*t (only top up when necessary). Not equipping these vehicles with a drain plug does make sense, considering the crappy quality they are. Also vehicles like this exist pretty much for the purpose of transporting equipment and soldier to a specified location... there's no return trip. Of course it may only be an urban legend, as I have never had the chance to crawl beneath Russian (non-converted) ZIL-131 to check whether there's a drain-plug (like retrofitted to ZIL-131s that are used by Finnish Defence Forces. And I surely hope I will never have the chance... because having chance pretty much mean I have been overrun, with the rest of Finland.

___


That was quite off-topic but it is a good example how it's possible for extremely robust equipment to not last a long time in ideal conditions.

Industry also promises only half of the MTBF to laptop drives than to desktop drives. And half of MTBF to desktop drives than to enterprise drives.

I think this is logical. While miniaturization improves shock tolerance due to lower inertia and other reasons*, miniaturization also means smaller bearings and less tolerable to regular wear and tear.

Such as sensors that notice a zero G condition (i.e free fall) and tell the HDD to shut down before it hits the ground. Power off shock tolerance is always higher than operational shock tolerance. Also, laptop HDDs unload head when idle, making a sudden bump (not warned by zero G condition) less likely to occur when head are loaded and likely to make contact with the spinning platters when shock is applied.

Desktop HDD don't have such features, especially not a zero G force sense. Hitachi drives have APM which can reduce the likelyhood of head being loaded when a shock is applied. (Other manufacturer drives only support complete spindown, and most of them use CSS se heads are not unloaded even when powered off. Exception: WDxxxxAAxx which unloads head when powered off, but doesn't support APM like Hitachi.)

HueyCobra
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Post by HueyCobra » Sat May 26, 2007 7:12 pm

austinbike wrote:If you are going 2.5", make it the new sata drives and you should be fine.
Do 2.5" SATA drives use the same data/power cables as 3.5" SATA drives? If not, do the cables they require come bundled with the drive?
(Apologies for the hijack.)

qviri
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Post by qviri » Sat May 26, 2007 7:25 pm

HueyCobra wrote:Do 2.5" SATA drives use the same data/power cables as 3.5" SATA drives?
Yes.
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HueyCobra
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Post by HueyCobra » Sat May 26, 2007 7:54 pm

Thanks for the good news :)

kamaleon
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Post by kamaleon » Mon May 28, 2007 2:48 am

I know for instances that hitachi have conceived 2.5" drives that are specifically meant for servers. The E7K100 as opposed to the 7K100 is meant to tolerate higher temperatures and probably longer running hours. So the initial question is not a bad one.

But personnally, i wouldn't worry too much and still use a regular 2.5" drive, but then again, i'm not planning on running it 24h/356d...

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