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Tag Archive for ‘Hard Drives’

Hard Drive Burn-in Testing ➝

Some excellent suggestions on the TrueNAS forums explaining how to burn-in a new hard drive before putting it into use. When I order some new drives, I’ll likely run them through this once they arrive.

➝ Source: truenas.com

Home Server Storage Upgrades

My current, primary home server has been humming along quite nicely since I upgraded to the 2018 Mac mini a few years ago. And I’m still using the OWC ThunderBay 6 that I bought in 2020 to house its storage.

The Mac mini that I ordered was just the base model with 128GB of storage. Rather than booting from the internal drive, I’ve been using an NVMe SSD that occupies the M.2 slot in the back of the ThunderBay. Up until just a few days ago, I was using a 1TB drive for this purpose. That size was chosen because it was the right price at the time and served my needs.

Since then, my needs have changed a bit, though. I started running a few virtual machines on the Mac mini, which I wanted to run on SSDs for performance reasons. But the 1TB boot drive just wasn’t going to be large enough. So I re-used a 2TB SATA SSD that I had lying around to store the virtual machines until I was ready to make an upgrade to the boot drive.

I was finally able to upgrade that drive a few days ago. I swapped the 1TB drive for a 4TB NVMe drive from Crucial.

The process was as simple as could be. I put the new drive in an external enclosure and ran SuperDuper! to clone the boot drive. Once the cloning process was complete, I moved the new drive into the back of the ThunderBay and booted from it. And that’s it. The whole thing, including copying the data, only took an hour or two.

I moved the virtual machine files to the boot drive and removed the 2TB SSD from the ThunderBay.

The ThunderBay now has a 4TB NVMe SSD that I’m booting the home server from, two 8TB Seagate hard drives that I’m using for media storage, and two 14TB Western Digital hard drives that I shucked and am using for local backups — the home server itself and every other computer in the house.

It’s about time I start thinking about upgrading those spinning disks too, though.

The two media drives are about 80% full, which is generally the threshold where I think about upgrading. I know how I am, so this whole process will likely end up taking a handful of months to complete.

My typical strategy when upgrading drives would be to buy two new drives that would be used as the new backup storage and then demote the old backup drives to media storage. This felt like the most cost effective way of increasing my available storage over time. But I don’t think I want to do that this time.

The 14TB drives that I shucked from their USB enclosure are a little loud. They’re fine for backups because I have a bit more control over when my backups take place. I have them all scheduled to run when I’m not in the office — I’m using TimeMachineEditor to accomplish this.

I sit about three feet away from the home server throughout my work day and the media drives are in nearly constant use during that time. If I used these louder 14TB drives to store our media, they’d drive me mad. I just don’t want to hear them all day long.

So I’m left thinking about upgrading all four drives in a fairly short period of time — probably over the course of a month or two.

At the moment I’m looking at 16+TB Western Digital Red drives. The company had a bit of a hit to their reputation a handful of years ago when it was discovered that they were selling drives that used shingled magnetic recording (SMR) without labeling them as such. But my understanding is that they’ve gotten better about labeling their drives and WD Red’s are quieter than Seagate Ironwolf drives.

Seagate Ironwolf drives are typically cheaper than WD Reds, though. And given the size of the drives that I’m looking to purchase, that can’t be ignored. I’ll have to do some more research to see just how much louder Ironwolf drives are and whether they would be something I could contend with. I suspect I may end up buying WD Reds that I use for media storage and then larger Ironwolf drives for backups.

OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 ➝

I’m getting to the point with my storage needs that I need to start thinking about what to do once I outgrow my ThunderBay 6. Hard drives only get so big and I’ll eventually need more room than I can fit in a six-bay enclosure.

The standard ThunderBay 8 seemed like a good upgrade, but it doesn’t have the M.2 slot in the back like the ThunderBay 6 does. It would only functionally add one additional drive slot and that just isn’t going to cut it.

The ThunderBay Flex 8, though, might be a good solution. It features a PCIe slot, which I could use to add additional NVMe drives, 2.5-inch SSDs or just about anything else I could need for expandability.

This isn’t something I’m going to need in the near-future. I just upgraded my drives and that should give me a bit of time before upgrading again, but unless something else is released before then, the ThunderBay Flex 8 looks like a tremendous product.

➝ Source: eshop.macsales.com

SoftRAID for Disk Certification ➝

I bought a couple of 14TB external drives over the weekend, which were on sale for $200. I’m going to remove them from their enclosures and put them in my ThunderBay 6 to expand our home server storage.

But before I put them into use, I want to make sure the drives are in good shape. I’ve decided to make use of SoftRAID’s 14-day free trial to run the app’s certify process on them. This writes data to all of the sectors on the disk and ensures that it’s readable. And you can set the number of times you’d like it to run. I’m in the middle of the second iteration on the first disk and there’ve been no errors so far.

I’ve seen people recommend running this process up to three times before putting your data on a new drive, but I think I’m only going to run it twice. If only because it’s an extremely long process, especially for large disks.

➝ Source: owcdigital.com

ShuckStop ➝

A price comparison site for external hard drives, aimed toward buyers that plan to disassemble the enclosure to use the bare drives. This isn’t something I’ve ever done before, but I think I’m going to soon.

External drives are typically much cheaper for the same amount of storage than internal drives. There doesn’t seem to be a clear explanation as to why that is. And while the price difference wasn’t too bad when I was buying drives around 4TB in size, I’m planning to buy a couple in the 12–16TB range where the price difference is a bit more substantial.

If you’ve never heard of hard drive shucking, Pete Matheson published a great overview video late last year.

➝ Source: shucks.top

OWC miniStack ➝

I bought a couple of these OWC miniStacks that I’m using to upgrade our Mac Mini home server. The drive I had been using with Plex was running low on available space and I figured I’d get something that looked slick alongside the Mini. I wish they had an updated version that was in the Mac Mini’s new space gray color. I would have bought that instead so that when I eventually get a new Mac Mini, it would match. But I guess the silver enclosure will have to do.

I’ve only setup one of the miniStacks so far — paired with a 4TB Seagate drive. I’m slowly transferring everything over as I type this, deleting and organizing along the way. I haven’t bought a drive for the second enclosure quite yet, but I’m likely getting an 8TB drive that will be used as a Time Machine target for the Mac Mini and my work laptop.

➝ Source: owcdigital.com