No more scsi

June 5, 2008Dan No Comments »

Up until recently, I ran a RAID array of 10k RPM SCSI drives in my main/gaming computer. They are fast. They are also noisy, power hungry, hot running and expensive. They are too expensive for me to buy new, so I  bought them used. All was well until about a month ago when I had one of the drives fail on me. Since they are in a RAID 5 array, it was really no big deal. The virtual drive dropped into ‘degraded’ mode, where it uses the two working drives to figure out what was stored on the third drive. I made a mental note to backup files and continued working.

Then another drive failed a week later. This was not good. I’m not sure if drive #2 was close to failure already and the increased activity killed it or what. It’s possible the drives were running too hot — I had been monitoring the temperature and it was always kept within the manufacturer’s specs, but they definitely didn’t run cool. Two out of three drives failing within a week still seems suspicious but maybe it’s just coincidence.

Ultimately I was a little fed up with the SCSI drives. The noise the 3 drives make together can be anywhere from mildly bothersome to nerve racking, depending on background noise in the room. I ended up replacing them with a pair of new Seagate 7200.11 320GB drives. I made the switch from SCSI to SATA for a couple of reasons:

Noise: The 10K RPM drives are really loud. The new drives are barely audible.

Cost: SCSI drives (for me) are too spendy to buy new. And I’m fed up with buying second hand drives — you never know what they’ve been through and they definitely don’t seem to last as long as new ones. Also, SCSI drives bigger than 74 GB are quite expensive. See next point.

Performance (kinda): I’m sure the data seek and read times on my SCSI array were faster than what I can achieve now. However, I’m kinda tired of RAID 5. It seems to really rob performance on writing data. In order to stay away from RAID 5, I had to increase the capacity of my harddrives in RAID 1. It’s prohibitively expensive to buy SCSI drives larger than 74 GB (even used!), so I switched to SATA.

Stay tuned for how I managed to recover my data from the old drives.

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