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Last post Author Topic: A three drive system - the sweet spot  (Read 11263 times)

Vurbal

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2014, 06:10:48 PM »
That's without even getting into the issue of cooling which is a problem for all drives, but probably even more for a SSD (especially a consumer model) than a HDD.
I find that my machines run cooler with SSDs than with mechanical drives. More space for air flow?


That's probably part of it. Keep in mind they also use less power, and probably use it a lot more efficiently too. The problem, once again, would mostly apply to badly designed hardware - the case rather than the PSU in this instance
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Shades

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2014, 08:17:41 PM »
More efficient, yes. But I'm not that sure about the amount of power being consumed.

- RAM consumes a lot of power nowadays, because it needs to read and write very fast.
- A hard disk consumes a lot of power, because it reads and writes quite fast (at least as fast as the mechanics allow for).
- A pen drive consumes hardly any power, but forget fast reading and writing.

Guess where an SSD fits in this list. Now there are advantages with the SSD. Although it draws a lot of power, it doesn't do so the whole time. Not in a similar fashion as a mechanical drive has to, at least. So yes, more efficient it will be, but don't underestimate the power consumption when it's active.

And you are completely right about the quality of the PSU in a PC and the quality of the power that "feeds" the CPU. Proper grounding your grid works wonders, using small power groups also helps a lot. In the Netherlands an average house uses about 5 16 Ampere circuit breakers. Usually one for the (master) bath room, one for the kitchen, one for the living/hallway/toilet, one for the bedrooms/attic/toilet, one for the washing machine and one for a garden/shed.

All these small grids practically do not affect each other, whenever there is an appliance connected that is known to generate spikes in a grid ((older) fluorescent light elements, washing machine, dish washer, micro wave, power tools, blow dryers). Saves you already a lot of headache and the appliances that are more or less permanently attached to the 220 Volt grid really last longer. 

You really should take a look sometimes with a scope to your power grid when it is in normal use. You would be amazed how "dirty" the power in your house is.

cranioscopical

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2014, 10:52:17 PM »
You would be amazed how "dirty" the power in your house is.
I am the power in my house and electricity is just a servant but, please, don't tell my wife I said that as she has other ideas about who/watt is in/on charge.  :-[
 

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2014, 11:01:45 PM »
She says only one thing: Joule be sorry for what you just said...

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2014, 11:32:26 PM »
I don't have the en-erg-y for this game, but I'm dyne to try.

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2014, 02:16:53 AM »
A significant percentage of home computers (and sadly an awful lot of business computers) have low quality power supplies which are plugged into outlets with inconsistent line quality and poor or nonexistent grounding. When you replace the mechanical bits of a hard drive with the purely electronic ones in a SSD it stands to reason cheap computers would have a higher failure rate than expensive ones. I'm over generalizing a bit because not every expensive computer has a quality power supply but a quality power supply usually makes for a more expensive computer.

+1

I've had three motherboards and a graphics card toasted before I started buying quality power supplies.

mouser

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2014, 02:41:24 AM »
I've never really considered quality of power supply.

Does a normal consumer-grade UPS help with this kind of thing?

40hz

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #32 on: March 26, 2014, 06:03:31 AM »
A properly sized unit from a reputable name such as Corsair, Antec, Seasonic, or PC Power & Cooling are all good bets. You don't need to spring for expensive 'enterprise' grade models. Units built for workstation deployment are just fine. Put a good UPS in front of them and Bob's yer uncle.

It's the no-name Asian imports that go for <$50 you want to avoid. Figure $80 and up for a good PS depending on wattage.

Quick rule of thumb: a quality power supply for a desktop is noticeably heavier than a cheap one. Bigger transformer + more solid construction = more weight.

« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 06:09:22 AM by 40hz »

4wd

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #33 on: March 26, 2014, 06:07:19 AM »
I've never really considered quality of power supply.

Does a normal consumer-grade UPS help with this kind of thing?

I've never had an UPS and I live in an area that suffers brown-outs and power failures, (lots of trees don't go well with overhead lines).

I do, however, have very good quality surge suppression/filtering power boards and I've never lost a piece of equipment that was plugged into them yet ... and I've had them for ~20 years.

It's line noise/ripple current that is a very good killer of the inferior quality capacitors used in some switchmode PSUs.  The ripple causes the capacitors to heat up, the electrolyte dries out, the ESRw rises, current across the capacitor rises, heat increases, etc, etc, then the PSU dies ... sometimes taking whatever it's attached to.

The better you can filter the incoming AC to eliminate any noise/ripple and surges, the better it's going to be for your PSU.

Most UPS include some form of surge suppression/filtering, the quality is usually commensurate with the cost.  Almost all consumer, (not business), grade UPS are of the Stand-by type.  They don't do anything until the power fails, until then they're just a power board with surge suppression/line filtering.

Be that and all, a crap PSU is still a crap PSU, a good filter will only make it last a little longer.

+1 with @40hz about a quality PSU but I'd also throw in a good quality line filter before it.

40hz

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #34 on: March 26, 2014, 08:45:56 AM »
+1 w/4wd on the above.  :Thmbsup:

I have the most confidence in Tripp Lite's product line. I've had Belkins fail. But Tripp Lite never let me down - even in one case where there was a lightning strike. The Tripp Lite supressor itself got fried. But everything downstream in its circuit path was just fine. The Belkin across the room didn't do so well. Both it and the PC plugged into it were left inoperable.

So yes, no matter what else you get, definitely invest in a top notch surge supressor. Make it a priority purchase.
 8)


Vurbal

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #35 on: March 26, 2014, 08:56:11 AM »
A properly sized unit from a reputable name such as Corsair, Antec, Seasonic, or PC Power & Cooling are all good bets. You don't need to spring for expensive 'enterprise' grade models. Units built for workstation deployment are just fine. Put a good UPS in front of them and Bob's yer uncle.

It's the no-name Asian imports that go for <$50 you want to avoid.

That's more true today than it was in the past. It wasn't that long ago some name brands (I'm looking at you CoolerMaster) sold mostly flaky PSUs. I say sold because the vast majority of quality power supplies are made by Seasonic and Corsair. Companies like Antec do some assembly and add some touches of their own but the core comes from another factory fully assembled. I could have sworn there was a third OEM but I could be wrong. At any rate most name brands have switched to building their PSUs from either Corsair or Seasonic internals, including CoolerMaster, so quality has generally taken an upward turn.

For anyone who wants to educate themselves on PSU technology I highly recommend reading through some of the reviews at JonnyGuru. They include thorough testing under load and in-depth details about internal components and build quality. Also you can usually find out who the OEM for a particular model or line is.
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Vurbal

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #36 on: March 26, 2014, 10:02:43 AM »
I've never really considered quality of power supply.

Does a normal consumer-grade UPS help with this kind of thing?

I've never had an UPS and I live in an area that suffers brown-outs and power failures, (lots of trees don't go well with overhead lines).

I do, however, have very good quality surge suppression/filtering power boards and I've never lost a piece of equipment that was plugged into them yet ... and I've had them for ~20 years.

It's line noise/ripple current that is a very good killer of the inferior quality capacitors used in some switchmode PSUs.  The ripple causes the capacitors to heat up, the electrolyte dries out, the ESRw rises, current across the capacitor rises, heat increases, etc, etc, then the PSU dies ... sometimes taking whatever it's attached to.

The better you can filter the incoming AC to eliminate any noise/ripple and surges, the better it's going to be for your PSU.

Also, a crap PSU will create ripple from clean AC and even without any real surges ripple will definitely shorten the life of just about any electronics component.

Quote
Most UPS include some form of surge suppression/filtering, the quality is usually commensurate with the cost.  Almost all consumer, (not business), grade UPS are of the Stand-by type.  They don't do anything until the power fails, until then they're just a power board with surge suppression/line filtering.

Absolutely. You should always use an online (aka continuous) UPS whenever possible. Besides the fact the battery backup in a standby UPS may not kick in fast enough, using the battery as the primary, rather than secondary, power source typically means more electrical isolation. Isolation is a key factor in surge suppression. Besides which, the filtering in a standby UPS is usually pretty unreliable.

That's also where proper grounding comes in very handy. Nothing protects against surges better than bleeding the excess current away to ground. It will increase the chances your protection circuitry survives a big event caused by something like lightning or a damaged transformer on the pole outside. It also makes a different in brownout conditions since brownouts are usually accompanied by spikes.

In my neighborhood the power is realtively clean but we do have intermittent brownout issues. The power lines run through back alleys and the power company can't be  bothere to trim the tree branches around them aggressively enough. They actually do a great job on power lines that run along the street but those are less work and more visible to the public. On a windy day the chances of the lights flickering at least once or twice is pretty high.

When we moved in we had to have the breaker box capacity upgraded for an electric dryer and I had the electrician put in a grounded circuit and new outlets for the computers in my office. At the time I didn't have a UPS for my server so every time the lights flickered it went down. After plugging it into a properly grounded outlet that stopped entirely. If the monitor is on it will shut off but generally the computer stays up. It has a UPS now so that's not an issue at all but still I wouldn't plug it into an ungrounded outlet if I could avoid it.

Quote
Be that and all, a crap PSU is still a crap PSU, a good filter will only make it last a little longer.

And won't stop it from damaging your computer during that time. Also IME a cheap power supplies are more prone to failing spectacularly, taking out the motherboard - sometimes the CPU and/or RAM as well.

Quote
+1 with @40hz about a quality PSU but I'd also throw in a good quality line filter before it.

If you have particularly poor power conditions - like almost any rural area here - it's even a good idea to have a separate line conditioner before a UPS. It will extend the life of the UPS, and likely the life of the battery as well. Unless things have changed considerably since the last time I had a UPS battery die (it's been a few years), it's almost as expensive as a new UPS. Plus you'll probably be able to either spend less on the UPS or get more capacity (ie time) for the same money if you don't need superior filtering.

Of course, the best filtering available in a UPS isn't equivalent to a good dedicated line conditioner anyway.
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40hz

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #37 on: March 26, 2014, 11:04:26 AM »
re: power supplies

Since we're naming names, I prefer to get a PS from PC Power & Cooling. Not cheap by any stretch. But they last through a couple of builds before you need to retire them. So they're a bargain in the long run IMHO. PCP&C supplies (especially their premium TurboCool models) will get a workstation through anything for the foreseeable future even if their price tag may induce nosebleed in about 30% of the population.

I've also had very good luck with the Corsair brand which gives you very similar specs to the PCP&C, but at a considerably lower price point.

For a home or SOHO PC I'd go with Corsair if building one today. For a serious production workstation - or a client build - I'd definitely specify a TurboCool even though it ends up getting changed (to save cash) more often than not.

 8)

Vurbal

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #38 on: March 26, 2014, 11:52:58 AM »
More efficient, yes. But I'm not that sure about the amount of power being consumed.

- RAM consumes a lot of power nowadays, because it needs to read and write very fast.
- A hard disk consumes a lot of power, because it reads and writes quite fast (at least as fast as the mechanics allow for).
- A pen drive consumes hardly any power, but forget fast reading and writing.

Guess where an SSD fits in this list. Now there are advantages with the SSD. Although it draws a lot of power, it doesn't do so the whole time. Not in a similar fashion as a mechanical drive has to, at least. So yes, more efficient it will be, but don't underestimate the power consumption when it's active.

I should have been clearer about what I meant since efficiency is a pretty nebulous term. That's what I get for posting from a tablet.

There are obviously multiple kinds of efficiency which have varying effects. I was referring primarily to the percentage of energy converted into work vs the amount lost as heat. And, of course, the general efficiency of purely electrical components without motors to turn the spindle or move write heads. That should tend to make SSDs cooler on average.

However you make an excellent point about power usage over a shorter time frame. While a traditional HDD will probably require more instantaneous power when it spins up the platters, that increased efficiency for accessing and transferring data will mean longer, and perhaps higher, peaks for the purely electronic components. Those peaks are what your cooling strategy needs to be designed around.

Quote
And you are completely right about the quality of the PSU in a PC and the quality of the power that "feeds" the CPU. Proper grounding your grid works wonders, using small power groups also helps a lot. In the Netherlands an average house uses about 5 16 Ampere circuit breakers. Usually one for the (master) bath room, one for the kitchen, one for the living/hallway/toilet, one for the bedrooms/attic/toilet, one for the washing machine and one for a garden/shed.

All these small grids practically do not affect each other, whenever there is an appliance connected that is known to generate spikes in a grid ((older) fluorescent light elements, washing machine, dish washer, micro wave, power tools, blow dryers). Saves you already a lot of headache and the appliances that are more or less permanently attached to the 220 Volt grid really last longer. 

You really should take a look sometimes with a scope to your power grid when it is in normal use. You would be amazed how "dirty" the power in your house is.

I don't own a scope but fortunately I have a pretty good feel for how dirty the power is. It may be a little less dirty since we had some upgrades done, including new wiring from the transformer to the masthead. The wiring from the masthead to the meter turned out to be better than I expected. It's definitely been upgraded at least once, perhaps even twice. It's definitely not the same wiring that was put in for the initial 60A service almost 100 years ago and possibly more recent than the initial 100A upgrade.

However I also know the grounding didn't get upgraded like it should have. We added a ground spike for the new outlets in my office but none of the other outlets are connected to it.
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Vurbal

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #39 on: March 26, 2014, 01:03:35 PM »
re: power supplies

Since we're naming names, I prefer to get a PS from PC Power & Cooling. Not cheap by any stretch. But they last through a couple of builds before you need to retire them. So they're a bargain in the long run IMHO. PCP&C supplies (especially their premium TurboCool models) will get a workstation through anything for the foreseeable future even if their price tag may induce nosebleed in about 30% of the population.

I've also had very good luck with the Corsair brand which gives you very similar specs to the PCP&C, but at a considerably lower price point.

For a home or SOHO PC I'd go with Corsair if building one today. For a serious production workstation - or a client build - I'd definitely specify a TurboCool even though it ends up getting changed (to save cash) more often than not.

 8)

That brand jarred something loose in the cobwebs of my memory so I went over to JonnyGuru to re-read a couple reviews and realized my earlier post on power supplies and OEMs was off.

There are actually 2 primary high end OEMs for tower/desktop power supplies. Seasonic has always (as long as I've known about them anyway) been the best in terms of consistent high quality. Next was SuperFlower, who always made good top end units as well, but weren't always the most consistent with their lower tier models. Over the last few years they seem to be right up there with Seasonic across the board.

Corsair isn't an OEM in the same sense. They buy the primary power supply components, typically from second tier Chinese OEMs, but typically use high quality Japanese filter capacitors and rectifier circuitry. The result is usually a higher quality PSU than you generally get from other companies using the same basic OEM base. Corsair is also sort of an OEM in their own right since I know at least some low end Antec PSUs are (or used to be) basically Corsairs in an Antec housing.

Other quality power supplies fall into 2 categories. Most are Seasonic or SuperFlower PSUs (occasionally Delta but I they're more in the rackmount CPU segment IIRC) with very minor variations. That typically just means things like changing the housing, fan(s), and/or modular cable configuration.

Then there are at least 2 companies, Enermax and PC Power & Cooling, who start with Seasonic or SuperFlower core units as a basis for their own designs. Sometimes those designs are very close to the OEM models but sometimes they find little design tweaks to make them even better. What they're really know for, though, is getting all the little manufacturing details right. At the top end little details like soldering quality can be a big deal.

Of those 2, PC Power & Cooling is probably the more consistent, quality-wise, since they don't seem to be interested in servicing anything but the top end of the market. However as long as you're comparing Enermax models at around the same price point it's hard to go wrong with either one. At the bottom end of the scale I'd start with Corsair and Antec. For the majority in between those extremes it's a lot easier to find good models across a lot of brands.

Just from memory, I also seem to recall PP&C being big in PSUs for industrial settings. That probably helps explain their reputation for build quality.
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40hz

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #40 on: March 26, 2014, 01:09:07 PM »
Unless things have changed considerably since the last time I had a UPS battery die (it's been a few years), it's almost as expensive as a new UPS.

Last I checked - it was.

The other thing is unless it's a "server grade" or data center UPS, there's probably enough electrical wear & tear on the circuit components that you'll get less than "new" performance after you replace the batteries after the originals go. I  have clients who replaced batteries in the smaller APC (Smart-UPS 1500 et al) units and discovered those batteries required replacement in fairly short order. The originals lasted about three years when not pushed too hard. The replacements wanted to be replaced in less than a year. And there was no real change in the demands put on them if the PowerChute logs are at all to be trusted.

Much like putting a new transformer in an old guitar amp, what you usually end up doing is gradually replacing everything in the circuit. Generally starting with the capacitors. Because that old amp isn't used to getting the correct voltages or current - and the other components aged with the transformer and couldn't handle it once it was replaced.

I put a stake in the ground for consumer level hardware. If the fix exceeds 50% of the original purchase price - or the unit is over three years old - I'll almost always opt to replace rather than repair. But that's me.

40hz

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #41 on: March 26, 2014, 01:23:27 PM »
There are actually 2 primary high end OEMs for tower/desktop power supplies. Seasonic has always (as long as I've known about them anyway) been the best in terms of consistent high quality. Next was SuperFlower, who always made good top end units as well, but weren't always the most consistent with their lower tier models. Over the last few years they seem to be right up there with Seasonic across the board.


Can't speak for SuperFlower having never (knowingly) used one. The Seasonics are extremely well engineered units. But I've only deployed them in server settings. If you have rack style casings they offer a pretty full line. And their replacement price is compelling when compared to an OEM's "own" PS offerings. I like them a lot.

As far as Corsair goes, it's the intended market design principle at work. I think they're fine for non-mission critical use. I've probably bought and installed well over a hundred of them over the years and I never had a problem with one. One of my partners swears by Enermax and has much the same regard for them as I do for PCP&C. Which makes sense since they seem to be using the same base frame from what you're saying.

In the end I guess it's not super important which you choose as long as you start with an appropriately sized quality brand of PS; plug that into an appropriately sized quality sine-wave UPS (ideally a zero-switchover model); and plug that into a good quality surge suppressor/line filter. Extra points for plugging in a line conditioner after the surge suppressor if you're power is extremely cranky (or there's a civil war in progress) where you live.

That won't solve all your power problems - as you noted with with your mention of grounding issues -  which are the bane of my existence. But it should go a very long way towards happy computing.
 8)
« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 01:28:45 PM by 40hz »

Vurbal

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #42 on: March 26, 2014, 01:33:58 PM »
Unless things have changed considerably since the last time I had a UPS battery die (it's been a few years), it's almost as expensive as a new UPS.

Last I checked - it was.

The other thing is unless it's a "server grade" or data center UPS, there's probably enough electrical wear & tear on the circuit components that you'll get less than "new" performance after you replace the batteries after the originals go. I  have clients who replaced batteries in the smaller APC (Smart-UPS 1500 et al) units and discovered those batteries required replacement in fairly short order. The originals lasted about three years when not pushed too hard. The replacements wanted to be replaced in less than a year. And there was no real change in the demands put on them if the PowerChute logs are at all to be trusted.

Much like putting a new transformer in an old guitar amp, what you usually end up doing is gradually replacing everything in the circuit. Generally starting with the capacitors. Because that old amp isn't used to getting the correct voltages or current - and the other components aged with the transformer and couldn't handle it once it was replaced.

Yeah, I learned that lesson the hard way the first time I tried to replace an APC battery. Don't remember the model but it was one of the slightly higher end (but really still consumer grade) models for the small office server market. I'm not sure how long the battery had been dead when I became responsible for it but something on the battery side was apparently foobar already. It didn't even acknowledge the new battery.

Quote
I put a stake in the ground for consumer level hardware. If the fix exceeds 50% of the original purchase price - or the unit is over three years old - I'll almost always opt to replace rather than repair. But that's me.

I can't argue with that. I always try to emphasize to people how much quality difference there can be between consumer and enterprise technology. The key is understanding that if you aren't happy and decide never to buy from some company it's not that big a deal. If some corporation decides to stop spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on their hardware it is.
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40hz

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #43 on: March 26, 2014, 02:06:44 PM »
I always try to emphasize to people how much quality difference there can be between consumer and enterprise technology. The key is understanding that if you aren't happy and decide never to buy from some company it's not that big a deal. If some corporation decides to stop spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on their hardware it is.

A most excellent point succinctly stated. I hope you don't mind if I quote you next time this topic comes up with a client. :Thmbsup:

mtotton

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #44 on: May 20, 2014, 12:46:59 PM »
Hi, I am new to this forum, a friend of mine sent me a link to this thread thinking i might be interested. I am an information security consultant and I have been in the IT industry since 1974 (I know, I am very ancient). First I would like to just list my setup, and then make a few comments - Oh, by the way, i don't expect anyone to take any notice of what i say, I just like to join in these discussions  :).

Main PC:
Intel Core i7 @ 3.08 MHz
16 GB memory
250GB SSD system disk
3TB S-ATA disk
1 TB S-ATA disk

Server1 - Ubuntu
Some old junk CPU
500GB S-ATA system disk
2TB S-ATA backup
1TB S.-ATA backup

Server2 - Synology NAS
3TB S-ATA Backup
1TB S-ATA Backup

Server3 - ConnectedData Transporter
2TB - S-ATA Backup

Total - about 13 TB of disk

So what?
Firstly, I have a home studio - recording live music requires fast disk writes but even more it requires a fast system disk. I find S-ATA drives are plenty fast enough for recording performances, but the SSD keeps all the effects running fast enough to generate the music without latency.

I also do a lot of photography, and the speed of the SSD definitely reduces opening and storing time

In all my time with home PCs - and that is a looooong time, I have never had a hard disk fail on me, I have never needed a UPS (and never had one). Just ask yourself, would it really be a disaster if my PC stopped just his minute? I take a system image once a week to a separate drive, and all my disks mean that I can back up all important information at least once, and sometimes twice. As for power, here in Norway I have about 16 circuits in my home, one of them only for my home network. All the circuits have surge protection and use electronic circuit breakers which trip so fast the devices don't get damaged even by short circuits.

Everything I have read about SSD, and all my experiences tells me they are at least as reliable and long lived as any mechanical drives and almost certainly far better, if they were cheaper I would have nothing else.

The Transporter is like a private cloud, I am installing one in my cottage in the mountains as soon as I get internet (any day now), it just sits on a network and synchronises with other Transporters you allow to connect, completely encrypted and secure. So I will have one at home and one at the cottage - perfect backups!

I am a professional paranoid, but I can assure you I trust SSDs.


ander2255

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #45 on: May 31, 2014, 09:59:56 PM »
Is it just me, or does most of this stuff seem pretty obvious?  :?|

40hz

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #46 on: May 31, 2014, 10:14:03 PM »
Is it just me, or does most of this stuff seem pretty obvious?  :?|

It might be more you. A lot of what gets discussed here is done for the benefit of those to whom the information may not be quite so obvious. :)

superboyac

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Re: A three drive system - the sweet spot
« Reply #47 on: June 01, 2014, 02:58:31 AM »
Is it just me, or does most of this stuff seem pretty obvious?  :?|

It might be more you. A lot of what gets discussed here is done for the benefit of those to whom the information may not be quite so obvious. :)
I agree.  I have read and experimented a lot with this kind of stuff, and people think I'm an expert know it all, and I don't feel that way.  Reading the way other people think through such things, even when seemingly simple and obvious, is a great benefit to me.  It can confirm a lot of things, or give new ideas, and is just overall pleasurable :-[