General Question

cyreb7's avatar

New photo hard drive, quiet or fast?

Asked by cyreb7 (222points) October 3rd, 2008

I take several thousand photos every year with my DSLR (10MP), 90% of the photos I take are RAW (NEF) and I think it would be a good idea for me to have a dedicated photo hard drive, both for the extra hard disk space, and so that I don’t have to worry about back up.

I have looked around on the internet and have concluded that I don’t really need an external hard drive, and the internal ones are much cheaper anyway. So cheap in fact, I think it would be my best bet for me to get #2 1TB hard drives in a RAID 1 configuration that way I will have all the storage I will need for the next 10 years, and I won’t have to worry about backing up my photos all the time.

I currently have a Western Digital hard drive, and would like to buy another one. I have narrowed it down to the WD Caviar Black or the WD Caviar Green , my current computer is kind of noisy as it is, and I don’t want to add any unnecessary noise.

My question is: how much does photo work depend on a fast hard drive? I will be doing most of my work in Lightroom and Photoshop, and I don’t think ether uses the hard drive much after it loads the photo. I would prefer to have the quieter hard drive, but I am ok to settle with the faster one if you think it would be a good idea.

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10 Answers

robmandu's avatar

Just want to point out that RAID is not a good alternative to backing up data. Data may become damaged or destroyed without harm to the drive(s) on which it is stored. For example, part of the data may be overwritten by a system malfunction; a file may be damaged or deleted by user error or malice and not noticed for days or weeks; and of course the entire array is at risk of catastrophes such as theft, flood, and fire.

robmandu's avatar

Re: the drive itself being noisy… I don’t think you’re gonna notice, especially if your PC already employs a noisy fan. At it’s loudest, the Black is only 33dBA (average).

Note also that the specifications of both selected drives support a theoretical maximum up to 3Gb/sec transfer rate. Means you should be able to easily offload any particular RAW image file from your disk in a fraction of a second. (A 10MB file, for example, should read off in less than a quarter of a second).

Your ability to transfer image files quickly (like off the camera or if you were using external drives) isn’t so much limited by disk throughput as it is by the USB 2.0 interface. At a non-sustainable theoretical limit of 480Mb/s, it’s over six times slower than the Caviar’s theoretical throughput to the bus.

Point is, I’m not too worried about the speed or noise either of the drives you selected. As far as consumer-grade stuff goes, they’re fine. There are however other variables that can be difficult to quantify generically across the board. That is, YMMV.

cyreb7's avatar

Thank you for your advice, you have been really helpful.

justin5824's avatar

If you have the money, and want massive space, get the Drobo ! It is an external HD enclosure, and it can take 4 drives. 1/3rd of the space is used for redundancy. You can swap the smallest drive out ant any time.

cyreb7's avatar

thanks, i will look into it.

HeNkiSdaBro's avatar

Take a look at the new Western Digital NAS (network attached storage) boxes. That might be something. While you are at it, why not hook your safe backup solution to the network and have access from the network to those drives from any computer connected? And also have the internet access to this box is another benefit.

row4food's avatar

I second the Drobo. I have one and it is fantastic. I have two 1TB drives which is more than enough to hold all my backups of my whole hard drive and my Aperture photo library.

(works seamlessly with Time Machine on my mac.)

cyreb7's avatar

Thank you for all practical advice, and I love the look of the Drobo. I only wish it was cheaper, maybe I can look on eBay.

cyreb7's avatar

Is there any fireproof solutions?

row4food's avatar

See if they are still selling the first generation drobo. That one doesnt have a firewire and is much cheaper. That’s what I did. it was a little over 800 with the case, and the two 1TB drives. You could just buy the box and find your own drives for cheaper, as an option…

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