Rant about lack of hard disk progress

drlava

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Guys, I bought my current NAS drives almost exactly six years ago: WD Red WD30EFRX 3TB for $99 each. I was looking to upgrade today and the prices are about the same! 6 YEARS later! A 3TB RED NAS drive is about $80.
I remember the years of HD’s sizes for a certain cost about doubling every 18 months, long gone now. Going for even a reasonable upgrade to 10 TB is $270.
Anyone else disappointed? With SSDs taking over a large share of storage volume, it appears the investment and gains in large disks has shrunk substantially.
Perhaps the tech is at a turning point where ssds will eclipse disks for even large storage in the next 5 years and manufacturers are planning to gear down the disc tech.
What are your thoughts?
 

Zepher

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I buy these and take the drives out of them.
IMG_6672.JPEG
 

GotNoRice

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Yeah I think that, unfortunately, mechanical hard disks are becoming more and more of a niche storage technology. That brings down the economy of scale for producing those drives. We will soon get to the point where pretty much the only people buying these drives are data-centers and businesses running file servers, both of which are generally willing to pay higher prices than normal consumers. At the same time, we've had some acquisitions, such as Western Digital buying HGST, which has eliminated some of the competition in the market.

I still think that there is room for some innovation here. I'm surprised that "Hybrid" drives have never become very popular. Something like a 12TB mechanical drive with an integrated 1TB SSD in a tiered-storage configuration that is handled transparently by the drive controller. like any tiered-storage tech, frequently used data would end up on the faster drive, other data would stay on the slower drive. It makes a lot of sense since in many cases you have certain files that are accessed almost every day and other files that are accessed maybe once per month or less. There is no need to keep things like old drive backups on the SSD and you can have your entire steam library installed (including the games you never actually play) without filling up your SSD.

I have a few old 2TB drives in my fileserver that are approaching 100k power-on hours. I've been itching to replace them, but I keep waiting for a good deal...
 

Kardonxt

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Technology has continued moving forward, prices just haven't come down accordingly. At this point it looks like it's entirely based around maximizing profit.

As Zepher pointed out, they clearly have plenty of margin to stick the same drives in USB enclosures and sell them at 1/2 the price. (not exactly the same drives anymore, but mostly modified to prevent shucking, not cut costs)
 

drescherjm

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At work I have the same complaint however I need 7200 RPM drives. There are larger drives available but the price really has not changed much in the last few years. I attribute that to the fact that there are only 3 manufacturers left and the average computer user does not need a spinner at all.
 

Zepher

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At work I have the same complaint however I need 7200 RPM drives. There are larger drives available but the price really has not changed much in the last few years. I attribute that to the fact that there are only 3 manufacturers left and the average computer user does not need a spinner at all.

I bought this one as well. It's supposedly a 7200 Rpm HGST Datacenter drive inside. I plan on shucking it in the near future to replace a 4TB Black that is failing.
It was $169 on sale a couple of months ago, around $30 cheaper than a retail internal 4TB Black at the time.
IMG_6685.JPEG
 

x509

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Please post about the supposed problem with the 3.3 V power line and the specific model number of the drive once you have shucked it.

I was a real HGST loyalist for years and years, especially when Seagate started to have all their problems. Now WD is the "last man standing" except for Seagate of course.
 

drlava

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Your observations, and the economic presence of ‘shucking’ in my opinion points to anti-competitive behavior in the bare HDD market by the main HD producers.
Remember the anticompetitive lawsuit brought against RAM manufacturers for price fixing years ago? I smell the same thing here.
Thanks for the pointer to the easy store discs, news to me.
 
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must resist urge to buy more 12tb elements drives, oh retailers why do you torment me with sale prices. :woot: wd got me hooked on them cheap helium drives.
 

drescherjm

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They hit a physical wall.

I was thinking of that. Platter densities have not increased by a large amount over the last 10 years. HAMR is supposed to fix that but I am not sure it will help us on the consumer side on pricing.
 

Nside

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It's true that HD manufacturers are making a profit and prices could be a little lower, but that isn't the reason. They hit a physical wall.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superparamagnetism#Effect_on_hard_drives
They said there was a wall a few years back, saying going more than 8 or 12TB in a non-SMR drive would require helium.
Complicated problems precede innovative solutions. If HDD tech didn't have multiple "walls" to hurdle, we would have had 16TB drives back in the 80's.

The HDD market hasn't seemed the same (to me) since the Taiwan flood in 2011. That pushed people to use SSD's more because HDDs were not only expensive, but also difficult to find. I remember paying $130 for a USED 1TB drive when 6 months prior I bought basically the exact same drive new for around $70. New 1TB drives were $200-$300 right after the flood.

This made people shake their heads at WD's decision to put all of their plants in one location, but also made people look elsewhere for storage solutions. SSDs were still more expensive, but they had benefits that helped cushion the blow at least. Fast forward a few years later, and SSDs were becoming standard for high-end to mid-range PC boot drives. HDD prices were finally stabilized (yes, it took years) but the damage was already done. They were going to lose the consumer market, and they probably knew it. That's why Samsung and Hitachi were like "we're out"
 

daglesj

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Thing is I look at my amazon HDD list and most of the drives I've added from 2TB to 8TB have dropped on average 22% (12% low 31% high) in cost the past year. So prices are down nicely here in the UK.
 

cjcox

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Guys, I bought my current NAS drives almost exactly six years ago: WD Red WD30EFRX 3TB for $99 each. I was looking to upgrade today and the prices are about the same! 6 YEARS later! A 3TB RED NAS drive is about $80.
I remember the years of HD’s sizes for a certain cost about doubling every 18 months, long gone now. Going for even a reasonable upgrade to 10 TB is $270.
Anyone else disappointed? With SSDs taking over a large share of storage volume, it appears the investment and gains in large disks has shrunk substantially.
Perhaps the tech is at a turning point where ssds will eclipse disks for even large storage in the next 5 years and manufacturers are planning to gear down the disc tech.
What are your thoughts?

Well, there are ceilings you know? (or maybe I should say floors and ceilings)

Just like it's hard to get under $250 USD after it's all said and done for a computer system (doesn't matter what speed, quality, etc). It's hard to get under $30 USD for storage. And if the $30 floor is used for your "smallest" drive space offering, well, you can see where I'm going...
 

kamikazi

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They said there was a wall a few years back, saying going more than 8 or 12TB in a non-SMR drive would require helium.
Complicated problems precede innovative solutions. If HDD tech didn't have multiple "walls" to hurdle, we would have had 16TB drives back in the 80's.

The HDD market hasn't seemed the same (to me) since the Taiwan flood in 2011. That pushed people to use SSD's more because HDDs were not only expensive, but also difficult to find. I remember paying $130 for a USED 1TB drive when 6 months prior I bought basically the exact same drive new for around $70. New 1TB drives were $200-$300 right after the flood.

This made people shake their heads at WD's decision to put all of their plants in one location, but also made people look elsewhere for storage solutions. SSDs were still more expensive, but they had benefits that helped cushion the blow at least. Fast forward a few years later, and SSDs were becoming standard for high-end to mid-range PC boot drives. HDD prices were finally stabilized (yes, it took years) but the damage was already done. They were going to lose the consumer market, and they probably knew it. That's why Samsung and Hitachi were like "we're out"

Right when the flood hit, I bought several 1TB drives before the prices shot up to have just in case while waiting for the fallout. I ended up selling a couple for cost within the year as they were just sitting and availability came back faster than I anticipated. In my opinion, the bark was much worse than the bite for that flood. I think prices went up more based on fear than actual shortages. It seemed to calm down rather quickly.
 

Luke M

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They said there was a wall a few years back, saying going more than 8 or 12TB in a non-SMR drive would require helium.

Cramming more platters into a drive doesn't reduce the raw storage cost (it reduces the total cost for data centers by using less space). Storage per platter is a better way to measure basic progress than storage per drive.

Complicated problems precede innovative solutions. If HDD tech didn't have multiple "walls" to hurdle, we would have had 16TB drives back in the 80's.

Yeah well, some walls are higher than others.
 
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likeman

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over 2TB you really should be using RAID 6 or similar (free/truenas Z2 or Synology SHR2) this generally means min 4 disks typically ,, to easy to have total los of the array if you use raid 5,Z1,SHR1 (as it can't fix double faults) even more so with normal hdds or shucked hdds (non NAS/enterprise HDDs) as they lack TLER so they can just flat out disappear if they have a problem with a sector that isn't reading correctly
 
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MrGuvernment

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I thought most external's were going to built in USB connectors instead of using adapters? or I guess only some are doing that so you can not shuck em?
 

Zepher

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I thought most external's were going to built in USB connectors instead of using adapters? or I guess only some are doing that so you can not shuck em?
WD does it on their small 2.5" portables to make them as physically small as possible.

I opened up the 8TB Black external and it has an Air filled Data Center drive in it,
IMG_8786-edited.jpg
 

munkle

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I don't really trust drives pulled from external enclosures. I had a server with 6 drives. About half were pulled from external enclosures. They all died after a year, I replaced them with more from external enclosures. Same thing happened. The 3 that weren't from external enclosures still fine after all these years (5ish years). From what I have read its probably because when they are from external enclosures they have different firmware that parks the head a lot and when used 24/7 that causes excessive wear that they wouldn't have in the external enclosure.
 

cyclone3d

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Yeah I think that, unfortunately, mechanical hard disks are becoming more and more of a niche storage technology. That brings down the economy of scale for producing those drives. We will soon get to the point where pretty much the only people buying these drives are data-centers and businesses running file servers, both of which are generally willing to pay higher prices than normal consumers. At the same time, we've had some acquisitions, such as Western Digital buying HGST, which has eliminated some of the competition in the market.

I still think that there is room for some innovation here. I'm surprised that "Hybrid" drives have never become very popular. Something like a 12TB mechanical drive with an integrated 1TB SSD in a tiered-storage configuration that is handled transparently by the drive controller. like any tiered-storage tech, frequently used data would end up on the faster drive, other data would stay on the slower drive. It makes a lot of sense since in many cases you have certain files that are accessed almost every day and other files that are accessed maybe once per month or less. There is no need to keep things like old drive backups on the SSD and you can have your entire steam library installed (including the games you never actually play) without filling up your SSD.

I have a few old 2TB drives in my fileserver that are approaching 100k power-on hours. I've been itching to replace them, but I keep waiting for a good deal...

Problem with Hybrid drives is:
1. The HDD part is pretty much always 5400 RPM
2. The SSD portion is never large enough to actually help
3. When (not if) the SSD part decides to die, then you are left with a super crappy slow as a pregnant Yak HDD.

Yes, I have tried Hybrid drives before. They absolutely suck.
 

jmilcher

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Lol, bought a 2.5" WD Passport years ago hoping to put into a ODD caddy for my laptop, found out the USB 3 was part of the HDD's logic board. :(
Just takes a bit of research.

I've been "shucking" the WD easystores for years. I bought probably 8 in 2017, and all were WD reds inside. Still running in a NAS today. I recently picked up 12TB easystores and shucked them, also had great HGST helium nas drives in them. I paid at least $120 less per drive than I would have buying the stand alone product, if not more.

And the external cases are not sealed. If you are careful removing them, you can always return it to the external case for warranty purposes. Pretty easy.
 
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ND40oz

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I saw that when I watched a video on how to open up this external.

I still don't know how he got the internal clips off using the pry tool, I broke one trying it that way. After that I use some needle nose pliers and just yanked them straight up.
 

Zepher

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I still don't know how he got the internal clips off using the pry tool, I broke one trying it that way. After that I use some needle nose pliers and just yanked them straight up.
I used a credit card and a screwdriver and didn't break any clips. Felt like I was going to break some but didn't.
 

ND40oz

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I used a credit card and a screwdriver and didn't break any clips. Felt like I was going to break some but didn't.

I didn't break any clips, I broke the pry tool in half. Those clips are pretty much indestructible from what I can tell.
 

Nside

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I don't really trust drives pulled from external enclosures. I had a server with 6 drives. About half were pulled from external enclosures. They all died after a year, I replaced them with more from external enclosures. Same thing happened. The 3 that weren't from external enclosures still fine after all these years (5ish years). From what I have read its probably because when they are from external enclosures they have different firmware that parks the head a lot and when used 24/7 that causes excessive wear that they wouldn't have in the external enclosure.
WD Green drives did that (notoriously), but I've not heard of any other drives doing it.

I've not had issues with shucked drives or retail/OEM drives. I just run seatools long-generic test on every new drive I get prior to shucking or loading it with any data. Been good to me so far.
 

munkle

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WD Green drives did that (notoriously), but I've not heard of any other drives doing it.

I've not had issues with shucked drives or retail/OEM drives. I just run seatools long-generic test on every new drive I get prior to shucking or loading it with any data. Been good to me so far.
One of them was a green drive, one was a toshiba or hitachi 2tb, can't remember. The others were all seagates mostly 3tb and 1 5tb. I got tired of spending money on drives so I just turn the server off, didn't use it really all that much to justify feeding it drives. The hitachi/toshiba I got replaced under warranty because the bare drive showed it had a warranty, its still working today in another computer even as a refurb drive. Kind of surprised.
 

daglesj

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I don't really trust drives pulled from external enclosures. I had a server with 6 drives. About half were pulled from external enclosures. They all died after a year, I replaced them with more from external enclosures. Same thing happened. The 3 that weren't from external enclosures still fine after all these years (5ish years). From what I have read its probably because when they are from external enclosures they have different firmware that parks the head a lot and when used 24/7 that causes excessive wear that they wouldn't have in the external enclosure.

I always change the power management on all my HDDs so they dont keep parking all the time. Swipe the power settings to max or at least half way if its not going to be used much.
 
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/dev/null

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must resist urge to buy more 12tb elements drives, oh retailers why do you torment me with sale prices. :woot: wd got me hooked on them cheap helium drives.
Do you like them because they help you talk funny?

Oh wait that is balloons....
 

likeman

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as long as you have raid 6/SHR2 and a auto hot spare when using non TLER Hdd, shucked hdds (non WD RED\Ionwolf\enterprise) can be fine (hot spare is prefered over the whole array failing and having to restore from backup, if you have one) people trust RAID too much (second system/NAS ideally raid 6/SHR2 ideally) but normally you can "get away" with not having a backup but its your data if you do it that way

Synology and LSI hardware raid cards make this easy to do (synology is not really the cheapest way to do it as 8 bay synology cost fair amount as they charge £100 per bay + £200 for the unit ish) after 4-5 bays using low powered cpu and motherboard and pair of raid cards (keep one spare just in case of failure, rare but can happen) is normally a cheaper option (as you can make a 8-16 bay server for under £500 most likely or just buy a dell or IBM/Lenovo rack server as they can be had for under 500 easy)
 
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MrGuvernment

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likeman instead of a hot spare just put it into use anyways, since that spare is running 24/7 as well just not being used. Or just keep it out and replace the drive to avoid the unnecessary wear on the drive. Assuming your server is close by. You can never get away with not having backups...it will bite you in the ass one day, not a matter of if, but when.
 

daglesj

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The first rule of Data Club is not having data that you give a rats ass about. Second rule is making sure you don't accumulate data in the first place.

I really don't get why people (especially here) seem to actively seek more data to store. It's some bizarre compulsion. Saying you have "20TB of data stored on your home servers!" is not something that impresses me. It makes me think you are a bit odd.:confused:

For the past 30 years I have always maintained a policy of only keeping the bare essentials of data (40MB HDDs do that). So far I have accumulated about 1TB. Of that I would consider maybe 250GB 'vaguely precious'.

Each to their own but....really are you guys thinking this through properly?;)
 

xSneak

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They have been price gouging ever since the flooding in Thailand back in 2011. We can only hope that the energy assisted recording isn't a meme.
 

Nside

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The first rule of Data Club is not having data that you give a rats ass about. Second rule is making sure you don't accumulate data in the first place.

I really don't get why people (especially here) seem to actively seek more data to store. It's some bizarre compulsion. Saying you have "20TB of data stored on your home servers!" is not something that impresses me. It makes me think you are a bit odd.:confused:

For the past 30 years I have always maintained a policy of only keeping the bare essentials of data (40MB HDDs do that). So far I have accumulated about 1TB. Of that I would consider maybe 250GB 'vaguely precious'.

Each to their own but....really are you guys thinking this through properly?;)
Ultimately the bulk of the data I store isn't important to me personally. Movies mostly, as it's much more convenient than having a wall of Blu-rays in my living room.
There are photos, home movies, etc... But for the most part, about 15TB of movies and a few TV shows.

On a related note, I do recommend saving a personal copy of any movie or TV show you like, as they are getting deleted or edited on streaming services in order to appease current outrage mobs.
 
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