SMR (shingled magnetic recording) hard drives

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 242 times.

JohnR

SMR (shingled magnetic recording) hard drives
« on: 12 Feb 2018, 02:09 pm »
I bumped into a reference to SMR drives while reading about a backup program I plan to use. I wondered what that is, here's some info (or Google): http://www.tomsitpro.com/articles/shingled-magnetic-recoding-smr-101-basics,2-933.html

At some point, the light went on and I realized I already have an SMR drive - the 4TB ST4000LM024 I've put in my ODroid NAS music server. Fortunately, a music server seems like a good application for these drives, as you tend to write data one or a few times and read it many times.

Just thought I'd mention that, if you wanted a drive that provided consistent write performance in a many-write situation, perhaps check the high-capacity drives before buying.

jpm

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 299
Re: SMR (shingled magnetic recording) hard drives
« Reply #1 on: 12 Feb 2018, 05:33 pm »
The SMR drives I've come across have been sold as externals intended for archival purposes. This is an especially important consideration if someone is planning to free an external drive from it's factory enclosure for use elsewhere, and it can take some digging to determine whether a drive your looking at is likely to be an SMR model or not.

Since SMR drives can often be priced lower than others, they can be attractive to folks looking to populate a NAS, as the savings add up quite quickly.

JohnR

Re: SMR (shingled magnetic recording) hard drives
« Reply #2 on: 13 Feb 2018, 07:37 am »
I do wonder if the 4TB I have came from an external enclosure like that, as I bought it "tested but not used" on ebay. I have to admit, I used to wonder why the typical consumer portable backup drives were cheaper than bare drives I could buy (per capacity) and I guess I now realize there is an actual reason why they are sold as such (i.e. backup not general purpose use).

jpm

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 299
Re: SMR (shingled magnetic recording) hard drives
« Reply #3 on: 13 Feb 2018, 06:44 pm »
I do wonder if the 4TB I have came from an external enclosure like that, as I bought it "tested but not used" on ebay. I have to admit, I used to wonder why the typical consumer portable backup drives were cheaper than bare drives I could buy (per capacity) and I guess I now realize there is an actual reason why they are sold as such (i.e. backup not general purpose use).

I never came across the kind of price difference with 4TB drives that I did with 8TB drives, which was what caused me to research them and learn about SMR. As you observe, the cost of external drives can be cheaper than bare internal drives and for the most part whenever I've investigated (Newegg reviews can be a helpful starting point) the actual drive is the same, just the warranty may be different. 

I don't think I ever saw Synology approve an SMR drive for their NAS units, but as far as the practice of pulling external drives for NAS use goes, I'm fairly sure I recall that Backblaze do this regularly. As many are already aware, Backlaze publish very interesting data on the longevity of different drive models - one of the reasons I've never been tempted to pay the premium for things like WD Red drives, versus using the cost difference to keep a spare drive on hand for RAID repair / recovery.

If someone suspects that a drive or drives may be under-performing and no health check warnings are being reported, using an external USB to SATA adapter to check each drive with a tool like Crystal Disk Mark can be enlightening.  Before I sold the drives from my last NAS, I found that three of the eight were registering faults that could have been the beginnings of trouble. Those three were used for target practice!