Question CMR vs SMR for a 2tb hard drive for storage

karthik.gems

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Nov 5, 2018
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I currently have a 1tb Seagate Barracuda hard disk and wanted to add a 2tb hard disk in my pc.
And then came across this CMR vs SMR feature and found some people in reddit saying no to smr drives. But most of those comments are related to NAS drives.


But for me this 2tb hard disk is for storage purpose. I currently have a 1tb ssd, and a 1tb hard disk. But this hdd is filled up in months. So I decided to upgrade.

This drive is for storing few old games, personal photos+videos (currently 200gb), then some videos for youtube.

Most of the time, the hdd will be used only for accessing files and not writing often, since I will be using the ssd for exporting videos and then copy the final video into hdd for storage/backup.

So for this purpose which is better for me? CMR or SMR or would it not matter at all?

Below are the drives which I considered based on availability in my country:

  1. Seagate Barracuda 2TB (ST2000DM008 ) - 7200rpm - SMR
  2. Seagate Barracuda 2tb (ST2000DM005 ) - 5400rpm - SMR
  3. WD Blue 2tb (WD20EZRZ ) - 5400rpm - 64mb cache - CMR
  4. WD Blue 2tb (WD20EZAZ ) - 5400rpm - 256mb cache - SMR
 

popatim

Titan
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NAS drives are actually perfect for storage.
?? Often they are the same as the regular drive but have TLER enabled in the firmware. WD Green and Red drives are identical otherwise or at least used to be.

I prefer CMR drives. From a recovery standpoint they are easier to work with and not have to deal with the shingled mess.

SMR isn't bad in itself, its just that the consumer implementation of it sucks and is what's causing all the issues. If we could get the Enterprise version of SMR , we probably wouldn't have ever noticed.
 

popatim

Titan
Moderator
I just bought the 2tb version(ST2000DM008).... and it was pulling 300-400mb/s writes max. Way beyond it's specs.
You were writing to the 256mb's of cache on the drive. The drive itself is incapable of 250Mb/s read or writes.

Writes is where the SMR mess starts to break down. Data is in layers like on a shingled roof so when you need to erase something and reload it you have to reload the whole section because SMR drives can only read an individual shingle, not write one. This means the drive has to copy the good data to another empty section, delete the existing section, and then rewrite it incorporating the new data. Plan on horrible performance when this happens.
 
Jul 20, 2020
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What I had from fedora 25 was mainting good writes the entire time. I copeid a 33-50gb game folder and it maintained it. So, something can do it. I just don't know what weird logic it's using to do it. It was a fedora 25 install usb. It was averaging mostly 170mb/s and jumping between 250mb/s and sometimes down to like 60-70mb/s for what seems like small files. But only breifly. It ran the overall write 3-4 times faster overall than fedora 32. Fedora 32 was doing 3-5 minutes. Fedora 25 was doing around 1 minute real time.

Maybe there are some settings that can maximize the drive. I thought maybe it was doing sloppy writes all over and then rearranging them afterwords. The drive seems to go into sleep mode when not in use even when set to not do so.
 

popatim

Titan
Moderator
The 64mb cache 2tb is pre-SMR. What you say is true of their current lineup but there are was many of these older drives still in the chain. In looking now I see they are asking a premium for these drives now. $150 to 230. LOL That's nuts. At that price get a much larger WD CMR drive.

I wonder how much I could get for my old 2tb WD Green drives :sweatsmile:

How do you feel about Toshiba? IIRC, their 2tb drives are still CMR.
 
Jul 29, 2020
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I never bought anything from Toshiba or have no idea about how they handle warranty here. But I read most amazon reviews have complaints about drive failures and bad warranty.
you have to ''fight'' with your retailer for the Warranty coverage
with Seagate and WD you can register and RMA your drive directly with them.

if you read the Toshiba drives datasheet you will realize that some are rated to last 300K cycles not 600k and I saw other drawbacks I can't remember.

my advise is not to buy anything from shi*** companies that don't even have an email for customer support like EMTEC.
Yes, you first have to buy the product if you want later to get in touch with the manufacturer so you can't even ask them anything previously your purchase.
http://www.emtec-international.com/en/emtec-ct-sav
 
Jul 29, 2020
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Guess what. I emailed Toshiba customer care and they said they could help if I already purchased and have a serial number.
that's just exactly what I have said on my previous post, Toshiba first want you to purchase their stuff and then they can provide some kind of support otherwise you are tied to dealing your local dealer.
why may you want to support a company with your money if they are just ignoring you ?

with WD they will request you to send them the drive or maybe not if it's RED NAS and you get either your full money back or a new drive.
 
Jul 29, 2020
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Yes, I already have 2 ssds and this new drive would be for photos, videos and other docs backup.
I have both and believe me that I don't feel any difference
if you need to unzip large files all day long I would recommend you to download them on one drive and unzip them on the second drive if you want to gain some speed
anyway the current drives with 5400 rpm have noting to do with the 20 years old sluggish Barracuda 5400.

I had a Sony VAIO with a Hitachi 5400 rpm drive and replaced it for a seagate Momentus 7200 rpm thinking it was gonna be better but it was even worse.
 
Below are the drives which I considered based on availability in my country:
  1. Seagate Barracuda 2TB (ST2000DM008 ) - 7200rpm - SMR
  2. Seagate Barracuda 2tb (ST2000DM005 ) - 5400rpm - SMR
  3. WD Blue 2tb (WD20EZRZ ) - 5400rpm - 64mb cache - CMR
  4. WD Blue 2tb (WD20EZAZ ) - 5400rpm - 256mb cache - SMR
Get Barracuda Pro or Ironwolf, if you want HDD from Seagate.
Or Red Pro, Black or Purple from WD.


 

karthik.gems

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Get Barracuda Pro or Ironwolf, if you want HDD from Seagate.
Or Red Pro, Black or Purple from WD.



Well those are over my budget. Why ironwolf or wd black for storage?
(I'm not going to launch any games from the hard disk anyway. For durability aspect, these are best I agree)

Also, is it a good idea to use a nas drive for storage?
 
Jul 20, 2020
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I just bought the 2tb version(ST2000DM008). It has really good potential for writes if your os or whatever can utilize it correctly. The reads for me are kind of bad in practice. Not sure for which reason. I was getting 170mb/s up to 250mb/s writes(on a sata board restricted to 250mb/s) or depending on where the data came from. Actually, I changed it to a full SATA 3.0 connector on my mobo and it was pulling 300-400mb/s writes max. Way beyond it's specs. Reads sadly had problem. Not sure if things can be done to make it work better though. It seems to have the potential to be good though.

Linux reports with the hdparm -Tt tests that it should be able to do 200-250mb/s reads basically, but lower in practice unless there was something else making it not work. It's good if it can be utilized fully. In practice it was weird though. No idea why. I have a feeling all the software in our OSes are crap(from incompitence or intentionally rigged) and gimping good hardware and not letting anyone get full performance.

Note these performance realities were only circumstancial and in older version of Fedora 25 or with certain file system programs. Not sure why. Other times it's like all my system seems to cap everything at 120mb/s. I don't know why or how it would work in other circumstances. I wish I could figure out why and make mine work well all the time.
 
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karthik.gems

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Nov 5, 2018
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I just bought the 2tb version(ST2000DM008). It has really good potential for writes if your os or whatever can utilize it correctly. The reads for me are kind of bad in practice. Not sure for which reason. I was getting 170mb/s up to 250mb/s writes(on a sata board restricted to 250mb/s) or depending on where the data came from. Actually, I changed it to a full SATA 3.0 connector on my mobo and it was pulling 300-400mb/s writes max. Way beyond it's specs. Reads sadly had problem. Not sure if things can be done to make it work better though. It seems to have the potential to be good though.

Linux reports with the hdparm -Tt tests that it should be able to do 200-250mb/s reads basically, but lower in practice unless there was something else making it not work. It's good if it can be utilized fully. In practice it was weird though. No idea why. I have a feeling all the software in our OSes are crap(from incompitence or intentionally rigged) and gimping good hardware and not letting anyone get full performance.

Note these performance realities were only circumstancial and in older version of Fedora 25 or with certain file system programs. Not sure why. Other times it's like all my system seems to cap everything at 120mb/s. I don't know why or how it would work in other circumstances. I wish I could figure out why and make mine work well all the time.

Thanks for the informative comment. Can you actually do Crystal Disk Mark benchmark on ur hdd and tell me what score you are getting? That would be very helpful.

Contrary to yours, I have the Seagate Barracuda 1tb (ST1000DM010) model and I did the benchmark. Sadly the score is around 140 MB/s for reads and 130 MB/s for writes. I am using Windows 10 (upto date) and observed this score.
 
Jul 29, 2020
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I have both Red and Green drives for data storage and my next ones will likely be Blue (Green in the past)

I bought the Red ones for two reasons, one because they come with 3 years warranty period and price difference was rougly 15 bucks more and second because the head parking was disabled by default. Although the current units seem to have it enabled.

all this said I have had some minor issues with Red drives and I think it's due to the TLER firmware the drive freezes and I have to shut the PC off to get them working back again.
 
Jul 20, 2020
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Thanks for the informative comment. Can you actually do Crystal Disk Mark benchmark on ur hdd and tell me what score you are getting? That would be very helpful.

Contrary to yours, I have the Seagate Barracuda 1tb (ST1000DM010) model and I did the benchmark. Sadly the score is around 140 MB/s for reads and 130 MB/s for writes. I am using Windows 10 (upto date) and observed this score.
I'm on linux so I dont think I can run it. The hdparm =Tt only shows reads. And the writes don't show up in the gnome-disk-utility. It just does this sort of speed in odd circumstances and in one older version of an OS for the most part. Unless it's overreporting the data this means it's writing faster than stated in some cases or has more ability under some circumstances. I sadly have no idea what it is though. Trying to figure that out myself to get it to work that well along with my other hdd's, but I can't find info. Like the head parking thing. Still trying to find tweaks.


I found this just now on head parking. I have no idea if it's safe to do not or has any side effects.


NVM, that is WD drives let alone linux! ><
 
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karthik.gems

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You were writing to the 256mb's of cache on the drive. The drive itself is incapable of 250Mb/s read or writes.

Writes is where the SMR mess starts to break down. Data is in layers like on a shingled roof so when you need to erase something and reload it you have to reload the whole section because SMR drives can only read an individual shingle, not write one. This means the drive has to copy the good data to another empty section, delete the existing section, and then rewrite it incorporating the new data. Plan on horrible performance when this happens.
That's quite weird. How did they even think this would be a good idea for general users.
Let alone the advertising on their websites about SMR tech is over the top.
 

karthik.gems

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Nov 5, 2018
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See if you can find the 2tb seagate with 64mb cache. those would be CMR as well.
All the Seagate Barracudas except 1tb version, are SMR drives.
The only CMR drives in that budget is Seagate Skyhawk surveillance drives.
The rest like IronWolf, Firecuda etc are CMR but more than double my budget.

In WD, I was able to find a 64mb cache drive with 2tb CMR drive.
 

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