HTPC Storage Issue.

rawbeefman

Distinguished
Feb 2, 2007
11
0
18,510
0
I have a quick question about storage for an htpc.

I have a 500gb hard drive currently for television. I can usually watch tv for 13 months before I run out of room, so this is sufficient. What I want to do now, is rip my dvd collection and encode them to xvid files and store them on a new hard drive. Should I go for the terabyte drive or should I use 2 500 gb drives. Above all, I want energy efficiency and heat reduction. Is it possible to spin down and spin up sata drives? Is it safe? Should I wait for a safer storage technology, since this process could take a long time? Is it out of the question to get 2 tb drives and raid them?

Instead are there linux or windows diagnostic utilities for drives to determine when they are about to go bad? Can I find information on a drive to see how many revolutions they can make before they crash?

I know there are a lot of questions in this, but thanks for any help.
- Ehren
 

rwpritchett

Splendid
Mar 17, 2006
3,160
0
21,660
240
If energy efficiency is your plan, perhaps you should consider the Western Digital GP line of drives. I recently upgraded from a 320GB Seagate 7200.10 to the 1TB WD GP drive and I love it. It's a 5400 rpm drive, but don't let that fool you. HDTach benchmarks that I ran show that it is a little faster than the Seagate it replaced. www.silentpcreview.com rated the drive as the quietest 3.5" drive they've ever tested and it's always on top for power consumption and low temps.

For DVD's, I just converted my entire collection to x264/AAC mkv files. A full length film ends up being about 900MB-1200MB with the quality settings I've been using. I hope you have a quad-core processor ;)

Having a NAS setup with a RAID is a good idea too. For drive diagnostics, you can go to the manufacturer's website and download the tools you need. WD has Data Lifeguard Tools, Seagate has Seatools, etc. Also, if you are familiar with a program called Speedfan, it can generate an online report of the S.M.A.R.T. data from your hard drives which gives you a breakdown of how your drive is doing. It also scores your drives total reliability as a percentage for reference. Check it out.
 

Wolfshadw

Titan
Moderator
Aug 3, 2006
22,365
14
97,465
4,566
I can't stress enough the need for some sort of protection against hard drive failure. I've been building/upgrading/swapping computer parts for over 10 years with multiple hard drives. I'm sure if I plugged in the first hard drive I bought (4 GB IDE), it would come online without a hitch.

Of course, it's the largest hard drive with the most (non-critical) data on it that is first to die... my media drive! Several hundred hours worth of encoding down the drain and I'm not looking forward to restarting all that again.

I can't answer any of your questions, but I will say the next time I start ripping my DVD collection, it will be after I've purchased 5x500GB (at least) drives and a RAID controller. 4x500GB in RAID5 gives me 1.5TB of space and the fifth drive is a spare.

-Wolf sends
 

TeraMedia

Distinguished
Jan 26, 2006
904
0
18,990
3
I second Wolfshadw on the value of RAID (1 or 5, not 0) for media storage. In this case, the redundancy isn't increasing your uptime; it's saving you re-do time. It's a convenience feature. You already have backups (the original DVD / CD media), so there isn't a real need to backup your data. You can always re-rip it if necessary. But doing so takes a lot of time, especially if you have to re-convert all of it along the way. To avoid the reconversion when a disk fails, you have to either make a backup of all of it (full duplicate storage), or at a minimum use a RAID array.

RAID 5 is very good for this kind of write-once/read-many usage scenario, because reads are very fast, and you get better storage space than a RAID 1 config. RAID won't protect you from a MB or PSU failure, but again who cares? You can get a new one and attach your disks to it. And if your computer catches fire you'll probably have larger concerns anyway. But if a disk goes, which is more likely than any of the other scenarios, it's an easy and painless fix.
 

jaguarskx

Titan
Moderator
Apr 19, 2006
27,979
0
97,160
4,082
Since I will be putting together a new HTPC this year, I figure I might as well chime in.

Storage will be my primary concern, I have just ordered the WD Caviar RE2 GP WD1000FYPS 1TB hard drive which is an enterprise class hard drive. The purpose is to evaluate it to determine if it's performance and low noise level will meet my expectations. If so then I will buy another one for a RAID 1 set up. This will just be for data, the OS will have it's own hard drive.

RAID 1 is great for redundancy because if the primary drive fails, I can still access the data from the other drive. It saves down time, but I do not consider it a backup. For that I will probably need to buy yet another 1TB drive and stick it in an external case to backup the data from time to time an store it somewhere else. That will be on top of actually burning everything to dual layer DVDs or Blu-Ray Discs.

Additionally, I will be using RAID controller card rather than the on-board "software RAID controller" that comes with many motherboards. I'm not entirely convinced of "software" reliability. Also, should you decide to migrate the RAID over to a newer PC which uses a different on-board RAID controller, then most likely you can kiss your RAID setup goodbye 'cause the initiation protocols will be different.

I will also have a "thrash drive" which will basically be used to record TV programs (initially using the HuffYUV codec and is considered lossless, but only a 2:1 compression ratio), rip DVDs to, and encode videos to. Once the movie / TV program has been encoded I will then move the file to my RAID for storage. I call it a "thrash drive" because there will be lots of data written and deleted to it and therefore, I expect it to be the first drive to fail.
 

UncleDave

Distinguished
Jun 4, 2007
223
0
18,680
0
Given that there is no option of redundency - have you considered getting a PS3 instead of building a HTPC? I would get a NAS (with RAID 1) and network that to the PS3.

upto 10c now ;-)

UD.
 

skittle

Splendid
Dec 27, 2006
4,042
0
24,660
481
for the love of god, use x264 and not xvid. and make sure to not use the avi container.
 

rwpritchett

Splendid
Mar 17, 2006
3,160
0
21,660
240
^ :lol: :lol: :lol: ^
To each is own skittle... :lol:

... but yes, skittle makes a good point. Consider x264 over xvid unless you plan on burning to disc and using a stand-alone DVD player that supports DivX/Xvid. I don't know of any DVD players that support x264 yet, but I could be wrong.
 

Similar threads