Big Hard Drives vs More Hard Drives – Which Is Better?

Should You Use Fewer Larger HDDs or More Smaller HDDs?

The technology behind hard drives has evolved RAPIDLY! In just the last few years we have seen HDDs hit over 20 terabytes, seen the number of platters being squeezed into a single hard drive casing reach more than 10 and the performance and durability of these drives somehow continue to improve too! Still, one area that we have seen very little change in over the years is the price per terabyte of most HDDs. Despite the range of capacities available from most HDD brands (Seagate, WD, Toshiba, etc), the cost of the latest and largest HDDs still maintains a hefty price tag, whilst the smaller capacity drives (still broadly keeping their lower price point) are more readily available, occasionally on offer and this leads alot of data storage buyers to ask themselves – Is it better to buy a small number of MASSIVE hard drives or a larger number of SMALLER HDDs? Thanks to modern development and efficient evolution of RAID (redundant array of independent disk) management in NAS and DAS systems*, alongside storage enclosures now ranging from as little as 2 Bay desktop case scale all the way upto 24-60 Bay rackmounts, it is actually quite easy to achieve the same amount of capacity of a handful of ‘max capacity’ drives with a smaller cluster of more affordable smaller drives. So, today I want to look into the benefits/downfalls of either setup and hopefully help you decide whether you need to opt for bigger or smaller hard drives in your data storage setup in 2023 onwards.

Note – If you are looking for the Best Price per Terabyte of any Hard Drive from WD or Seagate, you can use our HDD comparison tool that will provide you with the best hard drive for your needs if you want to use X number of drives, have at least X amount of storage, using X type of RAID and/or spend X amount of money. Find out more about the tool and how to use it HERE – https://nascompares.com/2022/12/28/how-to-choose-the-best-value-hard-drive-and-best-price-per-tb-get-it-right-first-time

*NAS = Network Attached Storage, always featuring RAID management onboard. DAS = Direct Attached Storage, with them either having on-board/hardware-RAID or will be JBOD (Just a Bunch of Drives) that needs your host computer to set up and maintain the RAID

Why Should You Use A Larger Quantity of Smaller Capacity Hard Drives

So, first up, lets discuss the advantages of opting for a larger number of smaller capacity hard drives in a RAID in your NAS/DAS system. It is worth remembering that when I am discussing smaller capacity HDDs, that (in order to keep things simple to differentiate) I am classing any HDD 1-10TB as ‘smaller’ capacity and 12-22TB (with 24TB and 26TB arriving quite soon) as ‘large’ capacity. So, lets discuss why you might want to go high volume, low capacity!

More HDDs Can Cost less than fewer larger HDDs in the right RAID Configuration

A massively overlooked advantage when it comes to choosing a larger number of smaller capacity HDDs is that, thanks to the development of RAID technology, you can often save a good 10-15% of the cost of your data storage media by choosing a RAID 5 configuration of smaller HDDs, rather than a RAID 1 with smaller drives. Larger HDDs (which already cost significantly more, but are similar in price per TB broadly) provide you with a HUGE amount of storage space. However, because of the importance of your data (home or business), you are going to need to factor in things like backups and redundancy*. If you are buying at least 1x MASSIVE 20TB or 22TB hard drive, then you have to accept that you are going to buy AT LEAST 1 more (to act as a backup or for redundancy in a RAID 1). Below is a breakdown of the pricing of WD Red Pro and Seagate Ironwolf Regular NAS Hard Drives (enterprise/pro drives have a higher build standard, faster, longer warranty and ultimate around £30-50 more than their non-pro alternatives):

Cost of NAS Hard Drives in Jan 2023 (5/1/23)
Seagate Ironwolf HDDs (Regular) WD Red Pro HDDs (Pro Series)
1TB – $35
2TB – $65
4TB – $105
6TB – $158
8TB – $177
10TB – $224
12TB – $258
14TB – $271
16TB – $309
18TB – $389
4TB – $140
6TB – $173
8TB – $215
10TB – $245
12TB – $253
14TB – $270
16TB – $298
18TB – $349
20TB – $419
22TB – $551

In most cases, the price per terabyte on both sides will remain largely consistent at each capacity. HOWEVER, when you start putting these drives into a NAS/DAS enclosure and acting in the RAID configuration, it soon becomes apparent that the ben efits in Drive #s in a RAID 1 vs a RAID 5 immediately show a saving in almost every single capacity the smaller you go! Below are two examples of achieving 12TB in a NAS enclosure using RAID 1 vs using RAID 5 (so, still maintaining 1 disk drive failure protection and having 12TB of storage to use):

12TB Storage in a RAID 1 MIRROR 12TB Storage in a RAID 5

So, often, it can work out cheaper to purchase multiple smaller hard drives rather than fewer larger HDDs in order to hit certain capacity levels, whilst still maintaining an identical level of redundancy. This does mean you will need to choose a NAS of a larger bay number/size, ut more on that later.

*Backups and redundancy should not be confused as the same thing! Backups are a complete copy of the same data in a different location (physically, ideally). Redundancy can be thought of as a safety net. In a RAID (in most cases) you will have to supply enough media/space to facilitate the system keep your data intact in the event of a mechanical drive failure. Redundancy is NOT a backup, because it is in the same physical computer location and intertwined with the primary storage – so lose/break the NAS/DAS and redundancy is useless!

Bigger HDDs Can result in ‘all eggs in one basket’ issue

Possibly one of the early benefits of RAID (aside from benefits in larger storage in general) was to ensure that your storage had that safety net in place to withstand a drive failure. HDDs are like any other kind of mechanical technology and as soon as you introduce moving parts, pressure, workloads over years and electricity to run, you are immediately going to have to accept that they are open to one day breaking down. However, larger capacity HDDs (in particular larger capacity drives used in smaller RAID/deployment configurations) introduce the ‘all eggs in one basket’ principle. If you have a HUGE amount of data in one single container, that means that just that 1 container has to fail to lose EVERYTHING! There are arguments for and against having this single-layer failure point vs the statistics of a multi-point of failure setup (will touch on that later), but bigger hard drives and the immediate necessity to double that capacity in RAID/Backups can be daunting enough for some more cost aware users to cut corners in their data storage setup (perhaps being a bit casual in their data storage retention and depth policies). Opting for multiple drives in smaller capacities means that although you have multiple drives instead of one, that your data is a little more spread out. There IS a counterargument to this but I will touch on that later.

Smaller Capacity HDDs are more regularly on SALE

This one is a little more obvious than the differences in RAIDD configs and capacity we have already covered. Smaller capacity HDDs have a higher chance to be on offer at retailers than larger capacity drives (by quite a noticeable margin!). This is down to three main reasons:

  • Smaller capacity HDDs have been available for a longer amount of time in the market and can therefore extend to more creative pricing
  • Smaller capacity HDDs, because of their longer amount of time since release, have larger stock available post-manufacture and that means the buy/sell demand is a little more favourable to the buyer
  • Smaller capacity HDDs often require less hardware resources in their production than larger capacity HDDs with their more enterprise/pro design in line with improved R&D

Ultimately, this means that smaller-capacity HDDs are more regularly on offer than their larger-capacity alternatives. In particular, 4TB, 6TB and 8TB HDDs are often found on promotion at the majority of retailers and when you fact that in with the benefits of RAID 5 vs RAID 1 in your configuration, this can all add up to real savings. Here are a few examples from very recently:

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Larger capacity HDDs are occasionally on offer, however, these are far, far less frequent and rarely see the price drops found in the smaller capacities (outside of big, BIG sales such as Black Friday)

More HDDs in a RAID (almost) Always results in Higher Performance

Another big, big benefit of using multiple smaller HDDs in a larger RAID config compared with larger HDDs in a smaller RAID is to do with performance. Depending on the number of drives in the RAID, you can see some fantastic improvements in performance. Years ago, RAID configurations such as RAID 5 and RAID 6 were seen to have a performance penalty because of the extra work being done by the CPU/Resources of the NAS keeping them running smoothly and safely. However, in recent years thanks to the improvements in NAS CPUs being used and the software that is running on them, RAID 5/6 doesn’t have anywhere near the performance loss it once did. In fact, RAID 5 and RAID  6 can grant you some great benefits. This is thanks to a RAID allowing read and write activity being spread across multiple disks at once (as opposed to a single drive being accessed in a normal 1 drive setup). Different RAID configurations result in different benefits (with a RAID 0 being the fastest, but utterly lacking any kind of redundancy/safety-net):

So, for example, using Seagate Ironwolf HDDs at the prices above, if we were to compare 2x 16TB HDDs in a RAID 1 ($618) vs 3x 8TB HDDs in a RAID 5 ($541) vs 5x 4TB HDDs in a RAID 5 ($525), the result is that although all three RAID configurations will provide 16TB of available capacity and protection, the LOWEST PRICED 5x4TB RAID 5 Setup will actually give the HIGHEST PERFORMANCE as it is the most drives being read/written with at any given time.

Bigger Capacities are more often ‘PRO’ or ‘Enterprise’ ONLY

This is something of a growing trend, but because of the development of larger HDD capacities requiring modern storage technology to improve in big ways (to increase that storage cap, but also remain stable and maintain performance), we are starting to see more and more HDD brand release big, BIG capacities, but limit them to ONLY the PRO or Enterprise tiers of their portfolios. Seagate doesn’t do this too much on their NAS series, but WD Red has been involved in this kind of range division for a few years now, with their WD Red Plus series capping at 14TB, but their WD Red Pro range now available in upto 22TB (with 24TB around the corner). See below from the official WD HDD site:

So, if you DO want larger capacity HDDs, do not be surprised if it means you are forced to opt for more industrious HDDs in Pro or Enterprise ranges. This does mean longer warranties and slightly higher individual performance, but also means higher power use and one other big issue that main smaller/home/SMB NAS/DAS users complain about when in closer proximity to larger HDD arrays. Namely noise…

Enterprise and PRO HDDs make more click-and-access noise

Yep, Noise. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise, but when you cram as much hardware into a single 3.5″ HDD casing, then those moving/mechanical parts are going to have to work harder! In the case of larger HDDs that are forced into the Pro/Enterprise ranges due to their hardware development, the result is that these drives make noticeably more noise when they are spinning up, being accessed and especially during high-volume access. This is because larger capacity HDDs have more platters (the circles inside that your data lives on) and the actuator/arm (the bit that is constantly moving across the platters to read/write data all over those disks) is constantly having to move in/out/up/down. This is particularly noticeable with even a single larger capacity HDD and when you have multiple running in a single RAID, the noise is especially noticeable (often louder than the NAS that they are inside!). Here is the noise of 4x WD Red Pro 20TB HDDs in a 4-Bay Synology DS920 NAS during high access:

Now, this is not going to be a problem for everyone. If you plan on running your NAS far away or in a part of your home/office that is suitably noise cancelled, then the noise of larger HDDs is not really going to be a factor for you. However, those of you who are going to be in close proximity to your NAS, you will definitely notice the industrial quality of larger capacity HDDs!

WD Red Pro Noise WD Red Plus Noise

Why You Should Use a Smaller Quantity of Larger Hard Drives

There are two sides to every coin! As good as the points above are that highlight the benefits of smaller HDDs in larger quantities – there are also a whole bunch of advantages to opting for larger HDDs instead. Let’s go through them now.

Using Bigger Capacity HDDs Can Mean You Can Use a Smaller/Cheaper NAS

Yep, despite my highlighting that the using multiple smaller HDDs in the right RAID can result in a lower price per TB (after redundancy) vs larger HDDs – using MORE hard drives will mean that you need to use a larger NAS/DAS system. Larger NAS/DAS systems are always more expensive, as they need to have more physical space, resource use in production and power/PSU sizes to run the larger enclosure. Add to this, thanks to memory shortages right now, that smaller scale NAS systems are starting to arrive with more memory by default (as 2-4GB is becoming less cost-effective to produce with chip shortages) and often with little/no increase in the base price. For example, below is the TS-264 and TS-464 NAS. Same CPU, design and ports – however the 2-Bay system has 8GB memory by default AND IS STILL $134 cheaper!

So, this can often mean that you can save money on smaller quantities of larger capacity HDDs becuase the enclosure they are going in is cheaper over all.

Using More HDDs in a RAID Means Increase Points of Failure

Yes, this might seem a little counterintuitive, given my comments earlier about single containers vs multiple and failure. However, using more HDDs in a single RAID array opens the door to more points of failure (i.e more drives, more chance of a drive failure). Now, on the face of it, this kinda balances against big drives anyway, but there are some users who want to have as fewer points of failure in their system as possible, as then they have fewer areas to monitor. This is further exacerbated when you factor in things like an unexpected power failure during heavy write operations breaking multiple drives at once and/or potential bad-batches at the factor level. Ultimately more/less HDDs is going to be something of a percentages game and although I personally do not really subscribe to this as a reason to avoid smaller HDDs in larger quantities, I know there are some users who would disagree!

More HDDs mean increased Power use/Electricity cost

This is a smaller factor, but one that (in these very energy cost aware and climate-concerned times) is growing in importance for many users. Most HDDs (big or small) use a nearly identical amount of power and you cannot really see the running power use difference between, eg. a 2TB and 20TB HDD, unless you have multiple drives running at once. However, if it DOES add up and its is further compounded by the increased power use of larger NAS/DAS systems that have more bays. Larger RAID configurations will also increase CPU usage a pinch too and once you add all these factors in 24×7 systems like those of NAS rackmounts and large-scale desktop tower systems. Below is how the power use of the WD Red Pro series compares across all the capacities:

Not much between them! Using fewer HDDs (i.e larger capacities) in a smaller NAS/DAS enclosure with an easier-to-manage RAID configuration will always result in a smaller power consumption overall (whether you are concerned with energy use environmentally or the electric bill at the end of the month – though for the latter, you will need to factor in the cost of the larger drives, remember!). Of course, we are talking about very small margins here, but for those running on limited or low power capacity situations/environments, these small differences can have BIG impacts!

More HDDs mean an increase in drive noise in drive spin-and-vibration

NOISE! It’s back again, as although the larger HDDs make more noise in clicks, access and spin noise in the larger capacity HDDs, it is also worth keeping in mind that if you decide to go for a larger collection of smaller capacity HDDs that you will encounter a different kind of noise issue sometimes. Namely, vibration (a persistent humm) noise in the larger NAS/DAS systems with more drives inside. Although this is nowhere near as annoying as the clicks and whirs of the larger capacity drives (in my opinion at least), it CAN be very annoying for those working close to the NAS/DAS and are sensitive to persistent humming. Additionally, larger capacity NAS/DAS systems (in 6-Bays and above ) that you will need to support a larger RAID array of smaller capacity HDDs arrive in mostly metal NAS enclosures (2-4 Bay NAS are normally 60/40 plastic outside and aluminium inside). These metal chassis amplify that vibration hum too! Then there s the larger NAS enclosures needing improved cooling and ventilation systems to maintain cool operational noise over 24×7 use – at least 2 fans, with multiple smaller fans sometimes for the PSU and CPU respectively. It all adds up and are factors of noise that users considering larger RAID arrays of smaller HDDs should consider!

Larger Capacity HDDs Benefit from modern build techniques and development

This is certainly something of a double-edged sword (and one that will come down to you, the end user, and how you feel about ‘new tech’ at launch) but when HDD manufacturers like WD and Seagate invest heavily in developing new techniques to improve the level of capacity, durability and performance in their drives – they almost always apply these new techniques to just the larger capacities! Most of the time, these will never be extended to the smaller capacities, as either the margins are too thin, the benefits are not needed on these established lines or they are looking to get as larger a return on investment (ROI) as possible by targeting new and exciting larger capacities that trend well. So, in the last two years we have seen exciting techniques being developed to increase storage capacity massively, such as Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR), Energy Assisted Magnetic Recording (EAMR), OptiNAND for leveraging flash storage for drive I/O space adding to drives to free up traditional storage space and this will soon be moving forward into Microwave Assisted recording (which is what will be opening the doors all the way to 50TB and 100TB HDDs by the end of the decade). Then you have developments such as Mach 2 from Seagate that will allow twice the read/write activity of HDDs that make the jump from 250-270MB/s over SATA all the way upto 440-450MB/s. Practically all of these developments will be extended to the largest capacities and not suitable/available for the smaller ones. HDD technology develops FAST (see the video below that details the development of WD Red HDDs in the last 10 years for more of an idea how much has changed):

Of course, there are some users who will happily avoid the newest, largest and most expensive HDDs as they enter the market – instead wanting to see them out in the field for a whilst to ‘work out the kinks’ before they choose to invest their money. There are arguments on both sides.


More HDDs vs BIG HDDs – Conclusion & Verdict

There are plenty of reasons why you should opt for smaller or larger Hard drives that extend to alot more than ‘which one costs less’, with factors such as power consumption, performance, noise and durability being the main factors for business users and home users alike! On balance, larger-scale HDDs are always going to be designed, presented and released with business in mind. If you are a home user, you are much better off getting smaller-capacity HDDs, grabbing a few good bargains along the way, and get yourself a much more capable and usable NAS/DAS system to populate. Business users, who tend to produce the most data, use the HDDs for longer sustained periods and need assurances of the drive withstanding this larger usage are much more in position to take advantage of larger HDDs (longer warranties, more space, higher workload rates, etc). These are NOT iron rules and your own personal setup might well differ. To summarize though:

Reasons to Buy Larger Quantities of Smaller HDDs Reasons to Buy Larger HDDs in Smaller Quantities
Higher RAID Performance when you have more HDDs

Better Price per TB in the right RAID of smaller HDDs vs Big

More Regular Offers/Sales on Smaller Cap HDDs

Larger HDDs make more running noise individually

Larger HDDs are often Noisier in Access

More HDDs opens the door to 2 drive Failure Protection

Smaller Capacities have more proven success in operation than new larger drives

Longer Default Warranties when drives are PRO/Ent only at high Cap (3yr vs 5yr)

Higher Individual Drive Performance

Access to Modern HDD R&D + Techniques

Lower Power Consumption in smaller #s and smaller NAS’

Smaller NAS/DAS systems = Lower NAS/DAS Cost to Buy

Fewer Points of Failure

Larger Bay NAS = More Vibration NAS Noise and Fan Noise

If you are thinking of buying New Hard Drives (and you found this guide helpful), please use the links below to take you to Amazon, as it will not cost you anything extra and will result in a small % in commission from ANYTHING you buy being sent through to us at NASCompares (just me and Eddie) which goes directly back into making more videos and articles. Thanks!
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    127 thoughts on “Big Hard Drives vs More Hard Drives – Which Is Better?

    1. More drives is more performance is quicker to spin down is less power used. More competent nas can run server tasks or wake on lan or….using less power in total than a smaller nas can in your total setup.
      Large drives take to long to rebuild to be used in anything less then raid 6
      I rather have more points of failure then 2 drives that are the same type and age and then pray for 24 hours that the remaining drive works to rebuild the raid 1 set.
      And ofcourse raid isn’t backup, always make back ups because if it goes terrible wrong you can lose all your data no matter what setup you have. A fire or flood doesn’t care about your drive size.
      If you don’t put the nas in a place where noise isn’t a problem, use SSD if you use your nas constantly or time it so the drives sleep during the day.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    2. I too am a novice here, and found this incredibly helpful. Thanks so much for this from sunny Sheffield in the UK 🙂 I know you like QNAP, my Hi-Fi specialist suggest QNAP, but judging by security concerns from another of your videos QNAP v Synology, I had cancelled a 2 drive QNAP on Amazon, to rethink, and possibly have a 4 drive Synology. My Hi-fi specialist will only support if I bought a QNAP….. now that is very a difficult decision..!! Oh, and stop using big words.. lol.. ie, nebulous..!!
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    3. the wd red pro and iron wolf are not enterprise drives. they are consumer nas rated drives. Ultrastars are Wd enterprise drives used to be Gold and Exos Drives are Seagates Enterprise hdd
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    4. It would clearly help to get a better grip of this topic and your conclusions, if you would visualize e.g. the performance, power consumption etc. of the different SSDs., This way everyone could easyly see the sweetspot of the price and the number of drives. We humans are visually predisposed ????
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    5. I’m back to simpler is better. Always did Synology Hybrid raid with 4 (Usually 4TB) drives. With my new 4 bay I decided on two Toshiba MG08 Series 16TB. I like it better.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    6. Hi, very good investigation. Does something speaks against mixing HDD brands in the same NAS? I mean 2x 12TB Seagate Ironwolf and 2x 12TB WD Red?
      Thank You
      Freddy

    7. It depends on what you need… More I/O – IOPS vs. need for more space. You can’t really get both… Great video! I have done a lot of videos on this very topic…
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    8. It is important to also consider rebuild and restore performance. With a larger number of drives running RAID 5 or 6 there is a significant difference in rebuild time compared to rebuilding a mirrored array. Also there is a difference yet again when you compare something like a RAID 10 to a pool of mirrors instead. In the case of RAID 5, 50, 6, 60 and 10 your backup will be of the entire array. In the event that data loss actually occurs and you must restore from backup you are talking about restoring the entire size of the array that was lost. However, when using pools instead you can elect to restore only the data from the underline RAID 1, 5 or 6 that you lost. These are all important factors to consider when selecting how you want to build out your storage array.

      Also I should mention that if you are going with a lot of drives it is also possible to hybrid nest the arrays in such a way as to maximize performance while also minimizing your restore from backup time and risk of inaccessible data. For example you could take two drives and place them in a RAID 0 then take two more drives and place them in a different RAID 0. Then you take those two RAID 0 arrays and Mirror them together. You create sets of 4 drives in this method that you then pool together. The obvious con to this is that you would ideally add sets of 4 drives at a time to your pool.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    9. The biggest point you’ve missed is that the best way to shop us to first identify your risk tolerance, and then identify the workload needs, and buy either the largest drives you can afford that give you more redundancy than you think you, need or the fastest drives you can afford that give you more iops than you think you need. Your video also completely neglected iops, focusing on sequential io and capacity. Even just adding a small nvme mirrored cache device can turn a large disk pool into a virtualization and game storage powerhouse. Imagine what you could do with all-flash
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    10. I think your videos and reviews are excellent, and the hard drive pricing comparison tool looks very useful (thank you), BUT, I was staggered when I visited the nascompares website and opened the Vendor Preferences section of the cookies permissions…more than 1500 (yes, one thousand five hundred !!!) “Legitimate Interest” and other cookie permissions which seemingly can only be turned off (or activated, if that’s what the website visitor wants to do) MANUALLY. Yes, it took a looong time. Please, just provide a simple and all-encompassing “Reject All” option in cookie preferences. Cookies should be (IMO) opt-in. not ‘gotcha’.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    11. First: extremely useful video, thanks! My application is 2 drives in a file server in my living room, so noise is important, especially when idle. What I notice with this WD Red Plus vs. the IronWolf 14TB is a low frequency bass note. My suspicion is that will reverberate around my case and cause vibrations. The Seagate might win for me, I think.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    12. If you are into data and/or storage then you can never have enough space.
      Cheaper long term to buy the biggest NAS with biggest hdd’s, Otherwise you will run out of space and cost you more to replace all those smaller hdd’s or smaller NAS.
      Not really worth it to buy the expansion unit only to fill it with more smaller drives.
      Made that mistake with my first NAS, 5 bay and only filled it with 3x8TB (1 for redundancy) drives adding another 2 later on.
      Thought I was being smart and saving money, Filled it after 3 years, I regret not going for 16TB drives at the start and would have lasted twice the time 6 or more years.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    13. After an almost critical incident, hot spare makes more sense to me. If not go for dual drive fail safety in synology to stay safe. Avoid buying drives from the same batch, I went as far as buying drives from different stores and different months.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    14. I always tend towards the higher end of drive sizes but normally stay a step or 2 below largest capacity so I can have a better price per TB and just know that I can get bigger for cheaper in the future I prefer having expansion bays in my system open as my storage needs grow as that always have and will continue to
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    15. One idea to consider is the difference in power for say 4 big drives (say 14TB each with 1 parity) versus 12 small drives (say 4TB each with 2 parity).

      The comparison of a small size storage ( smaller than 20 TB ) I think was the focus of the video and not larger size storage (35+ TB storage sizes.

      Overall the video hit the points I think are important.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    16. Do you have a video on different ways to migrate to a new NAS with same/different bays. Maybe you could add to the tool a migration option that can calculate the least number of drives / steps required e.g. go from raid 5 to raid 1 larger drives and then reuse the raid 5 drives once migrated. Hopefully this makes sense. What do people do with old working drives?
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    17. Backing up 10 drives with several computers much faster. You also probably should not use 1 partition unless you want to wait 2 days to complete a back up.

      I have heard many never make backups, so imagine the panicked person thinking his hard drive is failing, then waiting two days to see if the new drive got it all?
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    18. @NASCompares
      I hope you will be able and willing to answer my question. I have a DS218+ with 2 8TB seagate iron wolf harddrives. I want to have an upgrade so I’m buying a DS420+ nas and 2 18TB seagate iron wolf harddrives. My plan is to replace my 2bay synology to the new 4bay synology and I want to know if I can just put the 2 8TB drives into the new synology and then also add the 2 new 18TB drive in bay 3 and 4..

      I want all of them to be configured with SHR and the 2 8TB drives are already in SHR. According to the synology website (the nas RAID calculater) it tells me that with my setup (2x 8Tb and 2x 18TB) I should get 32TB available space and 16TB Protection.

      So.. can I just take the 2 older 8TB drives (in SHR) out of my 2bay synology and put them together with the 2 18Tb drives into the new 4 bay synology without losing my data or without having to figure out a way to transfer the data off the drives first.. I do not have the external drive space to temporary store 8Tb worth of data. I don’t really care all that much about any settings from my old nas, all I want is to keep all my own data safe when transferring to the new nas.
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    19. What’s better for the NAS HDD’s health: keep the NAS running all the time, or turn it on only when needed?
      I use it maybe 3 times per week, for about 4 hours each time.
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    20. Looks a bit messy on iPad. Be nice to have a mobile version of the tool so it’s easier to use. Maybe you could follow in Money Saving Expert footsteps and creat a dedicated app for your site
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    21. Didn’t quite think things through enough when I ordered drives for my first NAS. Had to decide between Synology IronWolf, and WD Red (not Pro or Plus). Ended up going with the standard Red based on some reviews that weren’t quite… complete. So now I have a drive that isn’t officially supported and for a reason I still don’t quite understand is just worse in the long run than the IronWolf. All of this because I wanted to save 15€
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    22. No offense to the work you’ve put in on this tool, but none of your calculators have ever worked for me. Disabling ad blocker and different browsers, just doesn’t work. Not sure what I’m doing wrong. ????????‍♂
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    23. Thank you guys!!! Anestis from Greece here, just got my first NAS, a Qnap 464, thanks to your recommendations for 4bay Nas and now trying to decide what kind of hard drives to buy. I need a lot of space (50tb to 60tb) usable space in RAID5 and the cost is very high. Do you think that Ultrastar series is suitable for my case? I’m going to use my NAS for multimedia library and PC backup mainly. THANKS AGAIN for your great articles and useful videos!!!
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    24. It would be great if you did the same for shucked drives. Many Synology users use them. Frankly, I have one server with (7) 14TB drives and another with (6) and not a peep about them for over two years so far. Still healthy. ????
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    25. Nice tool!
      Thanks Eddie! (and Robbie, of course)
      And that in the weekend! Wow.
      Even Though it is not (yet?) including my region, still quite useful.
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    26. Ty for this. I have a ext4 shr2 raid in synology, and am considering getting a newer model and using that to switch from ext4 to btrfs… I wish there was an easy way to switch between ext4 and btrfs without new drives… but I may just expand my drive sizes at the same time as transitioning from ext4.
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    27. Thank you these great video’s, I highly appreciate them!
      If I may ask a request on a video. using QNAP NAS and running Qumagie. How do you backup meta data from Qumagie as they are stored in an Qumagie database and not in the photo or on a separate file.
      Ronny
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    28. The required amount of redundancy depends on how you plan to use the storage. If the NAS is the primary storage, then redundancy is very important. If the NAS is backing up primary storage on other computers, then RAID might be less critical for some people. The other consideration is point in time, or off-line, copies. If you have a fire or a ransomware attack, it might take out the whole NAS. Therefore, you need protected offline copies. That means maybe double or even more storage. How should we provide that? Does that remove the need for redundancy in the NAS?
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    29. Really interesting video, thanks. Here are a couple of ideas on presentation of the numbers: 1. Produce a line graph of price against drive size. That would make it clear that the price per terabyte drops a lot from 1TB to 20TB drives – $35 from to $21 per TB on pros. 2. Compare prices for some sample configurations with the same amount of usable storage.
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    30. Recently got an 8 bay QNAP, but getting disk combo nail is more challenging.
      Current stack of drives don’t give me what I’m ideal after
      3 x 3TB
      4 x 4TB
      2 x 12TB
      Will prob get rid of the 3 and 12TB drives for more 4TB
      The 12TB are HGST ultra star drives, as you say noisy too, but that’s not an issue.
      Got 2 X 32Gb for cache
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    31. This channel is so bad. Here in America I’m getting 12 TB Exos drives for $110 each, 6TB Hitachis are $45, and you can buy a motherboard, cpu, sas card, and a few drive cages for a lot less than the price of those pre-assembled and not expandable NAS cases
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    32. Appreciate your content but I do think you can benefit from shorter videos that get to the point a lot quicker. I find myself scanning and skipping through your videos a lot because I just don’t have half hour plus to dedicate to something, especially when I can Google and find an answer within 1 minute. Your content is mostly informational so getting to the point quicker is going to be much appreciated by everyone. Maybe start with the conclusion and then continue with the details as to how you reached your conclusion. ????
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    33. I think the bit you didn’t really focus on when comparing two 18TB drives vs 5 smaller drives was you dropped from a RAID Mirror to a RAID Array. That is often a big performance drop. Also replacing & rebuilding a RAID 1 mirror is faster. And if you lose both, and want to pay someone to do disk plater recovery, the probability of retrieving usage data, drops significantly when they need to reconstruct the data off multiple drives.
      When might you lose both RAID 1 drives simultaneously? Domestic: Voltage spike/lightning. Commercial: Some idiot unscrews the wrong thing & drops all disks on the floor.
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    34. Why not “more bigger hard drives?” When I bought my NAS I got four of the biggest HDD I could at the time. Now they make drives that are almost twice as large, so I’m jonesing for an unneeded upgrade.

      The noise is a legitimate concern, but I think for most people the best solution is to try and have a wiring closet / server room type setup and put it in there where you won’t really hear it. Of course, the problem with that is that the house basically needs wired for ethernet with a patch panel. I wish I had that.
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    35. Another excellent, and informative video! I actually looked to see if “Graham Malcolm…or whatever his name is”, entered a comment yet. He probably loves seagulls.
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    36. There´s a interesting point to consider the multiple disk use. The SATA saturation (or other conector). If you are using the 10 Gb connector and/or VMs and docker applications.You can saturate the data bus with to much IO, exceding the SATA read/write capacity, and depending of biggest caches in SSD. And surprise, more probability of failure via hard/soft or energy. With multiple smaller disks more data can be read and write. The trick is what is the size of storage that you need and what size of NAS (slots) you have (including the extenders).
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    37. Quality content ,love it

      Currently got 8 PCS mg05 8TB which is super noisy when using in regular plastic Nas

      Moved into a node 804 they are way less noisy on ticking .
      Red 4TB non SMR is just fine, they are way silent compare to the mg05
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    38. Agree head spinning. (5400?) My current problem is ripped blu rays will not stream via Plex over my network to fire TV. Having to convert down hard. Is it my network speed? (How do I test) is it my internet speed? (Max 33mbs).
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    39. As a novice, this makes my head spin. I’m thinking about a NAS to put all my video, music, and photos in one place, with backup, and if I can afford it, allow it to be cloud storage for my kids. I have 25TB of external drives, and while it’s good for storage (I’m afraid of disk failure and data loss). I’m totally lost as what to do.
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    40. Having just replaced or added HDD’s to both my 4 bay Synology and my 4 bay QNAP, my next NAS purchase to replace one of these will be an 8 bay. And I’ll install 3 larger HDD’s in RAID 5 or Synology Hybrid RAID and add new and larger drives as the need arises and prices fall. The worst thing about smaller NAS is the cost of pulling out perfect good, decent sized HDD’s because you need to replace them with larger drives. This is especially problematic with QNAP as you need to have all drives be the same size. With Synology’s SHR, drive sizes can be mixed ( although even that is not perfect). The extra cost of an 8 bay vs a 4 bay is easily saved by the ability to continue to use my older, smaller HDD’s. Don’t be deterred by up front costs; look at longer term use and future purchases and redundancies.
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    41. If a drive in a RAID configuration fails, it takes longer to restore a large driver than a smallere. Thus it takes longer time before the redundancy is restored.
      We are talking time in the order of days. During that period another disk failure leads to full data loss
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    42. I would have divided the presentation between Consumer needs/suggestions and business needs/suggestions:
      in case of business you need IOPs and you do not care about noise because you have a datacenter (for small that it can be), so smaller disks in higher number give you better performance anche noise means Enterprse disks which have higher number of TB/year. at the same time as enterprise, for small that you can be, you should implement the 3-2-1 backup rules or at least having a backup site. the additional point is having a redundant power supply on your NAS.
      for the remaining part, what you said is perfect for a consumer site.
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    43. Thank you for the thorough video! Perhaps one other aspect to consider is the best way to increase space with a 4-bay NAS that has expansion capability. I have a 918+ with 4x4TB. Shall I replace the drives with 4x8TB drives, or shall I daisy-chain a second 4-bay NAS with another array of 4x4TB?
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    44. I’ve mentioned this before, but if you are shopping for Pro drives, the only way to go is enterprise (Exos, Ultrastar). Depending on region they are much cheaper and also better.
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    45. I have an 8 bay DS1821 with 4x 8TB. The rationalisation was that as my data needs grew I could either add more 8TB or on the basis that over time costs would come down start adding say 12TBs and through SHR move to an all 12TB RAID.
      So far so good.
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    46. Thanks Man! I know you since the days of my first NAS, a trusty old QNAP TS-269 Pro which is really a long time ago. And you are still passionate like day one about all things NAS and beyond, how is this even possible? Always great info, always on Top. Just Wow, yeah, just WOW and thanks for all the Seaguls. I would consider a video from you without “i hate seaguls” as beeing not authentic. yeah, i love this. ????All the best for 2023 and beyond! — Bernd
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    47. Can I use RAID at a software level (TrueNAS) with sata pcie expansion cards that are not RAID capable at a hardware level?

      I’m building my very first NAS with a PC I’m retiring in a couple of months, and my motherboard does not have enough sata for the number of HDDs I want, there are a lot of sata pcie expansion cards on amazon but many of them say they are non RAID cards, so I’m not sure if I should buy them, if TrueNAS will be able to set the HDDs connected through that card in a RAID configuration.
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    48. Appreciate the mention that if you buy a number of the same drive from the same vendor you are likely to get drives from the same lot which if that lot has a problem means your risk for trouble is increased.
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    49. In general, would it be better to go with a 2 Bay NAS with two 14TB WD Red Plus drives (larger capacity but still on the quieter side), or a 4 Bay with smaller drives? This is just for home use for storage and streaming videos.
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    50. It would be really interesting to me if you could make videos at regular intervals for things like When will the price of hard drive come down and when will we see bigger capacities in the small classes.
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    51. Nice video!
      I always calculate the price per TB. 😉
      As that way there is often a HD-size (and above) that the price per TB is higher than the smaller/previous-size one. (price per TB)
      We often opt for a wee bit smaller but more drives. As we always have 2x cold standby HD’s (thus unused!) near the NAS.
      But more drives also means more power-use as you already indicated and also more heat. (more cooling might be needed)
      Business-wide you should replace your HD’s every 3 years (5 years, max) but for the average user at home, you replace when really needed. (or after 10 years?)
      To reduce risks, we also opt for multiple NAS. As a NAS may fail (power-supply, firmware-upgrade, bricking)
      With larger drives the rebuilding of the RAID also may take longer., when something does go wrong.
      BTW, also worth noting, the weight of the NAS might become significantly higher when you are using more drives (noticeable after 8x drives IMHO)
      Generally speaking, the 6TB and lower are robusts as rocks (longevity), 8TB to 10TB are often the sweet-spot for pricing in my experiences.
      Word of advice: buy as many drives as can fit in your NAS as down the line by the time you want to buy additional drives, the manufacturer may have moved-on to newer models..
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    52. Factoring in that I had a stack of unused drives already, my first Synology was a 12 bay. I filled it with 1tb-6tb drives and was golden since that meant I didn’t need to buy drives until I needed more space(which happened, again and again ????)
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    53. I think it really depends where you are and what you can get. In some countries, it’s cheaper to get bigger drives and a two bay NAS, where other places, smaller hard drives and a four bay NAS ended up being the better option. I’ve always tackled it as a your-mileage-may-vary scenario.

      Although if you want maximum capacity, a bigger NAS is the way to go.
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    54. I bought a 14 tb red plus and there’s a high pitch noise that runs all the time while the drive is on. It’s quiet in terms of clicking and other typical HDD noises but the high pitch noise is driving me insane
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    55. Great video! Learned a few things. I have 10 year old WD red drives still in production and working perfectly. Slowly phasing them out but, 10 years of solid use and very happy.
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    56. Lost 3 wd red drives in the last 5 years ( 2 x 3TB and a 4TB ), all under warranty, but cost £50.00 to get 4TB replacement before I shipped back the faulty one, so I could repair my nas before sending drive back.
      Won’t be buying any more WD red.
      Not lost any other manufacturers drives in that time.
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    57. I’m wondering what, if anything, WD (and Seagate) is doing about Synology scaling back support for 3rd party drives in their products. It’s got to impact bottom lines in some way.
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    58. I know you did mention this problem in an older video but Western Digital did a dirty and I still have a few of the drives on a redundant NAS. The CMR v.s. SMR scandal. I swore by WD till this came out and I did not know why my array was so slow to rebuild on test or failure. One SMR drive in an array would slow the rebuild to about a week instead of a day. This gives a much larger chance of another failure that could trash the array. I now no longer depend only on WD .
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    59. Thanks for doing these tests and making this video, but. It may have been more useful if you did the tests and then recorded your audio separately afterwards. Also taking that 25db off the meter means that we have to mentally try to add 25 onto a moving meter to work out how loud things actually are. Most people, will be mentally thinking about 30-40-50db, but see 12 and have to add 25 in their head to see how loud it is. We never actually heard the sound of the drive. If you hadn’t done your audio at the same time, you could have boosted the mic on the drive so we can hear what kinds of sounds it was making (whine, hum, clicks etc). The type of sound matters, not just the levels. Some people say the WD make a more high pitched sound compared to Seagate for example. Some say WD sound is more annoying, but also easier to dampen down in a case.
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    60. I got a WD Mybook 16TB — its SOOO NOISY it sounds like starting up a windows 1995 computer! is that normal? (i heard they use Reds.. just not the pro ones…. in these mybooks and its only 1 day old so dont fancy opening it and not able to get return/replacement!)
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    61. I have an old Qnap 6 bay nas. It has x2, 92mm fans in it. The noise is ridiculous from it. Yes it’s old and yes it isn’t how it was when it was brand new I’m sure BUT…..I made two mods to make it work much much better. I swapped out the 92mm cheap and terrible fans for some Noctua NF’s and I also used my dremmel and removed some of the grill that obstructs the spinning fan blades as I felt it would increase the CF value.

      Would you please consider a video dedicated to this? Get something old….at least 5 years old and measure the noise using the original chassis fans….then swap the fans for a pair of Noctua or Be Quiet! fans and compare and contrast? The value for money is astonishingly good value. My NAS is orders of magnitude quieter now and I can not even hear it unless it’s under load. Before, just on tick over, it was just too loud!
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    62. Please just focus on all NAS manufacures to make 5gbe or at least 10gbe the minimum. 1gbe or even 2.5gbe is like 10 year old tech… Who seriously give a shit about a noise test when the lame ass nas is running at 10 year old speeds.
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    63. My two 16TB Toshiba MG08 make quite a lot of noise inside of my QNAP TS-364. After moving the QNAP OS to a SSD RAID1 at least they go to sleep when not in use (if you’re doing any kind of virtualization, containers. plex they will never spin down), but damn as soon as you start writing/reading you can hear them work. Sure, they are amazing for the price but I still need to find a way to make them more living room, or in my case BEDROOM compatible. I’ve already added some velcro tape to the sides which significantly reduced the vibrations which are being amplified by the plastic NAS housing. Any ideas? The fan is my least concern, I even have a spare Noctua I could swap it for.
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    64. Insightful video, couldn’t hear much sound difference between drives!? Please could you do a similar comparison for regular NAS tasks. I’m really looking to know if SSDs are worth using. Would be forever grateful ????
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    65. Your test is not correct. You calibrated your “sound meter” down to 6-10 dB which is impossible in a normal environment. You will be hard pressed to find an environment thats under 20 dB. You talking shows ~30-40 dB which is not correct, its more like 45-60 dB. Its not exactly wrong, one can add ~+20 dB to your results and get a real picture of how much SPL is there since the ratio is still correct. In any case, do not equate “silence” to your ears to 0 dB, it is not. We cant really hear under 10 dB so if you have “dead silence” in a room you are probably in the range of 10-20 dB SPL depending on the frequency.

      Im an environmental protection engineer and i specialize in noise measurements.
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    66. I am not really sure how calibration of any amount is going to make any difference. The drive noise will still be relative to the background level, which in your room very likely was 20dB on that meter. The calibration would have just calibrated ALL the readings down by the same amount…… Also, noise inside an enclosure, including any resonance, is important.
      With that said, I have found the WD Red Plus drives to be fairly quiet when compared to the Pro drives when used in real world installs in Synology NAS devices. The spin-up generally is quite reasonable, but the noise from the steppers driving the heads is quite loud on Pro level drives I have used when compared to the Plus.
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    67. Thanks for this video, i was worried about my 16tb wd red, it’s in a fractal brand computer case and the drive ebay is a bit loose so it makes a lot of rattling noise each time it wakes up from sleep mode, the drive is steady secure screwed in the sliding tray but the tray vibrates in the drive bay slot and makes a lot of metal noise.
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    68. bought a WD Red pro 16tb for my Zapitti…..not too bad when i play my SD tv shows….. prob is when i play my larger 4k movie files….. knocking noise can be heard across the room>>.,,,, getting most annoying???….
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