Finally, I have managed to purchase a fourth Toshiba 3Tb 7200rpm drive to make my 4x3Tb array complete, but interestingly, this drive was from a newer batch. The previous three came from the September 2012 batch which featured mention of Hitachi and Toshiba on the label – the newer one from December 2012 has done away with all mention of Hitachi, despite being physically identical.
So I guess this shows the company restructuring in-action. Interestingly, the codes for the certifications have changed, which seems to imply that the drive had to be recertified due to having a changed manufacturer. The ATA Identify response of the newer unit has done away with the Hitachi name and instead says Toshiba DT01ACA300 as the label says – unfortunately that means the new one sticks out like a sore thumb when I list my devices …
It’s taken me a while to certify the health of all the drives – this involves a complete random pattern write and three read-backs which are MD5 compared to ensure consistency. Then I check the SMART data for health just to be sure the drive isn’t reallocating sectors (i.e. all factory tested good sectors were good) or showing any other health issues prior to commissioning the drives for use. Last year, it was a disappointment when I had 8kB lost in my 10Tb dataset. But then again, that’s not too bad – the drives are specified for one unrecoverable read in 10^14 bits read – i.e. 1 in 11.368TiB!
Okay, now that is scary information for those with large datasets, but I have experienced silent corruption as well previously, and the MD5 check ensures that the drives are “honest”, and the CPU/RAM is all good as well.
Having shoehorned the drives into my mATX box, which has now been upgraded to a Gigabyte B75M-D3V motherboard (for GbE, SATA III, additional SATA II ports and USB 3.0), we’re ready to roll and give this thing a bit of a test! These tests were all conducted on SATA II 3Gbit/s ports despite 6Gbit/s support on the drives – this was due to a lack of 6Gbit/s ports (there is only one on this board), and the fact the only constraint on transfer rates will be the burst buffer-to-host transfer as the media transfer rate is still slower than the SATA II limit.
The obligatory HDTune read and write benchmarks:
So far so good, these rates look pretty amazing – in fact, these rates are beginning to encroach on first generation SSD sequential rates. We would have dreamed of such high transfer rates only a few years back, and now it’s a reality! SATA I would not keep up with this drive!
Equally as impressive. I’m happy with that :). And this is what CrystalDiskMark says about the drive:
Looking at these numbers really does paint a good picture for the drive. With it being competitively priced, at similar prices to green-class drives (which see approximately 140Mb/s sequential reads, and higher rotational latency), this drive does offer better performance for the price, but at the cost of power consumption and possibly noise. But it does do what I need it to do – be big, fairly quiet and cheap!