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should I be looking for certain features if I plan on repaving this drive a lot?

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closed as not a real question by Chris S Jan 20 '13 at 14:18

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Why will you be reformatting often? Will you be doing "quick formats" or "full formats"? Would a virtual machine with snapshot and restore capabilities meet your needs? What size of partition will you need? Would RAID be useful for you? An SSD? (They're smaller than ordinary hard drives.) A big hybrid hard drive? (The Seagate Momentus XT hybrids can boot Windows quite a bit faster than ordinary hard drives.) How about a RAM drive holding a virtual machine? Please let us know your use case. I'm curious. –  jasonspiro Dec 11 '11 at 8:29
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Depends on how you'll be formatting it. If you're just going to be altering the partition table and doing "quick reformats," I don't think a lot of reformats make much of a difference from normal use. Filesystems that support quick formatting will just write the filesystem metadata and journal (if applicable), then overwrite existing data as they need space.

If, on the other hand, you'll be doing "full formats" (as you can do from, say, a Windows install disk when putting NTFS on a disk) or initializing the disk with zeroes a lot, you may want to look for:

  • High throughput - writing solid zeroes to a disk with a slow interface will take quite a while
  • Big cache - again, this affects performance. Filling a disk with data will go a lot faster if your drive can cache that data more effectively.
  • Drive utilities provided by the manufacturer - in some cases, drive manufacturers will provide software on CD with the drive that has drive-specific utilities for blanking the drive or securely erasing data.
  • High RPM - if you're really serious, you can get a 10K RPM drive that will improve performance even more.
  • Good heat dissipation - if the drive is seeing a lot of use, as it will if you fully format it often, you'll want to make sure that it doesn't overheat too much while it's churning.

Basically, if you intend to do a lot of full formats, you may want to consider a server-grade drive. They generally come with better warranties and are designed to operate under more extreme conditions than standard consumer-grade drives.

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A hard drive is built for changing 0's to 1's and vice-versa. As the other poster mentioned, an enterprise class drive is designed for 24x7 operation and will have longer warranty/will probably last longer. Other than that, it won't matter.

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If you plan to run a 2.5" drive 24x7, you need to buy the "enterprise" drives. I've seen problems where a consumer drive was installed by the manufacturer, to save costs, and the units started having very strange behaviors. It took a good bit of effort to diagnose the problem.

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