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I'm building a new dev computer. It will be running a few VMWare Worksation virtual machines - A dev machine running VS-2010, a build machine, a version-control machine, a web server for testing, a "personal" machine running office etc. I'll be connecting the computer to my stereo, so I'll also be running iTunes (possible on a dedicated VM) and I want the computer to be a silent one. (I'll probably use an Antec P183 case, an Antec CP-850 power supply, an i7-930, Sapphire HD5850 and an Asus Xonar Essence STX)

I was advised on Serverfault to use Raid10 for performance. Raid 10 uses 4 disks.

So, my question is as follows: In terms of heat, noise, reliability, warranty, price, capacity and performance, what would you suggest: A Raid10 4 disk array using eco-friendly disks such as the $94 1TB Western Digital Caviar Green, or one high performance disk such as the 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black at $280?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Best of both; a RAID 10 of 7200 RPM 1.5TB disks (1.5TB is best price/TB from my suppliers last time I checked).

Don't waste your time with the "green" disks - they're just running slower (5400 RPM) and will cause much frustration, especially in a RAID setup. 2TB disks currently have too much of a price premium to justify.

And buy more memory with the money you save on disks.

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In some respects, I agree with you James. However, I'd also consider using a separate disk for each VM or 2, rather than RAID'ing the set of them together. You lose the fault tolerance, but a thrashing issue on one VM won't bring all of them to a halt. Maybe 4 WD 640GB Black drives? –  Evan M. Jun 4 '10 at 13:41

If you want "silent", hard drives are going to be going against you (the spin-up/-down sounds, etc). Personally, I would go for a RAID10 with 1T drives - as many as your case will hold.

You might also consider using those 1T drives in a RAID5.

Unless you want to go the extra money and install SSDs now.

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The 4 raid will be faster - it can handle a lot more IO than a single disc. They are smaller each, but have 4 independant heads for reading (and 2 for writing, as the RAID 10 mirrors writes).

That said, seriously, get your rerefernces straight. The Westrern Digital Cviar Black is NOT a high performance device. For that look at the WD Velociraptors - I run RAID 10's of those, and they are FAST - screaming fast.

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