Subject: Re: Disks (was IEEE1394 (firewire) vs USB2)
To: Jukka Marin <>
From: Greywolf <>
List: current-users
Date: 08/03/2002 19:01:44
On Sun, 4 Aug 2002, Jukka Marin wrote:

# Getting more and more off-topic..

Subject has changed appropriately.

# I complain about the fact that SCSI disks cost much more, yet they are still
# unreliable.  I have owned and still own disks made by Quantum, Seagate, IBM,
# Micropolis, Maxtor, HP, Fujitsu, Samsung, and other manufacturers.  None of
# these makes disks that I can trust in.

I note that none of them make SCSI disks which could be considered rock solid.
There's a problem with this.  They think, Oh, just make something good enough
that they'll have to upgrade right after warranty expires.  They've gotten
very very good at that, I will note.

The thing is that nobody is going to buy new hard disks if they can possibly
avoid doing so because disaster recovery is a VLPITA.

Eventually the disks will die, though.

I'll note especially that there was a run of SCSI disks in the 3-6GB range
between 1997 and 1999 which were *horribly* foul.  I lost four of them in
as many months; thankfully they were resuscible to the point that I got
that One Last Good Backup from them (thank goodness for my old 8mm!).

# I have disks made before 1990 which still work.  And I have disks made in
# 2000 or 2001 and they are dead.  SCSI or not.  The drive electronics has
# never failed on me, it's always been the spindle motor, bearing, or some
# other mechanical thing.

Electronics are fairly rock solid; spindle motor, hm, yeah, that's been a

I will also note that as stated (and elided), keeping the drives cool
is a very large part of keeping them alive.  I just invested in a nice
60GB (thought it was 40GB - surprise!) IBM drive -- yes, IDE, because
that is what my cash tree can afford me.  I took the time to invest
in and install a drive cooler specifically for this drive (usurping
a drive slot in the process, requiring me to twist my IDE cable
(as a result, I'm looking for a new case with more drive bays), but
I digress...).

I don't know if I'll ever use it to capacity; I think I have it parted
down to 40GB at the moment (I dread having to dump and ever restore this

# > I also have a Barracuda or two around that are from 95/96.
# > The low end disks on sale a Joe's computer shack are often
# > the runts of the litter.
# > Bad power supplies suck.  If it came with your cheapo case,
# > hurl it at the annoying kid next door and get a good one.
# Tell that to Sun, please.. and the manufacturers of 350 W power supplies.

What's wrong with a 350W power supply?  I suppose SCSI sucks more power
than IDE.

And Sun?  Please.  I have a SS5 here in service as a server.  Works like
a charm.

Jury's still out on a SS5 vintage IBM 9G SCSI drive.  So far seems to work
like a charm.

# There are good disks, yes.  But at the time you find out which model is
# reliable, it hasn't been manufactured for ages.  You have to buy the
# New, Fast, Huge ones - and make sure your backup system is working well.

I agree about the New Fast Huge drives.  They make me very nervous.  Having
that much space to back up is unsettling, especially considering that there
are no consumer-end backup systems which can handle that kind of capacity
unattended.  If there are such systems in which the media are reliable and
cheap and the drives are not astronomically priced, I'd appreciate a pointer.

I mean, 8mm is all well and good, but it's also very very slow, and the
tapes wear somewhat quickly.

DDS4 is still around $1,400 for a *drive*, last I looked.

[tapes and cd-burners are the only places where it truly matters to me
that they are SCSI.]

NetBSD: Unix With Balls.