Hard drive for streaming video

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by robrpb, May 10, 2017.

  1. robrpb

    robrpb

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    My friend has installed Plex.tv on his computer and he has stored several movies on it to try it out. He likes that he can stream the movies to his tv and now he would like a larger, separate hard drive to store the movies. He has a large collection of DVD's.

    He has a Lenovo 90DA004HUS desktop with an Intel i5 running windows 10. Would it be better to buy an internal or external USB 3.0 hard drive and which one would you recommend? I believe he plans on leaving the computer on all or most of the time. Thanks.
     
  2. reggie14

    reggie14

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    For a fairly continuous, I/O use case, I'd use an internal drive over USB 3.0, unless USB is really the only viable option. It looks like that system has three SATA ports, so one should still be available (presumably one is used for the boot drive, and a second is used by an optical drive).

    I use 4TB WD Reds in my media server. Those go up to 8TB, and they're not ridiculously expensive. Another option to consider would be HGST drives, like this one. HGST has gotten a pretty good reputation for reliability.

    One extra piece of advice is to format the drive with an allocation unit size of 64KB. That basically means the OS will write in 64KB blocks instead of the more common 4KB. You usually wouldn't do this on a boot drive because a 4KB file would still take up a whole 64KB block, wasting 60KB of storage space in the process. But, if you're using the drive for media files which are several gigabytes each, you're not going to waste much space. What's the advantage? Basically the drive will retain performance better as the drive gets more and more fragmented. It also seems to help keep performance up during multiple simultaneous sequential reads/writes. The reason is basically that the drive is able to pull more data off the drive each time it seeks for a particular block.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
  3. robrpb

    robrpb

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    Again, thanks for your help Reggie. I wasn't aware of formatting in 64KB blocks.
     
  4. robrpb

    robrpb

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    I have been looking at both drives. The HGST drive is 7200 rpm compared to 5400 rpm for the WD, and the HGST has twice the cache and comes in retail packaging and both have a 3 year warranty. For $10 more it sounds like the HGST is a good deal. And I noticed that the HGST gets recommended on this forum.
     
  5. reggie14

    reggie14

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    I think the HGST is a great choice. I haven't seen benchmarks, but I'm sure it's a higher performance drive than the WD Reds.

    You don't really need high performance for a video storage drive, though. Any modern drive can handle 1-2 streams coming from the drive at a time without breaking a sweat. I tend to prefer 5400 RPM drives for media storage over 7200RPM drives because they tend to run cooler and have slightly lower energy usage. That's not really an issue with one drive, but I have several in my file and media servers.
     
  6. MaxRat

    MaxRat Tweak Monster Staff Member

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    I like the price on those HGST drives. I need to upgrade my drives in my media server.

    I am still running the 1st revision of the Samsung F1-1tb drives. I can tell you even on these old Sata-II drives you wont have steaming issues. Even on a non-gigabit internet I was able to stream to 15 different devices, 15 different movies without issue. no lag or stutters. Hard drive speed isnt the issue. You just need to make sure you have adequate amounts of ram.
     
  7. David M

    David M Techphile.

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    My DirecTV DVR used to have a slow 5400RPM drive which did fine for streaming TV shows. I replaced it with a 2 TB WD Black drive. What I noticed right off the bat is that the software ran faster when going through the menus....must have been quicker access times for the software that runs the unit. Not saying put in a WD Black. I wouldn't for your purposes. Just saying there can be this difference.
     
  8. robrpb

    robrpb

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    My friend is probably going to purchase the WD Red 4TB drive. I know he will need to buy a SATA cable for it, but will he also need to buy a power cable too or does Lenovo usually include a spare in the case? I was hoping that I didn't need to make a special trip to his house and open the case just to confirm whether there was a spare. Thanks.
     
  9. glc

    glc Forum Administrator Staff Member

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  10. robrpb

    robrpb

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    Thanks glc. You also answered what would have been my next question as well, what you would recommend.
     
  11. robrpb

    robrpb

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    After reading the posts again here and reading some reviews about both the WD and HGST drives that Reggie listed in post #2, I think I am going to suggest to my friend to buy the HGST drive. They both seem similar regarding reliability. I think the main difference is the WD is 5400rpm, while the HGST is 7200rpm. I am not sure how much that matters as a second drive to store and stream movies.
     
  12. Mike Cartwright

    Mike Cartwright

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    ^ Yeah, I agree. Made me rethink my options as well. Was about to get a WD red for backup purposes since my drive is getting sluggish as of late but I might consider a HGST now.

    Also, 64KB allocation unit size is a good idea. Will give that tip a try too.
     
  13. David M

    David M Techphile.

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