How Important is RPM for Hard Drives

Looking to purchase another 2tb SATA drive for music storage. I'm seeing 7200 rpm drives that are maybe a bit noisier and run a bit warmer than 5400 rpm drives that are cooler but slower. The 7200 drive (Hitachi) may be a tad more reliable than the 5400 Western Digital or Seagate - not sure. I do plenty of backup anyway.

Thing is, with over 1.5 Tb of music, I imagine seek times can be somewhat slow. Once a music file is found, there ae no skips or pauses with itunes. Does the rotation speed matter much for seek times on such a large music library, or is the rpm more an issue for writing/reading higher bandwidth information than music?

Thanks, Peter
For music library purposes, hard drive RPM and seek time are unimportant. Seek time is important only if you are reading a lot of small files scattering all over the disk. Music files are relatively large files so don't worry about RPM and seek time.

In fact, I would buy low RPM drives because they are usually quieter. I like the WD green drives. They are variable RPM drives, very quiet, and runs relatively cool. I have six 1T green drives, two of them are almost 2 years old, the other four are 1 year old, never have any problem.
After having 5 spinnning hard drives fail in 5 years, I'm waiting for ss drives to become bigger and more affordable before spending time loading all my music onto them.
I wouldn't fill a hard drive more than 70 percent; the performance comes to a crawl as it fills up. The spin rate will help during the initial transfer to some extent - if you are copying data from another hard drive. If you are loading new discs, the CD-ROM is the bottleneck, not the hard drive. I would get two green drives and run them as a striped RAID for faster transfer rates (which will help speed data transfer to your backup, which I recommend).

Another option is the Drobo device, which is like a RAID but tolerates drive failures with less user headache than a RAID.

If you are paranoid, buy Enterprise class drives with the 5 year warranty. The price difference may be worth the piece of mind, especially if you've invested time and hassle of ripping your own CDs. I ripped about 250 discs onto my HD and it was tedious and I have still to fix all the metadata. I don't want to duplicate my efforts and would rather lay out for the data redundancy.
I am mostly investing in cheap 2tb drives and making sure I have several redundent backups. I had a RAID drive but it was super noisy and the disks didn't stop spinning when my computer slept. Perhaps a better RAID drive would help. I'm basically buying naked SATA drives and putting them in existing enclosures.
I recently replaced a WD "Green" 1.5 TB drive (essentially 5400 RPM) in my music server with a 1.5 TB 7200 RPM Seagate.

There is no difference in music playback, nor in selecting music to play.

The only difference I've found is the 7200 RPM drive backs up much faster and it is also faster if one re-indexes the library. (A Squeezeboxserver wipe & rescan is about 75 minutes on the 7200 RPM versus over 2 hours on the 5400 RPM drive.)

Both of the latter items are only maintenance issues done in the background and do not interfere with the playback. My music server is in a different room so drive noise is not an issue.
The higher the RPM on a hard drive, the faster the data will be accessed...but the faster the hdd, the hotter it is.
You'll need some cooling for it. :)

If you have a 5400 or 7200 rpm hdd, it wont affect music playback.
Thanks. Got the 5400 green drive. I don't mind waiting longer for the backup to occur!
Rotational latency is a different metric than seek time. Seek time is the average time to move the R/W head from one track to another. In general, seek time is the dominating factor in disk access. Rotational latency is the average time required for the desired data within the track to rotate under R/W head.

In days gone by, one could buy fixed head disk drives. These drives had a R/W head for each track and thus, the seek time was zero.

You would like to minimize intra-file fragmentation to limit the number of seeks necessary to access the entire file. This should also make the drive quieter. Since media files tend to be quite large, setting the cluster size to be as large as possible seems like a good thing to me.
which RAID are you reff'ing?
Raid 0,1 / 0+1? I'd agree.
RAID 5 with a 5 disk array should be able to reconstruct a dead disk, on the fly, with few interruptions. Hot Swapable? A must.

I thought RAID was a goner? Staging a comeback? Any ESATA arrays?

Off Site may be the long term / secure answer.
Magfan, ALL of the RAID configurations you mention except RAID 0 offer redundancy and can reconstruct a failed drive in the system, not just RAID 5. RAID 5 is simply more efficient when you consider the number of drives that are necessary vs the usable total storage space.

RAID being a goner???! WTF?! Every motherboard sold nowadays has RAID capabilities built-in, and even several external HD enclosures offer the capability of 2 drives in RAID 0 or 1, not to mention the multitude of companies making NAS's.

I happen to think that speed and cache (and transfer interface) are the most important issues of a drive. I run 10,000 RPM drives, Western Digital Blacks, SATA (RAID). Don't skimp on Hard Drives. Few hundred bucks for hours upon hours of ripping.
sorry-and seek time, natch,