Which hard drive for digital music server?

I have set-up my digital music server with great success. My system consists of a G4 laptop, 500GB LaCie firewire hardrive, and a Waveterminal U24 going into my preamp. I have almost 200 GB worth of music ripped onto the LaCie in Apple lossless, and am thinking that I will use this drive as my back-up. I want to buy another drive to use as my active drive and am looking for recomendations. Clearly, reliability is important and I think I would like something with atleast 200 GB. What would you suggest?

I've built four servers for family and friends: I'd recommend against using the old IDE interface (in favor of SATA). I'd also suggest that you avoid the cheaper Maxtor drives (I used 16 200GB in these various machines and 4 have failed). Seagate's reliability has improved since the late 1990s.

The current HD server I'm building uses some capacious drives for storage in a RAID array, on the order of 2.5TB for storage.

For you, a next generation SATA with a greater amount of storage (say, 0.5TB) might be promising: there's a new 500GB 7200rpm Seagate Barracuda available should you wish to accommodate future storage requirements.

In any case, the Barracuda 7200 series supports NCQ and 3GB/s throughput (about 3X the speed of first generation SATA) and is warranteed for 5 years.

If these specs are overkill for you, the 5400 series drives are good all-around performers, as well.
Er, Dell PowerVault 745N. 1TB of hardware RAID5, four hot-swappable drives that net out to about 700MB of real storage. Loud as a 747 on the runway, tho', so I'd also recommend an acoustilock vCab.

Apple xServe RAID is a cool looking option too.

Seriously, I had *bad* problems with disk crashes using consumer drives. I really don't think they are supposed to be on 24x7...
I've had very good experiences with LaCie drives. I've also used Western Digital, Maxtor and Seagate with some success. All hard drives will eventually fail, so as long as you back them up I don't think it makes that much difference what you use as long as it's reasonably quiet.

It's critical that you also back up your iTunes library files.
For IDE, I like the Seagate Barracuda series - very very quiet.

If you can isolate them acoustically, a 15K rpm SCSI set up on a dual channel controller is THE way to go for performance in both audio and video. I can see and hear a distinct smoothness to them as compared to an older, slower (5400 rpm) drive which I had in the same chassis.
I've been very partial to Seagate drives as well, and I'd suggest using the Baracuda 7200rpm SATA drives. Western Digital also makes good drives. I use Seagates in most of the computers I build for friends and they've always commented on how quick the drive access is and how quiet the computer is. Maxtor (owned by WD I believe) is the brand that I've had the worst luck with.

But I agree with the above comment that if you have a good backup drive then your choice of hard drives is less important (go for low cost), provided that you back it up religiously.

Rocstor. They are fast, reliable and MAC compatible which is why you see them being used in many of the recording studios.
The new gen Seagates 7200.8 (not the old 7200.7) in 200Gb and up are considered to be the best by many. Have not seen the 500 released yet, but have a 400 dedicated to my iTunes library. 5 year warranty. Awesome - meaning I installed it and haven't thought about it since

The Maxtor Maxline with 16Mb buffer also carry a 5 year warranty and has NCQ 3 which is not implemented and is certainly not necessary for audio - it is basically a technology that speeds up disk access by prioritizing the calls among multiple client accesses - ie enterprise stuff. Both the Seagate and Maxtor drives are designed for the enterprise market, and are very quiet and very fast. The Hitachis are also very good. BTW if you keep them cool - meaning a case with a decent fan - you will extend their lives

SATA is totally the way to go. I could not be happier. If you are serious and your computer will handle it, get something like the Firmtek Seritek/1SE2
External Port SATA Host Card ($95), two drives and an enclosure. Look for MacGurus.com for a lot of great background - and fear not there is stuff for the PCs.

IMHO you do not need 15,000RPM UltraSCSI for audio. Very expensive and very small capacity. Audio files are small... this is not the barrier to decent performance. A slow processor, a fragmented drive etc are more likely culprits. If you want broadcast quality video editing, then you might want to consider it but there are less expensive SATA alternatives.
Chack out this company http://www.infrant.com/ and click on the latest news. One link talks about the prices, 1.6 TB for $2800, and the latest one talks about the ability to add RAID drives on the fly. Think I am going to have to check this one out.
Sten - Look at that site carefully - that is a RAID 5 package which is a redundant array designed for serious enterprise applications - essentially you are only getting one or two of the four drives worth of storage - the rest is redundant. Not in the least bit suitable for audio or video files.

What is nice about the piece is that it is NAS - meaning that you can hang this box on an ethernet network where it can be accessed without being attached to a computer.

If you want and need 1.5+ terabytes, go to Macgurus who will be happy to sell you just the thing for $1,774 using four Seagate 400s.
RAID 5 is actually a bit more efficient--you only "lose" one of the four drives. Think of it like this--Drive A gets data X, drive B gets data Y, drive C gets data Z, and drive D gets X+Y+Z. If drive A goes bad, you recover the data by performing drive D-drive B-drive C. Similar for the other drives. Actually kind of cool. Given the time its taken to rip all my CDs, I use RAID 5 and highly recommend it.
Hi Ed -

Curious why you decided to go this route. No argument about the time spent ripping, but why not just do a one for one back up every so often (say monthly or everytime you add 'n' amount of data, and save the cost of at least two drives?

Or even do a real back-up which is to say store the data off premises?
Raid systems are very good at providing redundant type protection, but your data is still stored in one physical space. It won't protect against fire, electrical damage or other acts of god. If you're really serious about protection you'll store your backup(s) in different physical locations. Personally, I think you're better off having data saved in two distinct locations than have a single RAID setup.
Its all a balance of risk versus harm. In an ideal world, I could just ftp the drive contents to a remote data vault on the 'net. My investigations indicated that solution was a pretty freekin' expensive way of doing it...

I know RAID 5 doesn't protect against catastrophic failure in the sense of a house fire, lightning strike, etc. (I do have offsite photos of my gear/software for insurance). But, I'm not sure that was my issue.

The problem that I was running into was the lack of reliability of large consumer drives. My original idea was just to get four 250 GB drives and use a pair for backups. I'd rip enough to fill up one drive, copy the drive, and move to the next one. Figured I could add more pairs as time went by and locate one set offsite. Well, I had one drive crash before I had even filled it up. That caused me to double check the other three, and I found bad sectors on all of the others. This, on top of a prior crash of a 250 GB drive, and I started wanting something a little more engineered. The RAID server I bought is a NAS built for 24/7 commercial operation--a Dell Powervault 745N. Hasn't hiccupped in the time I've operated it (its been on fulltime).
Certainly an elegant solution - what is your expansion strategy when you over run the available storage?

BTW - for the more casual reader - note that Edesilva's unit uses SATA drives - this is a far superior technology for adding drives than Firewire. If you use the enterprise level drives - offered by Maxtor and Seagate you will probably enjoy a high level of reliability at a bit less expense for a very modest increase in cost - check NewEgg. The Enterprise/Midline drives come with a 5 year warranty - the Seagate model is 7200.8 and the Maxtors are the MaXLINE III with 16mdb caches
Hopefully something cheaper will be available by the time I'm maxed out... ;)

I'm also not sure, but I may be able to get a fiber channel upgrade and a relatively "dumb" expansion case to string more drives together.

Then again, spending $3.5K on a high reliability NAS doesn't seem that offensive when you consider other high end audio gear. FBOW, it is less than I've spent on many other major components for my stereo. Even with a conservative $10 per CD, its also a lot cheaper than the 1200 or so CDs that are ripped to it. Its all about how much you value the time that it took you to rip all the CDs... I never wanna do that again.

I would observe, however, that I'm not the looniest in the asylum here. I seem to recall one member having purchased a maxed out xServe RAID, configured with seven 400 GB drives per side--6 for RAID 5 with one hot standby (about 4 TB of total storage, taking into account both sides).
I can see from the comments above why this hobby is sometimes considered a disease (audiophilia). Working as a data network engineer for 11 years now, I see no need to have a RAID 5 system in a home audio setup. Why would you want such a rapid recovery of data in a home environment where there are no customer service issues to deal with? Why would you want to keep your PC on 24/7 if you are not running a music/TV studio?

Just buy one extra external HD for backup. If you are paranoid, buy a third HD and keep it at your Mom's house (or better yet, at the Federal Reserve Bank!). Remember your CDs also count as a backup set.
Er, I've had four drives go bad on me. I definitely think RAID 5 is worth it, esp. now that you can get RAID 5 NAS boxes for under a grand. And, while my CDs are a "backup", the pain of ripping 2000 CDs is something I will gladly spend a grand not to do again... Mine tend to stay on 24/7, because they serve up tunes, and not being able to get to them fast defeats the point in my mind. Others may have a different internal calculus.