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Data Storage Power Hardware

Western Digital Touts New 'Green' Drives 119

An anonymous reader writes "Western Digital today announced the availability of a new line of serial ATA drives that are supposed to use 4 to 5 watts less than other competitive drives from Hitachi GST, Fujitsu and Seagate. The new "GreenPower" line comes in 500GB, 750GB and 1TB capacities. Western Digital says it achieves better power performance by balancing the platter's spin speed in order to make it more efficient, by optimizing seek speeds and by parking the read heads when the disk is idle, according to a Computerworld story."
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Western Digital Touts New 'Green' Drives

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2007 @08:55AM (#21453071)
    It's good to see manufacturers trying to reduce power consumption in their products, and I hope the trend continues (without impacting performance). However the big savings are more likely to be found in the manufacturing processes. How much energy could be saved there? How much "greener" could the chemical processes be?

    It's neat, it's a start, I'm sure it'll produce a decent amount of ad copy for them, but it's not really very "Green".
  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot@keirstead. o r g> on Friday November 23, 2007 @09:06AM (#21453135) Homepage
    When you run a relatively small server room with 40 servers each with 5 drives in a raid that 5 watts turns into 1 kW fairly rapidly.
  • by MadKeithV ( 102058 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @09:12AM (#21453165)
    5 Watts saved on an expected power usage of between 10 and 25 Watts is pretty significant.

    See the power usage specs here: http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/storage/hddpower.html [digit-life.com], a bit older perhaps, but not that much.
  • Re:Solid State? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @10:24AM (#21453581) Homepage
    Still not close, but I think they're competing in different markets. If you need 500GB disks, you're not looking at SSDs (unless you got a spare ten grand or so).
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @10:41AM (#21453709) Journal
    That would, of course, give you better battery life. Even better would be to cache the entire contents of the disk and never spin it up...

    In the real world, even if you have enough RAM to cache the movie, other things also want to use some of it. The demands for streaming it from the disk are quite low; around 1-2MB/s, while my laptop's disk can do between 10-30MB/s in sustained transfers. Dropping the speed from 5400RPM to 540RPM would allow this demand to be met without swapping anything out and causing additional disk usage (expensive ones, since they require a lot of seeks) to swap it in again later.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Friday November 23, 2007 @11:38AM (#21454111) Journal
    Can't we just go straight to the solid-state memory and stop worrying about "spinning disks"? I mean, think about it: very soon, we're going to laugh about the fact that we used to use these boxes with spinning platters inside to save all of our data.

    Personally, I'm not going to be making any further large investment in any storage media that has moving parts. I'll replace drives as they die in my little RAID box, but that's it for me.

    I look down at the little 8gig Sansa mp3 player hanging around my neck when I ride my bike and I think: this little thing is pumping wattage into my cottage, rocking my head at serious volume and it runs for 20 hours on a one-hour charge, and I can fit the Herbert von Karajan recording of Wagner's Parsifal like 20 times over and still have room for a few movies, and there's scars all over the case from having bounced it off the pavement countless times, but it works like a charm. This has to be the future.
  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@[ ... m ['bar' in gap]> on Friday November 23, 2007 @12:04PM (#21454283) Journal

    TFA says it *might* say you "up to $10/year" on electricity.

    In other words, YMMV, etc.

    So lets look at REAL figures.

    I'll save 4 watts per drive on my 4-drive home box. 16*24*365/1000 = 140 kw/hours.

    @ 7 cents/kwh, I'll save a grand total $9.80 for 4 drives, or less than $2.50/drive.

    That's if I run it 24 hours/day.

    Most likely consumer-use scenario is less than a buck a year. I'll leave my drives spun up at full speed all the time, thank you. Easier to save a LOT more money just by turning off the lights and monitor when I leave for the office.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:28PM (#21456475)
    There's a post like yours in every /. thread about flash or hard drives.

    Yes, having flash for bulk storage would be nice. It'd also be nice to have main memory run at the same clock speed as our CPU instead of having this complicated caching system. But we do caching and use spinning discs because they're cheaper, and as long as both flash and spinning discs improve at the same rate (roughing Moore's Law) and our demand for space keeps increasing, we're going to keep on using spinning discs for bulk storage.

    In the short term, flash gets wedged into the memory hierarchy in between RAM and hard drives. The most frequently used program code and some mostly-read-only data gets moved onto flash. But you're not going to see the really big things stored in flash - like, say, archives of high def movies - stored in flash as long as flash costs 50x as much per byte as the spinning magnetic platters (or, if you prefer, 5x as much as the spinning optical plastic).

    Or to reword it: in ten years, the 512 GB flash drives will be $100, but the 20 TB hard drive will also be $100, so we'll still have both.

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