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Worth to use Hybrid HDD in USB casing for performance gain vs the usual 2.5" HDD; shockproofing USB HDD

Posted on 2015-02-20
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2016-10-27

I'm getting the above Seagate 2.5" Hybrid HDD to be inserted into a USB 3 casing.

As this Hybrid HDD is 5400rpm only, will using it in a USB3 casing give at least
10% IO performance compared to using a conventional 5400rpm (those with cache built-in), say the Silicone Power shockproof (& dustproof) one below:

I plan to use the USB HDD to take backups (Acronis & backing up my data
using Acronis or Robocopy) as well as inserting a HDD into the USB NAS below:
  Pogoplug Series 4 Backup Device:

I suppose the USB NAS Pogoplug could accept direct SATA connection of the
Seagate Hybrid or via a USB3 HDD : I have about 15 GB of Outlook Pst data
to backup to this Pogoplug device as well as Android/iPhones data (daily

Can I shock-proof my HDD in a USB3 casing?  Could I just stash up tiny bits
of styrofoam into the USB3 casing?  Or those Silicone Power makers have
special 'paddings' to make their HDD shockproof?  I read Silicone Power
uses conventional Samsung HDD only
Question by:sunhux
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LVL 79

Assisted Solution

arnold earned 720 total points
ID: 40621603
From my understanding of this product it will not matter for your intended use.

The device is geared more towards continuous use such that built in logic within will move frequently accessed data from the spindle storage and on to the SSD portion of the drive.

For your intended use the task the device will be performing is writes of backup data.

The drives that have the 5400 rpm have the cache size to deal with performance.

The case into which you place it has to be cushioned to reduce the shock.
LVL 70

Accepted Solution

garycase earned 1280 total points
ID: 40622231
A hybrid drive provides the best performance gains when it's used as a boot device, whereby the most frequently accessed sectors will, after time, be retained in the SSD cache part of the drive ... yielding near-SSD-like performance for booting and the loading of frequently accessed programs.

In the use you envision, there will still be some gains ... the SSD will be used for most of the initial writes during a backup ... but not as much as you might think, since there won't be a clear set of "most frequently used" data that it retains in the SSD portion.

Personally, if you want a shockproof drive mount, I'd just buy the shockproof drive you linked to, and not bother with the hybrid.    Note that when limited by a USB3 interface, you're not going to get much benefit from an SSD anyway, as the interface is going to limit the maximum performance.

Save a few $$ and buy the shockproof drive :-)

Author Comment

ID: 40622503
> In the use you envision, there will still be some gains ... the SSD will be used for most of the initial writes during a
>backup ... but not as much as you might think, since there won't be a clear set of "most frequently used" data that
> it retains in the SSD portion.

In fact when I used robocopy to copy a 15GB pst file (from my laptop's full SSD drive) to this hybrid USB drive, it
appears that the readings for the first 5-6GB was increasing a a very rapid rate & then it suddenly slows down:
I'm guessing the SSD buffer on the Hybrid had been filled up & the write operation to the USB suddenly slows
down, correct me if I'm wrong.   Well actually I've ordered this Seagate hybrid, just thinking if I should get
another one or just the shockproof ones.  I'll just test with other normal (non hybrid) USB3 to see if I get
the same behavior
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Author Comment

ID: 40622506
Robocopy gives a % completion reading & it's based on this incrementing reading that I see the write operation
for the first 5-6GB was very fast & then slowed significantly thereafter: not sure if this reading is accurate

Author Comment

ID: 40622508
Suppose this SSD buffer helps with the write operation, can I presume that after copying a 5GB file to it,
I can detach/Safe Remove the USB device & it will continue to flush what's in its SSD to the normal HDD
in it?
LVL 79

Assisted Solution

arnold earned 720 total points
ID: 40622527
Not quite sure I understand your question. Are you contemplating detaching the external as soon as the system indicates the copy is complete?
The hybrid logic is a black box the slow down is likely starts when the data needs to be transferred/written out from the SSD into the regular drive portion or there is a backlog ........

Once your copy command indicates the process is complete the disconnect is safe.  I do not believe that a disconnect while the power is maintained will have data transfer within the hybrid.

This has to be check with the spec, but I believe a copy out from SSD to the Harddrive only occurs as needed dealing with new data coming in.
LVL 70

Assisted Solution

garycase earned 1280 total points
ID: 40622693
If you do a "Safely Remove" and Windows says it's okay to remove the drive, you can remove it.    Doesn't matter if the data's actually on the SSD portion of the hybrid or magnetic platters at that moment.

I suspect the slowdown you're seeing is caused by two different things:  (1) it could certainly be that the SSD cache has been filled and the copies have to slow down to the actual write rate of the platters;  but (2) it's also quite likely that this is simply the typical USB buffering that occurs when copying to USB devices -- the copies will tend to go fast for a while;  then slow down as the drive's buffer (whether SSD or RAM) fills up and needs to be emptied before the rate can climb back up.

I DO think you'll see faster copies to a hybrid ... but likely not enough faster to make a lot of difference; and the shockproof units you're looking at may be a better long term choice if these are going to be used in environments where the extra shock absorption is useful.

Author Comment

ID: 40622786
>  Are you contemplating detaching the external as soon as the system indicates the
> copy is complete?

I've just tried with a conventional USB3 Western Digital HDD & observed that for the
1st 9.9%, the robocopy % incrementing is very fast too & once it hits 10%, it slowed
down.  I'm guessing the WD USB3 has some sort of cache in it too & it gets filled up
& thus slows down.

Hmm, the USB3 with Hybrid Seagate in it slows down after hitting about 30%, so
I guess the larger SSD cache could explains this?  But 30% is about 4.5GB while
the total size of the SSD published by Seagate is 8GB which does explains the
8GB was filled up

Author Comment

ID: 40622789

I guess with the above USB NAS "Pogoplug" I'm getting, this device may become a
bottleneck so a shockproof HDD could be a better choice.  Anyone knows of any eSATA
HDD that is shockproof as the Pogoplug could support direct eSATA connection?
By adding a USB3 casing to the eSATA HDD, I'm adding another layer (ie USB3) of
overhead to the Pogoplug

Author Comment

ID: 40622803
Or I'll have to DIY the eSATA HDD to make it shockproof?

I have 3 cases of USB HDDs crashes that the experts in EE can't help
me recover & 3 cases of 2.5" laptops HDDs crashes so just wanted
to avoid these nightmares.  I have got 2 pcs of Silicone Power USB3
HDDs & they have been doing fine without crashes/bad sectors for
the last 1 year (& hope they continue to be so) : to build in a RAID1
/mirror is a bit costly & I'll need a NAS (never seen USB casings that
build in RAID1)

Author Comment

ID: 40622831
Typo correction
> But 30% is about 4.5GB while  the total size of the SSD published by Seagate is 8GB
> which does explains the 8GB was filled up

=> which does NOT explain the 8GB was filled up
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 40622934
You could use an eSATA case with a large SSD (500GB SSDs are down to ~ $200) if you want a very fast and shockproof setup.

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