Debate me. Large capacity drives vs. smaller capacity. Best strategy and why

I’m all ears. I’m just shy of a know it all so I am willing to listen.

I will share my basic view.

To me, with Chia trends, value, I have a cautious approach. Thus, it’s all about minimal investment on hardware. Period.

I buy the cheapest drives I can buy. Period.

I don’t discriminate. If it’s greater than 2TB, I will look at it.

I love a good argument. I mean I love a good discussion.

Unless you have tons of space, I myself will not look at a drive its under 12TB I just want to have that many hard disks connected as my farm grows. 5 4TB disks or one 18TB disk (16.3tb after formatting) The heat and power and space, is what I’m looking at.

Next beer please :sunglasses:

Power difference between 3 x 5tb and 12tb is what when farming? I suspect you haven’t done the math. Running an extra case fan is 5W? 7W? If you are buying fancy things to hold drives then I get the concerns for space. I don’t invest money into things that simply hold the things that make the pennies. Shelf space is something I am willing to deal with when the returns are such as they are. Resale value, you think I have more potential buyers than you? I’d say no question of that.

I dont look at drives under 18tb. At the moment I dont look at drives at all, because of my dry spell :frowning:


Replace 12tb with 18tb… plus around $13/tb at that and no more, and I’m somewhat interested. Less tb or more $$/tb why bother…?? Why voluntarily waste space/heat/electricity/connection difficulty for the next coming years ahead?

Small farms only look at $/TB, to minimize startup costs.

Medium-sized farms start to also consider power: if a 20TB drive uses the same power as a 10TB… do you want to be running 1x20 for five years or 2x10?

Large farms also consider space: as you need some hardware to connect/host every drive, That could be USB spaghetti, but more likely involves high-density SAS/SATA enclosures of some sort. A common rule-of-thumb is not to buy anything half-or-less of the current largest size… because having to hook up 2x the drives is a waste. It’s not a big deal if you’re plugging in two USB drives instead of one. It is a big deal if you need to set up two racks worth of gear instead of one. e.g. if a consumer can easily buy a 20TB HDD now… then only buy 12TB or larger.

TL;DR; Buy the largest drives you can afford: assuming you’ll be dealing with space/power issues for years you want as few actual devices as possible.

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Made a small typo, I only have 2 10TB disks and all the rest are 18TB among all my nodes at this time. Is what I should has said earlier. :woozy_face: :woozy_face:

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I guess some here don’t mind going all in on a project that has been in VERY steep decline over the past year. The return on drives that expensive would be astronomical. I guess I was operating under the agreed rule that money matters. The way people talk about power consumption makes it sound like we are running GPUs. If you think you’re doing the environment a favor by saving some pennies on hydro? Save drives from landfills. Those will be lesser capacity but that is actually doing the environment a favor. By reducing retail drives? That means produce more. I don’t want any part of that frankly. Chia for me still has to prove itself. I will scale up accordingly as I gain confidence in the project itself. It feels odd to me if I bought new drives to farm or plot Chia. I’m guessing I’m in the minority but that’s fine.

People actually buy retail new??? Even new doesn’t have to be retail or expensive. Lots of small peps give up, orgs over buy, lots of reasons for fire sale, w/larger drives at bargain $$. All you need to do is watch, look, have patience. Everything can be had @discount if you have no immediate need to buy right now, just grab what u can when u see it.


I just feel better knowing that I am saving a drive from a landfill rather than buying a new, usable drive that can be used for many things aside from farming crypto. It’s about saving a drive for me. The more new drives Chia takes from the market, the less green it is. There are levels to this. The entire concept of this is about less harm overall. Green. But equal to that is the fact I can buy double the drive capacity for the same price for what was quoted here. Not ideal to work with lesser capacity, but I choose green and lesser cost. I get it. Nobody is going to openly criticize their choices or strategy. A few mentioned power consumption but no stated data showing actual difference between capacities. More efficient? How much more? Easy to say, harder to back up with facts.

Good strategy if you have free space, and get free cables and HBA cards and do not pay for electricity.

Accessories are nothingburger when you consider the capacity cost of the drives. I keep going back to this power differential yet no facts presented by anyone who is using this argument to support their strategy. Even with cables and HBAs, the cost is far less per TB. The only valid point might be space but that’s essentially laughable.

One thing not brought into this (because most won’t admit it) big drive strategy is the ROI in comparison to my strategy. Like I said initially, if you don’t care about budget, ROI and environment, then sure. It’s easy to say large capacity is superior. Easy? Of course.

It’s funny talking about space when a majority are using external drives. Not saying above commentors are in this group. If you find internal drives create space issues? Then I would say you’re not very creative.

Dont’t feed the troll i guess. I am out.

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Just to say the last 18TB I got for $239.00 free ship, I thought it would make me happy it did. Since I always use my cigarette money and never smoked a day in my life… :sunglasses:

Feed the troll comes from weaklings. Sort of like people who rely on a GIF to speak for them. For those less capable, there’s always troll or GIF commentary. Call them a troll when you can’t come up with anything. Sorry, name calling is so weak.

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Actually, there are facts. In this vid at ~16 min mark there is a graph showing “Power Efficiency - Watts/tb” where drive efficiency is discussed. It can be seen that an 18tb Seagate Exos drive (at idle which is ~99% of the time, so he says) uses ~ .3 w/tb vs say a 10tb ~.45 w/tb or about 50% more electricity per tb. He mentions that smaller drives than 10tb have worse efficiency still.

Competitive Chia Farming - Deep dive into HDD power and TCO

This sums it up well. And doesn’t even get into the extra electricity required for fans or heat removal, their power supplies, and initial supporting hardware enclosure expensive with the smaller drives, which, of course, adds up quickly for a farm of size. Hope that helps in your green quest.


I need one of those jackets…

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Thank you for bringing some tangible data/information regarding power usage. I will delve into that. I tend to fall back to the same thought. Drive A takes some power. Drive B takes some power. So it’s really about the DIFFERENCE between the two. I have the same debate about GPUs. They all take power to run. I think when it comes to hard drives, the point is we are talking about minimal vs. very minimal. Both minimal. Varying degrees. Neither is horrific. Smaller drives are not horrific in comparison.

I’m not sure why the space issue is such a debate here. Nobody should be buying enclosures. Period. Many farm with external hard drives though. But to say saving space is a big selling point and worth paying more for? I laugh at that. There are many ways to stack drives or hang drives in a space saving manner. I venture to say the Chia community has room to innovate in this regard.

The issue of HBAs and cables is certainly a downside to going with smaller drives. However, it is still far cheaper than buying big capacity drives. A lot of server equipment finds its way to land fills. HBAs can find another life through Chia. Slow speed HBAs can’t cut it in modern servers but serve Chia well. Cables? Nothingburger.

I would argue with anyone that taking performance, new drives out of the system to farm Chia slightly more efficiently and space saving is doing the environment a disservice. The big drives that make your life so wonderful for farming Chia does come at a cost. Maybe I’m burning slightly more power, or even simply much more power than bigger drives, I’m saying here right now, that your drives cost the environment far more than my method. I’ll stand by that. My drives are headed to landfills. I saved them and put them to use. That is the Chia way.

And perhaps at some point in the near future we will see about hard drive failure. I venture to say that enterprise grade hard drives are going to keep on going. But those nice large capacity drives? Let’s see how those stand up over time which may in turn show another win on my side.

But the debate about go big because you’re saving power? Well that’s a very narrow, short sighted, and not very well thought out comment or belief. The guy in the video makes the claim that those 4 or 5tb drives simply aren’t going to cut. Oh really? Says who. Can’t say I see anyone here (or him) trying. Well because it’s always about the power. Well geez. That’s a convenient point to focus on! I’ve outlined the other overlooked aspects. The biggest one for me if you are taking a drive out of circulation to farm Chia. Is that the way? Is that the green way? Is that really the Chia way of doing things? The problem for some is that you are able to equate power waste vs. more hard drives needing to be manufactured and how many drives are ending up in land fills which are perfectly usable for YEARS in a Chia usage scenario. So simply said? Sticking with power as your only argument is weak as hell. It justifies spending far more on hard drives to boot. Pay more! Save power! Take drives out of circulation in order to farm Chia. I don’t think that’s Chia’s plan for messaging.

Go ahead and enjoy the pennies on hydro and a few bucks on HBAs and cables. Enjoy all that extra space that the bigger capacity hard drives afford you. The easy way is usually the more expensive way. In this case, it’s not only more expensive, but it’s also not doing the environment any favors. So there is that to think about, should you choose to accept it.

Lower capacity HDD have higher OPEX and possibly higher CAPEX due to other costs associated with running the drives. If you’re ok with that, go for it. I found a sweet spot in $/tb around 12-16tb buying in bulk, what works for me isn’t necessarily what works for you.

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Clueless absolutely clueless.

It’s simple maths.

Average drives draw 7w

So to run a 2TB drive for a year uses 61kWh of electric, so at UK price that’s £18.40 a year. 2TB of plots will earn less than £10 a year, so you’re running at a loss.
So to run 9 x 2TB drives instead of a single 18TB would cost 8 x £18.40 = £147.18 extra a year!

Space is very important for a lot of people, I don’t have suitable spare space, so I’d like my Chia farm to take up no more room than it does.

Noise, having multiple extra drives creates far more noise.
Heat, multiple extra drives, creates much more heat.

I’ve been slowly buying up drives, just bought 3 x 16TB for £8.54 per TB, these are replacing an 8 and two 10TB drives, I gain 20TB for the same power draw, plus I can sell the old drives and get a fair chunk of that expenditure back.