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most reliable hard drive?


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#1 abz

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 07:13 AM

where can i find a list of the most reliable hard drives (or what manufacturer)?

#2 Katy

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 07:28 AM

I can't give you a list, but I can tell you from my personal experience. I have two friends - well, many friends :) - both of them working in diferent IT stores. They told me the most reliable consumer HDDs, regarding the warranty returns, are Western Digital. In my notebook I have a 320 GB HDDs Black Caviar 1 year and a half old. In my desktop I have two WDs, the older one having over 4 years. My desktop runs continuously since 6 years ago, as it hosts my email on my own domain. So that older WD has by now over 4 years of non-stop activity.

#3 eshap

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 02:14 PM

There's a reliability database here (though used to be out of date).

Looks like Seagate's been having some issues recently (at least specific models), and I still avoid Hitachi due the their (well, IBM at the time) past problems and bad handling with the Deathstars. That leaves WD which I didn't have problems with in recent years, and Samsung which I never used.

But it's all anecdotal.

Besides manufacturer there are other factors, like the specific series or model. I think drives with less platters are nominally more reliable.

Edited by eshap, 14 February 2010 - 02:15 PM.

#4 Mkruer

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 02:24 PM

I would like to add this little antidote. When it comes to HDD, all of them have their own quarks. If you are using a Western digital then stick with Western digital. Same goes for Seagate. The only exception would be either brand new drives or new class of drives

Example:
I love western digital, for their internal drives, but when it comes to external i have have had nothign but problems with the MyBook. Instead I would recommend using the Seagate free agent/go.
Lian-Li PC-V2000 Plus Aluminum Case; Seasonic S12 Energy+ 550 PSU; Asus M4A785TD-V EVO; Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition C3 @ 4.0Ghz ; Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C; 8GB OCZ AMD Black Edition @ 1333Mhz; Creative Audigy 2 ZS; Sapphire Radeon HD 5770; 1xOCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD3-2VTX180G; 1xWestern Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB; 2xWestern Digital Caviar Green WD20EADS 2TB; Western Digital WDG1U3200 My Book Essential Edition 320GB USB 2.0; Samsung STORY Station 2TB USB 3.0.

#5 fileholder

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 05:23 PM

I can't really tell you what is the "most reliable" HDD in the market because everyone has their own opinions towards the HDD they are using. Back when I was in college, about 10 years ago, we debated on which is the better HDD, Seagate or Maxtor. Now that there are other companies that are creating HDD, then the debate grew bigger.

I have used 4 different brands of hard disks, Seagate, Maxtor, Samsung, and WD. I currently use Samsung and I'm sticking to it for now. There is one time that I would defend Seagate as the best HDD but that is already the past for me. I'm open to any new hard disks that will be sold on the market today.

#6 continuum

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 09:07 PM

All harddisks fail. Without a reliable, long-enough-term, random sample set, everything is just anecdotes. :)

I can tell you from the data I have here that outside from a few problem very specific problem models, there's no serious issues with any disks we have used in recent memory that are currently in production.

#7 K-TRON

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 10:46 PM

As others have mentioned, you cant really measure reliability, as all drives are not subject to the same environment and conditions by the end user, and there could very very well be some manufacturing defects thrown into the batter of harddrives.

I have been running Hitachi's for years, I have only had one drive go out on me. And that was my fault. I was using my 15K300 outside of its enclosure. I had a fan going to keep it cool. I bumped into the table, and the fan grille shorted out the circuit board :(
My laptop has one in there, and I have 10,900hours on it without a problem.
I have had troubles with Western Digital in the past, and problems with Seagate in the present.
The only companies which I havent had any problems at all with are Fujitsu and Samsung, but that could be because my sampling of drives from either is small.
The longest drive I have ran is a Fujitsu 15K enterprise drive, which has been going for 9 years strong.

Two summers ago, I unpackaged a brand new 120MB Western Digital Harddrive, which had been sitting new in its box since 1991. It was a big old MFM disc which I was planning to use to get my 1987 Linotype workstation going. I plugged it in, and within seconds, smoke was pouring out of the drive. I contacted Western Digital, and they did not provide me with any help at all. Not even a data sheet, so I could find out the models of the voltage regulators and micro controllers which appeared to be fried. All they said was that it is an old drive, and the chemicals inside the drive must have dissipated from sitting inactive for so long. Well, I tried replacing some parts, and I couldnt get it going. So I brought it to the scrap yard and I got $0.28 for it, out of scrap metal.

Otherwise, I mean the results will be based on personal use.

K-TRON

#8 Tasha

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 01:37 PM

I don't think that many things that sit for that long would work on opening-and that goes for mechanics, electronics, and maybe with the exception of the radios designed for disaster situations.

I've had two external HDDs by WD that failed within six months. It was a horrible disappointment, so I switched to Buffalo. My drive is now 3 years old and horribly mistreated yet going strong. WD always seemed the better choice for internals though.

#9 coleno

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 10:42 PM

Seagate's? Recently? Honestly, I can not think of the last time (if ever) I heard anything good about them, its actually one brand I will not touch with a ten foot pole.

#10 continuum

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 12:06 PM

Just goes to show how useless anecdotes are. :)

#11 eshap

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 11:05 AM

Two summers ago, I unpackaged a brand new 120MB Western Digital Harddrive, which had been sitting new in its box since 1991. ... I plugged it in, and within seconds, smoke was pouring out of the drive. I contacted Western Digital, and they did not provide me with any help at all.


Horrible horrible tech support! ;) Something like 2 years ago I tried a 40MB drive I had sitting in a drawer since... I think I looked at it sometime in the late 90s. It emitted odd noises, took 2-3 restarts to get going, but then it was accessible. It had problems reading some sectors, worked after a few retries, but ultimately became unreadable again. Other areas seemed to work though.

I recall reading in a drive manual that a drive isn't supposed to be left unused for more than a year. I don't remember the specifics, it could be just "best practices", but who knows, maybe there's something to it even today.

... I switched to Buffalo. My drive is now 3 years old and horribly mistreated yet going strong.


Buffalo doesn't manufacture drives. Maybe it's a WD inside? :)

#12 MJparker

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 09:52 PM

Everyone seems to be saying Western Digital but I have two WD 1TB MyBooks and I have had problems with both. One is just over 2 years old (and my computer can't recognise it) and the other is 1 year old. The newer one lost all its data and with the back up software I only got back about 80% of my stuff.

#13 sinner81

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 02:25 PM

IMHO, there are no reliable drives. Every brand and model ends up breaking up in several months/years.

PS: BTW, I think that since Seagate adquired Maxtor, the quality somehow worsened.

#14 kwarner

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 09:54 PM

Just goes to show how useless anecdotes are. :)


Well that's why we gotta get that reliability database going again. Everybody tell your friends to come over here and enter their hard drives into the database so we can have some real info.

As to Maxtor being bad, I have an opposing useless anecdote. :P My daughter's PC has an 8 year old 80 GB Maxtor in it still going whiny but strong. It's on every day either playing music or watching YouTube videos. I bought a replacement Maxtor 3 years ago on sale so I could have it ready to swap in. Got tired of waiting after a couple of years so finally put the spare in an extra machine to play with different Linux installations.

#15 Brian

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 10:25 PM

Everybody tell your friends to come over here and enter their hard drives into the database


YES! We've updated the database to include most HDDs that I know of...and we're getting a few dozen submissions a week, but we need many more.

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#16 continuum

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:52 PM

Well that's why we gotta get that reliability database going again.

It's still non-random sample set so it's not useful for any actual study of reliability. But I do agree, as far as publicly-accessible data goes, it will be at least a somewhat useful tool for the unwashed masses.

#17 cb474

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 03:48 AM

I find it interesting to look at the number of 1 to 3 star (the worse) reviews on Newegg, in comparison to the overall number of reviews. The 1 to 3 star reviews pretty consistently tend to be reviews from people who had a drive fail very quickly or be DOA. I don't know that failure rates are consistent across brands, but you can definitely pick out particular models that seem to have high or low failure rates.

This is not a random sample, but since there is no reason for someone who has a drive fail quickly by one manufacturer to be intrinsically more disgruntled than someone who has the same experience with another manufacturer, nor any reason for the happy customers of one manufacturer to be more likley to post a positive review, this is not a bad measure, I think, of the level of failure for a particular model. Especially for models that have upwards of one hundred reviews.

In this regard, actually, a couple of the recent Samsungs seem to be doing remarkably well, having a very low failure/DOA rate for Newegg customers, compared to all other drives. I've had good luck with Seagate in the past, but they actually seem to be having a lot of failures, and WD and Hitachi are more in the middle. But again, it's best to look at reviews for a particular model, especially those with a high number of reviews.

I suppose it is also possible that drives that fail within a couple months or are DOA do not necessarily indicate the long term reliability of the same model drives. That is, a drive could conceivably have a high initial failure or DOA rate, but if it gets beyond that initial period, it could conceivably then last better than other drives that do well at first. Although I'm willing to take the early failure rate as indicative of potential long term quality (or at least the best one can do for some sort of indication of reliability).

Edited by cb474, 27 February 2010 - 03:55 AM.

#18 Brian

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 10:10 AM

cb474 - welcome to the forums.

I think you make a good point about a series of quick failures indicating a greater chance for failures down the line. While the two may not be connected as you say, I think drives that fail rapidly out of the gate show me that there are larger problems with that model or line...not something I want to take chances with.

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#19 daburners

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 01:44 AM

Mostly I Preferred Western digital Hard Drives
But Mostly Depends On Your choice.All Are Good Hard Drives
All Hard Drives Have Their Own Quality.

#20 kittle

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 08:30 PM

Some more anecdotes...
I got 2 Seagate 10krpm scsi drives back in 2001. a 36gb and a 180gb drive. after 5.5 years of 24/7 use the 36gb drive quit, but the 180gb drive is still running fine.
I also purchased 2 maxtor scsi drives in 2005 for a new system. They are both running just fine today despite the same 24/7 use.

Over thanksgiving last year (2009) I got an external hitachi drive (the 500GB toughbook). It failed after 3 days.


My next drives will most likely be WD or Seagate as I have had good luck with them in the past.

#21 mikeyb

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 05:23 PM

Some of the DOA for new drives may attributed to poor shipping and handling, so that throws another variable into the mix, so the review figures are a rough guide really. And, if they have a special on with free shipping...well see below.

I recently read a post where a guy orders quite a few drives at a time from most of the major players, he started to get quite a high DOA figures across the board, he then switched shipper from UP* to FedX and the problem went away.

I've seen most of the major players drive fail, the odd bump in the graph along the way, the IBM Deathstars, Maxtor which ran really hot (bad manufacturing process IIRC) and went up in smoke etc.

The one make I never had trouble with was Fujitsu 10K SCSI enterprise drive, they just seem to go on and on, of course all I've said is purely anecdotal :D

Edited by mikeyb, 06 March 2010 - 05:34 PM.

#22 Self Techo

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 02:05 PM

I bought an HP SimpleSave just 10 weeks ago, and it if fried itself. So, yes, hard drives do fail. My lesson, stick to companies that specialize in this field, such as WD and Seagate.

#23 Wibla

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 05:17 AM

There's a few rules of the thumb that I like to abide by:

1. Every manufacturer has a few "oopsie"-lines, batches with lots of DOA/failures

2. Bad shipping/handling will reliably kill even the best drive

3. If it doesnt die during the first year, odds are good that it'll last for a long while

#24 ZenGeekDad

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 12:11 PM

I find it interesting to look at the number of 1 to 3 star (the worse) reviews on Newegg, in comparison to the overall number of reviews. The 1 to 3 star reviews pretty consistently tend to be reviews from people who had a drive fail very quickly or be DOA. I don't know that failure rates are consistent across brands, but you can definitely pick out particular models that seem to have high or low failure rates.

This is not a random sample, but since there is no reason for someone who has a drive fail quickly by one manufacturer to be intrinsically more disgruntled than someone who has the same experience with another manufacturer, nor any reason for the happy customers of one manufacturer to be more likley to post a positive review, this is not a bad measure, I think, of the level of failure for a particular model. Especially for models that have upwards of one hundred reviews.

In this regard, actually, a couple of the recent Samsungs seem to be doing remarkably well, having a very low failure/DOA rate for Newegg customers, compared to all other drives. I've had good luck with Seagate in the past, but they actually seem to be having a lot of failures, and WD and Hitachi are more in the middle. But again, it's best to look at reviews for a particular model, especially those with a high number of reviews.

I suppose it is also possible that drives that fail within a couple months or are DOA do not necessarily indicate the long term reliability of the same model drives. That is, a drive could conceivably have a high initial failure or DOA rate, but if it gets beyond that initial period, it could conceivably then last better than other drives that do well at first. Although I'm willing to take the early failure rate as indicative of potential long term quality (or at least the best one can do for some sort of indication of reliability).


Excellent point. I've worked in R&D for 25 years, with my primary role being the design and interpretation of experiments, so I am quite versed with statistical concepts. The moderator's emphasis on the sample being random is valid, but only to the extent that this avoids bias. And you make credible arguments for there not being any practically-meaningful bias in raters' feedback (in your newegg example). Validating your hypothesis (of no bias) would not be practical in this real world case, so we either have to accept the intuitive argument you give (and I do) or revert to dogma (generally not useful).

The one thing -- which I assume almost every tech-savvy web surfer knows -- is that sample size is everything. So, when you see only a few reviews, you're on thin ice. But get a nice sample size (25 bare minimum, but I prefer at least twice that), and the odds of the overall rating being unrepresentative (of the larger population) due to a few very skewed ratings becomes markedly smaller.

Another thing I assume most tech-savvy folk know intuitively: on-line reviews tend to be a little polarized, with the reviews coming from three emotional camps: (1) haters venting, (2) wildly enthusiastic neophytes gushing, and (3) sober aficionados journalling for peers. Obviously, reading the reviews sorts out which is which. In statistics, the first rule is "plot your data". In on-line review research, the first rule is "read all the words".

#25 freeborn

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 09:10 PM

I wonder if Newegg packs different manufacturers drives differently. Last time (granted this was years and years ago) I ordered a hard drive from them it came wrapped in bubble wrap inside a much too large box with a deficient amount of peanuts. The drive had shifted to the edge of the box and the box itself was banged up horribly. Since then that is one piece of hardware I do not order from them.

Take a look at how drives are packaged from the manufacturers themselves: Drives are well packed in materials which prevent them from moving relative to the box and offer a lot of cushioning. They are sensitive pieces of equipment and generally to not include high non-op shock ratings.

Has anyone taken pictures of their drives as they arrive from newegg? How are they packaged? Are they in ESD bags and bubble wrap, or something more elaborate?

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I drank what? -Socrates



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