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most reliable hard drive?


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#26 bigbassman

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 03:12 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.


I have had 3 WD Caviar Black HD's go down prematurely this year. I hear from a Tiger Direct guy that these drives have had significant reliability/failure issues.

OK, So, me too: is there a WD or other manufacturer series that has proven reliability?

I'd gladly pay a premium price for premium performance.

This may all be a moot point because after all the problems I've had with PC-based hardware, firmware and software, i've finally gone to an iMac for my main work platform.

NOTE: I've had about 99.99% reliability with the Mac, which is orders of magnitude better than all the PC types I've been screwed by.

Consider this: Of the 4 PC-based computers we've had at our recording studio, EVERY ONE of them eventually failed to the point that our customer base was about to lose confidence in continuing with us. Since I brought in my personal iMac, NOT ONE issue.

I figure the difference is that Apple makes sure that every component in their systems functions to specified levels of compatibility and reliability for long term useability. Honestly, after replacing failed motherboards, HDs, DVD-Rs etc in my PC-based systems, I could have bought 2 Macs, and avoided the frustration and down time, not to mention the added hassle of continually corrupted firmware and OS files.

To be fair, the Shuttle brand of PCs, upon which the Music XPC line is based is relied upon by many recording studios to run Microsoft programs. They seem to be, by far, the most reliable units I have seen for heavy number crunching demands, ie, music recording and gaming. However, even this workhorse brand is vulnerable to the well documented instabilities and malware threats so rampant in the PC/Microsoft world.

#27 Brian

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 08:20 AM

I'd chalk it up to bad luck really...WD is oft regarded as the most reliable. But there are always going to be anomalies. If you go buy a handful of Seagates or Samsungs, you could very well have the same problem. I'd just RMA the Blacks and start over and ope for better luck. Run the full WD diagnostic test on each of the new drives first before putting them into rotation.

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#28 killodoggy

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 08:50 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


I sort mail for UPS and it's not a good idea to send fragile mail like external hard drives through UPS. Emphasis is placed on sorting mail fast, not gently. Some people including me throw mail and mailbags sometimes. Also mail is smashed hard to fit as much in 1 bag as possible. They have told us that if you don't work fast enough someone will replace you and I see new people all the time, so they mean business. Also they never ever clean the mail bags, so your mail might have some unnecessary filth on it.

I don't know what other mail companies are like, but I imagine they are similar, because of competition and deadlines. Your best bet is to never ship fragile items unless you have too. And if you have to ship fragile items avoid UPS and read as many reviews about other mail companies as possible.

#29 superlgn

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 02:09 PM

I have had 3 WD Caviar Black HD's go down prematurely this year. I hear from a Tiger Direct guy that these drives have had significant reliability/failure issues.

OK, So, me too: is there a WD or other manufacturer series that has proven reliability?

I own 5*WD 1TB Blacks, all purchased between January 2009 and August 2009, and they're working fine. 4 are part of a fairly heavily used 8 disk RAID6 and the other is a backup drive. I'm mostly WD at home and have been for years. The only active non-WD I have is one (of two) remaining functional Seagate drives I received as a gift, bought during and affected by the firmware fiasco of 2008-2009. Work is probably 80/20 Seagate/WD, with the bulk of those being enterprise. The Seagate 7200.11 AS drives have been a problem at work as well, but no other brand/model has been a regular problem like that.

NOTE: I've had about 99.99% reliability with the Mac, which is orders of magnitude better than all the PC types I've been screwed by.

Consider this: Of the 4 PC-based computers we've had at our recording studio, EVERY ONE of them eventually failed to the point that our customer base was about to lose confidence in continuing with us. Since I brought in my personal iMac, NOT ONE issue.

My experience has been the exact opposite. I've worked for the same employer for about 14 years now and while the company is almost completely Apple now, it started out dominated by PC hardware, with a 50/50 split ~5 years ago. The owner of the company is a big Apple guy, so he's made sure that there have been Macs in the office from the get go. One of my many responsibilities (unfortunately) is the maintenance and repair of desktop systems. Even at the peak of 40+ employees several years ago which was a 70/30 split of PC vs Apple, I'd say the PC desktop failure rate was 1-2 a year whereas Apple (i)Mac/(i|Mac)Book was easily 3-5. We have Micron/other PC desktops that are 12 years old and they're still running, conversely there isn't a single Apple system over 4 years old that's still operational. And I don't mean just not in use, I mean one or more significant component failures that would have resulted in repair costs greater than the fair market value of the machine (or > 50% the value of a new replacement). Apple laptops were especially bad, warping cases, logic board / video card failures, entire displays needing replacement. I've got an iMac now and while I appreciate the badly needed upgrade, I leave work every day wondering if I'll walk in the next morning to a functional machine.

#30 cbrworm

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 01:12 PM

I prefer Micropolis, Shugart, CMI and Connor.

If none of those are available then I will use a Quantum Fireball (talk about a bad name).

Honestly I have had failures with every brand of drive, and other than some problematic models, my overall experience with the current MFG's have all been good. I am generally of the opinion that Seagate and WD are the best although there is a lot of data out there showing Seagate to be problematic. I have had similar failure numbers for Hitachi, WD and Seagate over the last 6 years. I only ever had one 7200.11 fail out of many, many installs. Of all the 5 platter hitachi drives I have out there, only one has ever failed.

Edited by cbrworm, 24 March 2011 - 09:18 PM.

#31 FastMHz

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 01:57 PM

All this chatter about reliability made me think about my history with hard drives. I think I must be the luckiest person on earth with hard drives, because over many years and hundreds of drives from various manufacturers, I can count the hardware failures on one hand (1 Maxtor, 1 Seagate, 2 IBMs and 1 Hitachi IIRC). Software failures and corruption are an entirely different story. My old 5mb behemoth still works, all the way through my numerous 1TB + drives in service right now. Most came from TigerDirect and NewEgg. My brother on the other hand has the opposite luck with them. I suppose most reliability statistics are to be taken with a grain of salt.

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#32 cherylfoster

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 04:09 PM

Obviously, Seagate is one of the most reliable hard disk. I had three WD disk go bad in the year following their purchase. It provide a best efficiency. RMA impossible if you want to retrieve the data, so its in my closet until you have the money to get that data out there. Anyway, GB Seagate 5 year warranty.




translation companies

Edited by cherylfoster, 27 January 2011 - 12:24 AM.

#33 qasdfdsaq

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 09:33 PM

I thought Seagate warranties were back down to 3 years now? Either way I've had 100% of all my Seagate drives fail (I've had over a dozen) so IMO they're absolutely the opposite of "the most reliable hard disk". They're obviously the least reliable.

Personal experience/anecdote. YMMV.

#34 Shining Arcanine

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 08:35 PM

I thought Seagate warranties were back down to 3 years now? Either way I've had 100% of all my Seagate drives fail (I've had over a dozen) so IMO they're absolutely the opposite of "the most reliable hard disk". They're obviously the least reliable.

Personal experience/anecdote. YMMV.


I can say the same, although I had a much smaller number of them. I have only owned one Seagate hard drive and it died on me two days ago after only a little over 6 weeks of service. To be fair, I ran it 24x7 in my media center PC and stored a few experimental virtual machines on it, but still, I will never buy another Seagate hard drive so long as I live. I heard terrible things about Seagate and the only reason I was willing to take a chance was because it was so cheap. Thankfully, Newegg is giving me a full refund and is paying for return shipping.

#35 eep386

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 02:51 AM

Here's my share of anecdotes :P

I personally still trust Seagate. I was lucky enough to avoid the 7200.11 catastrophe, and the 7200.12 in my dad's box is running flawless, knock on wood, as is my 80gb Seagate momentus 7200.1. Never used their external drives (I prefer to use my own enclosures.) To memory I don't think I've EVER had a recent model Seagate die on me, but then again I've only used 4-5 "recent" Seagates...

My luck with WD, recently, is the polar opposite: my 320gb passport was EXTREMELY picky about its USB ports and cables, and my WD5000BEVT is a laggy, hot, park-happy heartbreak. They didn't use to be this way though (I still fondly remember the loud rattle my AC2540's actuator had.)

Surprisingly, Maxtor treated me well. Offhand I can only think of 3 or 4 Maxtors out of dozens I've used, that gave me trouble.

I've had only one post-DK23 Hitachi go south on me, with the rest being perfect in every sense of the word. (The DK23s, OTOH, weren't so lucky.)

Never had a problem with Toshiba, save for an ancient MFM drive that was over the hill anyway. One Toshiba even survived being hooked in upside down on a 2.5" to 3.5" adaptor.

For Fujitsu, I've had pretty good luck with them too, save for this 320GB MJA2320BH-G2 that seems to have a nasty loud random CLICK! every so often. (At least it doesn't lag for 3-5 seconds frequently, like that WD5000BEVT of mine.)

As for my personal preferences: Conner, MiniScribe, Maxtor (yes), WD Caviars from the 90's, and Toshiba, provided none of these have bad/noisy spindle bearings. If those aren't available, I use Seagate (not the 7200.11 or its relatives though) or Hitachi.

Edited by eep386, 31 January 2011 - 03:05 AM.

#36 ksyong

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 06:13 PM

I'm a computer reseller. From year 2007-2009, I stock in 60 unit of WD HDD (160GB - 250GB). Most of them are Caviar Blue Model.About 25-30 units of this HDD send to RMA due to Error 0007 (Read/Write element failure) & Bad sector within 3 yrs. All is from different customer. Very suprising that some HDD send back to RMA over 4 times but still after use for few days to few weeks, I need to RMA again. I stop all the product from WD, and change to Samsung & Hitachi. Even Samsung & Hitach still got RMA, but it's still acceptable. RMA about 5% only compare with WD about 50%. That is nightmare for me. Even 2 unit of my shop PC is running WD HDD, and both failed within 3 years.

I'm doing the PC repairing also. Whenever a PC with WD HDD come in, i can say about 50%-70% of them have HDD failure. A lot of computer technician out there just format the drive and use it back (why? They dunno how to test? They know but just want to earn the service charge?) I can sure the drive will failed again just matter of time. Some in few weeks, some in few months.

In years 2005-2006, I always believe that WD HDD is the best. Now, WD HDD is nightmare for me. Maybe other model have low RMA rate, but i nv dare to try again. Sorry for my bad english.

Edited by ksyong, 14 March 2011 - 06:16 PM.

#37 slyphnier

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 06:51 PM

reading from these (i use google translate as i cant read france)
http://www.hardware....composants.html

WD failrate is lower compared to seagate ... as for maxtor seems they producing server drive nowdays, thus reliability higher than other
but what we can learn from these data :
- bigger capacity of the hdd lower its reliability ... which seems it related to more platter and higher density
- faster drive (7200rpm) also have lower realibility compared to 5400rpm version

i heard these data source is from large france retailer

#38 schaki

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 07:05 PM

I have a Velociraptor WD3000GLFS which is the very first version of that drive.
Normally I wouldn't buy a new product at once when it is released because it may get more costly than it needs to be. But in in the summer of 2008 I was finally about to build a whole new rig and let my old PIII 1ghz R.I.P.
I used pricerunner.com and bought from one of the stores that sold it at a good price at the time.
I'm still using the same computer with the exception of a Quad 9550 @ 3.8GHz instead of the Core2duo 8400.
The Velociraptor keep go strongly although that computer stays on 24/7 since at least one and a half year back and did also see long.

If anyone know how to check for how many hours the drive have done, I might check and report back.

#39 sfuller

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 06:21 PM

I've been a IT lead since 1978. My first hard drive from Morrow Designs (I think it was a CMI) was 10M and cost $3600. When hard drives were expensive HP and Micropolis ESDI drives routinely lasted for years.

Quantum IDE drives and most Conners lasted forever (always retired for space reasons--not because of failure. Since that time most drives have been reliable except for shipping issues (6 drives would all fail within a week), or problem drives, Quantum LCTs, Maxtor 8s, Seagate 7200.11s with bad firmware etc.

Western Digitals have always been my least favorite drives, not because of higher failure rates, but because most of the failures come without warning because of what we call the click of death. We specialize in low tech data recovery when the data is valuable but the client can't or won't spend $750-3000 to recover data. Our success rate is pretty high except for WDs, Spinpoints, and old Deathstars.

Our stack of old dead drives (because of control boards) has a percentage of WDs, Quantum LCTs, Maxtor 8s and Samsung Spinpoints.

We sell Seagates, but recent history and lack of models concern me. Also all warranty replacements are rebuilts so we don't even bother. If there are WD models that don't tend toward click of death syndrome or all RMAs are not rebuilts--I would love you hear about them.

#40 TSullivan

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 01:40 PM

I've been a IT lead since 1978. My first hard drive from Morrow Designs (I think it was a CMI) was 10M and cost $3600. When hard drives were expensive HP and Micropolis ESDI drives routinely lasted for years.

Quantum IDE drives and most Conners lasted forever (always retired for space reasons--not because of failure. Since that time most drives have been reliable except for shipping issues (6 drives would all fail within a week), or problem drives, Quantum LCTs, Maxtor 8s, Seagate 7200.11s with bad firmware etc.


This man speaks the truth. I saved my first hard drive from a Compaq Portable III (Conner Type 17, 40MB) that I had as a kid. Sitting on the StorageReview desk next to me right now. Fired up no problem a couple of days ago and if I can get an IDE controller it will hit the test bench soon.

Attached File  photo.JPG   425.89KB   2 downloads

In terms of best picks from Editors, we keep a running leaderboard at StorageReview

http://www.storagere...com/best_drives

We are working on updating the performance database and reliability areas and should have running stats from those again too.

#41 slyphnier

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 07:42 PM

seems there are many IT seniors in here

i have some questions and would love if i can get some suggestion:

1. What Average lifetime of modern harddisk ?
i read google harddrive summary ... they mention harddrive wearing quite early, but seems they didn't mention how early thats
but my guessing seems around 2-3years (around 20000hours?), right ?

2. i read somewhere, that LowPower (Green series) harddrive not good for RAID use, is that true ?
then if yes, if i bought NAS (like thecus NAS), what good harddrive to use ? do i have to bought enterprise series for best reliability ?
or 7200rpm standard desktop drive okay ?

3. LowPower (Green series) vs Performance (ex. Caviar Black)... which have better reliability ?
i have been wondering about this, seagate indeed giving all their drive 5year warranty
but on other hand WD only giving 3years warranty for their green drives... while 5years for black drives
i am thinking that Black = Enterprise drive, the different maybe firmware ?

thanks in advance

#42 cbrworm

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 09:12 PM

I have found drives seem to start to fail after about 5 years use, yet I have many Samsung desktop drives in the field from 2002-2003 that run 24/7. This really has no bearing on how long a new (modern) hard drive will last though. there is something to be said for low areal density.

I have also heard that green drives are not good for RAID use, the exception being the WD RE4-GP drives which are RAID specific Green drives. I think this is no different than regular desktop drives not being good for RAID use due to firmware/error correction differences. Green drives may have the (dis)advantage of more aggressive internal power management which might not work well with some controllers.

Reliability? I don't know. I am not a fan of the WD green drives due to some bad (slow) experiences with the first generation, but never had any reliability issues. In a low/no airflow enclosure I would expect the low power drives to be more reliable than a high performance drive. I have had zero failures with any of the WD black drives, although we have had a number of Velociraptor failures. We have deployed more Black drives than Velociraptors. The WD black is generally my drive of choice for desktop machines and the seagate enterprise drives are my 1st choice for RAID.

#43 geek12

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 04:28 AM

As for me Western Digital's hard drives are the best and the most reliable hdds.

#44 cheapie

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 11:27 PM

I have had these failure rates:

Seagate - 1 of 7 (14%)
Maxtor - 1 of 3 (33%)
Western Digital - 1 of 2 (50%)
Toshiba - 0 of 1 (0%)

I personally prefer Seagate. In fact, I have an old (at least 15 years old) ST-157A-1 not-so-quietly whirring away in my computer. The only Seagate drive that I ever had that failed was 10 years old at the time.

#45 speedlever

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 07:55 AM

I have had a Seagate (7200.7, I think) failure, Deathstar failure, and last year had two WD 740ADFD Raptors fail.. .the latter being the replacement of the former.. which was but 3 years old. I ended up going with an Intel X25M 80GB SSD even though WD sent me a 150GB Velociraptor (recertified) replacement.

I will trade performance for reliability any day of the week. I have a Samsung HD321KJ data drive that has run flawlessly for 4+ years. But at 320GB, it's starting to get cramped for space. I'm looking to replace it with a 2TB drive.

I buy Hondas and Toyotas, not because they're perfect, but because they tend (in my experience) to have greater reliability than competing brands. I'm looking for the Honda and Toyota of HDDs. I'm not sure they exist.

It appears to me that at this point I just hold my nose and jump in. There seems to be no clear consensus as to what drive mfgr builds more reliable drives.

#46 slyphnier

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 11:15 AM

I have had a Seagate (7200.7, I think) failure, Deathstar failure, and last year had two WD 740ADFD Raptors fail.. .the latter being the replacement of the former.. which was but 3 years old. I ended up going with an Intel X25M 80GB SSD even though WD sent me a 150GB Velociraptor (recertified) replacement.

I will trade performance for reliability any day of the week. I have a Samsung HD321KJ data drive that has run flawlessly for 4+ years. But at 320GB, it's starting to get cramped for space. I'm looking to replace it with a 2TB drive.

I buy Hondas and Toyotas, not because they're perfect, but because they tend (in my experience) to have greater reliability than competing brands. I'm looking for the Honda and Toyota of HDDs. I'm not sure they exist.

It appears to me that at this point I just hold my nose and jump in. There seems to be no clear consensus as to what drive mfgr builds more reliable drives.



nowdays spindle type hdd wont last long
with the current price street you can get imagination how the product quality
the technology indeed matured enough (upto 1TB) ... bigger than 2TB seems still have some issues
you can't expect much from a product that less than $80 to last for more than 3years arent you ?

nowdays, if you concern about reliability
you should start to use RAID, even that not guarantee you free from failure

sometimes we translate manufacture "warranty" wrong
"warranty" is not to mean that a product free from failure on their warranty time
"warranty" nowdays means we can use the product within warranty with or without replacement

#47 slyphnier

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 11:41 AM

speaking about reliability
lets talk abit about WD caviar black :)
anyone wonder about WD caviar black being overpriced ?

if we look hdd price-list
2TB WD caviar black SATA3 almost twice 2TB WD caviar green SATA3 (at around extra $20 you can get 2x 2TB caviar green)
compared to others (samsung/seagate 7200rpm hdd) ... caviar blue indeed similar price

now i am start questioning is it worth the price ?
If caviar black = WD enterprise drive (RE4) just without TLER (firmware different) and 24/7 verification
then maybe we can say it worthed, i mean its parts same like enterprise drive, so it should as reliable as their enterprise drive

manufacturing wise, it seems possible, because rather making different design, using available design is easier

i find that not many shop selling WD-SATA-Enterprise (RE series), maybe WD selling more to OEM rather than to retailer/reseller
maybe not much people willing to pay extra money or enterprise using SAS rather than SATA, i dunno for sure

i tried to find someone that do tear-up and compare their parts, but havent find it.... storagereview have feeling to do that ? :D

if not, if it only firmware optimization and other minor hardware different, then i dont think worthed...
c'mon if we read review, Samsung F3 got performance as good/fast as Caviar Black overally
reliability-wise, i think its better RAID1 2x Caviar green/blue rather than single caviar black..

Caviar Black indeed have good reputation as good drive
but wonder if it worth the price

#48 vitaminc

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 07:51 PM

I have had these failure rates:

Seagate - 1 of 7 (14%)
Maxtor - 1 of 3 (33%)
Western Digital - 1 of 2 (50%)
Toshiba - 0 of 1 (0%)

I personally prefer Seagate. In fact, I have an old (at least 15 years old) ST-157A-1 not-so-quietly whirring away in my computer. The only Seagate drive that I ever had that failed was 10 years old at the time.



That's not enough samples to draw a conclusion...
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