Drzeto

WD or MAXTOR?

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I've got an Abit NF7-S rev 2.0 motherboard. Now I'm planing to buy a new harddrive. Should I choose WD or MAXTOR?? I'm not interested in an extremly quiet harddrive, the important thing is that it's fast and most important that it's got a long life. I don't want a harddrive that breaks down after 6 months (has happened before). The two I've got in mind are:

Western Digital Caviar XL 80Gb 7200rpm 8Mb cache UDMA100 IDE

Maxtor DiamondMax Plus9 6Y080P0 80Gb 7200rpm 8Mb cache UDMA133 Fluid IDE

So which one is the best?

Another thing that the people in the computer store told me is that the Western Digital harddrives doesn't work satisfactory with motherboards that has the nForce2 chipset. They told me that the problems occur on many different firmware versions, so it's impossible to say exactly which one to buy or not to buy. The best thing is not to buy a WD at all if you have a motherboard with the nForce2 chipset. Can this really be true??

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I havent heard anything about WD and Nforce2 not being compatable... Sounds like a BS story to me.

I would buy the WD drive. Right now maxtor and wd are very competitive on price, and the WD JB drive is a shade faster than the maxtor drive, and has a 3 year warranty, vs Maxtor 1 year...

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I'd suggest Maxtor unless you're involved in a serious relationship with someone in WD's RMA department, or would like to be. RMAing 13 WD drives in six months is quite an achievement when you only own nine to begin with. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

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I own the WD1200JB and i love it! I got it for a really cheap price after mail in rebates! Two digit price! No not $99. A lot less.

I had a Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 120 gig with 8 mb of cache but i brought it back to store because i wanted to save a lot of money sense i could ! The Maxtor was more expersive sense it didn't have that good of a sale when i bought it. Though in my opinion the WD1200JB is faster than the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 120 gig with 8 mb of cache. Like on the WD1200JB i can run my virus scanner, defrag my hard drive, and use my computer all at the same time without a huge noticeable slow down! On the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 120 gig with 8 mb of cache it was ok but it was a bigger slow down when i did more than one thing at once. Plus the Maxtor was louder in my opinion during seek times. The WD1200JB is a lot quieter. Though like i found out on this forum not all of the same hard drive models and brands have the extact same noise level sadly Sense hard drive companys have more than one place where they are made.

Also in the Reliability Survey the WD400JB, WD800JB, and WD1200JB all together have a Reliability Percentile of 86% !

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I have a serverchassis stuffed up to it's neck with WD1200JB's

20 pcs to be more precise.

During the last 12 mo period I've got 2 failures so either

Mercutio have had extremely bad luck or the environment

is not at the best.

Dunno much abo Maxtor tho but the WD's do quite it's job

and don't hesitate installing a Raid...

casa

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I have purchased about 40 WD JB drives in the past year for my company. All are used in servers (24x7) and only 1 has failed. They've been very reliable for me.

However, after about 4 months, the idle whine tends to get louder. If noise is important to you, get a FDB drive. The traditional bearings in the JBs just don't hold up that well.

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I've got an Abit NF7-S rev 2.0 motherboard. Now I'm planing to buy a new harddrive. Should I choose WD or MAXTOR?? I'm not interested in an extremly quiet harddrive, the important thing is that it's fast and most important that it's got a long life. I don't want a harddrive that breaks down after 6 months (has happened before). The two I've got in mind are:

Western Digital Caviar XL 80Gb 7200rpm 8Mb cache UDMA100 IDE

Maxtor DiamondMax Plus9 6Y080P0 80Gb 7200rpm 8Mb cache UDMA133 Fluid IDE

So which one is the best?

Another thing that the people in the computer store told me is that the Western Digital harddrives doesn't work satisfactory with motherboards that has the nForce2 chipset. They told me that the problems occur on many different firmware versions, so it's impossible to say exactly which one to buy or not to buy. The best thing is not to buy a WD at all if you have a motherboard with the nForce2 chipset. Can this really be true??

I don't know about the 80GB 8MB cache Maxtors, but I would avoid the 60GB 2MB cache (apparently single-platter) Maxtor DM+9 drives like the plaugue.

I purchased one back in Dec., as an emergency replacement for a 30GB 75GXP drive that was 2.5yrs old, and giving a few minor "hiccups", which, given that drive's known propensity for catastrophic failure, made me more than a bit nervous.

The first thing that I noticed, was that the DM +9 was slower than my 75GXP (access time, mainly), by a significant margin. I also noticed that the SMART "seek-time" values were a couple points off of "perfect", which I thought was kind of odd, but perhaps explained the problem. (I'm talking measured access times of 13.5 - 14.5ms here, where the IBM would turn in times under 13.0.)

Fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago. I removed my IBM 14GXP and 75GXP drives, wiped them, and sold them. (The 75GXP seemed to be feeling a bit better, and was still under warrantee for a few months, so I didn't have a problem selling it. The 14GXP had always been rock-solid, except for a minor bearing whine.)

Less than a week later, my W2K crashed, and upon later investigation, I was getting a lot of "uncorrectable ECC read errors", and "SMART self-test failures" with that drive. I also noticed, when booting up for the first time after the W2K crash, that it made a slightly louder sound, like bearing whine, but that would have been highly unusual for a normally whisper-quiet FDB drive.

I purchased a WD 80GB 8MB "JB"/"Special edition" drive, and used Ghost 2003 to copy the partitions from the Maxtor onto it. One thing that I noticed was, that the partitions near the start of the drive (outside of platter), had very few if any errors. The last 30GB partition on the drive, which had my archives and downloads, had numerous errors. It took 8 hrs or so to Ghost over, when the original estimation for the entire drive was 1 hr.

The interesting thing to all of this was, one of the last times that I was here at StorageReview, back when I purchased the Maxtor drive in Dec., there was someone posting that the Maxtor 60GB 2MB cache DM+9 FDB drives were in fact junk and prone to catastrophic failure like the 75GXPs were. I investigated the links, and read some of the messageboards (Which seemed oriented towards Singapore/Malasia, but were in (broken) English. Based on the posts that I read, I paid them no heed. Perhaps it was the broken english that gave me the impression that they were a bit less intellegent than the people here, I don't know.

But I stand before you, with evidence that perhaps they were right.

And, coincidentally, when I purchased the WD HD, the salesperson said that there was a recall on some Seagate HDs, which was news to me. I inquired whether that was the Barracuda IV or V series IDE drives, but the salesperson didn't know.

Based on my (limited) understanding of the failure mode of my drive, I actually wonder if due to thermal expansion/contraction, the seal on the FDB motor failed, and some of the fluid leaked out onto the platter? That scenario would be remarkably consistent with the error patterns that I noticed when trying to read from the drive, as well as jive with the Seagate recall (if that is in fact true - I'm still looking for more evidence), since Seagate was one of the first to introduce commodity HDs made with FDB motors. If there was a defect in those motors, and Maxtor purchased some of those motors from the same supplier, then it follows logically that there could be a correlation here.

So, given my current understanding of the situation, I cannot recommend purchasing any drive with a FDB motor. (However, I didn't check if the WD now had them as well, I sincerely hope it doesn't fail as well.)

This has also been my first, and my last, Maxtor HD purchase.

The WD performs so much better, as well. Both HDs had a 3-year warrantee, so I'm going to make sure that Maxtor keeps sending me working drives until that time is up.

I have *never*, in my years of computing experience, had a HD catastrophically fail on me like this, in such a short period of time. Even my 75GXP, given it's "hiccups", didn't fail on me. (It wasn't produced at the "bad" plant either.)

So that's my take on the WD and Maxtor situation. I'm glad to be back on WD.

PS. It should be noted, that I did had some strange installation issues with the WD drive and my Promise Ultra66 controller. I've done some Googling, and it seems that I'm not alone. I was using the 2.00.50.42 driver (downloaded off of the Maxtor website, since that seems to be the newest available, and not available off of the Promise website), but it seems that no matter which version of the Ultra66 driver that I used, only the W2K out-of-the-box driver works properly with the WD. Otherwise, it just sits at the graphical boot loading screen for about 30mins, and then gives an "inaccessable boot device" blue-screen. In Win9x, I had to delete the Ultra66 .VXD and .MPD files, and run the HD in "MS-DOS compatibility mode". (Which, btw, it's still fast.)

I'm not totally discounting that perhaps, my controller card went, and damaged the electronics of the Maxtor drive in the process, but if that were true, then why is it seemingly functional in W2K with the OOTB drivers right now with the WD?

It's all a bit strange. (Although, there might be something to the WD "incompatibility" issue after all then.)

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PS. It should be noted, that I did had some strange installation issues with the WD drive and my Promise Ultra66 controller. I've done some Googling, and it seems that I'm not alone. I was using the 2.00.50.42 driver (downloaded off of the Maxtor website, since that seems to be the newest available, and not available off of the Promise website), but it seems that no matter which version of the Ultra66 driver that I used, only the W2K out-of-the-box driver works properly with the WD. Otherwise, it just sits at the graphical boot loading screen for about 30mins, and then gives an "inaccessable boot device" blue-screen. In Win9x, I had to delete the Ultra66 .VXD and .MPD files, and run the HD in "MS-DOS compatibility mode". (Which, btw, it's still fast.)

Ahem... Promise certainly had a reason for not posting a driver later than 1.60 build 36 for the Ultra66. That one has been working rather well for me, too - if you get it installed in Win2k, that is. (Promise support said this was a bug in the OS - well, I just went and modified the INF file from 1.60 build 35 to not include the cache driver, and that worked with the files from 1.60 build 36.)

Hmm, a recall on Seagate FDB drives? Don't remember something like that. If there was a drive with FDBs that was unreliable, then it was the 7200 rpm Medalist Pro - but that was mostly because these dissipated as much heat as a 15k rpm drive today, FDBs were still new, you see. (At least those were quieter than the BB screamers like the 'Cuda 4XL I'm setting next to.) Fujitsu's MPG with FDBs wasn't overly reliable either, but as we all know this was mainly caused by the Cirrus Logic chip failing and other issues, not the bearings. Since Seagate started to use FDBs (albeit quietly) even in the high-end X15 36LP (which was about the same time the 'Cuda ATA IV appeared), I'd consider the technology to be reliable. However, other manufacturers have not been using FDBs for very long, Maxtor to name one. (IBM has had some experience from the production of 2.5" drives, from the Travelstar 30GN/48GH onwards, ~ 2001.) WD's FDB plans present at one time seem to have vanished - maybe the bearings still needed to be worked on, or they didn't get access to the technology as planned, who knows.

If I were buying a new desktop hard drive today, it'd be the 120 gig IBMtachi Deskstar 180GXP w/ 8 MB cache - very unlike the 75GXP and 60GXP series, reliability looks good so far (nevertheless, 3 years of warranty is a good thing), they're not too noisy, and performance isn't something to complain about either. The 'Cuda 7200.7 w/ 8 megs doesn't look bad either (except for the AAM weirdness), but isn't quite as fast. I wouldn't get a WD because of the apparently low-quality bearings (it *is* possible to build BBs that do not get louder over time, it may just be more expensive), and the Maxtor DM+9 hasn't had too great of a reliability record so far (though I've heard little about DM+8 failures, perhaps because these are less popular?).

Stephan

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Based on my (limited) understanding of the failure mode of my drive, I actually wonder if due to thermal expansion/contraction, the seal on the FDB motor failed, and some of the fluid leaked out onto the platter? That scenario would be remarkably consistent with the error patterns that I noticed when trying to read from the drive, as well as jive with the Seagate recall (if that is in fact true - I'm still looking for more evidence), since Seagate was one of the first to introduce commodity HDs made with FDB motors. If there was a defect in those motors, and Maxtor purchased some of those motors from the same supplier, then it follows logically that there could be a correlation here.

I would think it's unlikely Seagate's FDB designs had an issue with leaking fluid. They've made FDB motors for a long time. Motor designs are proprietary to the HDD company (in Seagate's case, since they design their own). Of course, the way commodity suppliers work, designs that are *supposed* to be proprietary end up with competitors all the time. It reminds me of the time a vendor came visiting (one that didn't yet do business with us, but wanted to) and gave a nice presentation. In the Powerpoint, there was a picture of one of our components, made out of his material. He didn't believe me when I mentioned it, saying it was impossible. Then I pointed out, "um, I recognize it because I designed it; it's our part." He got really quiet after that. :D

Contamination in a drive does funny things. It may end up collecting in "dead spots" in the air flow, or evenly spread out across the top surface of a disk. Or just stuck in the filter (ideally). If the fluid leaked, I'd expect the top surfaces to have "junk," and not necessarily at the inside only, since the seals are on the top of a FDB motor.

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It strikes me as difficult to answer Drzeto's question unless we know what Drzeto means by "best drive." If he wants to know what the faster drive is, SR has a whole series of benchmarks, and both drive lines have been reviewed.

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Ahem... Promise certainly had a reason for not posting a driver later than 1.60 build 36 for the Ultra66. That one has been working rather well for me, too - if you get it installed in Win2k, that is. (Promise support said this was a bug in the OS - well, I just went and modified the INF file from 1.60 build 35 to not include the cache driver, and that worked with the files from 1.60 build 36.)

Hmm, a recall on Seagate FDB drives? Don't remember something like that.

Since Seagate started to use FDBs (albeit quietly) even in the high-end X15 36LP (which was about the same time the 'Cuda ATA IV appeared), I'd consider the technology to be reliable.

However, other manufacturers have not been using FDBs for very long, Maxtor to name one. (IBM has had some experience from the production of 2.5" drives, from the Travelstar 30GN/48GH onwards, ~ 2001.) WD's FDB plans present at one time seem to have vanished - maybe the bearings still needed to be worked on, or they didn't get access to the technology as planned, who knows.

I wouldn't get a WD because of the apparently low-quality bearings (it *is* possible to build BBs that do not get louder over time, it may just be more expensive), and the Maxtor DM+9 hasn't had too great of a reliability record so far (though I've heard little about DM+8 failures, perhaps because these are less popular?).

Stephan

Well, Promise also publically posted Promise Ultra Family drivers version 2.0.0.29, which AFAIK are the first to: a) support 48-bit LBA under Windows, and B) workaround the hardware data-corruption issues with the Ultra66/100 controller chipsets under W2K. (Which I have personally experienced, on a 440BX chipset even. Those bugs are real, although often scarce. Most people don't notice during ordinary usage.)

The reason that I was using the 2.0.50.42, was that: a) it was the newest available, B) it supported the same sort of thing as Windows 2003 and cas's "dangerous XP cache filter" - it has an additional property page with an option to enable/disable the flushing/syncronous write-back of filesystem meta-data under W2K. c) it doesn't spin-down the HDs unnecessarily during restart, like the 2.0.0.29's seem to do.

As for the recall of Seagate HDs, I have been doing some further reading in the interim after posting that, and have come across a few links. However, based on the datelines on the articles, and the fact that I spoke to the salespersonal in question before those dates, seems to indicate that he had some other source of information for his statement than these links.

The uInq

Digitimes article

Digitimes followup

As for the bearings, remember that we are talking about the low-end, consumer IDE models here, not the high-end 15K RPM Seagate SCSIs. So the class of FDB motor quality (and associated cost), I would assume to be quite different. I'm happy that WD hasn't switched to FDB... perhaps this is one of the reasons? I personally don't think that they are ready for prime-time yet.

I'm unaware of WD low-quality bearing issues - to my knowledge, all metal ball-bearing motors get louder over time. Yet, I have never had one fail on me due to bearing problems. (The 75GXP had ceramic ball-bearings, which are significantly quieter than metal ones, at least in terms of their accoustic signature as percieved by the human ear, if not in actual dB levels.)

As for the DM +9 failure rates, I do think that their widespread (and new for Maxtor) usage of FDB may be a strong contributing cause. One of the users here reported an amazing 70% failure rate for their 80GB drives, and that Maxtor was refusing warrantee replacement claims on the drives.

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I would think it's unlikely Seagate's FDB designs had an issue with leaking fluid. They've made FDB motors for a long time. Motor designs are proprietary to the HDD company (in Seagate's case, since they design their own). Of course, the way commodity suppliers work, designs that are *supposed* to be proprietary end up with competitors all the time. It reminds me of the time a vendor came visiting (one that didn't yet do business with us, but wanted to) and gave a nice presentation. In the Powerpoint, there was a picture of one of our components, made out of his material. He didn't believe me when I mentioned it, saying it was impossible. Then I pointed out, "um, I recognize it because I designed it; it's our part." He got really quiet after that. :D

Contamination in a drive does funny things. It may end up collecting in "dead spots" in the air flow, or evenly spread out across the top surface of a disk. Or just stuck in the filter (ideally). If the fluid leaked, I'd expect the top surfaces to have "junk," and not necessarily at the inside only, since the seals are on the top of a FDB motor.

Interesting info about the motor designs. I was under the impression that all HD mfg's, actually sourced all of their individual components from other suppliers (like media, heads, motors, cases, etc.) Therefore it might be possible for more than one mfg to use parts from the same supplier.

The pattern of errors seemed to strongly indicate some sort of particulate contamination, most strongly concentrated around the inner diameter of the platter, although upon further access to the drive (after attempting to Ghost the whole thing over to another HD, which apparently succeeded), those first partitions (near the outer edges of the platter) were also showing larger numbers of errors, almost like some of the contamination got transferred around.

(This is apparently a single-platter drive, so there are no "upper" platters to shield the "lower" platters from contamination, if that were a theory.)

One of my reasons for suspecting the motor, is that there was a somewhat louder and unusual idle noise (like a bearing whine almost), the first time that I spun it up after the initial W2K crash. (Which based on the subsequent HD failure was most likely the cause of the crash, since I had painstakingly and cleanly re-installed W2K not more than a month before, and the system was running for a week straight before the crash.) The HD is actively cooled as well, with an 80mm Sunon fan right in front of the HD cage at the air intake in my tower.

Also, many of the files that showed read errors during the Ghost process, were files that had been copied onto the drive 3mos before, and not read from nor written to since then. The pattern and number of "bad" sectors was also too varied and numerous (IMHO - I didn't actually attempt to graph them, just going by LBA numbers) to be a single "accident" defect on one area of the platter (aka possible "head slap").

And I know that the head assy itself wasn't damaged, due to the fact that I recovered and was able to read the vast majority of the data off of the drive. I have an old WD 5.1GB HD here with a damaged head assy., so I reasonably feel that I can say that the problem with the Maxtor isn't that.

So this is what we have:

1) sudden crash of normally rock-solid OS

2) unusual bearing (I assume?) noises during subsequent spin-up

3) unable to read certain sectors on HD (uncorrectable ECC) of recovered FILExxxx.CHK file fragments.

4) Maxtor PowMax gives SMART self-test and uncorrectable read ECC errors.

5) Ghost 2003 is able to copy most of the data, first few partitions on OD of disk transfer with relatively few errors, nearly none. Last half of drive nearest ID has increasingly more errors.

6) Later accesses to OD of disk now also produce more read ECC errors.

The failure is reminicent of a catastrophic 40GB 60GXP failure that I helped a friend out with, minus the characteristic IBM "scritch-scritch" noises.

Are there alternative possible explainations? Perhaps. I would be interested in some of them. I'm sure that a proper autopsy of the drive might tell for sure if the FDB motor leaked, but I doubt that I am qualified to do so. If I return it under RMA, Maxtor could probably make that determination (would they even bother though?), but even if they did, they would be highly unlikely to make the results publically known.

I guess that with my first near-term catastrophic drive failure, I'm kind of curious and want to determine the root cause, if possible.

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Parts inside a drive are almost entirely proprietary designs, specific to that company/line/model. The only things that tend to be standard between makers are things like media size/thickness, read/write heads, fasteners, and electronic components. Some firms design, make their own components (Seagate does a lot of that), and assemble their drives; others only design the parts, have someone else make them, and have someone else assemble the drive (Quantum was like that, with MKE building the drives). The other companies are somewhere in between.

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Thanks to everyone that has replied to this post, it has been most helpful. On the issue of WD not working satisfactory with nForce2 chipset I've done some googling and came up with this. There apparently is a problem with WD drives not being detected on the nForce2 chipset but, their is a way around it.....check out this site for more info:

http://www.8rdafaq.com/Epox_nForce2/file.p...ile=issues.html

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Thanks to everyone that has replied to this post, it has been most helpful. On the issue of WD not working satisfactory with nForce2 chipset I've done some googling and came up with this. There apparently is a problem with WD drives not being detected on the nForce2 chipset but, their is a way around it.....check out this site for more info:

http://www.8rdafaq.com/Epox_nForce2/file.p...ile=issues.html

I have 3 WD drives connected to my NF7-S, and it didn't have any problem detecting any of them.

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I don't know about WD, havent used it yet (althouth I have a brand new 120jb)

I used to have a maxtor 740DX, which broke in about 6 month. Maxtor replaced it with DimondMaxPlus9. Although reports show this one to be faster then 740dx, it doesn't seem like it. Also 740 was much quiter then DimondMax.

I also have a 180GXP and this one is the quitest drive I've ever seen. I'm also pretty impressed with it's performance. May be you should consider it if wd is a problem.

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I've had three WD800JBs fail in the last nine months, and the fourth is starting to make the sames sounds that preceeded the failure of the other three. Others here have reported failures of this particular drive as well. It's had great performance scores, but there seem to be reliability issues with it. Rather than RMA this one, I think I'm going to switch to Maxtor.

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I've had three WD800JBs fail in the last nine months, and the fourth is starting to make the sames sounds that preceeded the failure of the other three.  Others here have reported failures of this particular drive as well.  It's had great performance scores, but there seem to be reliability issues with it.  Rather than RMA this one, I think I'm going to switch to Maxtor.

That's rather ironic, as that's the drive that I replaced my failed Maxtor with. (WD 80GB JB)

I guess I'll make frequent backups, and see which drive lasts longer.

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WD, my friend has the LO version of the Maxtor drive in question. Apparently the drive has an extremely low cached performance, half of what it should be. I will be replacing it with a WD drive.

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To add to VirtualLarry's stats, I have just had one of my two WD1200JBs fail after 10 months. Not a statistically significant sample size, but take it for what it's worth. It also made some strange noises (that I didn't take them for what they were at the time) prior to death, and seemingly lots of random seeks. GRRRR. At least the other one is quiet and seems to be stable...for now.

Future Shock

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**Er, make that davidbradely's post, not VL's...

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