justcall_ohlord

Best Hard Drive Reliability?

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What brands of Hard drives are LEAST likely to fail?

I'm told Seagate and Maxtor drives are more reliable than Western Digital's.

I bought the WD800JB (oem) drive with the 8mb cache off newegg.com for $85 and I just installed it. I was told by a brother that he had bought the same drive and it failed on him in less than a year. Is this normal? How likely is it that if I keep my drive it'll last for 2-3 years, like its supposed to?

I want to know how long people have had their hard drives, with and w/o problems.

Bottom line- should I keep my WD800JB or should I rma it and get Seagate Barracuda 4, or something similar from maxtor (for about the same price).

Thanks much,

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Have you had a look at the Reliability Survey, as linked at the top of this page for hard facts? :unsure:

IMHO, HDD reliablity tends to go around in circles, as each manufacturer has put out bad drives on occasion, (IBM being the most recent). <_<

From experience most drives die prematurely for 3 reasons, just plain bad from the manufacturer, bad PSUs and heat. There is nothing you can do about the first one, however the last 2 you can... Simply use a good PSU, with surge protection or UPS, and try the best to keep the drive cool, either by adding fans that directly blow air onto and around the drive, or placing the drive away from all other heat sources, or a combination of both...

By using a good quality PSU, surge protection and keeping the drive cool, only ever had a few drives die prematurely... (and I keep most drives for 2+ years). ;)

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You're forgetting one more cause of premature death: mishandling prior to installation. Improper packaging during shipping just exacerbates this problem.

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Not officedepot thats for sure. They use a large box to put the harddrive box into and dont' use any fill material at all. So the hard drive box is just flopping arund in there. I really don't think i like office depot very much. I plan on calling them in a day or two to come pick up this hard drive.

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Aside from drives in actual retail packaging (which are pretty good, by and large), I would look for drives that are wrapped in ESD bags, immobilized in sturdy boxes, with a couple inches of clearance all around. Blocks of foam are good, with cutouts for holding the drive firmly. The key is you do not want it to wiggle or jostle around in that box during shipment. Foam popcorn is a pretty poor packing material for something like this. So is wrapping the drive in layers of bubble wrap.

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zipzoomfly (googlegear) does a good job, i think

I agree, the times I've ordered drives from them, they did a very good job. I haven't been satisfied with the way Newegg has shipped drives to me - just some bubble wrap and peanuts, loosely in a box. And of course, Hypermicro does an excellent job.

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Do a forum search for posts by Tannin containing the keyword Samsung. You'll see him praise them up & down for his 0.1% failure rate experience out of 1000 drives. I'd be very interested in an up-to-date opinion by Tannin on these drives.

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he swares by them.. I think that's all he sells unless possibly it's a special order. He's enthusiastic about the new samsungs with 8MB cache and higher density platters. Much ado about a boring drive in my opinion. But some people prefer the bore of a perfectly working drive.

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Hi JMK.

We've sold somewhere close to 2000 Samsung drives now, maybe a few more more, though I'd have to count back through the purchase orders to be sure. We passed the 1000 mark quite a while back, so if it ain't 2000 yet it must be close.

These days, I don't sell anything else if I can help it. For starters, nothing else has an across-the-board three year warranty. I think the warranty cuts introduced by WD, Maxtor, Seagate and IBM/Hitachi demonstrate bad faith, and are evidence that they don't honestly believe that their drives are as reliable as they ought to be - if your product is good, why do you try to get out of giving it a warranty that lasts as long as the standard two to three year warranty you get with any decent brand of CD-ROM drive, DVD, CD burner, motherboard, RAM, or videocard?

But you don't want to read my opinions (in any case, you can probably guess them after all these years!) You want the raw numbers.

Well, bad news, after a fashion: we have now had a gand total of 7 Samsung drives to RMA. 3 with one or two bad sectors but otherwise OK, 4 with more serious failures. Plus there was one that was semi-DOA - a 20 or 30GB drive that only came up as 8GB beause of something funky with the LBA system. I forget if that is one of the 7 or if it makes 8 in total. (I have notes posted somewhere. Probably at the other place. Must look them up.)

But let's be conservative and call it 8 out of 2000. That's ... er ... 0.4%. Not as good as the 0.1% we were sitting on for a long, long time, but still vastly better than any other drive I've ever sold, even the wonderful IBM drives in the 1.08 to 3.2GB class, or the Seagate Medalists from just before they went to those crappy U Series things.

We no longer have enough drives of any other brand to provide meaningful comparisons between manufacturers. At a rough guess, 95% of the drives we have out there in service are Samsungs. Even so, that (estimated) 5% makes up 80% or more of our RMA returns - practically all Seagates and Western Digitals in the 10 to 40GB range. (No Maxtors or IBM, but then we have precisely 2 Maxtor drives in service and 0 IBMs - that's counting "sold new by us and within the three year warranty period" as "in service".

Performance? Well, a failed drive has an average access time of 6 weeks and a data transfer rate of zero. In my book, that's enough to save me the trouble of looking at performance numbers. Until I have some reason to think that one or other of the short-warranty manufacturers has lifted their game to match Samsung's standards, we won't even consider selling them.

The only drives I use in my own systems now (outside of Samsung) are Seagate X15s. I bought another one just today, may pick up a 73GB one in a few weeks time. For all my distaste for their ultra-crappy U Series things, and my "just OK" assessment of the IDE 7200s, Seagate's SCSI drives are all class.

Would I do well to consider the WD Raptors? I nearly bought one for myself a while back, but by the time I bought a new motherboard for the SATA, I was most of the way to getting another X15 (and I already had the SCSI controller), so I stayed with the Seagate. One day, I will have a Seagate SCSI drive fail on me. Hasn't happened yet though.

Touch wood.

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These days, I don't sell anything else if I can help it. For starters, nothing else has an across-the-board three year warranty. I think the warranty cuts introduced by WD, Maxtor, Seagate and IBM/Hitachi demonstrate bad faith, and are evidence that they don't honestly believe that their drives are  as reliable as they ought to be - if your product is good, why do you try to get out of giving it a warranty that lasts as long as the standard two to three year warranty you get with any decent brand of CD-ROM drive, DVD, CD burner, motherboard, RAM, or videocard?

C'mon, it's not about faith. It's about sell volume* and costs. I'm sure, remember me on this, Samsung will sooner or later jump on the backwagon of 1-year warranty.

The reliability crown goes to Seagate and Maxtor.

Then come IBM and Western Digital.

Then all others because of lack of volume.

*OK, Samsung might have a nice record but how many drives they sell in respect to the other manufacturers? Maxtor and Seagate together command more than half of the market.

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When they do, they will lose a lot of customers. I'm sure they are aware of that. Given their present reliability advantage, why should they not turn that into a marketing advantage? It costs Samsung less to offer a three-year warranty than it costs makers with higher average failure rates (e.g., WD, and Seagate too unless they have improved a hell of a lot since I stopped buying them), so it makes good business sense for them to stand by their product.

Sooner or later, though, they will let their quality standards slip - everyone does, if you wait long enough - and at that time, I would expect them to lower their warranty cover too.

But tell me this: why is it only hard drive makers (Samsung excepted) who are cutting warranties, when makers of all the other parts that go into a computer are offering longer warranties?

Motherboards: 2 years, sometimes three.

Optical drives: 2 years is standard.

Video cards: 3 years is standard.

RAM: 5 years or lifetime.

Monitors: 3 years is universal.

PS: nice to see you Prof!

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When they do, they will lose a lot of customers. I'm sure they are aware of that.  Given their present reliability advantage, why should they not turn that into a marketing advantage? It costs Samsung less to offer a three-year warranty than it costs makers with higher average failure rates (e.g., WD, and Seagate too unless they have improved a hell of a lot since I stopped buying them), so it makes good business sense for them to stand by their product.

Sooner or later, though, they will let their quality standards slip - everyone does, if you wait long enough - and at that time, I would expect them to lower their warranty cover too.

It would be a market pressure. Samsung HDD sales represent less than 5-10% if I reckon correctly. They are going against the flow, and those drives which fail after 2-2,5 years are getting RMAed gratis with Samsung.

But tell me this: why is it only hard drive makers (Samsung excepted) who are cutting warranties, when makers of all the other parts that go into a computer are offering longer warranties?

Motherboards: 2 years, sometimes three.

Optical drives: 2 years is standard.

Video cards: 3 years is standard.

RAM: 5 years or lifetime.

Monitors: 3 years is universal.

My opinion is that warranty goes hand-in-hand with reliability. That said, HDDs are the less reliable and RAMs are the most. (AFAIK RAMs if they start working OK they rarely fail as long as working conditions are respected- lol, I personally had a RAM* failure though)

The HDD is prolly the most valuable moving part of a PC. The manufacturers are fed up with the RMAs of ATA drive, they cost them a lot I guess.

PS: nice to see you Prof!

Yeah good to see you too. I'm here everyday btw, it's you that play "elsewhere"...

*I think RAMs when they get RMAed they are not tossed immediately away. Probably the malfuctioning unit is only one of those chips, and they only change that (effectively refurbishing the whole module) and resail it.

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