markrb

1TB drive reliability

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I am going to be picking up at least 3 1TB drives in the next few weeks for my RAID (Adaptec card) setup and what is most important to me is general drive reliability. I can't afford the so called "RAID" type drives so I need to stay in the desktop arena for price.

I am considering the Samsung F1 and the WD Caviar Black right now.

I know the WD has a 2 YR longer warranty and that is a slight factor, but the price difference balances that out for me.

In the end it comes down to how have these 2 drives been for reliability?

Thanks,

Mark

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Hi Mark,

First of all, welcome to SR.

Regarding your question, the only difference between the non-RAID and RAID editions of the same drive is the firmware on the RAID editions is optimised for use with a RAID controller.

What can happen with the non-RAID editions (in very rare circumstances) being used in a RAID setup, is that an IO operation on the drive will take longer than the RAID Controller expects, and the controller is mark the drive as dead/dying and get you to replace it, even though the drive is fine and completed the IO transaction successfully. The firmware on the RAID edition drive, will have a lower timeout threshold and will always return a status result to the controller, before it (the controller) hits it's timeout threshold. Just something to be mindful of.

Now for which drive is more reliable? Neither have been on the market long enough to give us solid feedback either way.

Flip a coin, go with the one with the longest warranty and ensure you have a good and valid backup strategy**.

** A backup strategy of relying on the RAID controller/setup is not a good one either.

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Well, so long as whatever retailer you buy the drives from actually bothers to pack them properly, you oughta be in good shape for starters.

Unfortunately just about every other major internet retailer for OEM drives has been packed in a completely unacceptable fashion at least 50% of the time... so YMMV.

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...and ensure you have a good and valid backup strategy**.

** A backup strategy of relying on the RAID controller/setup is not a good one either.

Depends on wether you make the distinction between "backup", as in spare copy, and "archive", as in dump ;)

But you're quite right, even a RAID array is as a whole a single point of failure (controller, file system etc) and shouldn't be relied on on its own - although it does address the most failure prone part of the chain, the hard drives.

One tip for the thread starter: don't get all your drives in one place, or at least ask the vendor to send you drives from different batches. If the drives making up a RAID array are all from the same batch, chances are if one fails it might not be alone, resulting in loss of the array. Was quite close to this cataclysmic type of event last week when two drives failed within 3 hours of eachother on a RAID6 array. I tend to mix even different *brands* of hard drives for a new array these days, as long as they're the same size and speed it doesn't matter.

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it does address the most failure prone part of the chain

I would have thought this would be the user but that's just me ;)

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it does address the most failure prone part of the chain

I would have thought this would be the user but that's just me ;)

:D

You just reminded me of a certain incident :ph34r:

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One tip for the thread starter: don't get all your drives in one place, or at least ask the vendor to send you drives from different batches. If the drives making up a RAID array are all from the same batch, chances are if one fails it might not be alone, resulting in loss of the array.

That is not a good idea. 30% of drive failures are PCB related. I have fixed drives many times with PCB swaps. It is better to get them from same batch, or in pairs in my opinion. Otherwise, finding a donor would be cumbersome in future when those drives are no longer in production.

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That is not a good idea. 30% of drive failures are PCB related. I have fixed drives many times with PCB swaps. It is better to get them from same batch, or in pairs in my opinion. Otherwise, finding a donor would be cumbersome in future when those drives are no longer in production.

It would be worth doing circuit board transplants if it's a very large array (with a larger chance of multiple drive failure) or a single drive with irreplaceable data, but the topic starter is asking about a small, 3 disk array. I'd be more interested in preventing multiple drive failure in the first place than in having the option of painstakingly and time consumingly restoring those two (or more) failing drives with a donor circuit board, assuming that will be the cause of array degradation.

Not to mention that unless you can solder very neatly and precisely, you'll be voiding warranty on both your faulty *and* your replacement drives by doing just that. Might not matter to companies and people with very large pockets, but I'd like to be able to return these things and receive replacements :)

Edited by MiG

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...and ensure you have a good and valid backup strategy**.

** A backup strategy of relying on the RAID controller/setup is not a good one either.

Depends on wether you make the distinction between "backup", as in spare copy, and "archive", as in dump ;)

But you're quite right, even a RAID array is as a whole a single point of failure (controller, file system etc) and shouldn't be relied on on its own - although it does address the most failure prone part of the chain, the hard drives.

One tip for the thread starter: don't get all your drives in one place, or at least ask the vendor to send you drives from different batches. If the drives making up a RAID array are all from the same batch, chances are if one fails it might not be alone, resulting in loss of the array. Was quite close to this cataclysmic type of event last week when two drives failed within 3 hours of eachother on a RAID6 array. I tend to mix even different *brands* of hard drives for a new array these days, as long as they're the same size and speed it doesn't matter.

Another option is use smaller drives, my RAID5 velociraptor array can rebuild from a single disk failure is 48-50minutes.

Justin.

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I'd be more interested in preventing multiple drive failure in the first place than in having the option of painstakingly and time consumingly restoring those two (or more) failing drives with a donor circuit board

Replacing the PCB is not a difficult process: 8 screws, replace the board. That simple. Works most of the time. If it did not, take it to any Electronics shop and they will desolder/solder the ROM. Very smal percentage of burning the new board if it is a damaged preamp though.

you'll be voiding warranty on both your faulty *and* your replacement drives by doing just that.

I would agree, a valid concern. Also another valid concern (albeit very small chance) is to lose the other healthy drive too due to a damaged preamp. But if drives passed a thorough burn-in test, it is very unlikely that they will fail in a short timeframe. I was thinking more of future... when the drives are out-of-warranty in the first place. This way, at least you increase the the recovery chances by 30% without resorting to specialized DR companies.

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