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Hard drive reliability


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#1 DougMiller

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 01:49 AM

Here is a very general question so I'm hoping for a very general answer and that I'm not starting a pissing match between various factions

 

I need to replace the hard drive in my wife's desktop it currently has an truly ancient IDE drive at least ten years old and is starting to get noisy.  The system is used for e-mail, photos, music and the like, speed isn't a bid deal I'm looking for longevity.  The MB will support SATA II (upgraded a few years ago) what would you suggest? Solid state or spinning media or hybrid or???  How about reputable manufactures?  Any technologies or manufactures to avoid?

 

I will be upgrading the OS from XP to Win7 at the same time if that matters.

 

Thanks

Doug



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#2 AlexSmithFanning

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 02:00 AM

I would suggest Western Digital. They usually last forever, Unfortunately my drive that I have had for 5 years is starting to fail after really really heavy use   :rip: , so yea I would get Western Digital. What model, got no clue but get a western digital Spinning Media. 


I prefer Linux. Windows 10 is just to invasive for me.


#3 Scoop8

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 11:20 AM

I've used Seagate Barracuda HDD's for years without any failures but as mentioned earlier and elsewhere, it's a diverse topic with many different experiences with HDD.s

 

I'm still using the conventional HDD's (no SSD's yet). 

 

My best recommendation is always to purchase a spare HDD at the time of the PC's purchase or shortly afterward.  Then you can clone the original HDD and periodically after that and you'll have a complete working spare HDD on the shelf ready for emergencies.



#4 waldojim42

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 04:02 PM

Ok, the most important question that needs asked, is how much space were you actually using? If you had a 100GB drive, and never filled it, then a solid state drive would be an excellent fit, and bring some new life to an older machine.

 

If you used more than 250GB (500GB SSD's are still expensive), then moving to a hybrid drive would be ideal. Current generation spinners are much quicker than older drives, so you will have a nice little speed bump either way.

 

As for brands and reliability: Don't fret over it. In my home, I have 14 hard drives in use (active daily use). I finally replaced a 3 drive raid array that has been running for more than 4 years. I have Toshiba, Hitachi, Seagate, Western Digital, Plextor, and Patriot drives. In all - I have had 1 premature failure (a Seagate) the replacement has been running for 5 years since. Only one Samsung has died of age so far, but it was a boot/scratch drive on my server.

 

Most of my drives are getting older now, and I replace them based on size more than anything else. The end results speak for themselves. With over 20 drives in the last 10 years, only 2 failures, both different brands, and certainly nothing that could be considered a trend.

 

Now, if I went back more than 10 years... that is a different story. I couldn't keep a Western Digital drive running past the warranty end date. Every drive died within months of the warranty expiring. IBM/Hitachi earned a reputation with the Deskstars (DeathStar), as they had a scary high failure rate. But that was better than 10 years ago, and those trends have long since passed.

 

If you do decide to go with a SSD, then I suggest looking into Crucial, Samsung, and Plextor. They all use Marvell controllers, which are known for high compatability rates, and they are all made quite well. I personally suggest the Plextor M3Pro or M5Pro. They use higher quality NAND flash, and carry a 5 year warranty.


Edited by waldojim42, 19 January 2014 - 04:05 PM.

Laptop: Alienware 14 : Intel i7 4700mq : 8GB ram : Nvidia GTX 765 : 256GB Plextor M3 : 1080P IPS display

Test rig: AMD Phenom X4 955 @ 4.0Ghz : MSI 970A-G46 : 8GB Ram : 128GB Plextor M5s : 2x AMD 5770's (Flashed to 6770) : PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 : Pioneer BR

Hackintosh : Gigabyte GA-H61m : Intel Celeron @ 3Ghz : 8GB ram : EVGA GTX 550Ti : Patriot Torx 2 64GB : Silverstone Strider ES-50 : OSX Mavericks

 


#5 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 07:19 PM

I too have no great bones to pick about HD brands, but from what you say in your OP, I would strongly advise that you back up your data as soon as you possibly can !

 

A drive that is getting noisy is on its last legs, and your data on it is valuable to you, and unless you have it backed up you can't replace the data if the hard drive lets go.

 

While you may of course have everything backed up to a fare thee well, a friend of mine didn't and when her hard drive let go it cost her about £UK 400 for a specialist company to recover her data. You can buy a lot of back up for £UK 400, or roughly $US 600.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#6 cmptrgy

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 08:16 PM

If you want to upgrade the OS from XP to Win7 at the same time it does matter

 

Before buying a hard drive, I suggest you run Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor

--- Changes are very good there will be update recommendations for some drivers and even then you won't know whether or not you can actually update them for Windows 7 until after the fact

 

On the hard drive, the computer is about 10 years old, it might have only an 80 GB or so hard drive

--- IMHO I think it would be best if you do a hard drive with a minimum 250 GB

 

Then there is memory, again the computer is 10 years old and it might handle a max of only 2 GB RAM

--- Microsoft recommends a minimum of 1 GB but I don't believe in relying on minimum specs

--- So although 2GB is certainly better, I've seen many recommendations for Windows 7 to be at least 4 GB

 

Find out what upgrade issues there are before investing money into your unit

 

In case you'd like to know it's very possible to buy a refurbished Windows 7 computer for $300.00 or less

--- After buying a new hard drive and the fresh Windows 7 OS , you'll probably get to about $200.00 

--- I just bought a reburfished Windows 7 computer for my brother for $244.00 and it runs like new and he'll be all set until 2020



#7 DougMiller

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 02:08 AM

Thanks for the great input, I remember the western digital problems it good to hear they have over came them. 

 

cmptrgy thanks for the advice on Windows 7 Advisor, never new it existed.

 

The MB was swapped out a few years ago, don't recall exactly when, it is a 64bit due.  That hard drive actually out lasted two mother boards.  Data does get backed up fairly regularly. 

 

Where do you make your hardware purchase through, I've used egghead in the past with no complaints.

 

Thanks again to every one for the great advise.

 

Dogu



#8 Enriqe

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 03:01 AM

I think the majority of the folks here myself included, purchase hardware from newegg.com. They have great service and policies. Some folks also shop at TigerDirect.com as well. 



#9 cmptrgy

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 04:53 AM

Since you have a 64-bit system you should be able to upgrade to Windows 7 just fine but still run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor

There have been plenty of good recommendations for buying hard drives so you'll be ok on researching what's appropriate for you



#10 Kilroy

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 11:11 AM

It isn't a question of if your hard drive is going to fail, it is a question of when.  From this paper if your drive lasts the first 90 days it should last to its third year, after three years the chances it will fail start to ramp up again.

 

Go with a SATA drive.  I recommend going with a Solid State Drive (SSD) if you don't need a lot of space and a mechanical drive if you need more space.

 

You'll have to find a drive you're interested in and find reviews for that drive.  I've been doing IT professionally for over a decade and all manufacturers have drives that fail.  I've owned drives from most of the major manufacturers over the past two decades and don't have a preference for one brand over another.  Normally I purchase the drives with the longer warranty.  It won't get my data back, but it will get me another drive.



#11 hamluis

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 06:59 PM

All good inputs in this topic...I could say "me too" as a notation to many of the comments.

 

There really is no brand preference among many things, including hard drives.  In today's world, there really are only two manufacturers...Seagate and Western Digital.  Just about anyone else who used to manufacture drives has been acquired by one or the other.  So, when you ask "what brand" you really aren't asking anything...each produces quality (and imperfect) drives...with neither having any reason to proclaim that their drives are "better."

 

A hard drive is just a storage cabinet...it's not a mercedes, it's not something that is going to make anyone go "Oooooohhhhh!!" over :).

 

The only real decision that a user today has to make...is whether he/she wants to try an SSD over an electrical-mechanical hard drive.  It's a worthy consideration for some...but it's not necessarily important to many users who just want storage space.

 

Advantages & Disadvantages of SSD Hard Drives eHow.com - http://www.ehow.com/list_5990039_advantages-disadvantages-ssd-hard-drives_.html

 

IMO...those of us who have seen hard drives increase in size and speed over the years...accept the premise that SSDs are going to replace hard drives as storage devices  in the market when the prices come down.  Right now, the primary advantage of an SSD is a sense of greater reliability for the partition/drive used to contain Windows and programs...compared to traditional hard drives.  There are some speed/efficiency gains also but they are not really of interest to casual users like myself...but they do matter to "enthusiasts" and "gamers".

 

I've had drives from every legitimate hard drive manufacturer...Fujitsu, Hitachi, Seagate, WD and all the rest who supplied hard drives in systems since 1996...I don't think there has ever been a "superior" manufacturer...but the limitations of the technology resulted in users falling prey to advertising and stats which were meaningless but users (because they didn't understand the stats) thought were meaningful :).

 

The only recommendation I would make...have at least two hard drives, not just one gigantic drive.  Since the failure rate of hard drives is pretty well-documented, don't pretend that you you can actually have a single hard drive and store backups on it...and not be surprised when hard drive problems occur.  Cut the risk in half by having at least 2 hard drives....one for O/S and programs, one for data storage where part of the "data storage" is at least one copy of the most recent backup made with a reliable backup solution.

 

Louis



#12 Kilroy

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:52 AM

The Backblaze Blog is what I was trying to remember yesterday.  A lot of good information about hard drives and failure rates of drives that are really used until they die.  In the Backblaze comments one issue they have the the home user probably does not have is vibration, in that aspect they are treated worse than a home drive.

 

If the price were right, we would be buying nothing but Hitachi drives. They have been rock solid, and have had a remarkably low failure rate.

Edited by RKilroy, 22 January 2014 - 12:17 PM.


#13 Kilroy

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 12:19 PM

Here is another quote from the Backblaze blog.

 

We are focusing on 4TB drives for new pods. For these, our current favorite is the Seagate Desktop HDD.15 (ST4000DM000). We’ll have to keep an eye on them, though. Historically, Seagate drives have performed well at first, and then had higher failure rates later.





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