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hard drive life span


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#1 cornflakes2

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 03:34 AM

I was wondering what factor matters more when it comes to hard drive life spans:

 

A) the "actual" amount of hours the hard drive has been ON or IN USE

 

or 

 

B] (please no smiley face...it keeps converting my B and bracket into a god damn smiley face) the age of the hard drive since it was manufactured regardless of how much it has been turned

    ON or not.  

 

 

I'm sure the answer is A more so than B, but when someone says the hard drive is 4 years old, that doesn't necessarily mean it's old right?  What if the hard drive that is 4 years old has barely been used other than as a backup drive?  One of my external HDDs was manufactured in 2011 but I've only used it for probably less than a year in terms of actual use.  Would this HDD be considered old and at risk of failing or would it still be considered fairly new with a lot more mileage left on it?

 

Thanks


Edited by cornflakes2, 27 December 2014 - 03:37 AM.


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#2 Sintharius

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 04:48 AM

I think it's the usage intensity (HDD for plain ol' Word work would last longer than one used for torrenting) and conditions (overheating can reduce HDD lifespan). Anyway, there's no way to predict it - only know when you have to replace 'em.

#3 Scoop8

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 07:11 AM

cornflakes2

 

As Alexstrasza mentioned,

 

If we're referring to spinner HDD's (not SSD's), the "in use" factor is what will impact life span since the usual sources for HDD failure are the platter motor and armature, ie, the mechanical parts inside the HDD.

 

HDD lifespans are a subject of diverse discussions :) as they relate to specific manufacturer failure trends.  One thing's certain with HDD's: They can fail without warning although in many cases, they'll generate symptoms of imminent failure.

 

Here's a link from Backblaze.com that may be telling me I should switch HDD manufacturer's:

 

What Hard Drive Should I Buy?

 

I use Seagate HDD's in my Desktop PC.  I might try WD drives sometime down the road.

 

SMART data checks can provide error rate information which can provide the user of an early indication of upcoming failure. 

 

I've been generally lucky with my PC's HDD failure rates.  I've had HDD's that were still operating after 6-7 years and have also recently had one HDD that began to display failure symptoms after about 18 months of use in my Desktop PC.

 

The one constant recommendation with HDD's is to maintain a periodic HDD backup plan that includes redundancy.  That provides numerous advantages with HDD failure protection being one of the primary benefits of backing up the PC's HDD[s].



#4 cornflakes2

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 07:43 AM

Yes, I keep a backup copy of my backup copy too.  The problem though is I'm starting to accumulate quite a few HDDs.  They can get pretty heavy and bulky when you start having 10 or more.  It'd be nice if we could store 10 TB worth in a nice small SSD size drive instead of carrying around 50 pounds of metal.

 

I hope there will be better options available for us in the near future as SSDs pricing doesn't look like they will go down much in the next few years.  Cloud or storing anything online is not my preference as it is pretty much available to anyone who is able to exploit the security.  The 3 TB HDDs are pretty cheap now ($100 give or a take, maybe even less if it's on sale), but it's taken a very long time to get to this price.  4 TB are still very expensive.  

 

I also looked into those multi-bay for HDDs but they are so EXPENSIVE!  Why?  Instead of plugging and unplugging my SATA cables all the time, I wish I could just have a tray of about 4 or 5 drives connected so I can easily access and backup or move files around instead of doing it one by one all the time.  But those sort multi bay drives cost like $500 and up.  The cheapest ones I could I find were dual bay drives where I can seat 2 HDDs at one time.



#5 Scoop8

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 08:25 AM

That's a lot of HDD's :).  I have 2 spare's for each of my 2 PC's.

 

I use 2 of these in my Desktop tower:

 

KingWin KF-1000 3.5 SATA Hot-Swap Racks

 

They're great for periodic Cloning and other uses for fast HDD removal.



#6 hamluis

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 08:00 PM

Well...it's more than just use, IMO...there's the element of owner abuse/misuse or proper maintenance/care.

 

It's apparent to me that many users ignore what some would interpret as obvious signs of trouble on a given drive/partition.  Failure to run chkdsk /r and/or defrag...result in the system working harder to access/manipulate data.  Input/output errors (which probably indicate a loose hard drive connection) are ignored when appearing Event Viewer.

 

A little TLC goes a long way in giving the drive a chance to do what it's designed for...with minimal effort and maximum efficiency, IMO.

 

But, ultimately, there is no practical way to tell when a drive will fail...I just try to be prepared for such and not contribute to the likelihood of failure/problems.

 

Louis



#7 noknojon

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 08:30 PM

But, ultimately, there is no practical way to tell when a drive will fail...I just try to be prepared for such and not contribute to the likelihood of failure/problems.

I tend to agree with hamluis, and quote from my own experiences, where I have seen a HDD fail after about one or two hours of use.

But I have also seen units that are turned on and off (twice every day) last for over 10 years, and are still going well, in XP Pro units.

 

There is no formula that I have ever seen.



#8 Sintharius

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 10:35 AM

It's funny how my old HDD started to show signs of failing after two and a half years of use, while the one in my mom's laptop was still up and kicking after 10+ years (and she did upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 Pro). Given that I use my laptop almost 24/7 for gaming, while she only works on documents and spreadsheets... there's a difference.




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