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WD drives have reliability problems?

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September 10, 2006 7:57:40 AM

I went to my local Fry's today to shop for a WD SE16 drive. THey not only didn't have it, they had no WD drives, at all. I spoke to the manager and he said they weren't going to carry Western Digital products anymore, due to the number of faulty drives returned.

I would think there would have to be serious problems for a major retailer to stop carrying the product line of as big a manufacturer as WD. I've heard of some RMAs, but know that WD products are still popular. Has their reliability record gone down that much recently? Would any recent buyers care to comment?
September 10, 2006 8:07:10 AM

I noticed the Fry's in Anaheim didn't have any WD hard drives too. I just assumed WD and Fry's had a falling out over their partnership. Fry's makes their own line of desktop computers and in the past Western digital HDs were installed on some of their pricier machines. Maybe this is where the relationship stressed and broke down. It was strange looking through the Hard drive section there with Western Digital being absent.

Right now Microcenter in Tustin has a boatload of refurbished 250 gig Western Digital IDE 2 meg transfer HDs for $59.00. I'm sure they are offering them online too. The best in store price I saw on a SATA drive was a Maxtor 160 gig for $139. Bad deal.

Check new Egg for WD specials.
September 10, 2006 10:43:41 PM

Ive done some research and believe that WD's are very reliable. I bought 2 SATAII 250GB drives from newegg for $67 each. High reviews and good price as well as recomendations were my "q" :-)
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September 10, 2006 10:54:22 PM

I will not rant on.

But at the moment I have 2 Maxtor Drivers in use.

Western Digital will never get my business again.
September 10, 2006 11:18:12 PM

I've bought a lot of them, old, new, whatever. Never had a problem with them, any more than other disks. If people only use a few drives in their lifetime and then they have a problem with them, automatically that manufacturer gets blacklisted. I'd do the same thing and can't blame them for it. But, I use hundreds of disks a year and have had problems with all manufacturers from time to time. I still buy WD.

The only disk I will not buy again, ever, is the Hitachi drives which they purchased from IBM. I will never own another deathstar drive, aka deskstar. I don't care who makes it.
September 10, 2006 11:31:56 PM

I own somewhere in the nieghborhood of 7 WD drives, 2 seagates, 3 maxtors and various other drives.

Thus far they all break sometime, had a wd break in 2 weeks got one running 8 years now on lite duty afraid it'll go any day. Hell had a seagate dead out of the box.

Only thing i can say is the wd are louder on startup, but the maxtor are noisy when accessing.

I just hated quantum fireballs could never keep them going more than a year.
September 10, 2006 11:35:23 PM

I never had any problems with their product nor with Seagate. Had plenty of problems with Maxtor though. In the same year, one HD crash at home and two at the office and they where not even a year old. I specially don't like having HD problem with computers used for plan/process control, it sucks big time.
September 11, 2006 12:25:45 AM

Well I can tell you from experience that I've never had ANY problems with my little WD 80GB HDD. It's like 6 or 7 years old now and it still runs as fast as the day I got it.

To Trinitron64:

I'm not going to bash you or Maxtor or anything but out of the 2 Maxtors I bought both of them died in less than a week. Again not bashing you or them just maybe you had better luck than I did.

Anyways... Yeah I heard about the whole deal with WD and Fry's falling apart.. but not much about it.
September 11, 2006 12:44:27 AM

Fry's must be pretty pathetic if they can't get WD to make it good. I've seen a WD rep come out to a Mom and Pop shop to straighten out a business class issue. Step up from the SE's as they only have a 3 year warranty. Look for the Near Line quality drives, made with 24/7 in mind, a 5 year warranty and a very marginal price point.

Maxtor's are number 2 after viruses in what makes me money, I gotta love'em. They used to be cheap but noisey. Since they bought Quantum they're not Scotish.

Ahh, who else remembers the Bigfoot?
September 11, 2006 5:24:02 AM

I guess I didn't make myself clear. I know the long-term history of WD is great. That's how they've become one of the biggest players. I've owned WD drives and been happy, but haven't bought a new drive in about 5 years.

I'm wondering if there has been a change in the last few months. A single bad run can have a big impact in the short-term. Did WD change something in the Spring, or say whenever the SE16 and Raptor 150Gb drives debuted, that has lowered their short-term quality level? Every current HD recommendation list lists Raptors, SE16s, or the SE 320Gb drive as the best. The only drives listed as competitive are the Seagate 7200.10s. I can't imagine Fry's dropping a company that produces what are considered by most to be the best HDs on the market today, unless there was a serious problem.
September 11, 2006 5:54:00 PM

All hard drive fail and die.

I have owned 9 Western Digitals and so far not a single one has cause me data loss durring the warranty period.

That includes 4 WD 120 GB's that were in 24x7 useage well beyond their 3 year warranty.

That said their WD 400 GB Raid Edition Drives appear to have higher than average reports of initial failure. About 10% reviewing them at newegg seem to report at least one of their drives either arriving DOA or failing within the first week.

Of course people are far mor likely to review a defective product, and many of these people were ordering 3-7 drives, but the rating are much lower than WD's other products.

The regular 400 GB and 320 GB SATA model might also seem to have higher than usual rate of reported problems.

Then again those who are not shippped a DOA drives report high reliablity and the Raid Editions are a favorite amoung those building terabyte arrays. Many people report using up to 12 of these drives in 365x24x72 with no failures.

It seems that you either get a reliable drive or one that fails within the first week. Plus you get a 5 year warranty.

BTW I have been using two of then 24x7 for about a year and I went from having to recareat by RAID 1 array every other month to absolutely zero problems.


So I am still keep buying Raid Edition Drives even if I am running a slight risk of getting one thats DOA.

However unless I am getting a Western Digital Raptor or a Raid Edition I would go with the Seagate.
September 11, 2006 6:17:09 PM

Quote:
I went to my local Fry's today to shop for a WD SE16 drive. THey not only didn't have it, they had no WD drives, at all. I spoke to the manager and he said they weren't going to carry Western Digital products anymore, due to the number of faulty drives returned.

I would think there would have to be serious problems for a major retailer to stop carrying the product line of as big a manufacturer as WD. I've heard of some RMAs, but know that WD products are still popular. Has their reliability record gone down that much recently? Would any recent buyers care to comment?

The main problem w/ the post here is that you went to FRY'S.
"Due to the number of faulty drives returned" translated in fry's speak = "due to our ignorance in checking to see if a customer had destroyed some hardware, we accepted the return and sold it again to someone else who consequently returned it because it was broken" (repeat the cycle).

I took some memory back to them once and I made them look up the history on it after they refused to let me return it. 10 people had bought/returned that specific chip before me. After that they shut up and gave me my $ back.

I would think WD's reliability has gone up, since they changed their warranty to 3 yrs from 1 yr. The problem is that Fry's and their managers have ZERO reliability. Maybe they got a bad batch, but its probably cuz they paid dirt cheap $ for them and passed the hassle on to the customers.
September 11, 2006 6:26:54 PM

I haven't heard of any problems with WD drives and I plan to use one in my next build. I suspect that the real problem might be that Fry's didn't get as good a marketing deal from WD than they wanted, so they dropped the line. Its easier to give an excuse about reliability than to explain marketing, and such excuse gives them opportunity to sell whatever drive they have in stock and keep a potential customer from going elsewhere for the drive he wanted.
September 11, 2006 6:47:54 PM

As a reseller, we have been carrying less and less WD drives over the last year as we have had more than the usual number of returns over the past two years or so. Not exactly sure whay this is so, but it is. We have been doing much better with our Seagates and Samsungs.
September 11, 2006 7:19:22 PM

There may indeed be a problem developing and I haven't heard of it before this. Can't say for sure. I've used drives from a number of companies and the only one I've had problems with were Maxtors. My newest computer uses a Hitachi and a Seagate, both of which have worked well. Perhaps this is a trend, a quality control problem or something else that's going to increase. Don't know, and I hope not, because I was planning to get a Raptor for my next build.
September 11, 2006 7:22:24 PM

My local Fry's told me the same thing - above-expected number of faulty drives returned.

However, I'm wondering if there's another issue. Though this problem doesn't affect SATA, WD PATA drives always had the odd "Single" setting for their jumpers, whereas other PATA drives from other manufacturers always had just Master & Slave.

Since more and more people have been installing second/third HDs in their systems in the past couple of years, and (I think) the WD PATA drives ship with the "Single" jumper installed, I'm wondering if all the returned WD drives were just configuration issues. :?: It's an issue that wouldn't occur on most other manufacturer's PATA drives since they generally ship with the jumpers in the Cable Select configuration.

I haven't had long-term experience with WD drives (I almost always have bought Seagate or Maxtor), but I recently purchased a lot of WD SATA drives and they seem great. I can't imagine that I have a very good picture though, but if anyone else works at a computer store and can give us their opinion of WD HD returns, that would help.

But I completely agree with one of the other posters about Fry's in general -- I'm always reluctant to buy components from them because they recycle their returned merchandise, regardless of whether it's bad or not. You never know what you're getting. Plus, I think some of their inventory is crap that didn't pass QC from the manufacturer to begin with (i.e. motherboards). My personal return rate for motherboards at Fry's is close to 50%. I've NEVER had to return a motherboard I bought mail order from Newegg, Insight, CDW, etc. That has to be statistically significant. 8O
September 11, 2006 8:14:19 PM

Well, although i bear a strong opinion I'll just say this:
I've bought 5 drives in the past 2 years, 3 of them Western Digital, and 2 of those failed in roughly 5 months (my raptor is still alive and kicking). I don't know if it was the partucular model (WD2500JS I believe) but I'm never buying another one again. It'll be Seagate from now on for me.
September 11, 2006 8:25:02 PM

Right now I'm buying Seagate.

Out of the 16 Maxtor drives I've used in the past 6 years, I've seen 10 fail out of warranty, and 2 fail in warranty. Many failed in under 2 years. That was enough for me to stop buying Maxtor. I have 4x250 in a RAID 0+1 array, one 250GB on my DVR, and one 300GB SATA drive that just got back from RMA sitting on my shelf.

Out of the 8 Western Digital drives I've used over the past 3-4 years (including my 74GB Raptor), only 1 failed out of warranty but 2 others began reporting SMART errors and I decided to replace them before they failed (puny 40GB drives anyway). They'd probably be usable but they are sitting on my shelf- should probably just toss them to free space for my collection of Coke bottles from foreign countries. :lol: 

Also, I did RMA my Raptor recently after I broke the SATA connector, but that's another story. :roll:

Out of the 3 Seagate drives I've put in use, none have failed, but it's too small a sample for now. Two of those drives are 160GB in a RAID 1 holding my domain controller's boot partition which have been in use over 3 years. The third drive is a 750GB which I bought a couple months ago. (Technically I have a fourth drive- a 100GB Seagate Momentus in my laptop, which has been fine since March.)

5+ years ago, I had used 3 IBM Deskstar drives; every one failed within 1 year. They built up a negative reputation pretty fast across many forums. Hitachi may have improved things, but I haven't tried a Deathstar recently.

Still, it'd crack me up if Fry's claims that they've had more WD returns yet they carry Maxtor, which I will never buy again (I am assuming Seagate will not let Maxtor's poor quality seep over into their drive line). Maybe more Maxtors don't get returned, but they definitely don't last.

So claims of outsized returns indicate to me that maybe more WD drives are bad out the chute, but I also don't assume that indicates the drives are of lower overall quality or will have a higher failure rate over time. It might... or it might not.
September 11, 2006 8:37:53 PM

WD has always offered 3 year warranty drives, costing about $10 more than the 1 year waranty version and with 8mb vs 2mb cache.

Now all their internal drives are 3 year and their enterprise drives (Raptors and Raid Editions) are 5 years.

Every manufacturer has had models that turned out to be more or less reliable that normal.

I built at fair number of system with 40 GB Maxtors and 120 GB WD's and they all are working today. While IBM Deathstars were not even worth RMA'ing.

The problem is that by the time people know how long a model will last it hasn't been manufactered for at least 2 years.

The important thing for me is whether they honor their warranty.

IBM refused to RMA my 45 GB "Deathstar" when it died after three months. Well actually after some argument I was told by a manager that they were willing to give me an RMA number, but he was certain that the RMA department would simply refuse to replace it and would instead ship me my orriginal unrepaired. Advanced Replacment was not an option and it would take up to 8 weeks for the replacement in the unlikely event they chose to repair my drive.

Then I had a WD 100 GB drive would work when connected to a ATA 100 controller but not to a ATA 66 controller. The drive passed all of WD diagnostic tests and the tech support person was convinced that the controller was to blame, but I still got an Advanced Replacement RMA without being hassled in any way.

(BTW the replacement drive did work on the ATA 66 controller, but was 33% noiser than the original so they replaced it again with a 120 GB model.).

So basicaly I got screwed by their hardware once (out of 12 purchases), but I actually started buying more WD's after that because they don't hassle me when I need an RMA even if their tech people disagree with me.

The only reason I buy mostly Seagate is because only WD's Enterprise drives have 5 year warranties.
September 11, 2006 8:48:47 PM

On the subject of deathstars [going off topic of WD}, I have several of them go bad, and I was able to get some of them RMA'd and replaced. Then, the replacements went bad and I just tossed them in the dumpster. then, IBM...now Hitachi... had a class action suit against them and I tried to get included in the suit, but I had to give them a serial number of the failed disks. I of course no longer had the disks, and I tried to tell them that they had the serials numbers in the RMA database and could just look it up. Naturally that didn't fly so I wasn't included in the class action, what ever it was.
September 11, 2006 8:49:34 PM

As a result of a class action lawsuit against WD, I received a software titled EMC Retrospect 7.5, backup and Recovery software. I have never used it. Would you know anything about the software.
September 11, 2006 9:16:35 PM

Western Digital makes the best harddrives period. Ive never had a problem with any western digital harddrive that I have owned. One died at 10 years old, people were amazed that it still ran before as 1.6 gb drives never lasted very long. Every other harddrive that I have hurd has been extremly noisy compared to the wisper quiet WD'S..mine isnt even audible.
a b G Storage
September 11, 2006 9:29:05 PM

Quote:
I will not rant on.

But at the moment I have 2 Maxtor Drivers in use.

Western Digital will never get my business again.



hmmmmzzz ok..... Maxtor.... *walks away slowly*

Maxtor i aint goin near, WD aint unreliable (i work in a computer store that sells WD only) and i prefer Seagate.
September 11, 2006 9:42:58 PM

Over the year i have owned a variety of drives. Now i try to buy only WD's but am lookin at Seagates new drives. I have had about 25 WD drives and have had 2 failures, 5 fujitsu 0 failures, 5 maxtors 7 failures, 2 seagates 0 failures. That is my experience nothing more but I know most of my gaming buddies swear by WD. Fry's has more than likely had a falling out with WD and the particular salesman you talked to decided to badmouth the drive to try an push you into something that they had in stock so that he could retain the sale.
September 11, 2006 9:47:03 PM

It's all a crap shoot when it comes to hard drives. I have bought a set of Maxtor Drives for a RAID 5 setup and had a drive go bad after 40 days of use. This was about 3 years ago.

I recently upgrade so I went and bought a set of WD drives. One of those went withing 30 days of use. I have bought a lot of WD drives in the past and present. Mainly 120 GB IDE drives and have always prefered them over other makers.

But I wont let that stop me from taking a better deal from another major manufacturer. I usually look for the best deal between WD, Maxtor, Seagate, or Hitachi. It's usually WD that has the best deals though.
September 11, 2006 9:48:48 PM

Quote:

So basicaly I got screwed by their hardware once (out of 12 purchases), but I actually started buying more WD's after that because they don't hassle me when I need an RMA even if their tech people disagree with me.

The only reason I buy mostly Seagate is because only WD's Enterprise drives have 5 year warranties.


That's a very good point. While I'd rather not lose data to begin with, RMA procedure is something else to consider. These days I buy almost all my drives online so if it's bad out of the box, I'm generally going to RMA direct to the manufacturer than send it back to the reseller.

I've never actually RMA'd a Seagate drive.

Maxtor makes you run their useless diagnostic program to get a code before you can get past the RMA screen online, though you can always claim the drive is completely dead. But Maxtor shortened their warranty to 1 year at one point and each time one of my drives died I felt like I was playing the lottery- feed the S/N into the website and see if I got lucky and still had some time left to RMA it. Not to mention the fact that as soon as you get it back from RMA, it's only good for 90 days.

WD's RMA online was simple- just state your reason and get your RMA #.

One other thing about WD- I am in San Diego and my RMA return point for WD is in Irvine, about 75 miles north. That means even using UPS Ground the turnaround time was fast. The replacement Raptor drive I got does say "Refurbished to Western Digital specifications" on it.
September 12, 2006 6:57:55 PM

All RMA departments ship you a refirbished hard drive.

Which is why you should always do an advance replacement RAM. They 2nd day you the replacement and you ship the old drive back to them within 30 days in the same packaging.

This is especially handy when your drive is still functional as you can move your data to the new drive before shiping the old.

These reparied drives should actually be more reliable than new once since they are more throughly tested than new drive comming of the line.
September 12, 2006 7:40:35 PM

Quote:
I'm wondering if there has been a change in the last few months.


I've bought a total of 9 WD drives this year, spread about evenly over time and have bought from a variety of sources. The most recent was about a month ago. All nine have been perfect.
September 12, 2006 10:07:46 PM

Thank you, that's the kind of info I was looking for.
September 12, 2006 10:28:35 PM

Quote:
Thank you, that's the kind of info I was looking for.


Hey, I just noticed your handle - is the "S" for "silent?

George Carlin is a genius.
September 12, 2006 10:31:46 PM

I've bought probably 6 WDs. I threw 4 of them in a case and they were kind of close together. They had a fan blowing on them so I didn't think it was an issue. Until they all dropped like flies. WD does not do well with heat. Since then, I have bought nothing but seagates and have been 100% happy.

I will never buy a WD again
September 12, 2006 10:35:51 PM

I’ve been in the industry for a good 15 years and I have personally gone through at least 10000 computers (while I worked at one of the biggest companies in the world).

I’ve seen drives.. lots of them and I have had all kinds of experiences with them.

WD is by far the most reliable HD company on the market. If we saw one in a Compaq/hp/dell/etc.... we were happy.

I have been through some extreme hard drive clusters such as the old Quantum Big foot drive fiasco. We had to replace 200 of those hard drives. Maxtor was one of the worst, always strait up breaking down… About 3 years ago we had a Maxtor drive problem.. started failing all over the country in hundreds and thousands… we eventually got replacements for ALL of them even the ones that were still running. That had to be 30000+ drives nation wide… what a cluster.

zzzz...zzzzz....zzzz...zzzzz

Seagate was just as bad... nothing but problems.

I had seen hundreds and hundreds of WD hard drives and I have probably owned 100 myself and I have only seen 1.. yes only 1 drive die on its own and it was my own drive which WD replaced with no problems.
a c 152 G Storage
September 12, 2006 10:49:30 PM

Just gonna add my 2cents

WD drives owned
2.6gig
40gig
120gig
250gig
250gig (yes 2)
and all kinds of 500meg and such...

the 40 did die :( 
the first 120 was defective... the RMA'd one is still going strong.

I will buy western digital in the future....there drives are solid...the 40 had years of use in a hot case and 24/7 opperation.

one of the 250's are loud to seek...but in a vibrating manner....not loud like cllliccckkkk. the other is quiet....(they have different motors)

Seagate
120
120
320
320

All to new to give opinion. the 120's are loud(seeking). the 320's are soooo quiet

Maxtor
2gig
15gig - years of 24/7 and going strong
30gig

the 30 died. But allot of abuse from my brother did that.
I do hear allot more of maxtor drives failing. I do not buy them often for 24/7 use. but that 15 just wont die. you drop it and it comes back for more.

All drives have an equil chance of failure now days. so buy whats cheap and fast... Current choice seagate 320's they are fast big and quiet and cheap
September 12, 2006 10:49:30 PM

Quote:
I’ve been in the industry for a good 15 years and I have personally gone through at least 10000 computers (while I worked at one of the biggest companies in the world).


Reminds me of that interview with Jonny Wadd.

Quote:
Seagate was just as bad... nothing but problems.


I worked in a lab where our PC acquisition farm got "upgraded" with a bunch of Seagate drives. Within a few months, they began to sound like they had sand in them and they just kept getting louder till they would die. We actually started betting on when the next one would die.

From what I read, they have gotten better. I hope that's true becuz I'm about to buy a perp for my kid's box.

Quote:
I had seen hundreds and hundreds of WD hard drives and I have probably owned 100 myself and I have only seen 1.. yes only 1 drive die on its own and it was my own drive which WD replaced with no problems.


I doubt that I'm quite up to 100, but well over 50 for sure - also one single death. I've got WDs that have been running in RAID arrays for like 8 years or something. Seems funny to have a drive that small in an array, but hell, it's still running...
September 12, 2006 10:50:13 PM

I won´t buy WD again unless they offer something really fast, really cheap, with a really long warranty. I once bought a WD 40GB. Worked for a week, i sent it in and got a new one that worked for almost 2 months. When i got it i already had another one so i set them up as a raid 0. Worked for almost half a year until one drive crapped out. After i replaced that one, i set them up as a raid 0 again. They kept working until about a few months after the warranty (2 years) was off, then number 1 crapped out. A year later number 2. The seagate drive running in the same computer worked for more than 6 years without even a hitch. I even had a 5 1/4 drive bay cooler installed and i didn´t use them heavily. I had another WD (a 30GB one) that still is working (3,5 years now). I´m expecting it´s death any second. :evil: 
September 12, 2006 10:50:57 PM

8O Well I haven't worked with that many HDDs before (I'm only in HS after all) but I can relate to your experiences. As I said earlier I've had Maxtor drives die on me really fast. Same for Seagate... although I've heard that Seagate has gotten better I'm still more of a WD and Hitachi fan. Never had a drive from either of those companies die on me or give me problems.
September 13, 2006 4:22:38 AM

Quote:
Thank you, that's the kind of info I was looking for.


Hey, I just noticed your handle - is the "S" for "silent?

George Carlin is a genius.

Actually, it's meant to be 'Scout' as in the SBD Dauntless, but taken as SBD alone, I see your point.

Anyway, on topic, I'm going to pick up some WD drives, as the SE16s rate as near-completely silent while being some of the fastest 7200 RPM drives. I don't know what Fry's problem is, but I have my faith in WD renewed.
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