Which is The Most Reliable Hard Drive Brand?

Hey guys,

I have a Maxtor DiamondMax 10 250GB that died last weekend. My friend is recovering the data for me. In the meantime, I'd like to get a new HD to store my photos, movies and MP3s which would require about 250 GBs of HD space.

I've heard Maxtor's had reliability problems in the past and Western Digital was the way to go. But After going through, I noticed quite a number of people had to RMA their new WD HDs.

So I'd like to ask everyone here.

In your experience, which hard drive company is the most reliable?

I'd want to buy another hard drive that'll die out on me in an year and now all my data is at risk.

Any opinions would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
103 answers Last reply
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  1. I have had very good luck with Western Digital. I haved used 10 and never lost data on one while it was under warranty.

    I am pissed right now with Seagate because they charged me $27 to Advance RMA a hard drive when Western Digital will do an Advance Replacement for free and I only end up paying $5 for return shipping.

    I read the same reviews before purchasing my two WD 400 GB Raid Edition hard drives, but both have been running 24x7 for about a year without a hint of a problem.

    I think maybe they had problems when they were first introduced, either that or people are having difficulties because 1) they are SATA and 2) Non SP1&SP2 version of Windows have problems with large hard drives.

    I have my RE drives in a RAID 1 config, so both have to fail at the same time before I lose any data!

    If anytime durring the next 4 years+ one starts to fail, WD will advance ship me a replacement and I end up only losing about $5.

    Of course I still use Retrospect to backup all my really important files and photos as RAID 1 can't protect against a virus or a fire for that matter.


    If you are really concerned, buy two hard drives and put then in a RAID 1 config. The if one starts to fail, WD will ship you a replacement and you can send the old one back in the replacements packaging for about $5.

    I believe this has by far the most extensive reliabilty survey, where users indicate which drives they have and have not had problems with.

    Unfortunately, looking at the survey will reveal that there aren't any drives or drive manufacturers that are truly safe these days - likely due to the increased heat and lower tolerances of modern drives.

    Another factor to potentially consider is the amount of platters. It is widely agreed that heat can kill a hard drive, so having a fan to cool it is worthwhile. However, a hard drive with more platters will also naturally generate more heat - so it doesn't pay to go with the ultra-high capacity drives if you can make do with less not only because of the price premium, but the potential reduction in reliability as well.
  3. One thing to remember about hard drives is that they may come out of the factory fine but runs into some bumps along the way to its final destination. When going through its distribution process there are people who just toss boxes and this is a good way to mess up a hard drive no matter how well its packed. And then there is the occoasional oops.... while stocking the drives in retail box or OEM. I have a 2.5GB western digital in a 486 computer I use as a fax machine and it still works fine. The 80GB in my current computer is 11 months old and have not had any problems. In my opinion western digital is a good brand.
  4. Also by the time you have good statistics on a particular model its no longer being sold.

    I used to only buy WD and Seagates that had 5 year warranties. Now I am down to Western Digitals with 5 year warranties becauese of Seagates warranty policies.
  5. That’s not so easy to answer. It heavily relies on personal experience. If I absolutely had to cast a vote I would personally go with Seagate.

    I never had to return a single Seagate drive in all the time I’ve been using them. Right now I have a 6 year-old Seagate on a machine of mine that has been working strong and fine since I’ve first bought it. And it’s always been the primary drive of that system running about 12 hours a day nearly every day of the week.

    On grounds of reliability I‘ve been presented with no reasons to look anywhere else… So far...

    But that’s just me, and I admit that it might have a lot to do with luck.
  6. Unfortunately that's true. I've gone with seagates as well as their reported reliability has been good. However, I have had a couple of seagates go bad - so I really don't think there is any manufacturer who is perfect.

    As another poster said, the results at storagereview are limited as you have relatively little data for new drives. Still, the reviews can point horror drives that have a high failure rate after only a short time, and you can also look at previous model reliabilities to get a guage of the potential reliability of the most recent model. Certainly the data isn't perfect, but it is the best you can do - and certainly better than by going by a thread where a few posters give their idiosyncratic experiences with particular brands typically without giving specific models.
  7. It depends on a lot of different things, even within a given brand they make different lines to different specs and MTBF.

    Even though the HD is among the most likely to fail group of components, HD's from all of the manufacturers are pretty reliable considering what they do.

    I'd say in my experience all of the brands are roughly equivalent.
  8. I think the poll results speak for themselves... As I've at least found personally, and through searching, Seagate makes the most reliable and durable hard drives... Western Digital would be in second place, and Hitachi would be third. All three make pretty reliable units. The other brands, in my opinion, are crap.

    Oh, and if you're going to be making a RAID 1, (or any RAID array aside from 0, for that matter) make sure you get your drives SEPERATELY, and not from the same batch! They seem to be like festive light strings in this manner... One blows, they all go out!
  9. I've been using hard drives in personal computers for more than 20 years. Drives from all manufacturers fail. In the last month, I've seen two WD fail completely and a Hitachi develop bad sectors. I've RMA'd drives from every manufacturer over the years.

    Overall, based on the last five years, I tend to rely on Seagate rather than Western Digital, Hitachi/IBM, Maxtor.... I've never tried Samsung and are considering them, primarily because of their low noise reputation.

  10. I've had a ton of bad luck with HDD's over the years but Maxtor takes the cake in terms of the failures I've had. Before I made the switch to WD I had something like 5 seperate Maxtor HDD's fail on me. I've never used Seagate but as BMFM said, I've had to reason to look elsewhere.
  11. I have good experiences with WD hard drives as all of my old WD hds are still operational. But it tends to get noisy at old age.
  12. Before Maxtor was bought by Seagate, I remember some people saying that Maxtor had extreme reliability problems. It was pretty obvious due to their fat contract with Dell and other major suppliers.

    I wish I knew this before I got this Maxtor HD.
  13. Really depends on your place and personal preference. I've had a seagate 80gb simply go bad before. Though it died gracefully. :P

    Then I got a 30gb maxtor for another pc that's still running though its really damn slow.

    Then i've had another 80gb seagate and another 80gb maxtor which are still quite running though the seagate seems to be slower than the 80gb maxtor. Just not sure if it's the drive or it was simply a slower design.

    Then i've had a new 200gb seagate for 1 year now and hasn't gone bad yet. And a separate 500gb seagate that's still chugging along.

    Well I guess it depends on preference, availability and luck. WD's are only starting to be imported here in my country.

    (you may notice i'm a seagate fanboy which i am :D )
  14. Its a toss up between Seagate and Western Digital for me. All my Maxtors have gone bad before their time, and the others were simply too slow for my tastes. Might be different now, but I'm not going to be anyones guinea pig when it comes to my data. WD and Seagate for the win.
  15. Seagate, all the way. I've had three WD drive go bad within a year of buying them. Can't RMA them if you want to recover the data, so their in my closet until I have the money to get that data off there.
    Anyway, go seagate, 5 year warranty!
  16. I've been a die-hard WD fan since I was running my Pentium 2. I loved em, but a year or 2 ago I had a 200GB drive and a 250GB drive both go in the same year.

    Since then I tried a different brand, Seagate. I haven't had a bad Seagate now that I think about it...

    So far I've had my Seagate 300GB for 6 months? I haven' t had a problem with it yet.
  17. I have... 4 Seagate's, 1 Hitachi, 1 WD, 1 Maxtor, and 1 Fujitsu... well, and now an I/O Magic external, which prolly has a Maxtor inside, but I can't tell...

    I had a 60 gig 7200RPM 2.5" Hitachi for my laptop, died on me 2 weeks ago, replaced it with a 100 gig Fujitsu after I got most of my data off...

    Seagate's, no problem so far. Maxtor died on me before, RMA'ed it and they gave me a new one, albeit 50 gigs bigger so I'm a happy camper. Fujitsu's brand new, can't say anything there. WD... only one and it runs fine... meh...

    2+ TB of storage now... I'm running out of surge protectors and sockets for my room since I have so many electronic components...
  18. I don't see the IBM DeathStar mentioned. Man, what a wonderful HD. Too bad it doesn't weigh very much. It would make a pretty good boat anchor. :lol:
  19. In my PC I have 2 Maxtor and 2 WD hard drives and I rate them equally, although one of the WD's is very loud and both the Maxtors are very quiet.

    I also have a relatively old Seagate 80gb in my Xbox which is whisper quiet in general, not just for it's age.

    I've still got a pair of 7 year old Maxtor 16gb drives (one in a PC and another in my B&W G3 PowerMac) that are still going strong, and the 6gb Maxtor in my PS2 is also working very well still.

    All-in-all, I have most experience with Maxtor, and they've never let me down.

    (BTW, if anyone knows how to re-flash Maxtor firmware please PM me, my brother managed to corrupt his 160gb DiamondMax doing a dodgy disk clean and it buggered the firmware)
  20. One more thing I want to say about these things... you only hear about people with the bad cases complain, I had to return HDD after HDD, yadda yadda yadda... I'm sure those are just a few cases out in the world... if everyone with good experiences post, then our view would definitly change, but we all tend to focus on the negative...

    One more thing though, the reason why I like Seagate is the 5-yr warranty. That tells me they believe their products will last that long, and they will back it up. That means balls, and that means they have faith in their product, which is what sets them apart from others.
  21. And if anyone knows anything about hard drives it's doughboy!
  22. Maxtor doesn't publish firmware for reflashing.
  23. I used to be a big maxtor fan but there drives have gotten a little flaky over time & I switched to WD about 5 yrs ago. Since then I've only used WD on my personal drives even though on occassion I do use Maxtor on systems I sell. Either or aren't bad but I've found WD offers less trouble overall.
  24. I used to be a huge fan of WD but now I always go with Seagate. Maxtor seem to fail most in my PC repair world. But absolute worst is Excelstor, yuk! that is some nasty hardware.
  25. Never heard of them.
  26. I manage a retail computer store. We see hundreds of drives fail each year.

    At the moment I would say (from best to worst)

    Seagate, WD, Hitachi, Maxtor, Samsung
  27. I'm wondering though, I have a Fujitsu drive now... I never realized Fujitsu even made drives, but it does have a nice 3-yr warranty, the Seagate drive was same price but 20 gig's less... and I don't plan on using my laptop more than 3 years, but still Fujitsu??

    Hmmm, looking at the specs, apparently HDD's have operating altitudes... (-1,000 to 40,000 ft) I wonder if they actually test them or pull numbers out of their ass... any astronaut's out here, do we use HDD's in outer space?

    300,000 hr MTBF... eh, decent enough... still, never used a Fujitsu drive before, but it seems to work fine. Never touched a Samsung since I rarely see them around and I doubt they'd be cheap enough for me to buy them anyways.

    Heat is what kills drives... well, heat, vibration, and shock...
  28. Quote:
    Heat is what kills drives... well, heat, vibration, and shock...

    ...and liquid, and fire.

    I seem to recall a Fujitsu drive on someone's computer I was working on many years ago, but I'm not 100% sure. Actually it was a school, if ever I go back there they're probably still using it.

    Do you know if Toshiba make desktop drives, or is it just 2.5"?
  29. Quote:
    300,000 hr MTBF... eh, decent enough...

    That's IMO, pretty low for todays standards. I've used WD drives all my life and ain't had a problem yet from the whopping 3.5gb HDD in our first Compaq, to the 20gb HDD in my 10yr old Dell, to my mom's 200gb HDD in her Dell, to the 80gb one in my X-Box, and the Raptor and 2 Caviars I've got in my current rig. The 3 WD's in my rig all came with a 3yr warranty and all were rated for 1.2million hr MTBF. Also, my 80gb HDD in my X-Box came with a Data Lifeguard Tools disk that was a life saver in getting my drives recognized properly. All I did was drop in the CD and it did the rest, a 5 min fix at the most :D .

    So, IMHO, I'd recommend WD as the drive of choice for the most reliable HDD's out there. Also, WD's software support is best in class as well.
  30. Yeah you're right mate.... Excelstor are frigging awful.... made the mistake of buying one 3 years ago. Came with a 12 month (wtf!) warranty and needless to say died shortly after the warranty period.

    Since then I've had a Seagate Barracuda with damaged actuator, WD Raptor DOA, and WD My Book external 250 GB that died after 2 days.

    So it appears to me to be a lottery. Someone said its not surprising they die considering what they do..... I think that's a bit of a cop-out..... why not spend some of the vast profits they make on better quality goods and production techniques? I for one wouldn't mind paying slightly more for something with greater life expectancy.
  31. Quote:
    Also, my 80gb HDD in my X-Box came with a Data Lifeguard Tools disk that was a life saver in getting my drives recognized properly.

    It helped you install the drive to your Xbox????
  32. Well so far in life i've had 3 HDDs.

    1 Seagate 40GB which has lasted me five years.

    1 Seagate 100GB which has lasted four years.

    1 Hitachi 160GB which has lasted... 4 months ? Has gotten really noisy recently though and i'm getting a tad paranoid :(

    Never had a HDD die on me yet :)

    *touch wood* :/
  33. I've used nothing but WD for my new systems and none of them have gone bad.

    Because WD also has 5-year waranty Enterprise drives for a reasonable price, and because they got a lot of other neat RAID features, I'm personally sticking with WD. I curently have 2x160GB WD drives in RAID-0 and one 320GB backup drive, all SATA2 and all warantied for 5 years. They're fast as hell too. Next I'm going with a couple Raptor drives :)

    I've had Maxtor, Seagate, WD, IBM, Hitachi, Samsung, and I can honestly say that I've never had a bad WD. All the others have needed replacement (all of them were from the early 90's though). I'm not saying that today they're all crap, but for me WD has been great for a long time.
  34. No it didn't. It made formating the drives in my PC really quick and painless though (need to read the whole of what I wrote before spouting off :wink: ). Oh BTW, X-Box's don't come with 80gb HDD's they come with an 8gb HDD, that is an obvious clue.

    Only if we could make stupidity more painful....

    In relation to what you wrote GSte, I'm agree with the guy who said that he ain't surprised that they die considering what they do. HDD's don't have an idle mode where they just spin down when not in use. Also the platter is under significant centrifugal forces at operational rotational speeds. I for one am surprised that when an HDD dies that it just doesn't "fly apart" and fracture into thousands of little peices.
  35. Quote:
    Oh BTW, X-Box's don't come with 80gb HDD's they come with an 8gb HDD, that is an obvious clue.

    I know (check my sig!)

    I was just wondering if you used these WD tools for making the somewhat complex process of installing a new hard drive to Xbox any easier (in which case where can I get 'em!)
  36. Oh man, I've had 3 non-Raptor Western Digitals completely crap out on me in the last 2 years. I've lost irreplaceable data on the 1st one, then got smarter and started backing up more regularly. Then lost data on the 2nd one which was my archive drive. Then the 3rd one started on the fritz.

    Fool me twice, shame on me......and I got burned 3 times even with being paranoid about data backup, so what does that constitute????

    Switched over to Seagate Barricuda 7200.10 w/ 16 mb cache ;) All the way......

    Maxtor...bleck. Hitachi....ouch.

    Seagate FTW!
  37. All my hard drives owned in order from oldest to new:

    Quantium Fireball 6 gig - Still works in a Imac G3. Very Loud.

    Quantium Fireball 10 gig - Lasted 2 years before I got mad at the computer and kicked it. This was in the windows 98 era and I always got these illegal operation errors and one day I got very mad when MS Word made an illegal opperation error and shut down my unsaved document.

    Maxter 40 gig - Lasted 2 months started having bad sectors and clicking. Only drive of mine that died on it's own.

    Western Digital 60 gig - Still runs in that once beaten computer 4 years but with Windows 2000 installed .

    IBM Deskstar 46.1 gig - Still runs today in my old computer for 5 years. It's a very loud and hot drive but fully functional.

    Western Digital 80 gig - Got it dirt cheap lasted 4 months. I put it in my playstation 2 worked well until my brother tripped over the PS2 controller cord and the PS2 came with and the Hard Drive inside aswell.

    Seagate 120 gig 7200.9 - Almost 1 1/2 years still works. Coolest and Quietest drive I own.

    Seagate 160 gig 7200.7 - Almost 1 1/2 years aswell still works. Kinda loud compared to my 120 gig 7200.9 and on average 3-4 C hotter than it also.

    Seagate 320 gig 7200.10 PRT - 2 Months it works. Seems to be getting louder everyday. Loudest part in my PC except for that ATI gpu cooler.

    Don't own this one:
    Seagate 160 gig 7200.7 from a Dell computer it clicks and wont let the computer start with it installed. Can't get data off of it. It's dead.

    The brand I would most trust my data on is probably Western Digital non of them ever died on me by themselves. And that one in the playstation took a lot more than just falling that was just the final straw for it. My uncle has gotten probably 7 WD's and 1 Seagate. All of his WD's are 2 - 7 years old and his Seagate was a new one that lasted just a few months. All the WD's are still alive.
  38. Ya know I gotta ask when seeing x drives of any brand failing within x u have any cooling or PSU issues? I mean, heat and/or power fluctuations will kill a hard-drive. If your Seagate is new, then time will tell.

    My old drives failed because:

    1) They were bought as I was learning about PCs in the mid 90's and had bad sectors
    2) I beat the crap out of them
    3) They were just old, used hard-drives.

    I expected them to die. None of my old WD drives actually died but some had bad sectors (I bought them that way for a reason). I did some work for a company that had over 80 Maxtor hard-drives fail on them within a year. They were all from the same Dell model, and we replaced them with Seagate Barracuda drives (not my choice lol).

    Just out of nostalgia and the fact that WD also has a 5-year waranty, and that they've done me well, I'm just going to stick with them. I personally have nothing against newer Seagates. They seem to do alright these days :)
  39. Quote:
    Hmmm, looking at the specs, apparently HDD's have operating altitudes... (-1,000 to 40,000 ft) I wonder if they actually test them or pull numbers out of their ass... any astronaut's out here, do we use HDD's in outer space?

    Actually there are ways of measuring that, most likely in a barometric chamber.

    Nonetheless I believe "pulling things out of the ass" to be a widespread competition among executives of large corporations. :lol:
  40. Quote:
    I know (check my sig!)

    Now your sig makes sense (too much school not enough me time).

    Never used the WD Data Lifeguard Tools to help setup the HDD, although, we did have this fancy Auto Installer that I downloaded and the mod went without pain. 2hrs hardware mod, 1.5hrs software mod and game transfer was the time it took from begining to end.
  41. Quote:

    Never used the WD Data Lifeguard Tools to help setup the HDD, although, we did have this fancy Auto Installer that I downloaded and the mod went without pain. 2hrs hardware mod, 1.5hrs software mod and game transfer was the time it took from begining to end.

    Slayer's auto-installer, perchance? I used Splinter Cell nDure for my first foray (still on the 8gb) and that was a real nice smooth and easy operation. Installing the Seagate, however, was not such a pleasent experience - I had to FTP in, rescue my C & E partitions and inject them into an Xbox HDM boot disk for the PC, along with my EEPROM, then go through ages of rebuilding file structures and locking/unlocking the drive. I'm sure I could do it much quicker a second time, though.

    In short, replacing the drive whilst retaining all my data was a BIG BITCH, so I was just wondering if those WD tools made it at all easier in any way.
  42. I've NEVER had a problem with a Seagate hard disk. I've had all sorts... and some (esp. Maxtor) die young. I currently have two 80GB Barracudas in Raid0 which have been basically running 24/7 for about 3 years... Not a single sign of problems!

    *omg, I hope I haven't jinxed them now!*
  43. I worked in computer retail. I also did 2 years as the faculty manager and another 6 years as faculty advisor for a student-run computer lab that deployed about 250 new computers every fall. The computers were set up to automatically reformat and rebuild themselves every night. Maintenance was our biggest cost, and part failures went in this order: keyboard, mouse, CD-ROM, power supply fan, hard drive.

    All hard drive brands have weak batches. I can remember when I specified IBM drives for 2 years because the drives were great, fast and dependable! And then came the year of the 36GB / 40GB Deskstar... I have never replaced so many drives in my life.

    Does anyone remember the Quantum Bigfoot? One year our Purchasing Office 'simplified' our RFP and we got 200+ machines with Bigfoots in them. I really wanted to hate those machines. I really really wanted to hate those drives. I wanted to kill everyone in Purchasing and drink their blood. Sadly, to this day, we still talk about how amazingly, freakishly dependable those stupid Quantum Bigfoots were. Slow, yes, but most of the computers were used for MS Word, and the techs came to love those drives...

    All brands have good and bad batches, but that said, I have always hated Maxtor. Through the Pentium years Maxtor was tweaky, and they seemed to get worse as they aged. And during the early years of 'autodetect' Maxtor drives would commit seppuku if the BIOS didn't get the drive information right.

    For myself, I use Western Digital. I have no proof, but IMHO Western Digital seem more tolerant of being 'handled' - being swapped from computer to computer, riding around campus on repair carts, being constantly reformatted, etc.

    My biggest criteria for any computer component is the ease of warranty service. Thats why I buy from Newegg. Thats another reason why I prefer Western Digital.

    It's also why I buy eVGA video cards - I just got a new eVGA 8800GTS, and in several places inside the box it says, in large red print, that if the card is defective, do not return it to the retailer, but instead contact eVGA directly by web or phone for RMA information. It's bad if a product breaks, but eVGA knows that if you, the customer, have something break, and you have a good experience getting it replaced, that you'll probably buy that brand again. Because stuff breaks - no manufacturer is perfect.

    If a hard drive manufacturer had a RMA process whereby I could send in the serial number of the drive and they would automatically approve me for replacement parts based on manufacturing date, and where they would cross-ship if I provided my credit card, I would immediately switch to that brand.
  44. My history of hard drives:

    Maxtor 2x6GB -> ancient. Still works
    WD 2x8GB -> ancient. Still works
    IBM 2x40GB -> ancient. Both died in about 4yrs.

    Seagate 2x80GB -> 5+ yrs old? no problems
    WD 120GB, 80GB -> 5+ yrs? the Bad sector on the 120GB once. Magically fixed somehow and no problems now.
    Maxtor 2x80GB, 30GB -> as old as above. 30GB had some probelms booting a few times. Usually works.

    Maxtor 2x250GB -> 2yrs old? major problems from the beginning (both). RMAed and no problems afterwards. Probably just took a bad hit somewhere.

    WD 80GB, 160GB, 250GB 1-2yrs old. no problems
    Seagate 160GB, 3x320GB, 500GB 0-1yr old. no problems

    ..don't think I missed any..
    Anyway Seagate is my favorite now. I have had ZERO problems with them so far.

    Forgot to add - most of my drives in the 5yr old category went through about 2-3 years of 24/7 operation. Some retired now even if they work. Newer ones are still in the process of 24/7 operation.
  45. I've got my HDDs suspended by rubber bands in my case to lower vibration. And due to the equal/opposite reaction this means there's a very low level of vibration in the drive itself too.

    They're also exposed fairly decently to airflow, and never get hot... maybe a little warm to the back of the hand. I guess in an environment like that, only production flaws will make a drive fail!
  46. I've had WD and Seagate for years now (7 or 8 I think). All still running fine. Had maxtors that I bought with them and they didn't see the second year. Anyway, I'm surprised to see Seagate ahead of WD with all the people on here with Raptors.
  47. Hard drives are always a crap shoot. Every manufacturer I've seen goes through periods of good and poor quality. We've had luck (where I work) with Fujitsu drives, but we've also had one batch where every drive eventually failed.

    Whatever drive you eventually decide on, just make sure you get a good warranty.
  48. Yep, thats pretty much what I say. And therefore Seagate wins my vote of appreciation.
  49. All drives eventually fail. Its just if you can predict when it fails and have you backed up the drive. speaking of which... I forgot to back up any computer in my house for at least a couple of months *oops*
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