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reliability for larger hard drives

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  • Hard Drives
  • Western Digital
  • Storage
  • Product
Last response: in Storage
February 9, 2007 12:35:22 PM

Someone told me that larger hard drives(200gig+) are not as reliable as drives 160gig and smaller. Is there any truth to that? Maybe this was just a concern when larger HDs were just being introduced? If this is or was ever true, what was the reasoning behind it?

I am looking at a WD 320gig HD. If smaller drives are more reliable, maybe I should get two 160's?

Thanks....

More about : reliability larger hard drives

February 9, 2007 12:49:53 PM

Well, no. What happened is that there were those who thought larger drives inflated the risk for data loss because said drive held more data which put more emphasis on fault tolerance. So some thought that a larger number of smaller drives were safer was the way to go because the Data Physically were spread across more disks than less disks. I believe that is where some people now get that notion, just look at it for a end user perspective, millions of PC are being shipped out with 200+ GB drives for a few years now, if whom ever told you about the drive reliability issue spoke the truth, you'd see it in recall news because no consumer would tolerate it.
February 9, 2007 1:16:15 PM

News to me. So far my failure rate with drives is about 2 -2 1/2 years. I leave my system on 24/7 so maybe that adds to it. I use to run a raid of 80s, then 120, then 200s. All I have found is that for a time Western Digital drives failed with 1-1 1/2 years, then I had 7 different Hatachi drives die with 6 months of purchase, but the replacements lasted 2+ years. I'm currently loaded up with a pair of Seagate 7200.10 400GB drives, so it will take a year or so for me to tell you how long they lasted.

The concern might be that some of the new drives, with the newer technology seem to run a little hotter, so if you don't have good cooling, it might lead to an early death.
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February 9, 2007 1:26:14 PM

There is some truth to that statement.

The more platters a HDD has the more moving parts and things to go wrong.

The larger the HDD the more platters it is likely to have and the greater chance of having issues.

But then again it's sorta like being in Florida and deciding if you should go golfing or swimming in the ocean based upon the chance you will be attacked by a gator golfing or a shark swimming.

The decreased reliability is so small as not to be a major concern.

I would recommend looking for an "Enterprise Class" HDD rated for 24/7 operation. This is likely to give you a little better reliability.

The Seagate 320GB ES drive is $5 more than the AS version.
The ES has a better warranty and higher MTB rate.

Other vendors have similar designations.
I just know Seagates because I went with the $5 more one in my build.
Even then I bought (2) of the drives and will be backing all of my critical data from Drive 1 to Drive 2.
February 9, 2007 1:36:07 PM

I am surprised at the short life of your drives. Everything I have read promises much longer lifes.

I just searched online for Seagate MTBF and found:

http://techgage.com/article/seagate_barracuda_750gb_es

This states that the MTBF (mean time between failures) for a Seagate Baracuda 750 GB drive is 1,000,000 hours, which equals 114 years.
February 9, 2007 1:44:10 PM

Get a perpendicular drives.
For more information on perpendicular drives, read this.
Make sure to watch the video, it's great. :D 
February 9, 2007 2:15:43 PM

Well, make sure to note that I said the drives I've had the most problems with are Western Digital and Hitachi. Hitachi, acknowledge they had a bad batch and I just got a couple of those.

Also, I ran a total of 14 drives in my two different system (one at the office, one at home). Both systems stayed powered on 24/7. I believe heat might of killed 1 or 2 of them, which is why I started running with the side off of my systems and put more fans around the drives. Though 2 of my hard drive failures were with Laptop drives

I've have some drives that have lasted 5 years (though I normally don't keep a drive for that long anyways). Plus the MTBF is more of a average not a Guarantee. I find the drives that fail the most (or should I say fastest) for me, tends to be the drives that I use the most. I've gotten pretty lucky so far in that all the drive failures that happened, happened while there was still a warranty on the drive, so while I had some data loss, I got a new drive at least

Don't know if it makes any difference, but I also tend to buy the OEM drives, though if the price difference is with $10, I'll grab the retail.

I should note that I've worked on some old PC in the past year that had 10 and 15B drives in them. Once system was from 99. So drives can last a while, espeically if you only power the PC on once every week or so
February 9, 2007 2:23:23 PM

Or if you have 114 Computers, one would die every year :>

Or about a 1% chance in a year.
A 3% chance if you had your PC for a little over 3years.

Again not huge, but still real.

And these numbers are not real either.
They exclude bad batches of HDD.
They will be done in ideal situations.
(PC not being banged around, clean power, etc...)

Most likely there is a bank of 100 HDD straight from elite quality control and placed into a clean room with clean power and no jarring.
February 10, 2007 2:45:35 PM

All the expensive SATA arrays we have gotten lately have contained 500GB drives. These come from manufacturers who take reliability seriously(EMC, Netapp), so I don't think they would use them if they where skeptical in reliability.
February 10, 2007 10:48:03 PM

It's true on a small extent

As said above the more platters = more moving parts.

Each platter has only been able to hold up to 80gb

so 160gb have 2 platters, they fit 250gb on 3 platters

and 320gb HDD have 4 platters.

Now what this also means, is the more platters on a drive the more heat it generates as well. The Seagate 320gb is a great drive, but it also runs pretty hot, so it needs plenty of ventilation.

~
Just recently though, Western Digital released a 160GB HDD that competes with the 250GB WD and the 320GB Barracuda. The new drive is on a single platter.

I can't remember who it is, I think Samsung? just released a new HDD that actually is a 320gb drive that is on 2 platters. Which significantly reduces heat, etc....
February 10, 2007 11:23:01 PM

Quote:
I am surprised at the short life of your drives. Everything I have read promises much longer lifes.

I just searched online for Seagate MTBF and found:

http://techgage.com/article/seagate_barracuda_750gb_es

This states that the MTBF (mean time between failures) for a Seagate Baracuda 750 GB drive is 1,000,000 hours, which equals 114 years.

They never tell you under what conditions is that 114 years number. Is it 50 deg. C? 20C? 0C? Not sure what the max. temp spec of hard disks is, but the hotter they run the sooner they fail, generally.
Also, will rubber banding your drives increase, decrease, or have no effect on drive life vs hard mounting?
February 11, 2007 2:45:31 PM

The WD Caviar WD3200JB 320gig has 3 platers.
February 14, 2007 11:13:01 PM

Quote:
They never tell you under what conditions is that 114 years number. Is it 50 deg. C? 20C? 0C? Not sure what the max. temp spec of hard disks is, but the hotter they run the sooner they fail, generally.
Also, will rubber banding your drives increase, decrease, or have no effect on drive life vs hard mounting?


They may not report the conditions, but there are standards for testing. MTBF of 114 years most certainly means that almost all drives, used in any normal conditions, including 24/7 operation, will still be operating after 10 years of use. Any statement to the contrary is ludicrous.

While I have not seen the MTBF statistics for WD, I am sure it must be similar.

Mad Murdocks experience must be considered an anomaly and should not be considered in evaluating expected drive life.
February 15, 2007 1:38:25 AM

What is the basis for your statements?

1) Warranty? Sorry, Many are 1-5years. None Longer?
2) Observation? Clearly Not. I've overseen very large corporate environments and relatively new PCs see hard drive failures every day.
In fact it's likely a rare day that a hard drive does not fail. Mind you we are talking about 10,000+ PCs, but they failures are real, common, and under fairly ideal conditions.

I just hope folks reading such threads don't fall for such silliness.
I'm not sure where the 1.5% stat came from, but it's probably close to what I have seen, though I would have guessed a number closer to 2% or a little higher. Of course this is based upon HDDs from 0-4 years of age. Most of the corporations I have worked with have a 3 year replacement plan for systems.