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Seagate and Western Digital Reliability

Last response: in Storage
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Which hard drive brand do you think is more reliable for the money?

Total: 88 votes (13 blank votes)

  • Western Digital
  • 40 %
  • Seagate
  • 54 %
  • Samsung
  • 2 %
  • Fujitsu
  • 0 %
  • HITACHI
  • 0 %
  • Maxtor
  • 4 %
  • IBM
  • 2 %
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • 0 %
  • Other
  • 0 %
March 7, 2008 4:51:52 PM

About 8 years ago I heard from a lot of tech that they would swear by Western Digital (especially if you didn’t want to pay for and expensive High end Hard drive), but lately I have been hearing from techs that they've replaced more Western Digitals then any other drive and that they, now, swear by Seagate. I've never owned a Seagate, I have three Western Digitals (all running as main drives) and one of them is at least 8 years old (No problems what so ever), and two Matxors (Only had one issue, and fans solved that). And with customer reviews on retail web sites like Newegg, I find that Western Digital, Seagate, and Hitachi drives tend to have the same Ratio of DOA’s and drives fallers. I would like to know, from the tech community, which HD Company you find more reliable for the Price (in the home user/ work computer side of the market), why do you think they’re more reliable, and what’s your opinion on why these techs complain about replacing more Western Digitals then any other drive?
March 7, 2008 5:37:47 PM

Wow, first time being first reply. Currently have 6 Raid 0's on 6 machines of my own or Brothers/friends in age from 4 years to 1 month old. 5 of them with Seagates, 1 with Hitachi, and 0 failures from them all (at least till I posted this and cursed myself.)

Medic
March 7, 2008 5:54:29 PM

I personally trust Seagate more, because they're known to be quality hard drives, and the really sweet 5 year warranty period. You don't offer a longer warranty when your hard drive fails often, it's not economically viable.
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March 7, 2008 5:59:29 PM

Having owned many WD's and a number of Seagate's without ANY issues I believe both companies are producing good products. The only drive I have ever had that failed was a Maxtor (years ago). In three machines I have a Seagate now and at least 2 WD's that are 5 years old I believe and also have a number of newer WD's and Seagates (less than a year old) and all are running fine.
March 7, 2008 6:32:16 PM

got more clutter with my 250GB seagate...wd runs cooler
March 7, 2008 6:46:34 PM

It's not scientific, but look at the reviews on Newegg for drives from the various manufacturers. I went with Seagate for my new system; it seemed that there were a larger number of people reporting DOAs or infant failures for the WD drives.
March 7, 2008 7:22:26 PM

I've used both Seagate and Western digitals for years now, mainly buying whichever was on sale at the time. During the past year, I got a couple DOAs from WD and replaced them with Seagates which ran prefectly. Except for the Raptor, which many people dislike for varying reasons, I prefer Seagate at the moment.

I do have a Raptor and I think its great, but I also believe that its built to a higher general quality or gets a more thorough inspection than the rest of the WD line. May be wrong about that, but its a belief.
March 7, 2008 7:59:51 PM

Not one single WD drive that I have purchased in the past 20+yrs has failed on me yet, all still work but not in use due to their low capacity. Always use a power supply with enough juice to run your system properly and a WD will never fail on you imho.

Owned only one Seagate (SCSI Ultra160) in my life and it was problematic not being recognized half the time at boot up. I have witnessed the death of one Seagate used in my Brother's comp and I promptly replaced it with a WD which again still operates to this day 10yrs later. My perception of Seagate drives is that they are fast but run hotter than the competition therefore shortening their lifespan and overall reliability.
March 7, 2008 8:35:20 PM

Well, so far, my family has only had Dells. The current one is about 4 years old, and we had another one that was 6. The older had a Seagate, and I could still turn it on to this day (although, it's gone now, it worked a few months a go before we got rid of it). This one has a Western Digital. Both of which have run perfectly fine.

On another note, I have a Samsung Spinpoint T 500 GB drive in an external enclosure. It doesn't get too hot. Well, except when ambient air temp is near 80F; thing gets toasty, but never shuts off ... I've been using it for over two months and no problems yet. However, from what I've heard, Samsung's Spinpoint F1 series isn't the same. Now, mind you, they are fast, cool, and silent; all of which is excellent. Contrary to all of that, though, they tend to not be as reliable. Also, both Spinpoint T, and even more so on the F1, don't seem to like RAID too much.

Overall, both Seagate and Western Digital are excellent, but I have to go with the later more so; I've heard excellent reviews of the My Book and Passport external drives from them, even after a year of use.
March 7, 2008 9:26:15 PM

I have used WD and Seagate all my life, as have my friends and family. I currently have a WD 250gb a 7200.11 250gb Seagate and a 7200.11 1TB from Seagate. All are working well, fast, and quiet. The WD hard drive does run the warmest out of all of them though.
March 8, 2008 6:49:16 PM

i have had the seagate barracuda 7200.7 8mb cache 80GB in my old system since 2004 or so and transferred it over to my new build 2 months ago and put it along side the new barracuda 7200.11 32mb cache 500gb and o problems ever, no clicking, no noise, excellent performance

go with seagate's new drives
March 8, 2008 7:32:40 PM

I'm having deja vu, it's like the tenth time I see this question posted, and again I feel obliged to vote and comment on how a WD has never failed on me or anyone I know or heard of.
Granted the new seagates are faster, but in reliability and noise levels WD has no competition.

I'd like to add that I've only seen 2 hard drives fail in my entire life, one was a samsung and the other was a Seagate, but I don't count the seagate as failing because it was after it survived a fire that leveled the house to the ground, it happened to a friend o mine and he still could get his data back (mostly porn I might add).
a b G Storage
March 8, 2008 8:33:41 PM

In the poll, IBM after their DeskStar (aka DeathStar) lawsuit, they do not make HDs anymore.
The company that took over the HD division is Hitachi.
March 8, 2008 8:46:10 PM

lp231 said:
In the poll, IBM after their DeskStar (aka DeathStar) lawsuit, they do not make HDs anymore.
The company that took over the HD division is Hitachi.


Funny that you should mention the IBM Deskstar. I had one and transfered it through three computers before it was just too small to be useful anymore. It was a bit noisy, but never died from use.
March 8, 2008 9:09:43 PM

In the past 3 years I have had two disk drive failures. One WD was noisy and a Seagate became unreliable on spin up when cold. The Seagate was outside the retailers warrenty but inside the Seagate Warrenty and they replaced it quickly and painlessly.

Overall at the moment I prefer the Seagates as they seem quieter.
March 8, 2008 10:00:13 PM

Seagates have been FAILING a lot in the last months. Personally I will try to avoid OEM (barebone) Seagates because I had a lot of problems with it.

Maxtor has been perfect for me. Western Digital with its raptor has also been nice. Samsung.... Heard good but also bad stuff.
March 10, 2008 1:04:09 PM

sailer said:
Funny that you should mention the IBM Deskstar. I had one and transfered it through three computers before it was just too small to be useful anymore. It was a bit noisy, but never died from use.


I have a Deskstar and a Quntam from IBM, I have been using them in computer just so I can play around with a few different versions of linux, and the quntam is finally dieing, but the Deskstar is still working.

I Put IBM in the poll, because I happen to know a few people who still like the Old IBM drives.
March 10, 2008 2:15:00 PM

WD and Seagate are the best for me, some models better than others, make sure you get HD with 5 years warranty. One thing for sure Hitachi and Samsung disappoints me more than others.
March 10, 2008 2:18:53 PM

i always prefer seagate.owned 4 of them since 1996.used samsung once-its simply crap!! i've got a hitachi drive too for about 7 months now-no issues yet.
March 10, 2008 3:10:43 PM

I got my first PC in 1991, it had an 83mb (no, not gb) Seagate. I wound up giving the drive to a friend for use in his Commodore Amiga 2000 (!), and it still works to this day.

I'm a little less trustful of WD drives - they went through a period were the quality wasn't so great, and I lost two WD drives in a row in under a year. That was a long time ago though. WD seems to have its act back together, but... I am currently using a pair of WD drives in my eSATA RAID. No issues yet.
March 10, 2008 3:19:45 PM

I have personally worked with all harddrives on the market, I was a service technician for a large computer company, I am a network administrator and have used all drives still. Not to say anything bad about any drives but look at a Seagate drive or Hitachi, is says on them they can take 10G's of force before they stop working, WD says 100G's of force before unusable. I have had several drives returned to me for RMA, most were fujitsu, then maxtor, next would be seagate then WD, Hitachi would be up there with Fujitsu/Maxtor level. Not to say anything wrong with any drives but to prove a point several of these drives were dropped from 3', 6' and 8'. The seagate worked up till the 8' mark, WD never stopped working, just started making noise, all the other drives stopped working after fisrt drop from 3'. Hop this helps in deciding factors when selecting drives
March 10, 2008 3:39:39 PM

As a data recovery technician, I find this to be the million dollar question. Seagate definitely seems to have the upper hand on the market, but I've been seeing 500GB Seagate drives coming in after only being used for a couple of weeks. But, that being said, I've seen a lot of 500GB Western Digital drives that are in very rough shape.

With all that in mind, we see them all come in for failures. If you want stability, buy SCSI or SAS. If you want volume and low price, buy PATA or SATA. The brand really doesn't make much difference, in my mind. I suppose that Seagate's 5 year warranty will help a bit.
March 10, 2008 4:32:43 PM

I've had 2 Deathstars fail - one on my laptop and one on my father's. Both Dells, and both died soon after the laptop warranties ran out. To be fair, my laptop had suffered a high-G impact a few months before failure, and my father runs his laptop as a slideshow 24x7.

I've also had a WD RAID drive disconnect from the array after I moved, but it has since apparently stabilized to the new climate. That drive is 1 of 6 running in an HTPC 24x7 since 11/2005.
March 10, 2008 4:51:35 PM

I was WD exclusive for years. Then I started hearing rumblings about the new drives being manufactured in new plants/different countries, and having bad bearings in their mid sized hdd's (80 gigs). Well, about a year later I noticed that my harddrive was getting pretty noisy so I RMA'd it. Started buying Seagate. Never had any more problems with any of my WD's. And never had any problems with my Seagates. (The oldest seagate being about 5 now) I just went back to WD (server class) in my latest build. My oldest WD that is in use is about 7-8 years old.
Bottom line, so far I have had 4 bad hard drive, a Samsung 6.4gb, 2 IBM's 20gb's, and a WD 80gb with noisy bearings. I think both companies are doing well. Wd's are just a little bit faster for the most part.
a b G Storage
March 10, 2008 5:25:42 PM

I've always bought WD for home, since 1994, usually because they were cheaper and because reviews said they were quieter. For some reason, wherever I worked, I've always got Seagates. Either way, they all worked fine for a few years and then they were dumped in favor of something newer and much bigger. I'll probably keep buying WD myself, but I'd vote for Seagate too if the poll allowed it.

March 10, 2008 5:25:50 PM

I've had 5 Western Digital drives and 3 Seagates, the Seagates being less than 2 years old. The very first drive that came in the Dell my parents bought in 2000 was a Western Digital 20GB. I upgraded to a 120GB drive and took the 20GB out. It sat idle for about a year. When I put it back in the computer later, the drive had failed. Windows wouldn't install and it failed the drive test I ran on it.

So I've had 1 WD drive die. I did, however, just buy a WD drive about 3 months ago. *shrug*
March 10, 2008 6:00:53 PM

There are only three brands i actually bought myself. Samsung, Western Digital and Seagate. I don't consider Seagates Maxtor line as being true Seagate drives since they don't give them the longer warranties.
Of 5 WD drives i bought, all of them failed over time. My oldest harddrive, a 20GB Seagate Barracuda, made it through my K6-2 and my Pentium D and never had any trouble. The same is true for the other Seagate drives i bought.
The service WD and Seagate offer is, in my experience, really good. I had to replace a friends Barracuda and it went through without at hitch.
Getting the WDs replaced was easy too - even though i had a whole lof replacements that were dead on arrival or died shortly after.
I remember 1 harddrive (a 40GB one) i send in because it was defective. I received a defective replacement that got replaced by a drive that died after three or four days of use and got replaced by a drive that died a few days after the warranty ran out. I haven't bought any WDs ever since.
March 10, 2008 7:05:20 PM

:wahoo:  Still running an ancient Cyrix 486sx with a WDAC2120-120MB (Yes, puppies, that's correct... 120 MEGABYTE) HDA, 2MB RAM, 512K VGA (Trident 9x), under OS/2 (WARP 3) and IBM DOS 6.0 running with 613K free. It's used for old DOS games and still runs rock solid.

I bought the drive in 1993 to replace an 80MB HDA.

NOW GET OFF MY YARD!!!

:kaola: 
March 10, 2008 8:14:41 PM

I have owned and/or used a number of HDs over the course of my life, and I can say definitively that WD and Seagate have been the two best brands in terms of failures. Out of 10 or so WD's, only 1 needed to be RMA'd - all the others died after 5 years or are still in use. My Seagate HD's are all on the newer side (I bought my first one 6 years ago), and none of them have failed yet. I have never owned or used a Maxtor drive that didn't need to be replaced within a few months of its warranty expiring (typically around 14-16 month lifespan). I received 3 IBM DeathStars in 2001, one of which died after 2 years (and its replacement died after 2 years), one died last year, and the other is still in my system today hosting my occasional Linux experiments. I have never used a Samsung or Fujitsu, mostly because of Western Digital and Seagate's track record.

These days I tend to buy Seagate over WD because of the 5 year warranty (vs WD's 3 year), just in case.
March 10, 2008 9:46:37 PM

HD failure was common place back in the days of Win95 and Win98 and the frequent BSOD and hard reboots.

With WinXP the frequent BSOD has become somthing of a rarity and HD survival dramatically increased.

Vista is even more stable than WinXP.

HD failure will never disappear, but one would hope it becomes less of an issue.

March 10, 2008 10:14:04 PM

HD failure was common place back in the days of Win95 and Win98 and the frequent BSOD and hard reboots.

With WinXP the frequent BSOD has become somthing of a rarity and HD survival dramatically increased.

Vista is even more stable than WinXP.

HD failure will never disappear, but one would hope it becomes less of an issue.

March 10, 2008 11:02:12 PM

StevieD said:
HD failure was common place back in the days of Win95 and Win98 and the frequent BSOD and hard reboots.

With WinXP the frequent BSOD has become somthing of a rarity and HD survival dramatically increased.


I believe what you're implying here is an error in logic called the cause and effect fallacy.

You have 3 different things that have happened over a period of 10 years:

1. Win 95 and 98 were in common use, now Win XP is in common use.
2. Blue screens and general protection faults used to be much more common than they are now.
3. Hard drives used to fail at a higher rate than they now do.

Even if all of these things are true, they don't necessarily have anything to do with each other. There is no cause and effect here, only the coincidence that these three things all occurred over the same time period.

You cannot conclude that the better hard drive reliability is the result of fewer blue screens just because of the association or correlation.
March 10, 2008 11:37:08 PM

EXCELSTOR Jupiter series are the best!!!

besides it obviously excels at making HD's b/c it is in their name, and lets be honest Jupiter is a huge planet, and huge = big, and bigger is better, right?

:lol:  :hello:  :bounce: 
March 10, 2008 11:40:28 PM

I like my WD drives. I've never had any problems with them, but I never owned a Seagate, so I can't comment on them. Overall I'd say that both are quality drives and wouldn't not second guess purchasing either one.
March 11, 2008 12:26:14 AM

Google did a study using a large # of drives back in Feb. 2007. Interesting study. Several conclusions from that study that I found interesting:

1. No one drive manufacturer failed any more (or less) often.
2. If a drive made it past three years, it would have a high probability of making it to 5.
3. The three year age had a high failure rate.
4. a drive had about a 40% chance of failing within two months of its first scan error, and a similar rate for its first seek error.
5. One could not make a predictive model from SMART signals alone.


a b G Storage
March 11, 2008 12:37:54 AM

If I remember right they also found that the drives that were allowed to run hotter actually lasted longer :) 

March 11, 2008 12:53:53 AM

Up to the three year mark, yes. But at three / four years, >45 was significantly higher than lower temps.

Wish I hadn't lost that link, but it was presented at USENIX FAST, 2007. It's only available to members now...
March 11, 2008 1:50:08 AM

The notion of Seagate's extended warranty is somewhat comforting although the data is usually far more valuable than the drive itself in the event the drive fails. I've only ever had 1 drive fail on me and I'm not really complaining. It was a refurbished Seagate 160GB ext HD that I got for free from a rep because they messed up on a MIR I did. Other than that I've personally had 2 Seagates, 2 WD, and a Hitachi Deskstar, all of which are still chugging. All my builds in the past 6 years have been either Seagate or WD and none of them have had a hard drive fail. Two of my friends bough Maxtor drives about 4 years ago and both of them died. That said they were bought at the same store within a few months of each other so it could have been a bad batch. I pulled an old 5400RPM 13.6GB Maxtor from 1998 that still works fine though. I also found a handful of 170MB-4GB mostly Maxtors from 1994-1996 that still worked before I scrapped them to play with the magnets.

-mcg
Anonymous
a b G Storage
September 24, 2009 3:03:41 PM

About 7-8 years ago, I purchased four or five Western Digital 120 GB Caviar drives and put them in external enclosures. Then, 6 years ago, I moved from an apartment to a house. I did not trust the movers to move any of my computer equipment, so I personally and very carefully moved all of my computers and external drives in my car. After setting up shop at the new house, I found that ALL (repeat, ALL) of the WD 120 GB Caviar drives were dead! NONE of the many other hard drives I'd moved was dead; they all worked fine. I think that the WD Caviar (which I now call "Caveat," as in, "it works, with the caveat that you don't move it") 120 GB drives were just particularly susceptible to physical shock and vibration. In any event, I lost a lot of data and was beyond the warranty period, so I couldn't even get the drives replaced. As a result, I will never buy a WD product again. They may be making good drives again, but why take a chance?
October 8, 2009 1:48:26 AM

Seagates are quieter, and have a shorter warranty then western digitals, but are slower too. it seems over the past 2 years Seagate and WD have switched places! i have a Seagate 7200.10 320gb that's two years old. its absolutely silent, even when installing windows 7. my brothers 320 caviar se16? loud as hell when doing the same thing, but just barely audible in normal use. his drive is faster though, which drives me nuts sometimes because my computer completely outclasses his and still ends up slower sometimes. im planning on getting a 1tb drive since they are so cheap these days. i think the samsung f3 would be nice since its the only 1tb drive to use 500gb platters other then the Seagate 7200.12. what with the recent firmware problems, i just don't trust Seagate like i used too. all drives have a more or less similar life expectancy, if it lasts a year, it will likely last 3 years, if it lasts 3 years, it will probably last as long as you feel like using it. the 8 year old 160gb seagate in my g5 still works, but sometimes locks up for 5-6 seconds on bootup.
October 9, 2009 7:47:49 PM

I really don't know where you guys get this info from but it is a fact that WD is superior to Seagate regardless what the fanboys say..... I have used both brands for over 10 years and as far as reliabilty and warranty goes the Seagates have underperformed in a MAJOR way.... The Seagates are considered OK drives, back in the day when they had a 5 year warranty they were superb drives, since then its been all downhill.... I can tell you that out of 30 SG's drives that I have purchased, at least 10 of them died way before the warranty expired....And many died after the warranty expired as well.... As far as the WD drives I have purchased, maybe 3 or 4 have gone bad out of 40.... Heck I even have an 11 year old WD drive that is still going stong after many re-formats....
a c 127 G Storage
October 9, 2009 8:01:57 PM

You can't make any conclusions with just a handful of drives. Try 1000, or even 100x times that. Then you can make some conclusions.

The annual failure rate is about 1.7%, so every year you have between 1% - 2% of your drive failing - statistically.

All in all it doesn't matter very much; you can't trust any HDD to store your data safely. You NEED a backup, and using RAID can enhance reliability as well. But for many purposes, SSD storage will take over which can't really fail like HDDs do. SSDs offer very reliable storage so you don't need redundancy.
October 9, 2009 8:06:24 PM

I agree, but Seagates are not what they used to be... Or at least in my opinion....

If I were to choose between any platter drive and lets say the budget was around 60-100 dollars, I would not even hesitate to buy a Caviar Black.....
a c 127 G Storage
October 9, 2009 8:09:26 PM

Seagate 7200.12 is fine. Tho they kind of lost rep with firmware issues of earlier series. But i wouldn't say people shouldn't buy 7200.12 because its less reliable than the competition. That's simply not true, if there are any minor differences in overall failure rate, its too small to change anything.

What does it matter if the drive has 1% failure rate instead of 2%? Oh yes only half, but would it matter? Would that make you say "oh i don't need a backup" ?

It should only be an inconvenience when an HDD fails; something you can restore quickly because you have all valuable data elsewhere too. HDDs are just too unreliable to store important data by itself - at least I don't trust HDDs for that task. I would trust SSDs tho.
October 29, 2009 9:50:09 PM

BAD SEAGATE LP DRIVES. I have purchased 3 1.5TB 5900 rpm ST31500541AS "Baracuda LP" drives and all begin recalibrating after a few hours of use. (I fill them with 1.2 TB of data backup -- no problem -- then after a few more days they begin to click click recalibrate.)
They have the newest CC34 Firmware but still become unavailable for a second or two when they recalibrate (you hear a click / clunch sound). SMART is ok, SeaTools tests shows ok, even when the drive recalibrates in the middle of the test.
When it is acting up the drive just goes dead for a second or two or three or more and then comes back. So far, no sign of data errors.
I would call this reason for a "recall". Three in a row bought at separate times.
I have installed a SATA2 PCI board in case the hardware was at fault. Same problem.

Seagate suspects my hardware but it failed on an external USB adapter also. Fails with the 150gb jumper on also.
a b G Storage
October 30, 2009 12:39:26 AM

DO NOT BRING UP DEAD THREADS
October 30, 2009 3:37:44 AM

Shadow703793 said:
DO NOT BRING UP DEAD THREADS

Please explain:
Perhaps I'm too new at this. What is dead about this thread? Is my comment relating to another thread that is dead? Or is this Oct 9 thread dead? I'm confused.
(I'm commenting about the Seagate ratings and giving an example how three of mine have a problem which is different from the earlier Seagate drives with the "bad" firmware, i.e. older than CC.)
Please inform me.
a b G Storage
October 30, 2009 10:54:28 PM

^Look at the original post date (03-07-2008), here most people (esp. the one's who have been here long) don't like it when people wake up threads over a week or two old.

Btw, my comment was not just directed at you, it was directed at Anonymous (who originally bought up the dead) and below.

The reason for not bringing up dead threads is people just read the text in the original post and comment on it, thus making for a large gap in terms of time and tech advancement.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
November 23, 2009 9:11:25 PM

FrozenGpu said:
EXCELSTOR Jupiter series are the best!!!

besides it obviously excels at making HD's b/c it is in their name, and lets be honest Jupiter is a huge planet, and huge = big, and bigger is better, right?

:lol:  :hello:  :bounce: 




EXCELSTOR Jupiter series are the worst actually. After 3-4 years they have about 80% fail rate. I've replaced countless numbers of this species.
February 21, 2010 11:33:48 AM

I provide IT support for Macintosh users. In the past couple of years, I've seen serious problems with a number of external hard drive brands mostly due to case problems, port problems, off/on switch/button problems fan and heat problems, and bridge chip problems. The worst has been Western Digital.
WD tends to have problems with both bare and drive cases but in particular case and bridge chip/port problems especially with their FireWire 400 and 800 products. WD tech support is almost non existent and my last brush with them was a 3 1/2 week wait for a response by email which then said if I didn't like the constant problems to return it.

Seagate has had some problems with one model bare drive that made a lot of press but Seagate provided a firmware fix. Seagate's FreeAgent cases with no power button have seen serious problems for Macintosh users and the same is true of WD cases with no true off/on button.

LaCie just makes cases but their cases in recent years have become problematic and LaCie which used to be known for good tech support has fallen way down in this department.

Recently I've been buying bare Hitachi 1 TB, 1.5 TB, and 2 TB Deskstar drives for use in eSATA drive docks and so far have had zero problems.

If you do see S.M.A.R.T. status failure predictions (Mac internal drives show this in Disk Utility) the S.M.A.R.T. status indicators can be a terribly misleading prediction of failure. Personal example is a 12 year old 9 GB LVD UW SCSI drive in an older Mac G4 that I use occasionally and it's been showing S.M.A.R.T. failure now for 6 years but keeps working just fine. I used to use it mostly for burning DVDs.
!