Anything wrong with High-capacity drives?

Pros: Good capacity....

Cons: High capacity...

Other Thoughts: High capacity drives come at the cost of volatility. When seagate released the 1.5 TB drive, I was skeptical. As a physicist, I know that capacity is limited by technology, and while miniaturization is moving quite quickly, there is still a physical capacity, regardless. with magnetic storage this dense, one slight error by the head will corrupt the file, and repeated events - all of your files.

While the storage, and other perks from reviews already posted, are pretty good, I don't see these drives having a long lifetime, and most definitely wouldn't use them in high volume and mission critical environments. I'll stick with my 1TB drives until these have been on the market for a good amount of time. Call me a skeptic, but I'd like to think that I didn't spend an obscene amount of time in school for nothing.
While this is a single comment on the 2 TB drive page (Newegg), a long time before I read what the guy said I was thinking about the same thing.

First, the Samsung 1 TB drive (HD103UJ) received a high number of complaints from people stating those drives were faulty, so many critics that I decided to purchase the 750 GB model (also the 1 TB drive was expensive that time, so two enough reasons for me). Some people stated the drives worked for months before they eventually died... which is real bad when it's something unpredictable. In that case, we can't say for sure how those things are build and if they will last the same time as the old and low-capacity models.

Well, I haven't seen any HDD dying yet (not even from old age), and mine have years of usage, but they were probably build in 2002, 2003 (Samsung 160 GB and Seagate 300 GB). So I can't say anything about younger and high-capacity drives (currently I own 2 Samsung 750 GB drives, but they are months old). And my system is used 24h/day.

And then, as you might probably know, the massive failure from Seagate 1.5 TB drives (and probably a plenty more from the same company, I believe they are known as 7200.11).

Google did a research about this:

But what I am really concerned about is not why or how the drives might die. It's the expectations we can have with these kinds of drives. Are they really so much complex, build to have a long lifetime, or the companies are investing in something that is not meant to have that capacity?

I mean, I always wondered why fast drives (with 10K or 15K RPM) have a very low capacity, and why someone haven't build a 500 GB SCSI drive for example, making the same commercially viable for most people. Then someone said to me it was impossible due to limits of technology.

Aren't we doing the same thing with normal internal drives? Do you see a resemblance with them and the tower of Pisa (the design was flawed from the beginning)? :p

HDDs are old technology, perhaps a single drive was not supposed to have so much storage capacity, without those side effects, or at least a shorter (or probably risky?) lifetime.
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  1. "HDDs are old technology, perhaps a single drive was not supposed to have so much storage capacity, without those side effects, or at least a shorter (or probably risky?) lifetime. "

    HD's keep getting larger and more reliable - even considering Seagate's recent problems. And vertical recording is hardly "old technology".
  2. Harddrives are about the only reason computers are slow. Virtually all of the waiting time you spent just staring at your screen waiting till its done, is caused by the slow harddrive. While a harddrive has found (not read just FOUND) one little file, you CPU already completed 40.000.000 calculations. 40 million! Often, the CPU spends more than 99% of the time doing nothing, because its waiting for the data on the harddrive.

    So that said, HDDs are old crappy technology that wont last longer than 10 years from now; they will be extinct. Nobody wants slow, error-prone mechanical disks to power an otherwise fully electrical system.

    "which is real bad when it's something unpredictable" - all HDDs are unpredictable. Do not use them! If you want safety, use no mechanical parts. SSDs are a great successor to the old HDD technology.

    And your friend is right, a harddrive has to deal with data flips (a zero that becomes a one). Because the data density is so high, the actual data from the harddrive medium is unreliable. Techniques like ECC are now required to correct read errors because without it a HDD wouldn't be reliable.

    Googles experiences are not relevant; they test in a laboratory situation with 'perfect environment' to harddisks. Not the realistic environment like temperature-changes and vibrations.

    Any way, we all be very happy that the HDD is going to disappear quickly from now. No more crashed systems, no more slow systems, no more data loss.

    Interesting comments quoted from the podcast 29 (you can heard in the 30 minutes/half of the MP3 file) regarding bigger drives:

    Q: Is there any particular brand that you think is better than any other on hard drives?

    A: I would say that all of the drives are, at least today, not great drives. They are all made, and they are all going to die, a fairly quick death, pretty much the drives that are 500 GB and larger, are dying on a daily-basis for everybody. Terabyte drives, things like that. My preference would be to buy Seagate, only because of the warranty.

    So, in my opinion, at least (because the drive is going to die) I can get a replacement based on the warranty, that's my hope.

    Q: But why are the bigger drives failing?

    A: The thing that has happened since 2006 is that everybody is going to a perpendicular format. And what that means is before, pretty much before 2006 every drive was written in what is called longitudinal format.

    And that meant the north and south poles that you used to seem on a platter when you actually think about "how my data is written, it's laying down on a platter, north and south poles, and the head reads in that direction".

    Well, since 2006 perpendicular basically means it's no longer laying down on the drive, now we are going to store it up and down. It's the difference between, you know, let's instead of burying [?????] in the ground, laying down, let's bury standing up right, because they will save a lot more space.

    That's exactly what's happening with the bits and data stored on the platters now. So, at least from a stand point of sensitivity, the heads are much more sensitive to the amount of space and density that they got to read the content, and everybody is saying "let's get the biggest drive we can possibly get now", so, you know, one of the consequences of that is going to be: heat, and less time to test things.

    I've know people who bought 500 GB drives, bought 3 or 4 book drives, or something like that, and within a week of each other they are dying.

    And it's a fairly consistent inconstant thing now that one of things that you see in for recovery are these 500 GB drives both from Seagate, Western Digital, a few other companies, but, primarly Seagate and WD, the two I see most of.

    Q: I see. So, there is no real brand loyalty, they are build not great, but if you are going to put your money on something, you might wanna put on Seagate because of the warranty?

    A: That's my opinion, because they tipically they back the 5-year warranty before, I am pretty sure that's what it is now, still, but, tipically some other vendors, only either add 1-year or 3-years.

    It also depends if either you are buying in the external case or not, or OEM drive, cause if you are buying a Lacie, the drives inside them are not made by them, but Maxtor, Seagate, or somebody, and tipically, they only give you a 1-year warranty, you'll have to read the box to be sure, but versus what the manufacturer might offer, so you might not get the 5-year warranty when it's inside the case.
  4. P.S. Funny thing I said that I bought the 750 GB Samsung instead of the 1 TB drive because of the many complaints. Take a look into the Newegg page here:

    And you will see lots of reviews from people saying things like that about the 750 GB drive:

    Pros: Especially quiet now that it is dead.

    Cons: Purchased at the $109 price point from back on 5/13/2008. Drive is dead now and will now attempt to RMA.


    Cons: Bad compatibility. I was running it on XP and kept getting write failures. Switched it to an external enclosure via USB and it worked ok. I imagine because the connection was slower. Drive failed after 2 months. Lost 600GB of data which was always destined to be backed up tomorrow. I'm not sure if I even want to try to RMA it because of all the horror stories on this drive.

    Pros: None!!! Should have the ability to list as ZERO EGGS!

    Cons: Drive Failure After 5 Months. Take A Close Look At The Reviews. 1 day to 1 week, All Happy. 1 month to 1 Year, Huge Amount Of Failures. Just Know That Samsung Makes It Impossible To RMA!!! Thay Staste A 3 Year Warrany, But That Is Only As Good As The Company Behind It. Samsung Sucks. Thank New Egg For Posting All These Reviews, Maybee YOU WONT SUFFER LIKE ALL THE REST OF US!!! And To You Reviewers That Are Happy, JUST WAIT. YOUR TIME WILL COME! GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR RMA!!!

    Other Thoughts: Waited For A Week Now, And I Still Have No Return Corrispondance With Samsung. And If You Think They Make It Easy For Returns, Your Dreamin! They Know This Drive Sucks And Dont Want To Have To Pay To Cover There "Warranty". Shop Elseware. I paid $109.00 in Aug '08. Now Its $79.00. Wonder Why?! Thanks Samsung, Lost Customer For Life On All Products. Hope To See Where You Land In This Recession.

    This is really bad...
  5. I bought WD 1TB hard drives of the "EADS" series and the "YS" series.

    "EADS" is the current generation "green" drives and has better performance than the older "EACS" series.

    "YS" is the enterprise class hard drives which are rated to have the highest reliability, statistically speaking and also has very good performance. The bad thing is the price which was $200 when I bought the drive. The newer generation is currently out now and costs about $160 - $170.

    The "bad thing" about large capacity drives is that if they fail you will loose A LOT OF DATA!!!! Therefore, it is wise to backup all your data onto another hard drive.
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