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How to Determine a Drive's Reliability?

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a b G Storage
May 18, 2009 2:14:12 AM



Just went through the article explaining Tom's newest storage test platform. Is it just me, or do the benchmarks reveal nothing about a hard disk or SSD's ultimately reliability? Sure, there are benchmarks on how quickly the various tested drives read and write data, but I'd rather rely on the most reliable hard disk; how do we determine this?
a b G Storage
May 18, 2009 7:03:14 AM

r_manic said:
...but I'd rather rely on the most reliable hard disk; how do we determine this?



You can't use test. You must rely on service records. Meaning how many failures were reported.
a b G Storage
May 18, 2009 11:58:52 AM

All you can use are reputation, personal experience, and the experience of others.

MTBF also does not mean much. A drive manufacturer can release a new model with a 400,000 hour (about 6 years) MTBF. How do they know? Because it is a new model, they certainly didn't exercise a number of drives until they failed, average the time, and announce the drive's mean time to failure.

It's a statistical thing.
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a b G Storage
May 19, 2009 2:25:49 AM

Where can you find these service records? Also, which brand(s) would you consider the most reliable in general? From what I've read on this forum, it seems people are tending towards WD (which makes we worry about the Seagate 7200.11 I got last year)
a b G Storage
May 19, 2009 2:48:44 AM

Actually, the drive manufacturer does test the drives in rather impressive numbers, including heating them beyond spec while running them and other high wear methods. That is how MTBF and similar numbers are determined. They can't catch every problem though, so MTBF is only accurate if there are no additional failure modes that the manufacturer didn't catch in initial testing.
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