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What's the most reliable hard drive? WD Black vs Blue vs Green

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December 2, 2009 11:01:44 PM

Hi, I'm looking for a external hard drive with the following:

1. Reliability and long lifespan
2. Value for money

I don't care about speed and performance at all... I'm used to slow speeds of my crappy old laptop.

I know this question has probably been asked many times but I want to know... Which is the most reliable hard drive out of the 3 WD hard drives?

I've checked the WD site and it says Blue is for everyday performance and reliability, so does that mean Blue is the most reliable and will have the longest lifespan out of these 3?

I'm also interested in Green drive. Since it runs slower and cooler, I initially thought Green should have the longest lifespan. However, it appears some people are having problems with the head park issue which is said to seriously reduce the lifespan of the hard drive.

And then there's the Black. I've heard some people claim that Black has the shortest lifespan since it's optimized for performance and the parts will wear down quicker than others. But strangely, WD Black seem to be the only drive out of these 3 that offers a 5 year warranty (versus 3 years for Green and Blue) so could that mean Black's the most reliable/has the longest lifespan out of these 3?

Another hard drive I'm interested in is the seagate's 7200.12 1Tb. I wonder how reliability/lifespan of the seagate will compare to WD?
December 2, 2009 11:03:04 PM

for laptops, I believe they use 2.5inch drives, not 3.25
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December 2, 2009 11:06:23 PM

I want to get an additional external drive as both my laptop and my 2.5" external hard drive is full :) 
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a c 415 G Storage
December 2, 2009 11:35:41 PM

Personally, for the purposes of deciding which drive to buy, I'd consider all three drives equally reliable. Interestingly though, the spec sheets for the Black drives show a read error rate of no more than 1 in 10^14 bits read, while the Green drives are specified at 1 in 10^15 bits.

On the face of it this suggests that the Green drives have a read error rate that's 10X less, but in fact I suspect that the "no more than" clause has a lot of slack in it and these values are just rounded to the nearest power of 10. If that's the case then these drives could be pretty close in their actual read error rate.
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a b G Storage
December 3, 2009 12:07:13 AM

Not enough difference to matter.
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December 7, 2009 3:02:00 AM

I've sent an email and asked WD and this was the reply I've got:

"Kindly take note as all drives are designed around a 5 year life span. Our drives have less then a 1% annualized failure rate and cost difference is usually because of warranty length and features. (speed, cache, RAID, ect.)"

So I guess there isn't any significant difference...
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a c 415 G Storage
December 7, 2009 2:58:21 PM

Nice to see their reply, thanks for posting it!
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April 9, 2013 12:27:16 AM

I've used WD hard drives for a number of years and have had mostly terrible experiences. The greens if you are lucky will last half the warranty period, but I've had them crap out in less than a week believe it or not. Quality control seems to be a real big issue these past two years - maybe a result of the flooding? Our drives are mostly always on, a lot of I/O, but kept in a cool environment. The blacks and the blues that we've tried last longer but still usually fall short of the warranty period (or last just past it by a month or so...funny how THAT happens alot, too)
We've just bought a couple of reds so don't know how they will stack up against the others, but to tell you the truth I was just about fed up with WD, though don't know of many alternatives that we haven't tried already.
Maxtor and Seagate we haven't used in years because of similar problems back in the day. WD was the new kid on the block and seemed at first to have a better product, but now they suck. I spend weeks of every year dealing with their crappy drive fallout. It seemed to coincide with the rise in prices too.
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September 8, 2013 11:15:44 PM

I refer to the problem above of having so many consistent drive failures - I discovered our Storage-works HP2000 disk array was taking out Seagate 2TB drives on a regular basis. After exchanging about 9 drives over a 12 month period Ithen changed the actual disk array unit itself and (so far) have not had a drive failure yet. So don't always blame the disk units themselves. We're now at stage where the manufacturers state that their drives WILL fail at some stage up to 5 years - so one should expect this failure! For this reason we are basically looking at using RAID arrays for all computer work from now on.
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