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Hard Drives Really Unreliable?

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December 31, 2011 8:12:30 PM

So I'm pretty close to buying my new system, the only thing I'm really hung up on is the hard drive - I'm a first time builder, going for a rough $1200-1300 complete build including monitor and all that jazz.

Reading reviews on newegg is pretty disheartening, as it seems that a lot of people are having difficulties with hard drives - I don't know if this is normal or only more recently. I'm not talking about the price increases either, that's just something we have to live with, what ever... Just seems that a typical HDD will have like 50-70% 5 egg reviews, then like 15-20% 1 egg DOA's, 2-week deaths, etc...

So what do you guys think? Should I take my chances and potentially do the RMA dance? Or are there better options, maybe SSD or something, I don't know how much more reliable those are though.

I totally don't mind settling with just an SSD for now, so long as I can find one that is reliable for decent price and size, as I will be gaming - I don't want something that will only hold a few games.

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a c 82 G Storage
December 31, 2011 8:40:56 PM

SSDs aren't necessarily more reliable than hard disks: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-reliability-fai...

There are several very good hard disks:

- Western Digital Caviar Black
- SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3
- Seagate Barracuda

When reading reviews, always take into account that more disatisfied owners write one.
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a c 168 G Storage
December 31, 2011 8:43:49 PM

Not to worry.

Most will not post the good news, only the bad on newegg. Actual return rates are more like 2%.

Here is a link to component return rates for many products including hard drives and SSD's:
http://www.behardware.com/articles/843-6/components-ret...

Actually, considering hard drive prices now, I would suggest starting with a 80-120gb SSD. Your pc will feel so much quicker. That will hold the os and half a dozen games. Whenever you need more space, hard drive prices may be back to normal.
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December 31, 2011 9:00:02 PM

Excellent - thank you both very much for your replies, definitely reassuring as I was really dreading the whole hard drive purchase thing. So if I'm correct, for SSDs it seems Intel and Crucial tend to be the most reliable at the moment.

I think I'll probably just settle for the SSD then for now. I can certainly wait a month or two before getting a big drive.

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a c 82 G Storage
December 31, 2011 9:04:36 PM

Intel is the most reliable, but Crucial is faster. Enterprises often use Intel SSDs because reliability is more important than maximum performance.
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a c 114 G Storage
December 31, 2011 9:17:24 PM

This compares the most popular "performance" drives"

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...

I always pay strong attention to warranty, noise and temperature

This is my current fav drive....bought a few (2TB) just before the floods....now mucho dollars more than I paid.

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

Quote:
So if I'm correct, for SSDs it seems Intel and Crucial tend to be the most reliable at the moment


This was mostly an assumption based upon a firmware issue on the Sandforce controllers in latest gen drives ..... that problem affected a very small number of users and has since been corrected by a firmware update.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4973/sandforce-identifies...

There may be some differences but since I don't own a server farm with 1,000's of units, all I can say from my experience is I have had no issues w/ about 22 or so SF drives (before of after). If performance is a consideration, I'd look at models that contain Toshiba Toggle Flash Memory (Patriot Wildfire, OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G (latest revision) and OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS) ..... they are in Tier 1 (240 GB) and Tier 3 (120 GB) here:





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January 1, 2012 12:10:18 AM

Very informative, thank you - I think I've changed my mind actually, and may go with an HDD, specifically the Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS. According to those statistic, it has very low return rates, and it's currently on sale on newegg/amazon for about $104 (after the promo code)...

I'm on a bit of a tight budget, and it's a bit tough to explain but basically, if I were to get an SSD right now I'd want to get something of quality with as close to 120gb space as I can... I'm going to be playing games like a mad man when I get this PC so a TB of space is more appealing to me, especially for the price and the assumed reliability and performance of the drive. I'm sure it falls short of the Spinpoint F3 and the Caviar Black drives in the same relative price range, but unless it's really worth dishing out a bit more, I'd like to save the $45... Will the aforementioned Barracuda do just fine for gaming?

A couple weeks down the line or so I might pickup an SSD for a boot drive or something.
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a b G Storage
January 1, 2012 1:05:22 AM

Darktactic said:
Just seems that a typical HDD will have like 50-70% 5 egg reviews, then like 15-20% 1 egg DOA's, 2-week deaths, etc...


Maybe the typical HD on newegg has this type of review, but the better drives don't. Look at reviews for the WD black 640 or 750 and they will be much better. Now the Seagate that you mention- currently it has 526 reviews, 61 % are 5-egg, 16 % are 1-egg, so maybe it isn't a very good choice.

Generally though HDD's these days are pretty reliable. I remember about 10 years ago the industry had pretty bad reliability but it has improved. Drives can still fail, and drives from any model and any manufacturer can fail. If you pick a good model from a good brand, you can improve your odds. But also you need to back up any data that is important to you.

As for SSD's, there seems to be a very wide range in reliability among brands. Look up the newegg feedback on some brands and it is very scary. OTOH some Intel, Samsung and Crucial models will have very good feedback. This is not a real bad time to buy an SSD, considering that their prices have steadily come down a small amount, and mechanical HDD's will probably be very high for the next 12 months.
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January 1, 2012 1:22:13 AM

Quote:

As for SSD's, there seems to be a very wide range in reliability among brands. Look up the newegg feedback on some brands and it is very scary. OTOH some Intel, Samsung and Crucial models will have very good feedback. This is not a real bad time to buy an SSD, considering that their prices have steadily come down a small amount, and mechanical HDD's will probably be very high for the next 12 months.


Certainly a solid reason to consider an SSD - I just feel that 64-80 gigs wont be enough for me for games, and that seems to be all i can afford at this very moment. If it really is worth going for the SSD though, over a 1TB HDD or something, I could perhaps survive on 60ish gigs for 3-4 weeks.

It's kind of weird how I've probably spent more time trying to find a good SSD/HDD than any other part.

Of course then I consider that it will probably take me forever to use 1TB, so it could be a less-than-ideal choice...

Haha, I'm about to just say f*** it and buy something.. I've put tons of consideration into this overall system, starting to get tired.
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a b G Storage
January 1, 2012 1:41:51 AM

Darktactic said:
Certainly a solid reason to consider an SSD - I just feel that 64-80 gigs wont be enough for me for games, and that seems to be all i can afford at this very moment.


I've been watching SSD prices for the past couple of years, hoping they would get cheaper so I could buy some. I bought a Samsung 128GB for my laptop not too long ago, for $170 from newegg.com. They have advertised that same drive for as low as $150 right around Christmas. They had another 120 or 128 SSD advertised last week for around $125, and it was a model that got pretty good reliability reviews.
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a b G Storage
January 1, 2012 1:48:26 AM

The odds of someone posting a bad review on the newegg site is much higher than those of posting a good review.

I have received more than a dozen drives over the past 5 or 6 years. All have worked. I didn't bother posting reviews.

In that respect, the newegg reviews reflect a skewed look at what is really going on.
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January 1, 2012 1:58:21 AM

cadder said:
I've been watching SSD prices for the past couple of years, hoping they would get cheaper so I could buy some. I bought a Samsung 128GB for my laptop not too long ago, for $170 from newegg.com. They have advertised that same drive for as low as $150 right around Christmas. They had another 120 or 128 SSD advertised last week for around $125, and it was a model that got pretty good reliability reviews.


Is it by chance this?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
The odds of someone posting a bad review on the newegg site is much higher than those of posting a good review.

I have received more than a dozen drives over the past 5 or 6 years. All have worked. I didn't bother posting reviews.

In that respect, the newegg reviews reflect a skewed look at what is really going on.


Well that is definitely reassuring. Not so sure why I'm so obsessed with getting things perfect with an SSD/HDD... my main concerns are, 1. having enough space to last me until I can get an HDD to dump all my games on or something, 2. reliability of course 3. Relatively good performance, all while keeping an easy price.

Anywho, I've probably been rambling on long enough - you guys have given me excellent answers and information.
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a b G Storage
January 1, 2012 2:00:19 AM

The last hard drive that I had die on me was back in 01', unless of course I was doing something to the drive, but thats a different story lol....

The last one that croaked on me all by itself was a WD Velociraptor first gen(not the ones they are selling now) and I think the reason for that was because they got too hot, so I put fans on them now and haven't had a problem since...
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a b G Storage
January 1, 2012 3:00:21 AM

Darktactic said:
Is it by chance this?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...




That is the one that I bought for myself. This is the one that is on sale right now for an unbelievable price:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Someone mentioned that there is more likelihood for an unhappy owner to post a review on newegg than a happy owner, and I think that is correct. In another thread today someone was talking about a certain SSD that they owned and were happy with. In newegg reviews 51% of feedback was 4 or 5 eggs, 40% was 1 or 2 eggs. This is pretty bad for a product, but there are probably a lot more than 51% of owners that like the drive. So you can't take the 40% literally, but I think it is still valid to use these numbers for comparison of multiple products. For instance a similar SSD on newegg has 94% giving it 4 or 5 eggs and 3% giving 1 or 2 eggs. This may not represent all owners either, but certainly the second product is more reliable than the first product.
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January 1, 2012 3:10:43 AM

cadder said:
That is the one that I bought for myself. This is the one that is on sale right now for an unbelievable price:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Someone mentioned that there is more likelihood for an unhappy owner to post a review on newegg than a happy owner, and I think that is correct. In another thread today someone was talking about a certain SSD that they owned and were happy with. In newegg reviews 51% of feedback was 4 or 5 eggs, 40% was 1 or 2 eggs. This is pretty bad for a product, but there are probably a lot more than 51% of owners that like the drive. So you can't take the 40% literally, but I think it is still valid to use these numbers for comparison of multiple products. For instance a similar SSD on newegg has 94% giving it 4 or 5 eggs and 3% giving 1 or 2 eggs. This may not represent all owners either, but certainly the second product is more reliable than the first product.


Wow that seems like quite a discount - I'm currently finalizing my build.... purchased just about everything except my i5, mobo, and an HDD or SSD, would you say that thing there is worth it over a $104 1TB Barracuda? Certainly I could live with 120gigs for a few weeks, even playing a decent amount of games.

I notice it's only SATA II, and the read/write times are not really "amazing" (i don't really know a whole lot about SSDs though, I'm only going by what I've seen) But is it still certainly worth doing?
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a b G Storage
January 2, 2012 12:11:07 AM

Darktactic said:
Wow that seems like quite a discount - I'm currently finalizing my build.... purchased just about everything except my i5, mobo, and an HDD or SSD, would you say that thing there is worth it over a $104 1TB Barracuda? Certainly I could live with 120gigs for a few weeks, even playing a decent amount of games.

I notice it's only SATA II, and the read/write times are not really "amazing" (i don't really know a whole lot about SSDs though, I'm only going by what I've seen) But is it still certainly worth doing?



I don't have enough experience to really answer that question, but I've read that an SSD will make a big difference in the feel of a computer. It will boot faster, load apps faster, open and save files faster, etc. There will be a lot of apps that won't run any faster once they are running. One of my desktop computers has a WD Velociraptor, the other has a WD Black 750GB, both of which are fairly fast mechanical drives. Both machines seem very responsive in normal use. I have a Dell business class laptop with 2.53GHz core 2 duo. It runs apps fast, but seems slow in booting and loading apps. I put the Samsung SSD in it and it became much more responsive.

I think there are a lot of if's that would help determine how much benefit there would be to an SSD. IF you do things that frequently access the hard drive, IF you have a medium speed machine, IF you don't have a real tight budget, then I think an SSD is good to have.
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January 2, 2012 12:29:35 AM

Best answer selected by Darktactic.
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