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A lot of mechanical HDDs dying!

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February 27, 2012 5:28:21 PM

I'm a system builder and provide IT support for a couple of companies, I check all PCs weekly including the HDD health keeping backups up and so on, in February I had 7 HDDs failing on me, 5 from Samsung, 1 from Seagate and the other one an older 80GB WD which is kinda old and pretty acceptable for it's age.

These computers were built mostly in 2009 to 2011 and had light to moderate use but it's surprising the short lifespan of these mechanical HDDs, most of them were acquired from different stores, suffered no impacts or whatever.

I've been usually replacing these HDDs before they die, mostly with 40GB SSDs but a workstation with a Seagate ST3500418AS suddenly stopped working, the drive was unformatted without partitions and NO SMART! Yes, that's what I said, the HDD's SMART is empty, there are absolutely no attributes in it's SMART, the files were healthy and I pulled em off with Easeus software just fine, I reformatted the drive and tested it for many hours, "works fine" but I wouldn't trust this drive again. Virtually impossible to be a virus case, the workstation was well locked down by AD policies and software restrictions.

What's going on with all these HDDs? In december I had to replace about 4 or 5, I got over 70 computers working in temperature controlled environment and most of these HDDs were running at high 30s to 40º Celsius.

Most common failure are related to excessive number of bad blocks and critical pending sectors.
February 27, 2012 5:31:22 PM

I guess I've been lucky, I've never had one of my personal drives go out, nor any of the machines I've built for friends.

Of course I only used Western Digital Blacks or RE's.
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a c 353 G Storage
February 27, 2012 5:34:19 PM

I think it is related to the Higher density/higher RPMs/and the decreased space for the head.

Still using some VERY old 2 Gig SCSI drives, that are installed in a Windows 3.11 envioroment that control critical flight Hardware. Still using some old IDE drives in two computers. Both of these computers have a pair of IDE drives setup in a Raid0 configuration and are about 10+ years old.

As geekapproved, The only HDDs used at home that have failed were in a USB enclosure and knocked over when on.

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February 27, 2012 5:49:34 PM

Not sure where you are located but in the winter months I always see an increase to HDD issues. I usually attribute much of it to dryness in the air increasing static problems. Where I work we usually see an increase in power supply failures as well. Throw in people using space heaters and power fluctuations from the weather equals some unhealthy power flows.

Are all the machines plugged into AVR capable power sources?
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a c 415 G Storage
February 27, 2012 6:27:59 PM

nitzero said:
I'm a system builder and provide IT support for a couple of companies, I check all PCs weekly including the HDD health keeping backups up and so on, in February I had 7 HDDs failing on me, 5 from Samsung, 1 from Seagate and the other one an older 80GB WD which is kinda old and pretty acceptable for it's age.
How many drives are involved with the systems you monitor? It seems like the annual failure rates for hard drives are somewhere around the 3-5% range, with newer drives in the lower end of the range. Being new doesn't exempt a hard drive from failure, though, so if you're talking about enough systems it could be completely normal.
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February 27, 2012 6:57:59 PM

About the power source I'm pretty sure it's stable enough but most of our power supplies are quality ones with Active PFC (I've had no problems with ANY power supply in the last couple of years, mostly Seasonic)

I'm dealing with a lot of drives, about 70-80 computers, I'm well beyond the average annual failure rate for hard drives or just lack of luck.

Almost all failing drives are Samsung 502HJ. There are a bunch of WD Blue 500GB drives too, haven't seen these failing.
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