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Hard Drive Failure rate by manufacturer?

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April 19, 2012 9:56:33 PM

So I was at work today, and I had to run tests on a bunch of hard drives to make sure they were still good and usable.
I tested piles of Seagates, WDs, and Hitachi's. Of the drives I've tested, 1 out of 7 of the Seagate drives were bad, and 5 of the 12 WD's were bad. ( I haven't gotten to Hitachi yet). It made me wonder if WD drives are more likely to fail than Seagates? Are the statistics anywhere on the web about the failure rate of hard drives based on Manufacturer? (as in do WD's fail faster than Seagates, because when it comes to drive failure it's not "if" its "when"
April 19, 2012 10:29:19 PM

I think you would have to test a larger population batch to find the MTBF rate (say 1000). One thing to maybe take into consideration is the age of the harddrive, interface (SATA vs. IDE), capacity, usage, exposure to heat, cold, dust, shock, encoding method, etc.
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April 19, 2012 10:34:20 PM

There have been numerous studies, articles and rants about drive failures. The factors involved in the demise of a drive are numerous and are very hard to test. But large data centers do keep an eye on their losses.

The biggest problem for home users starts at shipping, UPS is brutal on drives, those packing containers that only have padding one one side is garbage (thanks newegg). The drives should be bubblewrapped 360 deg and fit snugly in a box.

The more platters/heads you have, heat, vibration all contribute greatly to a drives lifespan. Extreme heating in your home, then punching on the AC to quickly cool the room could also cause problems. Power cycles will also affect lifespan.

Of the more than 100 drives I have gone through over the years, my highest failure rate is Western Digital. Some people have never had a WD drive fail. But I buy drives 4-5 at a time, so if I hit a bad batch then I am out of luck. The last one I sent back four weeks ago, the new (refurb probably) runs fine. The biggest fiasco was the 75gb IBM deathstar :)  I joined alot of others in the drive crash staticics for that one.

Out of the 7 samsung 2tb drives I purchased, NONE have perished yet (knocks on wood).

I still have a working 9gb scsi drive from a long time ago attached to my amiga 2000 '060 tower, and a 30gb inside it too. They work fine. Though the 9gb drive can fry eggs.

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April 19, 2012 11:14:08 PM

there's tons of variables that affect a HDD's lifespan. even the most reliable HDD if jolted and mistreated wouldn't last as long a cheapy HDD that was cared for.

with that said, of the dozens upon dozens of drives i've bought over the years i've only had failures from 2 brands: maxtor and seagate, even though a vast majority of HDD's i've purchased were WD and hitachi.
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April 20, 2012 1:20:43 AM

Every WD drive that I have bought for my home PC has failed after 2-3 years (about 5 drives total and none of them were from the same batch)

I now ONLY buy segate. I have 5 drives in my computer at the moment, all of them being segate, a few of them are 5 years old.
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November 20, 2012 1:24:39 AM

Screw Seagate! Out of all the drives i've worked with over the years, i've seen more Seagate disks die than any other brand (even Maxtor discs have done slightly better for me, though they are still Seagate if i remember correctly!) and sometimes they don't die, they just act up all the time and the BIOS/controller will randomly lose them. Had all sorts of *** with Seagate drives - the last time they were good is back when the first and second lot of Barracuda drives came out, but we're talking 2000/2001 here!
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December 10, 2012 7:31:05 AM

I have to agree with chaoshusky. I have had to send back 4 Seagate drives in a row for warranty replacement, and now the replacement is again going bad. I will never buy Seagate again after this warranty is up. I have 4 older WD drives that are going strong and are over 10 years old. It seems like the SATA drives go bad much faster than the old PATA drives do.
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December 10, 2012 4:04:29 PM

if u go WD, get the red or black drives...better reliability.
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February 16, 2013 2:51:56 AM

As people say, it's a crapshoot.

I've had WD's that lasted 5 years, I've had WD's that lasted two years.

I've had Seagates that lasted 7 years, one that's about to die after a year. I didn't include these with it, but I've got a couple of very old seagates that have lasted 15 years.

It's random, really.
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March 19, 2013 7:35:02 PM

I guess it's all about luck... I still have an old 20G IBM hd still running even though other drives next to it come and gone for so many years. Say 10 yrs?
I had bad experience with Maxtor, when it had 1 yr warranty and the 2 drives failed at the same time just a few days over an year. That was my first raid 0 drives. Since then I switch to WD and seagate.
But drives do fail, my system is a surveillance computer that runs 24/7 with no down time and continues read/write the drives. Lately I add a NAS with 2 3TB WD red HD, and guess what, one of the drive went bad after 2~3 month in service.. lol.. what a luck

So, which drive fails more? for me Seagates are a little more than WD, but I think they are not that much in difference.
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