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Most reliable for moderate home use: WD RE4, WD Caviar Black, Seagate?

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August 23, 2012 6:42:53 AM

Hello, I want the most reliable storage hard drive for home use that will NOT be on 24/7, most of the time, and it will be used for heavy coding/compilation, etc. Might potentially be used as temporary file sharing/streaming server, or even Web server.

For backups, I like to do a complete mirror of my storage drives into another drive. (RAID 1?) I also have no idea about RAID. Is it "plug and play" when I connect, say, 2 RE4s? How would I set one up? Via some Windows settings?

However, I currently only use Samsung 830 128GB SSD as my main OS/App and temporary data drive.

I'm planning to buy 2-1TB internal hard drives later, or, at most, buy 1 drive soon and back it up to my current 1TB WD My Book external drive.

Newegg and Amazon currently sells 1TB WD RE4 - Enterprise RAID drives for just $99, which is about the same or even cheaper than 1TB WD Caviar Blacks! I'm wondering if it's worth it for my moderated use and best reliability, especially the 5-year warranty, MTBF (generally longer live), and well-tested.

The thing is, I can get that 1TB RE4 drive for $99 now, and I get a well-tested drive and will be covered for free replacements for 5 years, or I can buy the cheapest Hitachi, Seagate, or Samsung hard drives for about up to 30% less--with only 1-3 year warranty and not as well-tested--but might have them die on me each year, and then I'll have to spend way more and have to deal with more data recovery in the end.

But, again, this is mostly for home use, and also where I'll shutdown/sleep/hibernate my computer at the end of most days.
a b G Storage
August 23, 2012 8:19:32 AM

RE4 should be unbreakable in your usage scenario. Price is very tempting. So is 5 years of warranty.

However, I had always the best experience with Seagate drives. Check new Barracuda 7200.14, it's very fast.


It is always difficult to choose between price and longer warranty. I think, that in your case you can buy non-enterprise drives without hesitation, especially if you plan to mirror your drive. However, if you can afford it, I'd say buy those re4's and you won't have to worry for next 5 years (and they should last much longer).

As for RAID1 you can either set it up in bios (if your motherboard supports it) or create software one in Windows disk manager.

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August 23, 2012 6:32:07 PM

Bejusek said:
However, I had always the best experience with Seagate drives. Check new Barracuda 7200.14, it's very fast.


So you never had experience of Seagate drives dying only within a few years of use?

Does the new Barracuda being very fast outweighs the RE4's reliability? And, remember, I already got SSD for speed.


oxford373 said:
seagate HDDs are 40% fater than WD RE4 http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/hdd-charts-2012/-01-...


Again, does that speed difference even matter for a storage/secondary app drive? My OS/main Apps are already on my fast SSD, anyway.

And looks like the RE4 1TB $99 sale on Newegg has ended; only Amazon left. So I gotta make a decision soon.

Please help me make a more exact decision soon! Again, with more focus on reliability more than speed. Thanks.
a b G Storage
August 23, 2012 6:43:20 PM

I say go with 2 of the RE4's now. You can decide at any point if you want to incorporate RAID, after having them in your hands and deciding what they'll be used for. They are worth it, and outweigh other options IMO.
August 23, 2012 6:44:04 PM

Since we are apparently just providing anecdotal evidence here ... I'll jump in with the other side. I've had three Seagates HDs die on me out of three purchased and never had a WD fail. I have 5 WDs in my computers right now (oldest is from a pre-sata PC) and all are still functioning fine.

Look at newegg/amazon ratings and you will see WD on average has less customer dissatisfaction.

The WD Red line is brand new... so no real word on how they stack up in terms of reliability. This Anandtech article on them might be of interest -- http://www.anandtech.com/show/6157/western-digital-red-...

Samsung drives are also known to be pretty good quality (was recently bought by seagate, but hardware not changed yet to my knowledge).
August 23, 2012 6:48:26 PM

dingo07 said:
I say go with 2 of the RE4's now. You can decide at any point if you want to incorporate RAID, after having them in your hands and deciding what they'll be used for. They are worth it, and outweigh other options IMO.


I agree with this. The RED sale is to get the brand established on websites like amazon and newegg with high ratings (not because of low demand) - they will go back to costing a lot more soon. If they are the same price go for the fancy red one!
a b G Storage
August 23, 2012 7:04:15 PM

ive seen 1 out of the hundreds of WD's ive setup gone bad... seagates on the other hand, seem to last a couple years before crappin out.
August 23, 2012 7:16:28 PM

I've bought a dozen WDs in the past several years. I've read others claiming to have issues, but I have never had one fail yet. I have 4 Caviar Blacks running in a RAID-10 on my server and 2 in my desktop.

And yes, like it was said above, go ahead and give the RE4 a shot. They look pretty good.
August 23, 2012 7:29:08 PM

Alright, looks like I'm gonna go with the RE4. I'm just worried about it being used in a less-intensive environment than it's designed for. Such as, how to go about turning off the Time-limited error recovery thingy on that Enterprise drive? I heard it must be done for home use/make longer the recovery period? And, again, I'm not gonna RAID it/purchase 2nd+ drive right away, just gonna start with it, alone, and do basic mirroring backups of it to my external WD My Book Essentials 1 TB drive.

(@deadlockedworld I'm talking about RE 4 (Four) not RE D, lolz. And looks like REDs have a lesser, 3-year warranty.)
August 23, 2012 7:53:26 PM

Western Digital makes the best, fastest, more reliable hard drives. And if crap does happen Western Digital offers a 5 year warranty, unlike Seagate and the others that only offer a 1 year. WD is a little more money, but well worth the investment.
August 23, 2012 8:01:37 PM

p5p said:
(@deadlockedworld I'm talking about RE 4 (Four) not RE D, lolz. And looks like REDs have a lesser, 3-year warranty.)


Whoops. Srry bout that. I saw enterprise and just assumed it was the thing I had read about a few weeks ago! Glad you caught the difference.

Anyhow - recommendation still stands.
a c 277 G Storage
August 23, 2012 8:04:49 PM

On the other hand, RAID drives are set up NOT to try to recover from a read error, allowing the RAID controller to do this function. So it may not handle read errors properly as a non-RAID drive.

Any RAIDers out there (in Oakland, perhaps) who can speak to this from experience?
August 28, 2012 10:57:07 PM

Thanks so much for the confirmation guys. I got the RE4 1 TB for a few days now, and so far, so good.

I'm planning to just use Robocopy batch script+Windows Task Scheduler to back my data on the RE4 out to my external drive. That way, Windows sees the disk as 2 separate drives, whereas, from what I've read, RAID makes Windows sees the disks as 1 drive, and drive failures may be less noticeable.

What do you guys think? Is Robocopy backup better in my use case or RAID mode better? And besides, will RAID even work with my internal RE4 and my external My Book Essentials drives?

Thanks again!
!