HD Paranoia ! Hard Drive Performance, Backup, and Avoiding Failures


Those uninterested in History may skip down to The Actual Question

History > I am setting up a new CAD / graphics workstation >

HP z420 (2013)> Xeon E5-1620 quad core @ 3.6 / 3.8GHz > 24GB ECC 1600 RAM > SATA III, USB 3.0 Quadro 4000 > Samsung 840 SSD 250GB / Seagate Barracuda 500GB > M-Audio 192 24/192 PCI sound card > Linksys AE3000 USB WiFi // Windows 7 Professional 64 > AutoCad, Revit, Inventor, Maya (2011), Solidworks 2010, Adobe CS4, Corel Technical Design X-5, Sketchup Pro, WordP Office X-5, MS Office

> which arrived with a HD that I knew in advance would be changed, a Seagate Barracuda ST500MD2-1BC142, 500GB with 16MB cache. On Passmark this produces an average score of 758 and is ranked No. 860.

The thing is, while I've had generally very good luck with HD's over the years- I have a 1998 dell XPS Pentium III 750 MHz with beautifully working 80GB and 30GB IDE from 2004, and the WD RE4 500GB in my Dell Precision T5400 has 12,000 power on hours without missing a beat. However, I have a 320 WD Passport that reads when it feels like it, and a Seagate 160GB 3.5" USB 2 that is completely stuffed.

The performance of the ST500MD2-1BC142 is not so wonderful for a SATA III drive, but given my Passport inspired lack of trust with 2.5" external drives, my thought is to change the ST500 for a faster 500GB or 1TB for storage, and put the it in an external enclosure. After a lot of looking around, I settled on>

StarTech.com 3.5in SuperSpeed USB 3.0 SATA Hard Drive Enclosure w/ Fan > $38.24


> and which has the best ratings- or should I say the least negative ratings for this kind of enclosure, and that is not very expensive.

The Actual Question But, this leaves me with the choice of the internal storage drive, and my indecision is based less on performance than the very large proportion of negatives/ complaints from users. On Newegg and amazon, some drives have 25% negatives and many are DOA complaints that I think must be the result of poor packing / rough handling in transit.

Of course, those buyers with problems are more likely to speak up, but I'm wondering what is the best source for careful shipping of drives and cheerful support ? Or are Amazon and Newegg as good as any? I called Newegg yesterday and when I asked how they pack hard drives, I got a sort of rumbling , what is a hard drive and what is packing, anad when you say warranty what do you mean- sound. Also, I can never get a clear answer as to the actual warranties, except on the WD Black which is 5-years.

Drives I'm considering >


Barracuda 1TB ST1000DM003
Constellation ES.3 1TB (128MB cache) ST1000DM003 (The most expensive in this list at $110)

Western Digital >

Black 500GB WD500AZEX (a recent design)(and 500GB is adequate)
Black 1TB WD1003FZEX (the new 1TB platter design)
Blue 1TB WD10WDEZEX ( a new 1TB platter design said to be almost as fast as the Black and almost $30 cheaper at about $65)

The Constellation and WD Blacks have 5-year warranties and the Barracuda and WD Blue are sort of nebulous- the Barracuda when sold as a "bare drive" may have a 1-year or 2-year "limited" warranty.

All thoughts on this subject welcome!


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More about paranoia hard drive performance backup avoiding failures
  1. Newegg typically wraps the drive in bubblewrap and then boxes that which gets boxed one again. Of course I've had that box be much larger than the inner allowing the drive to bounce around. This is still way ahead of the way they used to do it. LOL

    WD blacks are a good drive and their RE series is their entry 'enterprise' class ( similar to the constellation) drive so don't omit them them.

    I would base your decision on which company handles warranty better where you live. All drives fail and both companies have about the same overall failure rate.
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