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Thread: Hard Drives

  1. #1
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    Default Hard Drives

    Someone asked recently about a specific brand of Hard Drive to use. This article from the web site "How to Geek" might be of more use in selecting which brand to use than comments by individuals: Does Brand Really Matter When Buying a Hard Drive?
    Charles

  2. #2
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    Good general advice in that article: don't worry, but keep backups. I use: flash for the boot (and MSTS/OR working) disk; main data and a monthly image of the SSD on a larger internal hard disk; external backups (plural: on a biweekly-or-less basis for data from the hard disk to an attached (but normally off) external, monthly for data to a second external, and image at least twice a year (definitely, before a "feature" update of Win10 which is really a new OS install) to a different external.

    I haven't had a sudden hard disk failure in a long time (knock on plastic wood) but the tendency toward "soft" failures of SSDs makes me reluctant to keep important data on one for a long time - plus, data on some SSDs "fades" when the disk is left off for a long time (on the order of weeks to months). Hence use of the hard disk for that. And I did need one of those image backups during the transition to Windows 10.

    In the other thread, I noted that Backblaze as a cloud storage provider has a different drive usage profile than an ordinary PC user, and they themselves make that point in most of their reports. But since little other systematic data on actual drive life is publicly available, it's a good starting point. And yes, in their data a certain recent Seagate model seems to have significantly improved. The point in the Majorgeeks piece about green drives and start-stop is something to consider if such a drive is used as the system drive in a PC, where it's frequently accessed, but probably less important for a data disk that's accessed much less often. The old term for this is storage hierarchy - fastest access is the on-CPU L1 cache, ranging in steps down to, perhaps, tapes in vault somewhere that have to be retrieved by FedEx. SSD as the boot/working drive effectively inserts a persistent cache between the system's RAM (volatile) and the probably more-persistent hard disk; useful, but perhaps relatively (to hard disk) short-lived given how Win10 constantly hammers it with telemetry writes.
    Last edited by mikeebb; 12-09-2016 at 10:24 AM. Reason: smiley where not intended

  3. #3
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    While I think its great that some consumer grade HDDs got a workout in that article, I'm not quite so sure there was equality in the class of HDDs used between the manufacturers listed. There was nothing listed there among the Seagates that I would consider enterprise class (like the Constellation line).

    When I ordered the 2 desktops for the house I had options to go with SSD, tho they were small and pricey as a configure-to-order option. I opted for HDDs and figured I could change them to an SSD of my size choosing that I like at a later date. These came with 7200 rpm 1 and 2 TB Seagate Desktop class HDDs. The 1TB is a half height model, but the 2TB is a full height. That 2 TB desktop class drive comes in about half the weight as some 1 TB full height enterprise class Constellations I have for backup purposes. You can definitely tell that the Seagate Desktop class are part of the lighter, cheaper, simpler to manufacture class of drives for the consumer market. Those Constellations, although a 7200 just like the desktops, are a bit slower in transmission speed (fine for backups), weigh like a brick and are built like a tank, one of them actually survived a 3 foot drop from the desk onto a chair mat with carpeting underneath.

    I was also a bit worried that most SSDs lacked power loss protection, where data gets scrambled if there was a sudden power loss during an SSD write operation. So I opted for an Intel SSD with power loss protection (little capacitors inside the SSD with enough power to orderly finish write operations). What I didn't realize is that most OEM power supplies for high end desktops that come with SSD options have that delayed power provision, too. Not all power supplies are equal, and its something to think about when you rely on SSDs.

  4. #4
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    Power loss is an issue. Even hard drives can get scrambled if power is lost at *just* the right time, though the NT filesystem does a good job of protecting against data loss under most conditions. I simply got a cheap UPS - actually, a used APC 1500VA for free that I bought a new battery for - for the whole computer: it'll hold through 20-30 minutes of power loss, which is plenty given that most glitches around here are momentary (switch to battery for a few seconds).

    Backblaze is explicit about why they don't use enterprise-class hard drives: they cost too much and are too hard to get in the quantities they want at the times they want them. Given that their storage pods are fault-tolerant and frequently backed-up, they can use the cheapest Seagate consumer drives despite their relatively high failure rate under conditions they weren't designed for.
    Last edited by mikeebb; 12-09-2016 at 02:58 PM. Reason: UPS model

  5. #5

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    I have been using WDs Green Series 2TB HDDs ever since 2008 ... I got 6 x 2TB HDDs, up to now 2 x 2TB data plus 2 x (2 x 2TB) sets as backups, but will switch to using them as 3 x 2TB data and 3 x 2TB for backup now. No problems whatsoever.

    And in my PCs I got 80GB HDDs of WD, too ... for the OSes.
    Last edited by GoGoran; 12-21-2016 at 12:19 AM.
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    I have been using nothing but Seagate drives in every PC i have built since i first started computing in 1996, my current PC has a SSD as the C drive with only the OS on it but the other drives consist of 3 X seagate 1TB full height drives and like all the ones i have had before them never give me any problems, in all of those 20 years and 5 systems have never had a failure, and my PCs are on at least 12 hours a day every day.

    Intel i5 2400, Mobo ASUS P8H67, Win 7 Prof 64bit, 32GB Ram, Nvidia GTX960 4GB, SB Audigy, 6.25TB HDD's.

  7. #7

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    I'm paranoid with drives -- I mix manufacturers intentionally, mainly WD and Seagate. Both have worked for me, but mixing them means if there's a firmware or endemic manufacturing flaw, my bets have been hedged to avoid it affecting both.

    I also expect my drives to fail after three years of use... Everything mechanical eventually breaks, and drives are so cheap that buying a replacement and cloning it every couple years is worth avoiding data loss. Right now, I have a clone of my working drive just sitting in a box waiting for the working drive to fail...

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by eolesen View Post
    I also expect my drives to fail after three years of use... Everything mechanical eventually breaks, and drives are so cheap that buying a replacement and cloning it every couple years is worth avoiding data loss. Right now, I have a clone of my working drive just sitting in a box waiting for the working drive to fail...
    Backing up on other HDDs is just common sense and the easiest way of backup (and the cheapest as well).

    Nevertheless HDDs are very solid, and only a single one has failed me in 20 years - and that was a Seagate 250GB EIDE drive which I bought new and which failed after 2 or 3 years. All others are running strong ... even my almost 20 years old Quantum Bigfoot 5,25" HDD with 4GB.

    Contrary to your opinion I have come to the conclusion that if it doesn't break in the first 3 years, it will live forever.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoGoran View Post
    Contrary to your opinion I have come to the conclusion that if it doesn't break in the first 3 years, it will live forever.
    Usually rather true, but I did have a dual-drive NAS box running for about five years, and one of the two identical drives in it began failing in the fifth year. As luck would have it, it was a Seagate.


    MSTS-Roundhouse

    On hiatus and moving to a new host -- Probably in 2021
    (Because 2020 has turned out to be b0rked beyond belief...
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoGoran View Post
    Contrary to your opinion I have come to the conclusion that if it doesn't break in the first 3 years, it will live forever.
    Good luck with that approach...

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