Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

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Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:24 am

So, after my fun with my Samsung 830s, it turns out that my r5 array decided to crap out a disk. Performance got worse till one day I found the array disabled, powered it up and one of the drives makes about 11 'click-chunk' sounds before powering off. Unfortunately I had been using one of the drives as a temporary solution till I figured things out with Samsung (yay) and I lost my array. Part my fault, part Seagates fault, part **** luck. Luckily it was mainly media which I had archived.

Anyway the array had four Seagate 7200.11 drives in it, you know, the ones with legendary horrible reliability. To their credit they lasted four years (I bought them in 2009), but they only came with a two year warranty so I'm screwed as far as that goes. I was looking online for some replacements and I figured drives would've come further, but they haven't... it seems like the entire mechanical hard drive sector is in a downward spiral. Browsing Newegg most of the 1.2-2TB drives are pretty decent, the older models. Toshiba heading up the cheapest drives has some shotty reviews. Going a bit deeper and looking at the 2.5-3TB selection, almost all the manufacturers have horrible reliability. All of them, Seagate, WD, Hiatchi have god awful reviews.

The reviews themselves are of particular concern, where people are noting failures as soon as they're powered on (DoA) to within a few weeks, to a couple months. Their short term reliability is horrible. Of course you're less likely to find reviews from people who have owned the drive for +1 year because they care less, so they more then likely don't spend time reporting the drives death (which means these stats could get even worse). I know lemons are one thing, but it's not like these reviews occurred during a particular time period, they're popping up with regular frequency.

Hard drives from both manufacturers used to last a heck of a lot longer. It's not just the warranty that decreased, the quality decreased along with it. I remember shopping around on newegg in the 00s and popular hard drives had 4.5~ eggs. It really makes me wonder if the flood in Taiwan has given the manufacturers an excuse to make a subpar product and sell it to pad their margin lines. It seems as though people have just accepted it too, there really aren't any alternatives for drives as they all seem to be coming up with the same stats. Both Samsung and Hitachi have been bought out, Maxter was also bought up for what little alternative they offered so long ago. Now we have WD and Seagate and they both seem to have some sort of alliance to produce crappy hard drives.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... geSize=100

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... rchInDesc=


Looking at stuff like this, I really pitty people who run a single hard drive without any sort of redundancy (backup or raid). It almost seems like they're guaranteed to lose their data within two years. I still have plenty of hard drives from early 00s that work perfectly fine, including two 7200.9 drives.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:37 am

From a statistical perspective Newegg reviews are horrible. People who have problems are much more likely to post.

TBH I don't think reliability is that much worse. I manage lots of spinning drives in multiple desktops and servers, both at home and work. Anecdotally I'd say I've seen slightly higher failure rates on Seagates these past few years (almost entirely due to those 7200.11s), but in general things seem to be about the same as always.

Those Toshibas are rebranded Hitachis, BTW; after WD acquired Hitachi's hard drive business they were forced to spin off the desktop product line to Toshiba to appease the anti-trust regulators. FWIW I've had very good luck with Hitachi desktop drives (yeah, more anecdotal evidence... take it however you want). The one potential gotcha I can think of with the Toshiba (nee Hitachi) drives is that they have a history of using more platters at a given capacity point, which probably makes them somewhat more susceptible to shipping/handling damage.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:37 am

Dude, 100% agree. It seems most all drives seem have around a 22% report of immediate or short term DOA. Including the "reds" and other brand equivalents.

it is pretty disappointing .. you pretty much need 5+ drives and run un-raid top feel safe anymore. Maybe it is just me but it seems after the flood quality never came back.. add to that the focus on ssd's now and i juts don't feel they actually care anymore.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:45 am

I just run mirrored sets these days...I've had too many drives fail to trust them with anything any more.

When/if I build my next NAS box it'll be a large RAID 6 assuming it rebuilds in a reasonable amount of time...
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:37 am

It seems as it is based on how the drives are packed.
Most of the low reviews come from OEM drives. Retail boxed drives have significantly better reviews.
Newegg packaging is horrible. If you want drives to make it to your front door, you need to buy retail (when purchasing from Newegg).
If you buy OEM (especially from Newegg), you're rolling the dice on how diligent your packer was, which greatly increases the likely hood of "dead on arrival" drives.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:42 am

sircharles32 wrote:It seems as it is based on how the drives are packed.
Most of the low reviews come from OEM drives. Retail boxed drives have significantly better reviews.
Newegg packaging is horrible. If you want drives to make it to your front door, you need to buy retail (when purchasing from Newegg).
If you buy OEM (especially from Newegg), you're rolling the dice on how diligent your packer was, which greatly increases the likely hood of "dead on arrival" drives.

This was definitely an issue as of 2-3 years ago; for a while I was even buying my hard drives from TigerDirect instead. But all of the drives I've received from Newegg in the past year or so have been packed reasonably.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:32 pm

just brew it! wrote:From a statistical perspective Newegg reviews are horrible. People who have problems are much more likely to post.


Ding ding ding ding!!!! We have a winner!!!!

Fox News reports:

Disgruntled consumers more likely to post online when they feel they have been wronged. Anonymity provides security blanket for ranters. More at 11:00
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:36 pm

As long as I've been building my own rigs (only 5 years), I've only bought WD Black drives. Never had a problem.

However, that's only 2 hard drives and hence isn't really a valid statistic :wink:
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:41 pm

I feel like there's a lack of appreciation for how modern storage technology (HDD and SSD) are a non-trivial engineering design.

Complexity begets fragility.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:01 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:I feel like there's a lack of appreciation for how modern storage technology (HDD and SSD) are a non-trivial engineering design.

Complexity begets fragility.

I think it's pretty damn crazy how much storage we can get in a compact, low power package for a very low price, with 200 Mbyte/s transfer speeds to boot! Today's multi-terabyte mechanical drives may not be as sexy as the newfangled SSDs, but IMHO they're still very impressive and an absolute bargain.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:47 pm

I have 48 Western Digital RE2 drives which just got upgraded to RE4s. I haven't had a single problem with a single drive. I have never had a Western Digital drive fail except for one in an older Macbook, but to note the laptop itself didn't survive the impact that killed the Hard Drive. :)

You know what the above says about the quality of Western Digital - Nothing ... It's anecdotal and unfortunately no one really knows the reliability stats except for WD/Seagate.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:38 pm

Considering some of the posts, like for the Toshiba 3TB note that it was well packaged would point out that this isn't a packaging issue. The last Seagate hard drives I also purchased came packed in Seashells, which are extremely hard to mess up from a packaging standpoint (obviously they can still drop them really hard in shipping though).

Sure, people are more likely to report lemons on Newegg, but that goes across the board. We can assume people are more likely to report lemons for ALL drives and reviews in general. So that's not really a point or something out of the ordinary, it just shows that that many more people are having problems.

To add another data point to this. When I first bought my 7200.11s, out of the four drives I ordered, two were DoA and the third actually started on fire when I plugged it in. I'm pretty sure I made a post on this back when it happened. That was before the Thailand flood too and those drives had four stars at the time.


Also worth mentioning is the uprising of 'cheaper then buying the actual hard drive' external drives. So if you actually want to use the hard drive inside your computer you void the warranty the moment you pop the case and saves them from ever having to deal with the longevity of the device. External drives used to have a price premium on them compared to internals, about the price of the enclosure. Now they're cheaper, sometimes by quite a bit.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:08 pm

I've never had a HDD fail (touch wood). I'm currently running 20 HDDs spread across NAS, NAS expansion unit, RAID enclosure, backup rig and ESXi server. The bulk of them are Reds and Greens.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:20 pm

End User wrote:I've never had a HDD fail (touch wood). I'm currently running 20 HDDs spread across NAS, NAS expansion unit, RAID enclosure, backup rig and ESXi server. The bulk of them are Reds and Greens.


two blues, 1 green and 2 blacks all have died in the recent years in my media box, main box and a backup box.. in the last 2 years. simply terrible from WD.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:25 pm

I've always wondered how much the heat the HDs put out affects them when they're grouped up.

I've only had HD problems if I had them stacked next to eachother or it was a system with heat problems to begin with (original Xbox 360 versions.)

Though I have heard that >1.5TB tends to have reliability issues I have no idea how relevant it is wrt modern HDs.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:26 pm

maxxcool wrote:two blues, 1 green and 2 blacks all have died in the recent years in my media box, main box and a backup box.. in the last 2 years. simply terrible from WD.

Well, if we're going to post anecdotal experiences...

Between my work and home systems (2 servers and 4 desktops), I currently have the following drives spinning:

2x WD Black
2x WD Green
5x WD Blue
4x Seagate 7200.12
1x Seagate 7200.11
2x Seagate 7200.10
4x Hitachi Deskstar

Physical age of these drives ranges from approximately 1 year up to about 5 years. All have logged at least 8 months of power on time, with some approaching the 5 year mark (i.e. continuous use in a server since original installation).

In the past few years, the only drive failures I've had across all of these systems have been a couple of Seagate 7200.11s. I definitely wouldn't trust the lone remaining 7200.11 with anything important!

With the exception of the Greens (which spent part of their life in external enclosures), all drives are in systems with well-ventilated cases and UPSes.

So based on a sample size of 22, across multiple brands and models, I've had a 9% failure rate over the past few years... and *all* of that was due to Seagate 7200.11 drives.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:29 pm

(oops! double post... not sure how)
Last edited by Aranarth on Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:29 pm

End User wrote:I've never had a HDD fail (touch wood). I'm currently running 20 HDDs spread across NAS, NAS expansion unit, RAID enclosure, backup rig and ESXi server. The bulk of them are Reds and Greens.


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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:36 pm

Aranarth wrote:
End User wrote:I've never had a HDD fail (touch wood). I'm currently running 20 HDDs spread across NAS, NAS expansion unit, RAID enclosure, backup rig and ESXi server. The bulk of them are Reds and Greens.


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lol
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:48 pm

Since using PC's starting in 1991, I've only had two hard drives fail on me. The first time was a Quantum 700MB drive back in 1998 and my most recent failure was just a month ago when my 2TB WD Elements external hard drive bit the biscuit rather suddenly. I even tried taking the drive out of the enclosure and hooking it up on it's own, but no dice. It would just click a few times. The freezer trick didn't work either. Luckily I had a back-up from a few months ago and haven't added a lot of data since, so my losses were minimal. I hope this failure is not a sign of things to come. My laptop is over 4 years old now and the hard drive is just fine despite daily usage. It's a Hitachi drive.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:58 pm

just brew it! wrote:
maxxcool wrote:two blues, 1 green and 2 blacks all have died in the recent years in my media box, main box and a backup box.. in the last 2 years. simply terrible from WD.

Well, if we're going to post anecdotal experiences...

Between my work and home systems (2 servers and 4 desktops), I currently have the following drives spinning:

2x WD Black
2x WD Green
5x WD Blue
4x Seagate 7200.12
1x Seagate 7200.11
2x Seagate 7200.10
4x Hitachi Deskstar

Physical age of these drives ranges from approximately 1 year up to about 5 years. All have logged at least 8 months of power on time, with some approaching the 5 year mark (i.e. continuous use in a server since original installation).

In the past few years, the only drive failures I've had across all of these systems have been a couple of Seagate 7200.11s. I definitely wouldn't trust the lone remaining 7200.11 with anything important!

With the exception of the Greens (which spent part of their life in external enclosures), all drives are in systems with well-ventilated cases and UPSes.

So based on a sample size of 22, across multiple brands and models, I've had a 9% failure rate over the past few years... and *all* of that was due to Seagate 7200.11 drives.


Similar experience here at home. Currently in use

12 WD Black (1/2/3 TB)
10 Hitachi Deskstar 7k series (2/3/4 TB)
6 Maxtor Diamond Max 10's (500 Gig)
2 WD Blue (500 Gig)
2 Samsung (500 Gig)
2 Seagate 7200.9 (500 Gig)

and drumroll please........

9 Seagate 7200.10 and 7200.11 that have been RMA'd more times then I care to admit (every single one at least once). Many of which would have been eligible for a 3rd replacement but sometimes you just have to cut your losses.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:00 pm

axeman wrote:Do you live in an area with frequent power surges or outages? That seems to be very high rate of failure no matter what brand. How many drives do you run?

Yeah, some sort of power issue is a possibility. As I mentioned above, I put my systems on UPSes; and my experience is close to 180 degrees opposite of his (not counting the 7200.11s).

axeman wrote:Then again, everyone's experience is different - a fellow I work with has had a 7200.11 that's going 24x7 on torrents for years. He doesn't dispute these drives have a bad reputation, but he obviously got a good one.

Entirely possible that only certain production runs had the issue. My lone surviving 7200.11 has logged over 37000 hours of operation. (Heh, at this point I guess I should be leery of it because it may be getting close to dying of old age, not because it is a 7200.11!)
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:09 pm

just brew it! wrote:
sircharles32 wrote:Newegg packaging is horrible.

all of the drives I've received from Newegg in the past year or so have been packed reasonably.

Interestly. When I stopped buying drives from Newegg, they were still sending the bare drive in a plastic clamshell held together by tape, rattling around inside a much larger cardboard box. By clamshell, I mean something like a berry container, not something with any shock protection. Are you saying Newegg's current packaging secures the drive and provides shock protection?
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:10 pm

just brew it! wrote:(Heh, at this point I guess I should be leery of it because it may be getting close to dying of old age, not because it is a 7200.11!)


Bah... My Diamond Max 10's have been going 24/7 for close to 8 and half years and still going strong. (Although looking at the powered on hours in SMART makes me giggle).
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:24 pm

just brew it! wrote:Yeah, some sort of power issue is a possibility. As I mentioned above, I put my systems on UPSes; and my experience is close to 180 degrees opposite of his

Good point. I've got UPSes covering all of my storage and key hardware.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:26 pm

dmjifn wrote:Interestly. When I stopped buying drives from Newegg, they were still sending the bare drive in a plastic clamshell held together by tape, rattling around inside a much larger cardboard box. By clamshell, I mean something like a berry container, not something with any shock protection. Are you saying Newegg's current packaging secures the drive and provides shock protection?

Yeah, I remember them doing that. I also had them arrive rattling around in a box with a far-too-small sheet of bubble wrap taped to the drive that didn't even go all the way around.

The drives I just received today came wrapped like this:
Image
These hard drive bubble wrap mummies were in turn packed inside a larger box, surrounded by styrofoam peanuts.

The previous time I bought drives from them (oh, maybe 8 months ago) they came in actual hard drive shipping boxes, which were in turn packed inside a larger box. So today's shipment was actually a slight step backward again, but still acceptable (assuming the drives work); it's much better than what they were doing 2-3 years ago!
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:30 pm

Deanjo wrote:
just brew it! wrote:(Heh, at this point I guess I should be leery of it because it may be getting close to dying of old age, not because it is a 7200.11!)

Bah... My Diamond Max 10's have been going 24/7 for close to 8 and half years and still going strong. (Although looking at the powered on hours in SMART makes me giggle).

Guess they got their act together on the DM 10s. That was during the period where I wouldn't buy Maxtor because of the train wreck that was the DiamondMax 9 (which I consider to be Maxtor's version of the 7200.11, more or less).
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:11 pm

IMO, I think the drop of reliability started with the jump to perpendicular recording. There is more that can go wrong mechanically with a HDD using perpendicular recording versus the previous latitudinal recording. The technology itself is almost reaching its first decade, while latitudinal recording go as far back as 1950s. Latitudinal recording did have a few bumps on its road.

The pressure of keeping costs down is driving HDD manufacturers to cut additional corners. It seems the only way to get a HDD that doesn't have a tenacity to fail apart on you is to shoot for more expensive enterprise-tier stuff. It is a hit or miss with mainstream units. It kinds suck you have to worry about losing TBs worth of data and it takes hours to recover from a back-up.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:14 pm

I've had great luck with Hitachi, but haven't bought one since they got acquired. Out of the dozen or so mechanicals I've used over the years I've had one WD crap out after six months or so (data recoverable so may just be a software or boot-sector thing) and one external Toshiba fail to power up correctly (which was probably the power circuitry, not the drive itself...not ever buying a boxed 2.5" external again). When I upgrade I'm planning on using a pair of 1TB Deathstars in RAID 1 or some sort of frequent backup system.
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Re: Mechanical Hard Drives Today Are Garbage?

Postposted on Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:23 pm

Krogoth wrote:IMO, I think the drop of reliability started with the jump to perpendicular recording.


I don't know about that, I seem to recall a lot more dead drives leading up to perpendicular recording (and I don't miss figuring out the ideal interleave, manually marking out bad sectors, carrying out real low-level formatting).
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