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Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???

by Sfrnkn / November 3, 2004 5:42 PM PST

I have worked on system after system and spent more time than i care to admit doing research. I am putting together my own system now and have one question. Is there any one out there who can tell me is there a "best" hard drive manufacturer or not. I havent had bad luck with Seagate, Western Digital or Maxtor yet i have heard "horror stories about all 3. Any REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE or KNOWLEDGE would be greatly apreciated.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 3, 2004 9:10 PM PST

No clear winner. If there was, then we could still find horror stories since underneath it all are these truths.

1. Consumer drives will last about 5 years.

2. Few consumers backup what they can't lose.

3. Consumers rarely understand why they must backup until they lose it all.

4. Some must lose it all multiple times.

5. Not all losses are hard drive failures.

Best of luck,

bob

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by shadowdr / November 8, 2004 3:10 AM PST

Any component is only as good as the length of the warranty.Hard drives will fail, this you can count on.If you have a good backup strategy then an advance replacement is not a problem for you.The fluid dynamic bearings are the best option on any drive.Make sure you get them,after that warranty and cost is your major concern.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by cncguy / November 18, 2004 3:12 PM PST

I have always had good luck with Western Digital 120 Gig. Special Edition Drives, I am running 3 right now... SE drives have 8Meg Cache, and 3 year Warrentee. Regulars have 2 Meg Cache and 1 Year. as far as EIDE drives go anyways... Good Luck.

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only wimps use tape backups
by amarillo / November 19, 2004 10:12 PM PST

linus torvald said "only wimps use tape backups, real men upload their stuff on ftp and let the rest of the world mirror it"
I personally have found it easier than going through the hassle of spending money on a new backup drive.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by Muttrose / November 18, 2004 3:48 PM PST

I have worked in the computer field since mid 1970's. Believe it or not I have Seagate and Maxtor hard drives that are 10 years old. Maxtor used to have the best warranty for their drives, now days it is a toss-up. The best drives in my opinion are either Seagate and Maxtor in first place and Western Digital second. Take your pick. Most other drives only last 2 or 3 years. Yes, by all means - back up your data, regularly,in todays day and age, on DVD-RW or CD-RW.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by kscherry2000 / November 19, 2004 5:10 AM PST

I agree. I have a PC that is 10 years old and I added a Maxtor 3.5GB (it used to be alot of space) about 1 year into owning it and I have not had any problems with it. The research I did suggested Maxtor or Seagate as the best, but Western Digital is a very close second.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by bighorn60 / November 19, 2004 1:42 PM PST

I have had 2 Seagates die on me, both by bad vectors at first, then gradually getting worse until the final death throes. My favorite is Maxtor, tho I am using a WD 160 and am satisfied so far. Back up is most important no matter which you use.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by Bbrook5828 / November 18, 2004 6:03 PM PST

I have used all three drives at one time or another, but I've used mostly Maxtor and Western Digital drives recently. I bought a Maxtor drive in 2003 and it failed within a year. The Western Digital drive I bought new from Sam's Club in 1998 still works.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by mvarela / November 18, 2004 9:41 PM PST

I had the same experience. Back in around 1998 I used to assemble PCs for several companies and individuals. 8 out every 10 Maxtor HDs I used failed within a year of use, with at least 1 in those 10 failing within hours from installation. Try to explain that to an irrate, not technically oriented customer. Then I switched to Western Digital with excellent results. Not one failure in the next three years that I know of. But, who knows, maybe Maxtor has improved its reliability since then. My experience with them is from six years ago. I am just not risking it.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by Pinebelt2k / November 20, 2004 1:18 AM PST

Maxtor basically sucks and with POOR RMA support.
My Maxtor 20GB drive died within in two years. They refused to accept the RMA when RMA that I had created expired. There is clause for this in their "Terms and Conditions." Maxtor is product and support is UNRELIABLE.
Once in a while, I still use my really old 2GB Western Digital Caviar for storing software images.

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Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by Damon101 / March 30, 2005 8:43 PM PST

I was wondering PBrook, if you had intermixed WD and Maxtor to smoke them...that was my experience, so I stick with ALL Maxtor or ALL WD...presently stuck with 4 year old WD using 10G out of 30Gb drive. So you can see I prefer Maxtor over WD. Both work fine.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by cheopitrinche / November 18, 2004 6:46 PM PST

MAXTOR DIAMOND PLUS 9

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by skon / November 18, 2004 6:48 PM PST

15 years experiance running a local computer shop that does new systems, repair, local school builds, networks etc. Western digital, IBM, Seagate are the best. Don't even touch Maxtor if you value your data. 6 out of 10 Maxtors I have bought over the years have failed right out of the box. It got to the point where I would not even qoute a Maxtor if a customer requested it. I was doing a build of over 100 machines for a local school district and 87 of them failed right out of the box. I sent all of them back. All were replaced but out of the replacements had a 75% failure rate with Maxtor. After that (1997)I never used a Maxtor again. All of the ones I had out in the field ended up being replaced under warrinty. The only good thing I can say about Maxtor is that there warrinty is good. However this does not help if you loose all of your data.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by drykert / November 18, 2004 7:12 PM PST

I have used all three, W.D., Seagate, & Maxtor. All have failed on me sometimes while under warrantee and sometimes just after warranty ended. I don't see any being better than another. These were larger 80 to 120 gig drives. I build my own systems and believe I care for and keep system clean and running cool so it will last long time but I still get bit. Goodluck. Del

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by Mesmerize / November 18, 2004 8:09 PM PST

I haven't used Western Digital before...As for Seagate and Maxtor, I've handled a few of them over the past 8 years, and I guess they're pretty comparable... And an observation, is that the older hard disks do last longer than those you get on the market nowadays...

But I believe the reasons are quite logical... The more recent disks are much much larger than what we used to have, and with the amount of 'work' each disk needs to do, it's highly likely that they'll fail more often... Secondly, the hard disks that we get are assembled in different areas, with differing levels of quality control. If any of the assemblers were to DROP a HD, and then pick it up and continue working on it, what would be the lifespan of that disk? So that's why some batches of HDs fail so much, while others remain problem-free for so long... Maybe you could check with the dealer that you're buying from whether other hard disks in that same 'shipment' have had returns, errors...

As what prev posts have said, don't expect your hard disk to last for too long... Backup consistently and manage your programs+data in such a way that you can restore them in event of a crash... Happy

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by ben_leslie / November 20, 2004 7:35 PM PST

I recently built myself a new PC, and I bought a Maxtor Plus 9 80GB Hard Disk Drive, the PC cannot be mroe than two months old, and already I'm getting corruption, that said I have another plus 9 from my old PC that has been running fine for 3 years or so, so my experience is mixed. However, I must reccomend Seagate and Western Digital over maxtor after my work experience that I did at a sixth form. They had around 250 machines bought in 2001 that had Maxtor 20GB hard disks, and around 190 of these machines had failed hard disks

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by emag / November 18, 2004 9:51 PM PST

Every couple years I buy a new Western Digital drive, largest I can afford. Never had one fail. Oldest one I currently have is 8 years, still working (but nothing crucial is on it!). I use an external WD firewire drive as a backup and only backup selected data to DVD (mostly photos). I trust WD drives based on MY experience and it seems others do also.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by kclogo / November 18, 2004 10:47 PM PST

Whenever I buy a HD it is a Western Digital SE. Have been using 120 gig for 3 years now with no problems whatsoever. I bought a 60 gig Maxtor on sale and have tried to put it in a couple of older Pentium computers with no luck. Would not buy anything but WD.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by gswonsn / November 18, 2004 10:44 PM PST

I have had WD, Maxtor, IBM and Seagate drives all fail. The Maxtor drives seem to be much more prone to failure than any other brand, in my experience. They were the first to lower their warranty period to only 1 year so I think that should tell you something about what they think of their drives. Seagate seems to be better right now. They certainly have stepped up to the table in offering a 5 year warranty on their drives. Others have not followed, yet. I have been buying the Seagate drives recently as a result but backing up your data is vital to loss prevention. Keep at least 2 copies of your most valuable data with one of them stored off site in case of fire or other catastrophe. Keep your back ups current and it doesn't really matter if a drive fails.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by CoyotePuma / November 19, 2004 7:32 AM PST

I started buying hard drives after I purchased a Compaq Presario in 1999. It had a 20G WD, so I've stayed with Western Digital ever since. I've also assembled two of my own systems since then and now have a three-unit LAN (with broadband internet access), including a Gateway Media Center (250G Maxtor). Needless to say the 20G WD was replaced almost from the start because I am a collector; I collector images, Mp3s, stories, and scan all my household paperwork and family heritage photos -- filling a 200G is no problem. Yes, such collecting makes for a lot of file maintenance. Everybody does their own thing, thus I find myself changing media tags with abandon.

Clearly, significant system memory to reduce paging, and good software support is an utmost in any collector's system. Diskeeper, running in the background, has paid for itself many times.

I've also learn to backup my drives by both having the files mirrored on more than one system within the LAN and purchasing CD-Rs in multiple 100-pac lots. Why? Because I've lost a 200G, a 60G, and my 120G in on its last legs with regular errors. None of these died within their warranties. File losses were getting so bad, I started calling myself "PilotError" because of the number of time I've crashed and burned.

For these reasons I am upgrading to a case with good airflow across my hard drives, to burning DVDs and to changing to Seagate's 5-year warranty. I don't expect any better performance, but suspect drives a designed to survive their warranties. Think about it; it cost a manufacturer much more than a drive to replace a broken one. So, is there a clear leader? You bet, that's the one with the best warranty.

I hope this helped.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by alicornb2 / November 18, 2004 10:54 PM PST

I have used both IBM and Western Digital. Both have served well.

Both were over 8 years old and still going. Recently the WD bit the dust after a full 8 years of reliable service.

No matter which you choose, be absolutely sure you have a reliable back-up and use it regularly. I can't stress this enough.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by John g / November 18, 2004 11:00 PM PST

There is no leader only methods that save your butt from loosing all your information. 2 or 3 hard drives is the only way to go. RAID, stripeing, mirrored, etc, what ever you do don't trust any of them unless there are 2 at least. HARD DRIVES that is.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by blongfel / November 18, 2004 11:26 PM PST

Everyone as touched base about HD fails, backing up. I have put PC's together for some time and have seen most brands with bad HD from time to time. Models that had problems with platters and what ever.

I still prefer WD with the 8 meg cache. Most of them have the 8 meg cashe now. If you are wanting more speed you should jump to the 10,000 rpm's over the 7200. Western Digital has 2, a 36 meg & 74 meg, which the 74 meg was voted HD of the year by Maxium PC, for the second year. Hook these babies up to Raid and you have extreme speed. Also the cost between IDE & the new SATA is pretty close now.

Brad

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by pixman / November 19, 2004 12:17 AM PST

See overwhelming WDC. I agree. Building a new machine and have two WDC Raptors waiting their turn. Read in ExTech forums people calling WDC junk. Whazzup with that? WHATEVER HARD DRIVE YOU CHOOSE, CHOOSE BACKUP! I have seen too many tears from people who lost data and had NO backup. BooHoo. CDs and floppies are cheap. Back it up, back it up, back it up. I do a major backup periodically onto a DVD 'cause of the capacity. Still, Western Digital gets my vote. Lots of 'em out there so they're not expensive to replace if it comes down to that. DO YOUR BACKUP TODAY!
BCNU

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by mwad / November 19, 2004 12:32 AM PST

I have gotten really nice performance results with the Maxtor hard drives. I build in a shop where western digital and maxtor are the two most common choices.
The Maxtors seem to deliver data faster.
This is an issue like religion or the linux vs windows thing; people have strong loyalties and opinions.
My opinion changes based on observation: currently Maxtor is the best choice.
IMHO.
Good luck with your build!

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by Earthquake McGoon / November 19, 2004 12:47 AM PST

I have had a relatively new (one year old) Seagate self-distruct on me and also trouble with Maxtors in the past. I like Western Digital. They have a very good installation brochure & floppy drive to install and configure their drives. I am no techie, however. I don't care WHY they work, or HOW they work, but only IF they work.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by gimble / November 19, 2004 2:05 AM PST

DISCLAIMER: I work for a hard disk drive company. As a result, I'll give a general opinion, but will not make any recommendations for or against any manufacturer.

1) Keep in mind what capacity, size ( form factor ) and interface of hard drive you are considering. Many manufacturers have, for example, a 3 1/2" parallel-ATA drive of at least 40 GB capacity: however, very few have 1" drives, as an extreme example. Obviously, the more entries into a particular segment of the market, the more competition will force prices down for that segment.

2) Like everything else in the world, first revisions of a disk drive may not have the quality and yields that later versions may have. Manufacturers of disk drivers, automotives, and pretty much everything else usually learn how to improve their processes during revisions of a product launch. I personally avoid first-year releases of a new car, as they tend to have more problem spots than 2nd- or 3rd- year models. Similarly, it wouldn't surprise me if newly-announced hard disk drives have a higher incidence rate than products that have been rolling off the production line for months.

3) Enterprise ( business-class ) drives have a high premium on price, but typically use higher-quality components ( and have more stringent testing ) than personal-storage products. I've never been willing (personally) to pay the premium for the extra reliability, but if money is no object you may want to consider them.

4) Consider the benefits and disadvantages of rotational speed. As you increase RPMs, you increase the speed of the disk drive (generally), but also increase power requirements, and create excess heat.

5) Consider the drive's warranty and company's history and current situation. If the company is in financial trouble, it may or may not be around to honor the warranty if problems occur several years down the road. As a result, check out the company before assuming that a "five-year warranty" is better ( or worse ) than a lesser warranty.

6) As others have said, backups are essential.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by palealien / November 19, 2004 2:26 AM PST

Used to agree with most all of the above, in which it seems to be WD, Seagate, and Maxtor way, way last. Or not at all. (this is all workstation/home use experience, server issues were always on a different level) After installing dozens of WD's with no issues and hearing nothing but bad about Max, it came as a surprise to me a few years ago when WD seemed to change and cheapen the design and construction of their drives, and I began to experience far more failures. On the other hand, Maxtor's persistance despite the bad rep has made me reconsider their products. Still a Costco #1 pick, could that mean anything?

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by vince7 / November 19, 2004 4:38 AM PST

As a hobbyist I prefer Western Digital. At the moment I am running 3 WD drives in my computer. Two are 37 gig Raptors 10,000 rpms in Raid0. The other is an 80 gig 7200 rpm 8 meg cache that I use for archiving. My computer runs 24/7 and is only off during power outages. This is probably what helps them last a long time. Note I said "off". I reboot when updates require it. My case is well venilated and also pretty quiet. I do regular defrags and have no swap files (3 gig PC3200 DDR400 Dual Channel RAM) so less churning.

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Re: Hard Disk Drives: Is there a clear Leader???
by tsengu / November 19, 2004 5:43 AM PST

I've heard all sorts of hearsay about all the drive manufacturers but have experienced both long life and unexplained failures with both. One of my favorites was in a linux forum about WD having no ECC error correction and therefore having high failure rates and not working correctly with certain drivers/installs. I like Seagate the best as they usually have been on the cutting edge of development for the speedier drives in servers and such. Maxtor and WD are okay, but I've had some quirks that lead to part of a class action suit with Fujitsu so I tend to avoid side brands. Most Quantum drives used to be garbage but seem better these days. Drives do fail, usually from heat and hard use. Drive coolers seem like a good idea but I haven't seen anything suggesting they really make a difference. In an array or server they certainly can't hurt and are cheap enough. There are lots of system monitoring tools that poll and will provide the drive's operating temp so that might be a first step to see if there is any issue. Several others have stated that drives do fail, usually when you expect or can afford it least. Backing up is always a wise idea, especially with such cheap media these days.

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