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Are today's new computer hard drives just simply junk?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / December 21, 2012 1:36 AM PST

Are today's new computer hard drives just simply junk?

Very simple question but I think the answer might not be. I read the forums often, but may have missed something addressing this. I have found that old hard drives of 10+ years would last so much longer than the ones currently on the market. Today, you could expect 2-3 years out of a hard drive, and that's if you're lucky.

When people ask me what hard drive to buy, I have recommended buying the smallest one that would suit their needs, but that's no answer. I feel that hard drive manufacturers are trying to get too much storage without increasing disc plate volume (size). Maybe I should be recommending to people to buy the more expensive ones that are 2-3 times price to ensure reliability -- am I wrong?

I really have no answer for people that ask. I just know that I personally back up to 4 portable hard drives then disconnect them from the computer. This is to insure that if one or two fail, I have redundancy and nothing is lost.

Believe it or not, I had one hard drive that I used once for one backup on it and 2 years later tried to backup more information on it and it was completely dead. I even stored it properly. I eventually sent it in to the manufacture for repair under warranty.

My question is two part: Why do the prices vary so much on hard drives? Should I break the bank and spend money on the higher cost hard drives to expect better reliability or keep thinking that all the new hard drives are junk? Thanks for any insight on this.

--Submitted by: Dave
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Are today's hard drives just junk?
by Rabear2010 / December 21, 2012 8:27 AM PST

It sure seems that way. I Personally have used well over a 1000 hard drives in the last 4 years and can attest to the fact that most of today's desktop hard drives do not last.

I personally feel it is due to the demands the market has placed on driving the cost down. Hard drives are now significantly less expensive per GigaByte than what they once were. The manufactures really try hard to give the consumer the most bang for the buck and like to sell replacements.

If your tired of disks failing on you after a few years and you have done all the trick things to conserve them there is an alternative. There is another type of hard drive called "Enterprise Class".

They are typically designed for commercial applications and are meant to be used and abused 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. That is what I run in my personal machines and I rarely if ever see a catastrophic failure anymore and really use my computers way more than the average person. Here is the PDF describing the difference in the drives. I will also tell you what models from all the big suppliers that you can buy. Surprisingly they do not cost a lot more that the standard consumer grade desktop hard drives.

I would mention them here but I do not think we are allowed to to mention brand specific products. By the way, I do not work or have any affiliation with any hard drive manufacture or supplier. I am just a real power user of hard drives for both personal and business related projects.

Folks please read member, Rabear2010 follow up post here: which includes link to PDF and other info on this topic. Thanks! -Lee

Message was edited by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) 01/07/2013 10:58AM to add PDF link

Message was edited by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) 01/08/2013 9:12AM

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Would appreciate more info
by waldstille / December 21, 2012 4:38 PM PST

Hi Rabear2010, I would be most grateful if you could send me more information on the 'enterprise class' drives. My email address is [[email address removed to prevent abuse]]

Thanks very much, Paul

Message was edited by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) 01/04/2013 11:28AM Please read:

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more reliable hard drives
by rafricky / January 4, 2013 10:05 AM PST


I would like to have a listing of hard drives that you found more reliable than just the average store bought drived.


Note: This post was edited by a forum moderator to remove email address for security on 01/05/2013 at 11:57 AM PT

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Learn the cardinal rule!
by Nelsonian / January 4, 2013 10:33 AM PST
Cardinal Rule #1; NEVER, never ever, ever post your email address on ANY public forum!!

Cardinal Rule #2; Cardinal Rule #1 ALWAYS applies
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preventing abuse?
by richvball44 / January 4, 2013 2:35 PM PST

Why wasn't the second posters email edited?

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Also me
by bmbougie / January 4, 2013 3:36 PM PST
In reply to: preventing abuse?

I would also like to know why the second posters email wasn't edited like the first one was.

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Administrators are human too! Can't be awake 24/7!
by Nelsonian / January 4, 2013 7:45 PM PST
In reply to: preventing abuse?

Off subject, but needs to be said....they too have other commitments, like eating, attending to personal hygiene, working for a $, quality time with families, sports pursuits, and of course a bit of time sleeping etc.,etc.

They are there doing an often thankless and frequently abused voluntary task for the benefit of all CNet users. Give them a break and make sure that whatever is posted does not need their urgent rectification, just to protect the internet safety of individual CNet users. Basic courtesy and personal PC/Laptop safety regimes rule......and Cardinal Rule # 1!!!

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why wasn't a post filtered by cnet sysadmin?
by rick_ncg / January 5, 2013 10:51 PM PST

I appreciate what you do. Thank you very much.

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Well said!
by offerPop5138041 / January 6, 2013 11:51 PM PST

but with that said, it would be nice if cnet would add a private note option. so that we could contact each other if wanted/needed. it would only be the appropriate, and pc, thing to do!

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email Address
by gtoguy / January 7, 2013 12:18 AM PST

I really don't care if my email address is out there. I already get plenty of spam on it, so what's the harm? there's plenty of protection out there also. What's the point of these forums if we can't help each other out?????

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Thumbs down
by DADSGETNDOWN / January 4, 2013 3:23 PM PST

Why would anyone give this a thumbs down ? even if you are not keeping up, it really only makes sense.
So I guess it is showing what percentage of people are truly clueless ?

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For my part...
by Flatworm / January 4, 2013 9:11 PM PST
In reply to: Thumbs down

It got a thumbs-down from me because scolding of this sort is irrelevant to the topic at hand. If somebody wants to spread his or her email address around, that's their own business.

Sometimes I create a unique email address on my own domain just for a specific purpose, which I then delete when that purpose has been served.

There is nothing inherently wrong with publishing your email address in a public forum. Just don't open any attachments you might receive from unknown sources, or even known sources when you don't expect to receive it, and the only problem you risk is a bunch of spam.

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Email addresses in posts
by freemand / January 5, 2013 6:49 AM PST
In reply to: For my part...

Which is exactly what I do and I would assume that anyone reading a tech site such as this would be aware of the dangers and doing the same. Really don't think the lecture was appropriate.

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Teach, warn, learn, help.
by DADSGETNDOWN / January 11, 2013 4:33 PM PST

Period. Don't let it continue.

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Moderated foruns are bad
by kantzler / January 5, 2013 8:05 PM PST
In reply to: For my part...

And moderated forums are unnecessary. Not only do they remove the instant interaction of users, they are a form of subjective censorship. All any forum needs is a "report this" link on each post so that forums can be self-monitored by users. PBS just went from monitored and delayed -posts forums to self monitoring, simply because they were unable to monitor all the remarks and keep the process viable. Same applies everywhere.

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I've been on unmoderated forums...
by JCitizen / January 6, 2013 2:32 AM PST

and I left them too! Never to return! Angry

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Unmoderated forums are almost useless!
by RobertWFrei / January 6, 2013 2:10 PM PST

Please don't give me that drivel about unmoderated is better. In the case of political forums, that might be true, but for the most part the primary purpose of the forum (making useful information available to those who need it) is subverted by massive amounts of postings by forum lurkers, flakes and creeps. I have never had a problem with a tech-site moderator slowing, editing or blocking my messages.

I very much appreciate the work the moderators do to keep forums such as this useful and effective.

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Precisely correct
by padyboy / January 6, 2013 11:17 PM PST

Mr. Frei,

I also appreciate the work of these moderators. In fact, I GREATLY APPRECIATE THEM!!

I have occsionally experienced 'abuse' by posters who have decided they are superior human beings because their computer knowledge is greater than mine. These people made me reluctant to post again; is this not a form of 'censorship'?
Fortunately the moderator perceived the problem I was having and corrected the situation in short order.

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no thumbs down
by iamcwc / January 4, 2013 10:37 PM PST
In reply to: Thumbs down

I pushed a wrong button on this one and there seems to be no eraser .... sorry

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You should be able to toggle..
by JCitizen / January 6, 2013 2:36 AM PST
In reply to: no thumbs down

the vote button to return to its original state, then make a new selection. Happy

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by DADSGETNDOWN / January 11, 2013 4:32 PM PST
In reply to: Thumbs down

Those of you who gave this rely a Thumbs down are the exact ones we are talking to and about, you are also a huge contributor to all the bad on the net. As if this wasn't proof enough of how many people really are ignorant, uncaring and have a HUGE need for Logic, 100's of people kept posting their email addresses, AND what's just as bad all those 100's of people had to do, was actually read understand what they read, OR read a few posts down from the Original question (before they were edited) to find the information, the links to the information, and posted information Lol..
By and large you people are more than scary, it's sad, disgusting and very degrading to all people.
It IS so bad, that the Cnet staff had to send us subscribers 2 paragraphs on how sorry they are and to let YOU people know.

Lee Koo
( I like to apologize to all of you for last week's discussion topic over "Are today's hard drives simply just junk?" It was a great topic that got a lot people talking. However, the discussion quickly got out of hand and became inundated with members posting their e-mail addresses in the thread requesting the enterprise white papers from member Rabear2010, This is my fault; I should've kept a closer eye on it. Since then I have done my best to clean up the discussion, where I removed/edited 100+ posts with people e-mail addresses and also updated member Rabear2010's original post to include the link to the Enterprise-class versus Desktop-class hard drives PDF. I also added a link to his follow-up post. With the discussion cleaned up, I hope it will make your reading of the discussion a bit easier.
In addition to this, I also want to point out that for many of you it was the first time posting in our forums (which is fantastic). And along with that I want to suggest a tip for posting in our forum or any public online space: it's never a good idea to post your e-mail address or any personal information online. It is for your safety and I'm sure no one here needs more junk mail in their inboxes. Again, I apologize for this.)

I should dissect this for you, but if you can't understand it, I dare say, it would be of no use.

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NEVER, never ever, never ever. ever post your email ?
by Abcmale / January 4, 2013 4:59 PM PST

Why Not ? I Post mine all over, and I have done so for more years than I remember. I never had a Probem.... But then again I am not a spy, or a Hermit. I do no live in hole and I do not put a Bag over
my head either. I think it is time to remove the bag on yours and say "Hello" to the world... But I am
an adult, not paranoid either, especially after having Afghans shooting at me. So I post it at work, I
post it at home, but I would not let the kids or wife do it.. But really each to his own...

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What's good for me, ain't for the missus and kids!!
by Nelsonian / January 4, 2013 8:02 PM PST

Wow! So it comes down having to dodge 'friendly' fire!!! ...a sort of "do as I say, NOT as I do!"...and typically, a misguided parental authoritarian attitude, sadly so common today.

And me? ex Army with 25 years of service, world travelled, with understanding and empathy of many different cultures and ethnicities.

Now a Retired Humanist, who does understand and sympathise with some folks shortfalls or failings - takes all kinds.

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That may be too many nevers
by anotherpark / January 5, 2013 3:23 AM PST

I agree that posting your email in a public place carries a degree of danger, but the extreme position seems to be going too far. Maybe the fact that I haven't been religious about it is one of the reasons I get so much spam. But I think it's imprudent to dismiss the admonition so strongly. I've never had to use my home fire insurance in 50 years of paying premiums, but I'm not going to cancel my policy either.
The main subject (HDD reliability) is very interesting. The prices I have seen for the enterprise drives are not just a little more than consumer drives - they are multiples (3 to 5 times as much). My solution has been the same as another reader described. I use multiple drives and backup frequently. Some of the drives are internal and some external that I turn off when not in use. It seems simpler than RAID.
I also check the user reviews at NewEgg and won't buy a drive that hasn't been reviewed by at least 50 people or one that has more than about 10% 1's and 2's.

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How do we get the White Paper or list of Enterprise.....
by kstenbch / January 5, 2013 2:41 PM PST

How do we get the White Paper or list of Enterprise Hard Drives and sellers if we cannot give him our email and he cannot give his? I need the answer not a lecture because I want the list. Besides, CNET will not let you post your email on a forum thread. The moderator removes it. The only way to get it is for him to publish it on CNET in a forum. Please do so.

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Just google it...
by JCitizen / January 6, 2013 2:47 AM PST

This ain't rocket science here - just put [Best in Enterprise Class Hard Drives] and you will see the list at Tom's Hardware - probably the absolute best site on the entire web when you are looking for hardware information.

Or any electronics information for that matter.

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Old list is of questionable value
by juhlster1021 / January 6, 2013 3:09 AM PST
In reply to: Just google it...

I followed your advice. The only Tom's roundup I saw was 5+ years old.

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Thanks juhlster1021, but..
by JCitizen / January 7, 2013 12:31 AM PST

I still see those drives for sale on Newegg, etc. and the prices are less than they were 5 years ago; which is better for me, is still beats a stinking "white paper".

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by juhlster1021 / January 7, 2013 12:47 PM PST

Go for it.

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