reliablity of seagate HD's

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coius's picture
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I woke up to find that overnight, on a pc that was unplugged, that my brand new (only 4 months old) SeaGate 80GB HD... died...
I started up the machine, and it had "Disk Error" (this is a pc). I restarted it, it came up to the Windows desktop, then the screen went blank. I hit the reset button, and i am back to the "Disk Error" screen.
Luckily, i have a 2x 200GB RAID SATA set in the machine. So, i have it all backed up. But something tells me that this happens more often than not. I look around the web and see a lot of the same things. HD's going dead before 6 months. And they are ALL Seagate's.
I am wondering... Exactly how reliable is this manufacturer's products? Should I be avoiding them in the future? Or is this nothing to worry about?
Is this happening with seagate's laptop drives as well (if they make them)?
Please tell me your ideas on this

BTW: i will be RMA'ing the drive. But is it worth it? Wil the next one do the same?

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Dr. Webster's picture
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I've found Seagate to make

I've found Seagate to make some of the most reliable drives out there. In order of reliability, I'd rank the major manufacturers as such:

1. Seagate
2. Western Digital
3. Maxtor/Quantum (they're the same company now)
4. Hitachi/IBM (IBM sold its HDD business to Hitachi)

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coius's picture
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wow!

Maxtor ranked higher than hitachi?
*scratches head*
I thought maxtors were crap. Those are the other things i see fail most.
I happen to like IBM/Hitachi Laptop HD's the best. I have yet to have them go out on me

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Well, Maxtor and IBM/Hitachi

Well, Maxtor and IBM/Hitachi are *very* close in the rankings, in fact I'd more or less put them as a tie. They're both crap, essentially.

IBM's older drives, especially their laptop ones, were quite decent. Nowadays, however, their drives are absolute crap. In fact, IBM recently lost a class-action lawsuit regarding the quality of the 75GXP series, the very line that prompted the "Deathstar" nickname for the Deskstar line. For laptop drives, I'd much rather go Toshiba, although I'm relieved that Seagate has entered the laptop drive market -- hopefully their laptop drives are as decently built as their desktop models.

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So Many Different Views

Over the past couple of years I've gotten totally confused about HD reliability.

In the days of SCSI, Seagate was widely claimed to be the absolute cream of the crop. Now, you almost never even hear about the company any more - good or bad.

As for Hitachi/IBM, I've never heard anything particularly bad about them..

For WD, there used to be some reported problems with their Caviar drives, but I can't remember reading any such reports since about 2003.

For Maxtor, I've read a number of reports of problems with them.

The only HD I've ever bought new-in-box was a Maxtor unit, a year or two ago. I got it because it was 80GB, 7200rpm, 8MB cache, and it was less than $70 (a great bargain at the time). It's been fine, but it's a backup drive in an external enclosure, and it's probably been on and spinning for a grand total of about 10 hours over the past year.

Matt

coius's picture
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i have had a terrible experience with maxtors

in my lifetime, i had 2 of em dead right out of the box (or within 1 week of opening it) and those were recently (within the past year or two) and that is enough to put me off of em. I lost data on the one that died 1 week into use. I vow to never use maxtor again.

*Qoute:*
For WD, there used to be some reported problems with their Caviar drives

yeah, i have had a lot of problems, one of em caught fire on me. That was the problem they had. They overheated easily (and sometimes they shorted out)

after the cavier thing was over with, I have one that has served me reliable in my server for almost 24/7, with nary a hiccup. But that was AFTER the problems were fixed. They were more common to have the problems with the speeds over 5,400RPM

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coius's picture
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looking around the web

i noticed that there was a firmware update to the HD that was supposed to prevent this. The problem occurs when the firmware is accessed by the drive at spin-up, because it reads AND writes to it (it is dynamic) if it is cut short in the 1/1000000000th of a second, it wipeds half of the firmware. I was able to contact seagate, and they provided a firmware update email invite, where i went to a portion of the seagate site, and downloaded it. I put it on a floppy, and on restart with the Utility Seagate CD in, i had to hit alt-shift-u and that automatically reads the floppy and does a hard write to the firmware. It now locks a portion of the firmware critical to the drive (which was left free reighn as far as updating) according to the rep, it locks the data out, by changing the address of the critical info outside of the read/write area. and if also updates another firmware chip which is looking for that data, to look in the new area.

HD's are complex huh?
at least the rep wasn't from india, I have a hard time hearing them. Right now, more than ever (i have a terrible head cold and my ear-drums popped over-night)

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I've had no experience with

I've had no experience with IDE/ATA Seagate drives, but I do use several Seagate SCSI drives and have never had any trouble with them. Of all the hard drives I've ever had/used, I've only had one drive fail, and it was a Quantum/Maxtor drive.

Not much help on this subject...

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The only drive that has ever

The only drive that has ever failed on me was my Quantum that was in my server, and I'm not surprised that it died.

As far as reliability in customer's drives, I've seen a pretty much universal failure rate of about 10% of all drives over 4 to 5 years old dying.

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Is there a universal MTBF

Is there a universal MTBF rate for all drive manufacturer's, or does the MTBF vary by manufacturer?

I guess the best advice would be to get drives that have the highest MTBF and longest warranties... If your data is really that important to you, it's probably a good idea to buy your drives from a company that really stands behind what they manufacture and sell.

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product lines

Each maker usually has several product lines and quality can vary considerably among them. The drives designed for tougher duty are generally more expensive. A good indicator of how tough the drive is the length of the warranty, a 5 yr. warranty certainly reflects a certain amount of confidence on the part of its maker.

I've had drives from almost every HD maker over the years and I've seen samples of all makes of drives fail. However, I am partial to Seagate, their server-class drives which I've used have proven extra-ordinarily long-lived. But then, I always ensure my drives are very well cooled!

dan k

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Where's that old thread

Where's that old thread about Dr. Bob testing the reliability of drives at the Apple labs? Off hand I don't recall the best brand, but the testing was quite extensive over MANY drives. Getting the results of an OEM reliability can be skewed, getting the results of a system builder can be more enlightening.

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I have built many computers

I have built many computers with many different drives through the years, and I have found that whatever drives we used would go bad. None were better then others. If all we used were WDs then thats what went bad same with any brand.

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I'd have to say that no

I'd have to say that no drive is really much better than any other. The only drive ive had fail was from my 6100 after about 10 years of use. I believe it was a 250 mb ibm or wd drive
Ive also had a maxtor 120 gig drive in my pc for a little more than a year and have had no problems with it.

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I work on about 1000

I work on about 1000 Computers a year and have found that overall all manufactures are about the same Everyone has a line of drives that are just crap, but you really can't tell until it is too late.

I just buy the drive that has the longest warranty and keep my important stuff backed up.

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You reminded me of a funny period...

redrouteone wrote:

I work on about 1000 Computers a year and have found that overall all manufactures are about the same Everyone has a line of drives that are just crap, but you really can't tell until it is too late.

Ha Ha Ha, you reminded me of a funny period in my life a couple of years ago. In a strange twist of fate, I once pretended to be a network administrator that was responsible for keeping many computers up and running 24 hours a day, seven days a week...

Please don't misunderstand the context of this message, Redrouteone. I'm not suggesting that you are lying or exagerating about working on about 1000 computers. I'm merely pointing out that your real world work has caused me to recall a period of time in my most recent past. It's actually quite a funny story.

Anyway, at that time, I knew nothing about networks or LANs. It is only very recently that I've been building a little LAN here in my home and learning all the in's and out's of keeping a network up and running.

The irony: Apparently, what I can keep up and for how long, has become the butt of many a joke. I guess it doesn't really matter, as long as I'm on the run... (Sorry about that, it's an inside joke. I don't imagine that too many people on the Fritter will understand it.)

redrouteone wrote:

I just buy the drive that has the longest warranty and keep my important stuff backed up.

On a serious note now, I would say that this is the best advice for anyone that maintains sensitive data on mechanical storage devices.

Oddly enough, this entire thread has reminded me of an article that I read in an old issue of Current Notes. The article was written by a legend in the Atari community named, Dave Small. If I find the time, I will transcribe that article and post it for you all to read. It's about catastrophe in the computer world and the sad reality with storage medium (hard drives).

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quantum...

well, i guess this was just self fullfilling prophecy...

yesterday, upon reading this article, i just thought "boy, you must be glad that none of your hard drives ever failed!" , luckily, as i'm not doing any backups at home.

few hours later the quantum scsi drive of my old powerpc 7200 gave up, *clickediclickediclack*. damn! and i was so glad that i never had a single hard drive error in nearly 10 years!

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I got the blues... The 501 blues...

chris501 wrote:

well, i guess this was just self fullfilling prophecy...

yesterday, upon reading this article, i just thought "boy, you must be glad that none of your hard drives ever failed!" , luckily, as i'm not doing any backups at home.

few hours later the quantum scsi drive of my old powerpc 7200 gave up, *clickediclickediclack*. damn! and i was so glad that i never had a single hard drive error in nearly 10 years!

Interesting name that you use: chris501. As you may or may not know, Levi Strauss once had a product line called the 501's. I distinctly recall the Levi commercials on television touting the new "510 blues"...

Anyway, seems rather odd that your hard drive should give up the ghost within hours of delighting in the fact that you'd never had a hard drive failure... Perhaps it was an omen? Regardless, it would appear that your 7200 is giving you the hard drive blues. Sad

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levi's 501

actually, when i created my applefritter account i wasn't really aware that i was using the levi 501... although i already knew of that jeans, i owe one of these. thanks for that, i wouldn't have thought of that in the next billion years!

did you know, that there is a folder in the /private/tmp that is called 501? it contains the "Cleanup at startup" items. Wink

seems that it's just bad luck that the hard drive gave up. but not a problem at all, i wasn't using it for work, it was just for ISDN purpose (which i hardly ever use).

chris

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I have had a couple of those

I have had a couple of those seagate SATA drives in the new imacs fail on me that I had to replace.

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Re: Where's that old thread

Jon wrote:

Where's that old thread about Dr. Bob testing the reliability of drives at the Apple labs? Off hand I don't recall the best brand, but the testing was quite extensive over MANY drives. Getting the results of an OEM reliability can be skewed, getting the results of a system builder can be more enlightening.

I found the Seagate 7200 RPM IDE drives the be the quietest, coolest, and most reliable of all. However, from the 120GB and up, the IBM/Hitachi drives were vastly improved and could easily take a close second.

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Laptop HD Failures

As an onsite technician for Apple at a one to one initiative school district, I am required to track trends and such. We've found that the mechanisms with the highest failure rate (4200 rpm 40gb laptop drive) is Toshiba, then Fujitsu. The hitachi mechanisms fail the least in this deployment. An odd little thing.

- iantm

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laptop drives are a totally d

laptop drives are a totally different animal

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As far as ATA drives go, ever

As far as ATA drives go, every Seagate I've ever used has failed. Same with most Maxtors, to be honest. I have been running WD Caviars, IBM Deskstars and Quantum Bigfoot TX drives for the past 6 years with no problems what so ever. I did have a 10GB Fireball that died, however. I think it was due to stiction though.

Cheers,

The Czar

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My experience...

I've had way too many drives to mention, but so far not too many have gone south.

Of the drives that were purchased new:

Maxtor DiamondMax 40GB - Dead after after 1 year of use. Thankfully it was still under warranty and didn't have any real data on it - just some pictures. I still have 2 DiamondMax 40 GB drives in use as well as 1 20GB.

Champ 1GB - Thank goodness that they went out of business! Smile

WD 6.4GB - Can't remember the specifics of this one.

Fujitsu 10 GB - While this one was used, the RMA replacement started developing bad sectors within 2 months.

So far the only Seagate hard drives I have had fail are used ones that come out of machines people give to me. Just had an 8.4GB Seagate bite the dust after finishing installing Windows 2000 to it.

My main machine has a Samsung 120GB ATA100 drive mounted in a removable drive bays with a fan. I want it to last as long as possible!