questionswhat is the best brand of hard drive?

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I like Western Digital or Intel. Intel's been making some pretty wicked internal devices lately.

Intel drive I liked: http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/product/197978/review/x25m_solidstate_drive_160gb.html

But Western Digital time and time again lives up to its hype and has a decent warranty to back it up. All just about risk in the end. How much are YOU willing to risk??

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This is one of the all-time great debates, I hope you understand the can of worms you've placed on the table here....

Anybody who has dealt with computers for any amount of time has had a bad experience with some drive, and that experience tends to stay with them for a long time. I have had Quantum, Maxtor, Seagate, WD, Hitachi, IBM, SuperTalent and Fujitsu drives fail on me over the years.

Every manufacturer will have a bad run at some point. Seagate got hammered recently for bad firmware on their 7200.11 drives, but I have 6 Seagates in various machines (including two refurbs bought from Woot!) that have been rock solid for many years. But I'm realistic - these things are mechanical devices with moving parts. They will fail eventually. I always make sure my data is backed up, and where possible stored on a RAID array.

For spinning drives I tend to stick with Seagate and Western Digital these days. A big part of that preference is the manufacturer's warranty.

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@durkzilla: I can completely agree with what you said. It's all about preference at the end of the day. Kind of like car manufacturers, I think the harddrive world has a tidal flow to it - good years and bad. I just hope this doesn't turn into Mud Slinging one way or the other... :P

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@caffeine_dude: In my previous life, I had experience with hundreds of drives at a time, and of all ranges, shapes, and sizes (SCSI, Fibre Channel, SATA, EIDE, the list is endless). As others have pointed out, it's not really something you can quantify. Sure, you're going to have bad luck with a run of drives from a vendor. Sometimes they'll screw up, and then everything gets corrected, and someone else is the bad guy.

Look for reviews on the specific drive you are about to buy before you buy it. Never be the first on the block (so to speak) in taking up new technology; always wait for someone else to work out the bugs (or to find that a particular drive has problems). If you're just going to buy one of something, it's more important NOT to get the bleeding edge. If you're buying two or three hundred, then you understand that there's going to be a failure. My metric used to be if it didn't fail within 30 days, it'd run forever.

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@shrdlu: Except Seagate. The metric there is about 120 before they hit failure. I've been through about 8 of them in two laptops in 3 years. They all fail between 90 and 120 days. ... sigh

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@mmaurice01: I point out to you that a) my experience in large numbers of drives ends in 2005, and b) laptop drives are a special breed of misery. I retired Feb 1, 2006.

When it comes to laptops, you are usually constrained as to choice and type far more narrowly than in a desktop, and often replace a known-to-be-bad drive with its sibling, which then fails as expected. I have mostly desktops; I only have one working laptop (the least I've EVER had), and that's a Mac. I have an older Toshiba that needs (at least) a new hard drive, but I'm very sentimental about it (it got used for pen testing for years).

TMI. Off to find MOAR coffee.

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@shrdlu: Fair enough; I forgot you were mainly a tower user. My apologies :]

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This really is a can of worms... :)

I'll say that I have to agree with many in saying that there is a flow to reliable drives - none are consistently perfect. WD has been pretty good, and I've actually been very impressed with my most recent purchase, which is a 1TB Samsung Spinpoint 7200RPM. However, with any of the brands, just make sure to do your research on the individual model's reviews. Reading into Tom's Hardware, Anandtech, Newegg, etc. is usually a good idea. Another thing I always do is to make sure that whatever vendor I choose has a good return policy in case of failure (in addition to my own precautions with doing backups).

As to notebook drives, they are a beast, and I typically try to avoid dealing with them - I've got my aforementioned Samsung in an external case to use with my laptop as needed.

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@all FOR PCs: Ya I got soured on Seagate's 7200.11, that seemed about the time they dropped the 5 year warranty too.
I think laptop has too many factors. Laptop HD placement and I strongly believe the heavier the laptop the sooner the HD fails in a business environment. Not only drops contribute to this bout holding the laptop by a corner and the whole thing slightly bends.

I am would like to see someone say I like IBM drives, they are my favorite. I have seen that of WD, Seagate and even Maxtor before they sold out.

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@caffeine_dude: Dang, what are you drinking, boy? That whole statement was tough to parse, and the last sentence is a doozy. On the other hand, let me say that we went all IBM for 20gb drives in our standard config of beige box PCs in Beowulf clusters. Out of more drives than I can name, purchased everywhere from five at a time via Fry's to straight from IBM via a purchase order (sorry, I can't name the number for you, but trust me, it was a large one), only TWO ended up dying. One was DOA, and the other died after about six months (but in a cluster, who really cares if one dies?).

They were just lovely. I liked them very much (that would have been 1999-2002; after that I wasn't involved).

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@shrdlu: woops! got a call in mid edit and just hit submit.

edited:
@all FOR PCs: Ya I got soured on the Seagate brand when 7200.11 came out, that seemed about the same time they dropped the 5 year warranty too.

I think laptop hard drives have too many factors. Laptop HD placement in the laptop itself. I strongly believe the heavier the laptop the sooner the HD fails in a business environment. Not only do drops contribute to this but, holding the laptop by a corner and the whole laptop slightly bends.

For all the people who say all HDs are the same how many people do you know say I like IBM drives, they are my favorite? I have seen that of WD, Seagate and even Maxtor before they sold out to WD.

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I have several [external/USB] Western Digitals from the past couple years, and they all run like champs - even after getting beat to hell an dropped from several feet.

It's been awhile since I've dealt with hard drives on any kind of scale, so that's about the only info of value I have heh..

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@caffeine_dude: I used to think that the IBM deskstars were practically bulletproof compared with others. Then, some colleagues experienced a string of failures with them. Was probably a bad run that slipped by QC, but after that I never vociferously pimped them again.

The best HD is the one you're using now, hopefully. The worst is the last one that failed you at a critical moment.

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@marcoselmalo: Thank you, I knew deskstars were almost always less expensive but you are the first I have ever seen say they were better quality.

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My experience is a tad outdated at this point, but I have a Samsung Spinpoint F3 in my tower, and they are rated as one of the most reliable HDDs in existence. Otherwise I'd recommend Western Digital over Seagate, as Seagate really has been slipping since the 7200.11 fiasco. They have high failure rates now. Overall, make sure you read reviews and information about the particular model of HDD you're considering before you buy it. Even phenomenal manufacturers have crappy models, and even mediocre manufacturers have stellar models.

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@stryker4526: the words "Samsung" and "hard drive" together freaked me out! I am over it now and I will take a look at Samsung thanks to you. I like my 2 Samsung printers, so why not. Thanks!

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I'll never buy another Seagate drive again. My dissatisfaction with them started in the early 80's when I got my first 150 meg drive for around $600. Had nothing but trouble with it. I kept buying more and more drives and they all failed. Of course they failed after the warranty period and even those that didn't had a loss of data that was unrecoverable. The backup method then was floppy disks. My friends and I started calling them Cease-Gate drives.

I've grown to love the Western Digital brand especially the ones with the 5 year warranty. I've used the warranty many times and they make it extremely easy to return a drive. The price of drives is so cheap now that it's easy to keep backup copies in case you have a failure (which will happen in my environment).

Get a drive that supports SMART technology so you know when the failure is eminent and you can take appropriate action immediately.

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Sometimes it ain't the hard drive.
I worked at one place that the building owners let some 3rd party workers use our "isolated" electric system for TIG welding at night. In the morning we'd wonder why so many drives failed- seemed that high freq waves were killing them.
Another place had the gorilla style of a shipping department. Company policy prevented us from bypassing them; their policy prevented anything from not being kicked or dropped.
A lot of times a lot of manufacturers will sub out a lot of their work. Seagate has been infamously known for this for quite some time- one of their partners will farm out some of their work, and they farm some out, and so on, and then WE get a bad batch every so often. From the '80's and the "red light" drives to now, it still happens. A lot of bad Hitachi drives were theoretically traced down to one shipment- maybe something happened to the container, the truck trailer, the warehouse; no one knows. Everything before and after are fine, tho.