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What makes a hard drive reliable ??

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 

Can someone tell me because I have no idea.

I've been surfing the net for a couple hours now trying to figure it out. So far, I still don't quite understand.

 

I'm thinking of buying an external hard drive to back up some stuff from my laptop because it's crapping out and it has a handful of virus' I can't seem to get rid of.

I need around 100gigs of hard drive space to be comfortable. (I wish they made cheap usb flash drives with that capacity)

 

In the past i've had a "Western Digital My Book" external hard drive that died after 3 months of normal use. I lost 500gigs of data, so I'm a bit worried and cautious now. I don't want to repeat that.

 

I've read countless reviews of hard drives (external, internal, solid state, esata/firewire...usb3.0 etc.) but one thing I noticed is that they all have the possibility of "failing" at some point or another. Why is this ?

 

post #2 of 80

Simply because there are quite a few mechanical parts in it that nobody can service. You could compare a harddrive with a turntable that is running in a vacuum. In vaccum because you dont want your data to end up in pops and clicks. Now imagine you change tracks and jump to different times in a track using a turntable - then it can get quite stressy for you. Now imagine the amount of data on one side of a record being only 300mb...

 

I hope you get the idea. The arm, the motor etc. are just doing a whole lot of work, nobody can service it - basically because of the vacuum and the fact that it would be too expensive. (There are companies that take apart harddrive in cases it failed...).

 

If you want more security buy an external enclosure that holds two harddrives in a raid 1 configuration. Raid 1 means the data is acually mirrored on two drives and if one fails you can replace it and not loose all your data again.

 

I am sure there are others that can explain it better, I tried to make it easy :)

 

Andre

post #3 of 80
Thread Starter 

Wow, thank you.

That was a very good explanation.

 

Although, I have to ask, why have some solid state drives stopped working ? (I'm sure theres a detailed and maybe straight forward explanation. But.. it's just one of those days, i'm on this forum so I might as well throw it out there :)  )

 

Now I just need to decide what to do.

post #4 of 80

i have an hp external hard drive that has been working for almost 2 years. i have had no problems so i think you shouldn't worry, but i constantly worry because its an hp hard drive. i am anti everything hp. but it was given to me.

post #5 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllsWell View Post

Wow, thank you.

That was a very good explanation.

 

Although, I have to ask, why have some solid state drives stopped working ? (I'm sure theres a detailed and maybe straight forward explanation. But.. it's just one of those days, i'm on this forum so I might as well throw it out there :)  )

 

Now I just need to decide what to do.


The problem with SSD's is that the chip that stores the data can only do this a certain amount of times before it looses the physical condition to do so. I am not sure if SSD's are now as reliable as "normal" harddrives, but they were not (would fail twice as fast - Mean time between failure).

Right now I would not recommend SSD's for backup or archiving solutions.

 

 

 

 

post #6 of 80

Found this one that is probably giving you a better explanation: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2011/01/27/ssds-vs-disks-which-are-more-reliable/

post #7 of 80

I am using a Fantec MR-35DUS2 external enclosure with Raid 1. At work directly attached to my computer and at home I use it together with a small Netbook to share my data. Furthermore do I use Sharkoon Quickport and backup the data to another harddrive which I take to my parents every now and then to have another offsite backup in case of a fire or theft.

 

 

... I know I am crazy regarding backups... :-)

 

post #8 of 80

Delete


Edited by labrat - 9/16/11 at 2:41am
post #9 of 80
Thread Starter 

Damn that's an interesting article.

 

I really need to do more research and look into this stuff.

 

I'll be considering Raid options but, I've read that, over time, the raid controller has a higher percentage of failure when compared to a normal hard drive ? ( does that make sense...? I just read that somewhere )

post #10 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllsWell View Post

Damn that's an interesting article.

 

I really need to do more research and look into this stuff.

 

I'll be considering Raid options but, I've read that, over time, the raid controller has a higher percentage of failure when compared to a normal hard drive ? ( does that make sense...? I just read that somewhere )


Depends on what RAID option you're talking about. If you're talking about RAID 0 (striping) that is certainly the case. Check the wiki article about RAID here. What it comes down to is this: To make one hard drive reliable you need more than one. Redundancy is the term which is usually used for this. Having more copies of the same thing. How far you're willing to go with that obviously depends on how important the data is to you. For home/ private use I would recommend a NAS or some other storage device with a RAID 1 array. What that comes down to in laymans terms is that you've got a device with 2 hard drives in it which contain exactly the same data. You copy data from your laptop/ desktop or what have you on to the storage device to make sure you still have it when one of the computers fails. Another option would be to buy some online storage.

Once again, how far you're willing to go depends on how important the data is to you which comes down to the simple question of how much money you're willing to spend to guarantee the safety of that data.
post #11 of 80
Thread Starter 

Hmm, intersting to say the least.

 

I'm currently trying to rid my computer of some virus' (again). Once I see how this goes I will make a decision.

 

Like I said, I really need to read up on this stuff.

 

Thanks for the input though.

post #12 of 80

One thing overlooked by many when the external drive fails a lot of the time its power supplies I can not count how many bad caps I have found. Sometimes you can replace the walwart or power brick with a new one and 

things go back to normal but I would still back it up on another drive when power supplies go bad they shorten the HD's life.

post #13 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllsWell View Post

Hmm, intersting to say the least.

 

I'm currently trying to rid my computer of some virus' (again). Once I see how this goes I will make a decision.

 

Like I said, I really need to read up on this stuff.

 

Thanks for the input though.


Are you having severe virus problems? What's your security set up like? and what you're current problem?


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozz View Post

One thing overlooked by many when the external drive fails a lot of the time its power supplies I can not count how many bad caps I have found. Sometimes you can replace the walwart or power brick with a new one and 

things go back to normal but I would still back it up on another drive when power supplies go bad they shorten the HD's life.


I'd agree that that is one of the top causes of failure. Another issue is if externals get knocked around quite a bit while the disk is writing. Disconnecting any medium while it is writing can/will cause corruption soon enough. With my WD external, the mini USB jack is very poorly constructed and can get disconnected easily.

 

post #14 of 80

WD and samsung are the guys i buy my HDD from. but no one is perfect, i've had a 2tb WD drive fail on me and i've lost some stuff, but most of it was backed up. 

 

so yeah whatever you buy just make sure you back up regularly. (for example i've got my music stored on 3 different HDD's :D)

post #15 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming Of A Better ... View Post

WD and samsung are the guys i buy my HDD from. but no one is perfect, i've had a 2tb WD drive fail on me and i've lost some stuff, but most of it was backed up. 

 

so yeah whatever you buy just make sure you back up regularly. (for example i've got my music stored on 3 different HDD's :D)



Samsung's Spinpoints are the best HDDs released so far, period. But they just sold their mechanical HDD division to Seagate :( :( :(

 

I really wish they would have had time to develop the successor to that series.

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