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What makes a hard drive reliable ?? - Page 4

post #46 of 80

x


Edited by fznicon - 6/18/12 at 11:54pm
post #47 of 80

Hm, I just got a 500GB Seagate external hard drive (small portable one) and it seems to have issues where it randomly disconnects then connects again.  I bought in in China, but I don't think it's fake...though I can't be 100% sure.  I'm using it on a 1st gen macbook, and using the included software for NTFS support (Paragon, it was called).  Anybody know what's wrong here?

post #48 of 80

Is there a reason you're using it as NTFS? For example, did you want it to be PC-compatible? Otherwise you should really make it HFS+. The issue could simply be Paragon. I've used it a few times and it's been fine, but it has been a while.

 

500 GB 2.5" Seagate drives are supposed to be stable enough so unless it's a fake I'd be surprised to find it's the drive.

 

Open up Disk Utility and check what the serial number is for the drive. You can use that to check authenticity with Seagate.

post #49 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougofTheAbaci View Post

Is there a reason you're using it as NTFS? For example, did you want it to be PC-compatible? Otherwise you should really make it HFS+. The issue could simply be Paragon. I've used it a few times and it's been fine, but it has been a while.

 

500 GB 2.5" Seagate drives are supposed to be stable enough so unless it's a fake I'd be surprised to find it's the drive.

 

Open up Disk Utility and check what the serial number is for the drive. You can use that to check authenticity with Seagate.



I definitely want it to be PC-compatible.  In fact I'd like it to be PS3 compatible too, but there's no way I'm gonna use FAT32 with this.

 

My problem right now is that I've filled it up so much that I don't have anywhere to put the data if I wanted to reformat it...so it could be a pain.  I'd probably want to reformat it with exFAT though, since OS X supports that now.  Unless there's something inherently wrong with exFAT.

post #50 of 80

To be honest, most filesystems have a problem exFAT is designed as a cross-over between newer and older systems It's not meant to be good, it's mean to be what you use when you don't have a better option. NTFS... It's NTFS.

 

I think you may be stuck. The only thing I could think of is uninstall Paragon NTFS and try NTFS-3G instead. It's free and I hear good things, though it's not as feature rich (last I looked you couldn't format to NTFS and it wasn't quite as fast).

post #51 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougofTheAbaci View Post

To be honest, most filesystems have a problem exFAT is designed as a cross-over between newer and older systems It's not meant to be good, it's mean to be what you use when you don't have a better option. NTFS... It's NTFS.

 

I think you may be stuck. The only thing I could think of is uninstall Paragon NTFS and try NTFS-3G instead. It's free and I hear good things, though it's not as feature rich (last I looked you couldn't format to NTFS and it wasn't quite as fast).



Hm, well, I have MacFUSE installed, which I think supports NTFS...but I had thought the two programs were conflicting with each other, so I disabled it.  Didn't seem to make much of a difference though.  I guess I could disable the Paragon NTFS driver instead of outright uninstalling it though, there is an option to do that.  Thanks, I'll try that out.

post #52 of 80

samsung f3 spinpoint

post #53 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gravediggaz View Post

samsung f3 spinpoint


Lol, I have about 3 of those.  Spinning platters still suck.  Can't wait till they vanish.

 

post #54 of 80
It's not a matter of if a hard drive will fail, it's only a matter of when.

There are several types of hard drive failures. The main ones are:
- Electronic failure (something on the circuit board fries)
- Spindle failure (the motor can no longer spin the platters)
- Head crash (when the read/write head actually hits the hard drive platter)
- Head wear (when the head can no longer accurately read or write data)
- Platter wear (when certain areas of the platter can no longer hold a sufficient magnetic polarization)

Electronic failures are the easiest to deal with. All you've got to do is find an identical model drive on ebay or wherever and swap out the PCB with the failed one. There's really nothing special that you can do to avoid such failures other than making sure your PC has a high quality power supply and you have a UPS connected to it to avoid both spikes and dips in AC voltage. And, of course, don't short it out.

Spindle failures are caused by the bearings in the motor wearing out over time. The platters of a hard drive can never be 100% balanced, so there's always a little bit of vibration when they spin. Then there's also vibration caused by the actuator arm moving back and forth, and vibration from other hard drives in your computer that gets transferred through the case. These vibrations slowly wear out the bearings until the point where they can no longer provide smooth operation and so the platters either slow down or stop spinning entirely. Spindle failures are frequently followed by a head crash (more on why in a sec). To help avoid this, the best you can do is to try and use some sort of vibration isolation (rubber washers for example) when installing more than one hard drive in a computer, and to pick hard drives with fewer platters and slower spindle speed. Today's 2TB hard drives actually have four 500GB platters inside them, which is four times as much weight and momentum on the spindle as on a 500GB drive. This is why you never see 2TB drives spinning at 15k RPM, because their lifespan would be too low to be practical (other reasons as well, but mainly that).

Head crashes can be caused by spindle failures, by some sort of external shock to the drive while it is in operation, by dust particles, by heat, or by sudden disconnection of power before the heads have parked (though this is very rarely seen on modern drives due to safety measures). Imagine for a second that you took the Empire State Building, turned it on it's side, held it up 6 inches above the surface of the earth, and started moving it at 100mph. Then imagine that a boulder got in the way. That's basically the same effect that dust particles have inside a hard drive. It's not a vacuum in there, as the head actually rides on a thin layer of moving air above the platters, and that's why there are vent holes on the casing to equalize air pressure. Then if the hard drive heats up enough the platters expand to the point that the head ends up riding directly on them and cutting into their surface. So to avoid a head crash, always make sure your drive has some airflow, that you don't drop it, and you don't open it up.

Head wear occurs whenever the heads park or unpark (when the drive turns on or off or goes to sleep). There are two methods that are used to park heads. The first way, which is now obsolete, is to move to the center of the drive and rest directly on unused portions of the platters. Every park or unpark would cause wear to the surface of the heads and the platters, and slowly but surely the heads would stop being able to function. The second method, used on all hard drives today, is for a small rack to be placed on the outside of the platter, and whenever power is cut from the electromagnetic assembly the heads snap into those racks. This puts absolutely no wear on the surface of the platters or the heads, however, every time they snap into place there's always a chance that one of them misses and ends up getting bent. The more your drives go to sleep or get turned off or on, the higher the chance of this happening. To help avoid this, don't turn on and off your computer all the time, and make sure that hard drive sleeping is either disabled or set really high (like 60 mins) for your system drive and any other drives that you constantly use (seldom used drives, like backup or archival drives, are better off left asleep when not in use to prevent unneeded spindle wear).

Platter wear is unavoidable. Over time, the platters of a drive lose some of their magnetism. The data sections of a drive can be re-magnetized simple by re-writing all the information over again, but the servo information used to position the head can't be re-written without specialized equipment. In most cases demagnetized parts of the drive pop up as bad sectors and are remapped to some spare area on the drive before you even notice them, but once you start to see several of those bad sectors pop up with a surface scan (check out HDTune), you should immediately copy your data to a different drive before it can no longer be accessed. The only hard drives that don't suffer from this are the old drives that used stepper motors (and I really mean old, as in early-1980's). That said, it takes a very long time for this to happen, so it's not something you should be too concerned about unless your drive is already several years old. Chances are that you'll encounter some other failure before running into this.


It's like I said though - it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. Data recovery is extremely expensive (thousands of dollars), and requires tons of special equipment (among them a Class 100 clean room so that the drive can be opened up and the platters removed without damage). In many cases it's not even possible. So always backup any data that's important to you, and don't expect someone at geek squad (or really any technician) to be able to retrieve your data if the drive fails.
Edited by Manyak - 9/10/11 at 1:28pm
post #55 of 80

^ Well said.  

 

Oh look, by going solid state you remove 4 out of 5 potential problem areas!    

post #56 of 80

And add a few more. That being said, I still think SSDs are the future. The trick is a file system and OS that's truly built to use them properly.

post #57 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougofTheAbaci View Post

And add a few more. That being said, I still think SSDs are the future. The trick is a file system and OS that's truly built to use them properly.


Correct, they do have some drawbacks but nothing as bad as having to deal w/ physical moving parts.  I noticed the feature list for Windows 8 seems to be omitting TRIM for RAID once again.  rolleyes.gif

 

 

 

post #58 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post




Correct, they do have some drawbacks but nothing as bad as having to deal w/ physical moving parts.  I noticed the feature list for Windows 8 seems to be omitting TRIM for RAID once again.  rolleyes.gif

 

 

 


TRIM in RAID isn't dependent on the OS, it's dependent on the RAID controller.

Windows sees an array as a single hard drive, and so when it gives it a TRIM command for a specific virtual sector it's up to the RAID controller to take that command and translate it into a physical sector.

But then there's also the problem that data is stored in stripes...so when Windows says to TRIM a specific sector, the controller would have to read it's entire stripe into a buffer, TRIM it, and then rewrite it. Basically it's like performing an erase-write cycle, except with a much larger chunk of data. This would slow down writes tremendously.

I think the only way to achieve full TRIM performance in a RAID, without any "hacks" (such as garbage collection), would be to give the RAID controller full control over block-level access.
Edited by Manyak - 9/11/11 at 6:08am
post #59 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBomb77766 View Post





I definitely want it to be PC-compatible.  In fact I'd like it to be PS3 compatible too, but there's no way I'm gonna use FAT32 with this.

 

My problem right now is that I've filled it up so much that I don't have anywhere to put the data if I wanted to reformat it...so it could be a pain.  I'd probably want to reformat it with exFAT though, since OS X supports that now.  Unless there's something inherently wrong with exFAT.


I bought a seagate 250gb portable hard drive from china a few years back, still works with my Mac. If it keeps disconnecting (like mine did/use to), it's cause the ntfs incompatibility. Mac just doesn't like it. Also, if it's not the go flex version, the mini-USB connection gets worn out really easily, so it could also be that reason as well.

For hard drive platters, I'd go seagate all the way, by far the most reliable hard drives I've ever seen. I've even hammered one's casing (literally, with a metal hammer), and it as long as it could still spin it still worked (albeit, it made a lot of noise, eventually more as I hammered it) -> seagate caviar version.

The go flex versions of seagate are probably the best ones in my opinion, as you can get FireWire/usb3 connections, and all attachment parts are hot swappable, so you can replace faulty parts if needed.

Exfat is a more reliable/efficient file system than ntfs, though windows wants to keep to it's ntfs (I don't know why).

That's what I've seen, as well, working in the health industry, most computers I've seen are all seagate wired and seagate backed up.
post #60 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sushisamurai View Post

For hard drive platters, I'd go seagate all the way, by far the most reliable hard drives I've ever seen. 


Not in my experience but I deal w/ consumer level drives not Enterprise.  Seagate has been notoriously one of the most unreliable in recent years.  Seems when they bought Maxtor they adopted there design standards.  Maybe it's the Maxtor folks and plants that make the consumer stuff now for Seagate.

 

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