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Are Newer Hard Drives Failing Faster?

By mark.c.duncan ·
I have hard drives with sizes from 250MB to 300GB (ATA 33/66/100/133 and SATA 150/300 - no SCSI). I had not experienced a hard drive failure until one 80GB drive died, then another, then a 160GB, and then two 250GB drives died. To top it off, my new 20 day old 300GB SATA drive started having identification problems with the head tic. The several computers have been different configurations and all are on surge supressors. I thought it might be due to the micronization of the technologies involved (magnetic, electronic, mechanical). So I contacted the manufacurers to ask them about it and they all say that their new hard drives are better and longer lasting than before (Maxtor, Western Digital, Seagate, etc.) My 40GB and below still work fine to this day. Anyone else experiencing the same phenomenon?

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Not so far.

by Mr.Wiz In reply to Are Newer Hard Drives Fai ...

I haven't really noticed an increase in drive problems with any of my home pc's or with any of the 3500 pc's (Dell's) that I maintain at work.

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by mckinnej In reply to Are Newer Hard Drives Fai ...

My old, slow, small drives keep plugging along year after year, but the newer, bigger, faster drives seem to rarely make it through warranty. Granted, I don't buy anything with less than a 3-year warranty, but still...I expect better.

My theory on this is the high performance of the new drives has pushed them to the edge. The manufacturers are packing more data into smaller spaces and operating all of it at speeds that were unthinkable just a few years ago. I think a good analogy would be a race car verses an old Chevy. The race car will break more often (preventive maintence being equal) because of how it is operated. It routinely runs right on the edge of disaster. Conversely, the old Chevy plugs along rarely even coming close to the edge of its operational envelope, so it lasts for years.

Maybe the answer is to not buy the fastest drives on the market, but to buy something slower with more mature technology. The problem with that is the nature of your business may require the speed, so you have a no-win situation.

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SCSI Drives

by mark.c.duncan In reply to Are Newer Hard Drives Fai ...

In the NOC, we run SCSI drives which run from 10,000 RPM to 15,000 RPM. The drive sizes range from 4.3GB to 300GB. However, these drives (hundreds of them) rarely have problems. They run on RAID setups. They constantly run. Could it be that SCSI drives are longer lasting and better built? Could it be that manufacturers are producing cheap drives for the general consumer and more solid drives for the business sector? The price differential is much higher for the business class drives (SCSI high RPM). I really want to narrow my purchasing habits down to the most rock solid hard drives within a reasonable price. Is there any web site that has metrics on hard drives and quality?

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by daniel.a.wentzell In reply to SCSI Drives

Try Tom's Hardware

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Key Points

by mckinnej In reply to SCSI Drives

"They constantly run." That makes a huge difference. Did you know that a regular lightbulb will burn for years, sometimes decades, before failing if it is allowed to burn continuously? This is also true of electronics. They tend to die during the turn-on surge. The on-off nature of most home systems works against them in this regard. (Of course, this doesn't account for platter/head/or other physical failures.)

"Could it be that SCSI drives are longer lasting and better built?" I think so. They also cost more. These drives are industrial strength and you pay for it. There is more evidence to support this. Did you notice that the standard warranty for the consumer "shrink-wrapped" drives dropped from 3 years to 1 year? That happened a few years back. You have to buy the up-scale drives to get a decent warranty. Seagate has a 5-year warranty on their best drives and I just bought one. Ask me again in 3 years how its holding up. :)

Hampton, must be at Langley. I did 3 years there back in the 80's.

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Using SATA with a RAID capable controller

by rkahler In reply to Are Newer Hard Drives Fai ...


I don't think you mentioned whether or not you are using RAID so this information may turn out to be unhelpful.

The type of drive used for SATA depends on whether or not the controller supports RAID. I just read recently that if the controller supports RAID, then the drives need to be RAID capable whether or not you actually use RAID.

There are SATA drives that are non RAID specific. The reason is that the use of a drive on a server is different from that of a home system. The error correction that is built into a server specific drive is different from the error correction that is built into a home (workstation) specific drive.
If the controller doesn't match the drive's capability, there may be issues with the drives.

I believe this information is correct. Please excuse me if I'm inaccurate. As I said, I only recently read an article on this topic.


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IMHO yes, but they spin faster, and hotter.

by X-MarCap In reply to Are Newer Hard Drives Fai ...

I suspect that in the AC draft, with PMs on machines, the new drives would be more robust than their predecessors. Today the biggest problem is heat.

Our systems are smaller tolernces are tighter, the airflow is reduced. The rooms no longer have to be air-conditioned to have a PC in it...

The point is we are spinning drives faster, and using more data. How many drives are really badtracked from the factory?

How many people badtrack their drives?
I have a 200MB SCSI from 1988 witn SCO xenix on it.. It is still running.

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