Hard Drive Quality

I’m curious whether anyone else has opinions or a body of experience indicating the quality over time of different hard drive brands.

I’ve had the worst experience with Seagates dying or becoming unusable. In fairness, a large part of the sample size was a case of 4.3 GB drives used for upgrading some Dell Pentiums for a client. Perhaps there was a particularly bad manufacturing run and in general they are fine. Still, I have seen other Seagates bite the dust, with no relation to the main group. As a result, I try to avoid Seagates.

Once upon a time, Western Digital had such a stellar reputation that I would pay a premium to buy WD rather than a different brand. We’re talking back in the days that culminated with my purchase of a 540 MB drive for the amazing price of just over $400. Eventually, though, I started to see Western Digitals fail. Not as freely as Seagates, but seemingly with increasing frequency. Renee’s computer has a WD drive that is on the verge of dying, which is what brought the topic to mind. These days I buy WD if I have no other option, but I try to make sure I buy…

Maxtor. I don’t believe I have ever seen a Maxtor fail, and I have nearly as many of them as I have Western Digitals. If any have died on me, it was so few as to not have impinged on my quality suspicion radar.

So I am quite sad that my parts supplier does not appear to be carrying Maxtor drives. That is enough to have me thinking about checking alternative sources.

Other brands? I had an early 7200x hard drive by IBM. Small sample size, so I don’t think I’d make much of it. It was always loud, like a jet taking off. Eventually it failed such that it would work, but only as a slave. Then later it failed completely.

I’ve encountered some Samsung drives, and so far, so good. In one case, overlay software was needed, and I found out that Samsung was, at least at the time, effectively Western Digital hardware under a different brand. The Western Digital overlay utility was what had to be used to make a Samsung drive above the supported size work. That drive is still going. A couple of 60 GB Samsung drives I bought last year are fine so far, but that’s not very long.

I miss my Maxtors. I’ll have to do something about that, or hope for the best from the current crop of Western Digitals.

Comment moderation is on to control spam, but I’d be interested in any other thoughts and experiences with drive brand quality and failure rates. I’ll approve legitimate comments as quickly as I am able.

1 Comment

  1. Michael Mol

    I’ve just been googling around to see if others have had the same experiences I’ve had, but I’d stay absolutely clear of SAMSUNG hard drives. Or, at least, the 1TB model I bought last year.

    That drive failed a few months ago, I RMA’d it, and the drive they sent me has also failed. According to the SMART tests, the drive failed at a powered-on lifetime of zero hours, which either means it’s horribly buggy firmware, or it means the test during Q/A failed, and they shipped the drive anyway.

    I would stay away from SAMSUNG drives. I’ve got an old IBM Deskstar 40GB that’s still chugging away, and a three-year-old Seagate 500GB drive that’s still running solid. But I’ve had two out of two SAMSUNG 1TB drives fail on me.

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