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Re: [vox-tech] External vs. Bare Drive/Case
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Re: [vox-tech] External vs. Bare Drive/Case

On 09/01/2010 01:56 PM, Nick Schmalenberger wrote:
> I've often heard that the highest capacity drives available
> usually have the most platters and so are less reliable because
> of more moving parts

Sort of.  The parts of a multiple platter drive are bigger and heavier 
than those of a single platter drive.  But there's the same number of 
them.  So there's basically the moving parts are 1-N platters, 1 motor, 
1 actuator, and one head assembly.

>, and they are more expensive. I wish newegg
> would list the number of platters a drive has

I don't see why people would care, nor have I seen any difference in 
reliability.  You are assuming that there's constant engineering and 
instead I'll claim that disk companies put in enough engineering to 
maximize profit... this includes being reliable enough to protect their 
hard won reputation.  So yes a 5 platter drive has additional 
engineering... or reduced performance goals, but the same reliability goal.

>, supposedly 4 or 5
> is alot and 2 or 3 is a good amount. Sometimes you can find out
> from other sites like http://www.storagereview.com/ and
> http://www.redhill.net.au/ also has a lot of cool info about hard
> drives.

The google paper analyzed 1000s of drives and I don't recall any 
correlation between platters and reliability.

Pretty much all brands have cyclic reliability.  Not sure if it's random 
chance, or some kind of build the brand reputation, then sell 
substandard drives to extract profit from the reputation.  In any case 
maxtor used to be great... then not.  IBM used to be great... then not. 
  Seagate used to be great... then not.  At least for now it seems like 
WD is pretty good.  I've been using quite a few lately (around 100) 
without problem.

If you want a 2TB for backup purposes I'd consider:

It has 391 reviews with an average rating of 4 of 5 stars.  That's 
pretty good, especially since it seems like people are 10x as likely to 
fill out a review for a bad drive as they are when they expect and 
receive a reliable drive.

I've seen seagate (which hit bottom about 6 months or so ago) with much 
worse reviews, but they seem to be on the road to recovery, for instance 
(286 reviews 3 stars)

I know samsung has some major issues.  The drives tended to be much 
heavier and much more fragile as they were working the kinks out of 
their new glass/ceramic platters. Looks like they have gotten better 
though, the reviews look similar to WD (4 stars 279 reviews):

So currenty I'd rate WD as the more conservative bet, and seagate as the 
one that is likely cheaper and likely to be fine as well.  Can't really 
comment too much on samsung because I haven't bought any recently.

With backups the more copies the better.  So if you can afford 2 1TB 
drives instead of 1 2TB you might be better off (depending on how much 
you need to backup).  I'm particularly happy with a portable drive I 
recently bought:

I expect 2.5" drives designed for laptops to be a bit better in shock 
resistance and to be designed for an increased number of start/stop 
cycles (I.e. a laptop with aggressive power conservation).  It's very 
quiet, rather small (fits in a shirt pocket), sleeps when not in use 
(automatically).  The reviews are 3 stars out of 5, but that seems to be 
mostly related to some crapware that comes preinstalled but is 
removable.  I've seen it on sale for $99, and was around that on sale at 
costco recently (which is where I bought it).

All good options, I find it kind of shocking how reliable drives are 
these days.
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