are larger drives less "stable"? (stupid question)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by shecky, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    i know this is most likely a ridiculously ignorant question, but are larger drives less stable than smaller ones? i am not talking about a brand difference, i am talking storage size; for example is a 500GB Seagate Barracuda less likely to have a failure than a 1TB Seagate Barracuda? etc..

    i need new drives for my mac pro; i was about to click on "order" for 2 x 500GB, but i realized that a single 1TB drive would be basically the same storage, but to me a 1TB seems just more prone to failure, like an over pressurized car tire. (i am aware of the logic that 1TB over 2 drives means twice as likely to fail, but other than that.)

    i assume i am completely incorrect but i just need to hear it from someone else. :)
  2. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    As far as I know there is no reason why a larger drive would be more prone to failure than a smaller drive. If anything it's less because the parts don't have to move as much to get to data because the disk is denser. Just go for the terabyte one.
  3. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    that's a good question. i have the same concern.

    higher density means to me higher chance that a "magnetic bit" can fail because they are smaller.

    also more plates in one disk means more chance that on of them fails. then all data are lost. in the case of two 500GB disks you keep half of the data.

    is that logic correct?
  4. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I think it mostly has to do with how established the technologies are as anything. You can look at's drive database for some tips, though, and that is the ONLY non-anecdotal source of real-world drive reliability I'm aware of--it's the only place collecting a large enough number of samples to draw a meaningful conclusion from outside of "well, both of my Seagate drives died!" or whatever.

    The bit density of newer drives would seem to make you think that they'd be more prone to data corruption, but I haven't seen much in the way of real-world experience to back this up--if anything, drives have (overall) seen something of an increase in reliability compared to the very old days. Maybe that won't hold true through the TB range of drives, but I'm not so sure.

    I would hazard a guess that in very general terms the more platters a drive contains, the more likely something is to go wrong, both because of increased heat (more mass for the motor to spin, harder to dissipate it) and the fact that the head mechanism is heavier (more heads), so probably causes slightly more vibration.

    That's only theory, though, so I wouldn't bet much on it.

    As for splitting your data among several NON-RAIDed disks (say, two 500GB drives NOT in a RAID1 set instead of a single 1TB drive), obviously that doubles your chance of having a single failure, but if you do have one you only lose half the data. Best policy is just to have a good backup, though.

    (By the way, I just bought some drives and while a 1TB drive would be nice, I opted for 500GB ones for two reasons--mainly, much cheaper per GB, but also since it's somewhat less "bleeding edge" technology, I figure that kinks are less likely.)
  5. shecky thread starter Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    true also. it looks like the best cost-per-GB right now are 750GB drives; i am more inclined to do 2 x 750GB than 1 x 1TB
  6. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    If you're that worried about your data, TIME MACHINE :D

    Instead of trying to figure out that a 1TB drive will last 1,326,091 days and 2 500GB drives will last 1,326,874 days, just get a backup hard drive. That way if either of them fails you can just replace it with no data lost.

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