Bad hard disks time machine

efmgdj

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 10, 2015
4
0
Hi, everytime I buy a new external hard disk for time machine it seems to die after about 6 months. I'm on my 3rd or 4th one now. Is there something I could be doing wrong?
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,431
1,992
New Jersey Pine Barrens
That is pretty strange. What kind of disks are you buying? I have been using a 1tb MyPassport with time machine for the past two years with no problem. Also a MyPassport Ultra for cloning with CCC and no issues.

I have a MacMini as an iTunes server, my library is on a USB 3.0 3tb Seagate desktop backup plus drive, and I have two identical drives that I rotate for nightly backups with a CCC script. These drives have been spinning 24/7 for the past year with no problems.

I don't know what you could be doing wrong, aside from obvious things like banging them around, using them in a place that is too hot or getting them wet.
 

efmgdj

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 10, 2015
4
0
No, I've gone through 2 my passports and a toshiba. They just sit on my desk. The first one I left plugged in all the time and the next 2 I would eject after the morning backup. Do you leave yours connected all the time?
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,537
25,262
No, I've gone through 2 my passports and a toshiba. They just sit on my desk. The first one I left plugged in all the time and the next 2 I would eject after the morning backup. Do you leave yours connected all the time?
Are these the smaller form factor ones or the larger 3.5" desktop HDD enclosures? I find that with smaller HDDs, the tolerances they're built to seem to inspire failure ...
 

efmgdj

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 10, 2015
4
0
they were 3 different types, so I don't think that's the issue.
 

LOLobo

macrumors member
Nov 20, 2014
61
30
I had this happen with a 1tb drive. I don't need hourly incremental back-up. So instead I only plug in the drive on a weekly basis. I'm almost certain there is a way to change how often back-ups will occur.
 

motrek

macrumors 68020
Sep 14, 2012
2,428
150
Are these the smaller form factor ones or the larger 3.5" desktop HDD enclosures? I find that with smaller HDDs, the tolerances they're built to seem to inspire failure ...
Should be the opposite. Less moving mass means less strain on mechanical components. Plus, the smaller 2.5" drives are designed for laptop use, which means they are designed and built to be stopped/started more frequently and to withstand more and stronger shocks and vibrations.

If your experience is that 3.5" drives are more reliable, I would suggest that that is not a normal experience.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,537
25,262
Should be the opposite. Less moving mass means less strain on mechanical components. Plus, the smaller 2.5" drives are designed for laptop use, which means they are designed and built to be stopped/started more frequently and to withstand more and stronger shocks and vibrations.

If your experience is that 3.5" drives are more reliable, I would suggest that that is not a normal experience.
Really? I would suggest the opposite, that 3.5" HDDs are considerably more reliable, and I would genuinely swear by it! Darn, now I want to start a thread and get a vote going on MacRumours about which one's best. :oops:
 

motrek

macrumors 68020
Sep 14, 2012
2,428
150
Hi, everytime I buy a new external hard disk for time machine it seems to die after about 6 months. I'm on my 3rd or 4th one now. Is there something I could be doing wrong?
Temperature can kill drives--both high temperatures (over 45C) and frequently-varying temperatures. Is it possible that you drives are in a location on your desk that gets very poor air circulation? Or are they exposed to direct sunlight? It is amazing how hot things can get when exposed to direct sunlight for any non-trivial amount of time.

Vibration can also kill drives. Does your desk vibrate due to proximity (or physical connection) to appliances like a dishwaster, washing machine, etc.? Do you have computer speakers that might vibrate the desk e.g. when you play music?

Hard use can also kill drives, meaning frequently moving the read/write head to do many frequent random accesses. Do you have a lot of small files that get backed up frequently?

Personally I have 3 hard drives that I have in rotation for weekly backups. I bought one about 6 years ago, another about 3 years ago, and the most recent about 2 years ago. They are still running like champs. I plug in one every week, do my backup (takes about half an hour), and unplug it and put it in a box in the shade in a corner.
 

motrek

macrumors 68020
Sep 14, 2012
2,428
150
Really? I would suggest the opposite, that 3.5" HDDs are considerably more reliable, and I would genuinely swear by it! Darn, now I want to start a thread and get a vote going on MacRumours about which one's best. :oops:
Not sure why you would think that, other than the fact that 3.5" drives are bigger and heavier? :)
 

motrek

macrumors 68020
Sep 14, 2012
2,428
150
Not sure why you would think that, other than the fact that 3.5" drives are bigger and heavier? :)
Oh, one other thing is that 3.5" drives are usually installed in larger, stationary desktop computers. That means they are inherently protected from vibration and shocks to some degree. And desktops usually have better cooling.

I have no doubt 2.5" drives fail more often because they are usually installed in laptops or as portable external drives, and are thus subjected to more vibration, shocks, and temperature extremes.

But all things being equal, I would expect a 2.5" drive to be more reliable than a 3.5" drive. The key being, all things being equal.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,537
25,262
Not sure why you would think that, other than the fact that 3.5" drives are bigger and heavier? :)
Well the smaller they are, the smaller the components are. They're moving components after all. The tolerances they have to endure and the more complicated the parts, the more likely to fail.

My experience with ultra-thin hard-drives seems to suggest that they're far less reliable than standard 2.5" ones. Although in saying that the collosal failure rate has only really occurred in Fujitsu ultrabooks, while Toshiba ultrabooks with the same slim hard-drives (not sure about HDD manufacturer though), don't have anywhere near the same failure rate.

And from there the 3.5" HDDs seem more reliable than that. Yet in saying that, the 3.5" HDDs don't get moved around as much, as they're normally in desktops which don't tend to move. And naturally more movement with HDDs, as they have moving components inside, would be more likely to cause failure.

Boy it's a tough one, you're making me doubt myself now!
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,431
1,992
New Jersey Pine Barrens
they are the mid sized -- not the really small ones.
No, the passport is a small, bus-powered 2.5" drive: http://www.wdc.com/en/products/external/portable/

I don't leave my passport drives plugged in all the time, just use them periodically. As I posted above, my larger externally powered USB 3.5" drives are plugged in and spinning 24/7 on a server.

I also have a 2TB time capsule that does continuous backups.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.