Damn It - I need reliable storage - Failed 1TB Seagate Xtreme - SSD FTW?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ptjh, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. ptjh macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2008
    I just bought am External Seagate Xtreme 1TB hard drive and it failed in the 2 weeks.

    I've got everything backed up on my old WD hard drive. This is my first seagate and I'm still pissed off for the inconvenience and the current risk I have of my back up drive failing!

    I need a better solution since my data is very precious to me.

    Is SSD more 'fail safe'? Are there alternatives? THey are expensive but may be worth it - I just want to back up 500GB and have it save. I have most of my stuff on DVD-r which I never use and put away safe but this isn't really a great method. I hear about hard discs failing all the time and I can't afford for this to happen to me.

    I can't afford more than a 200GBP though so I guess SSD is out or the question juding by prices I've seen.

    It needs to be external storage for mac and pc and use usb2/fw400/800 - if an external case is required than that's ok.

    Any advice would be great - thanks.

    How likely is it that both discs would fail one after the other on a RAID 1 WD drive?
  2. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    Sometimes you just get unlucky with drives. Seagate has a 5 year warranty (on most drives) so you should be able to get it replaced no problem. If you are worried about safety, may I recommend a redundant RAID array or a Drobo? If you don't want to shell out big bucks for one of those devices, just backup to more than one place.
    SSD's are absurdly expensive and small in size. Don't bother with these yet.
  3. calviin macrumors regular

    Nov 16, 2008
    Can't time machine back up to two different drives? It's always better to have more copies on separate drives than just one really comprehensive copy...
  4. ptjh thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2008
    Yeah, I was thinking of getting another seagate xtreme after this one but...hmmmmmm :mad:
  5. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    Take the probability that one drive will fail and square it. I'm not sure what fraction of harddrives actually fail within warranty, but I'm sure it's pretty low. The probability of both failing is very small.

    I would also suggest keeping multiple backups. I backup all of my important documents to two external harddrives, as well as to an online backup site.
  6. Semiopaque macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2008
    I've been avoiding the all-in-one hard drive and enclosure things, myself. I've only ever had one hard drive fail with important data on it and it was one of the early WD MyBook things (fortunately the drive that it was backing up was fine). Realistically, they're as likely to fail as anything but I like enclosures so I can upgrade drives more easily.

    I'm using an external enclosure and 1 TB Samsung F1s now. I don't have an enclosure for each drive at the moment. I swap them out and back up when I hit a critical point of need. That's for data. For OS stuff I clone using SuperDuper to an old PATA drive in an enclosure with multiple partitions for specific cloning points.

    There's a lot of 1 TB drives out there lately for under $100, so I think it's a good time to pick up what you can afford. Also have some WD6400AAKS that I use, which are nice and two platters, I believe, so hypothetically may have less chance for failure due to less mechanical movements, though really, nothing lasts forever.
  7. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    If you don't mind another Seagate?

    www.frys.com has the 1TB Free Agent Pro USB/FW400/eSATA for $129 while supplies last.
  8. bkarabel macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2007
  9. drichards macrumors 6502a


    Nov 30, 2008
    Lacie is the hotness. And they're very affordable too, you can find a 1TB Lacie for under $129 any day of the week now.

    I use a WD MyBook Studio. Its not as great as I'd like. They have firewire controller issues, stay away.

    SSD's in my opinion aren't worth it outside of an ultralight laptop.
  10. mark2288 macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2006
    If your data is truly important, you're going to need it backed-up on more than one drive to be extra safe.

    I have a Guardian Maximus with 2 1 TB drives in it. It is hardware RAID-1 so it mirrors the data. In case one drive fails, I can just pull it out (hopefully replace it under Seagate's 5 year warranty) and pop a new one in and it takes care of everything.

    It's a little pricey enclosure, but well well worth the comfort I get that my data is safe.

  11. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    Seagate has been having serious issues with their 1TB and 1.5TB drives lately. Mine wasn't an external drive, but the BIOS just stopped seeing the drive one day. Mine was about a month old with a total of about 5 days usage. I assume they use Seagate drives in the thing ;) :p

    A quick search on the Intertubes will show you a long list of complaints. Seagates forum monitors got so tired of deleting the complaint Posts that they shut the forum down.

    BTW, my replacement drive was a refurb and I have issues using Windows updates (yeah I know...). Every time I apply an update, I lose the Boot partition and have to repair it via the Vista repair on the install CD's. My original drive never had that issue.

    I'm seriously looking at Hitatchi or Western Digital (also owned by Seagate) to replace the drive. I just don't trust it.
  12. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    I only trust Western Digital for my drives, I never trust Maxtor or Seagate.

    Both Seagate and Maxtor failed on me before but never Western Digital.

    Never use Hitachi but ain't Seagate own Maxtor? instead of own WD?
  13. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    I have a 1tb Time Capsule at work, and another one at home.

    To me, they are the ultimate for reliable backup as cos they incorporate the wifi and router functions, they're always on - no need to remember to turn the backup drive on and off or plug in / unplug the external. They do backups every hour on the hour.

    I know TCs are not quite perfect, but a better solution would take a hell of a lot of work.

    The work TC (which acts as office storage and also backs up 5 laptops) is itself backed up weekly to a 1TB LaCie usb/fw external drive (the black block one), which is taken and kept offsite (someone takes it home)

    This meets my critera in that backed up data should be held in two different places. (in case of fire, theft etc)

    Also when we need to do video-editing in the office (about once a month), we use the LaCie 1TB for a scratch disk.
  14. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Like others have said you need two backups.

    One of those backups should be kept off site, except when backing up to it of course. If you have no place to keep it off site then at least put it in a fireproof safe that is anchored to the floor, water tight would be even better. Even if you had ten backups they are useless if stolen, in a fire, flood, windstorm etc...

    RAID 1 is not much safer for backups than a single hard disk. What if the RAID's power supply sends a surge? All disks are then dead. RAID is not meant to be a backup solution it is for you to be able to continue working in case of a single hard drive failure rather than reinstalling the OS, software, drivers, settings and data. Depending on the array type it can also be useful for fast data access for multiple users on a server or a single user with large files.

    When getting the backup drives. Buy two different brands. Thus if there is a faulty design from the manufacturer you lessen the odds of simultaneous failure. Build them yourself as there is no guarantee that two third party external drive makers are not both using the same hard drive. Unless of course the external drive maker also builds internal drives and not just enclosures. Building yourself is the best option regardless as you have more control over your parts and it is usually a little cheaper.

    With the business my father owned that I worked in the office in and maintained the computers. We kept eight back ups. Seven were rotated throughout the week so if the computer and current backup failed we lost at the most one day of transactions. The eighth backup was for a monthly total system backup.

    Edit: RedTomato you beat me to the off site by a hair
  15. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    I think over the last few years I've purchased maybe 100-120 external FW drives from different manufacturers. Mostly LaCie, lately doing MyBook. In all those years, no matter the type drive, the failure rate has astounded me. Because of it in fact I revamped my own backup system to take that into account. My philosophy is simple: "The drive will fail, eventually."
    I like my system, even though a bit awkward to look at at first... but once I explain the logic it's obvious why I do it this way.
    On any given server I install Retrospect's client. On the Retrospect servers I maybe have 4 drives connected, then have maybe 10 Retrospect servers, mostly on Mac Mini's. I alternate backups not only to different drives, but also to different servers. If a drive fails, I slap another one on, rename it, and walk away. My first attempt using LaCie drives saw 60% fail in the first year or two. In one year I have yet to have a MyBook fail... but some will! I think my system beats one giant NAS or RAID backup. Redundancy is the key. And you'd think that setting up all those Retrospect servers would be hard, but trust me, it's a snap. I can set up a whole new server with multiple backup packages in 10 minutes.
    So the bottom line I guess is this: The drive will fail, plan for that, use multiple backup locations, stay away from Time Capsule. (thought I'd throw that in, but that's another thread)
  16. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    They are nice for home use.... the WiFi is better than I'd hoped.
  17. network23 macrumors 6502


    Dec 18, 2002
    You might look into an NAS - network storage. I've been using a ReadyNAS NV+ for over a year and love it! The unit's a bit pricier since they were bought out by NetGear, but the Infrant folks have excellent customer support. http://www.infrant.com

    Highly reliable. Barring a fire or a 16-ton weight dropped on the unit, if a single drive fails, I won't lose any data. All I have to do is pop in a new drive and the data is rebuilt. I don't even have to shut the unit down.
  18. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    I agree with Les Kern and Velocityg4 - for mid-scale installations like yours (i.e. more than around 6 laptops or more than 3-4 desktops) I'd start using server-based storage with either Retrospect or network-based TM (only for small networks and only with a TM server running OSX).

    I wouldn't use TM with a NAS - i believe it is still officially unsupported. I'm not willing to trust my data to something that appears to work but may or may not work when at a crisis moment.

    To the OP, if it's just for personal use, then the cheapest reliable way is to have two separate external hard drives, and run TM on both. You can exclude certain folders from TM if you don't want to fill up your backup drive too quickly. I exclude downloads, and a designated 'large files' folder on mine.

    It's critical that backups are easy to do - that's why I like TC - no plugging / unplugging / turning on / turning off is needed. For a desktop, an extra internal harddrive or a permanently attached external would do.
  19. vermonter16 macrumors regular

    Nov 19, 2008
    Ok - I'm completely new to this whole "backing up" thing (I know, not smart) but I'm getting my first mac (an imac) this week or hopefully it will arrive this week. I'm confused in terms of time capsule (which someone said that you don't have to do anything - it automatically backs up) and regular external hard drives. Is it hard to get a hang of this stuff? I need to get an external hard drive and plan to order one online sometime this week.
  20. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006
    Time Machine is software that does the automatic backup, Time Capsule is an apple-branded external hard drive.

    Butt easy to set up TM with any old external HD connected directly to your computer; only slightly more of a PIA to do it over a network.
  21. GSMiller macrumors 68000


    Dec 2, 2006
    I recommend LaCie as well. I bought a 500GB LaCie from Amazon about three or four weeks ago for $99.99 and it's been awesome. It worked right out of the box and allows you to connect via USB 2.0, FireWire 400, and eSATA and it even came with all the cables, so I didn't have to buy a separate FireWire cable.

    My Dell DJ had a Hitachi hard drive...It miraculously failed right after the one year warranty expired.
  22. duncyboy macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    We all have our own hard drive stories (Used Seagate for years- not a sniff of trouble- just luck)

    But if/when SSD drives are the norm, how reliable will they be? I've heard of faulty RAM chips from manufacture but never a fault developing over time?
  23. Semiopaque macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2008
    They should be pretty reliable in relation to current hard drives. I do believe there is a limit to the number of times you can write to the cells in the drive, but it's pretty high and supposedly the drive spreads out the writing to minimize this effect even further. I'd have to do more research since it's been awhile since I looked into this, however, I think it's safe to say that eventually everything dies, with the edge to SSD on longevity.

    However, I still don't think a move over to SSD is going to get rid of the need for a complete backup program as other things can happen - theft, fire, floods, data can get corrupted or deleted even if the hard drive itself is in perfect working order for a variety of reasons and so on.
  24. CarlsonCustoms macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2007
    RAID.. RAID... or Windows Home server.. really WHS is great.. even for macs

    I have both.. a server with a hardware raid card and a regular box with WHS.. both have their plusses and minuses but WHS is way cheaper..

    the only way to protect is yourself is having mulitple copies in multiple locations.. sad but true

  25. dgtlchild macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2007
    I have been using the NewerTechnology Guardian Maximus non-stop since May of this year without any problems. I highly recommend it.

    Here's a link directly to OWC's pricing page:

    To reiterate and reinforce what RedTomato and velocityg4 have already stated:

    A RAID1 device will provide you with a recovery path only in the event that a single drive fails.

    However, in the event of catastrophic failure where both drives are in jeopardy (such as a fire, accidentally taking a dive off the desk, power supply failure, writing bad data, liquid spill, theft, use your imagination) you have no recourse.

    That's why you need off-site storage of your data as well. This typically consists of a separate storage device or service (HD, DVD) that is maintained off-site. It's also nice to have a scheduling application to initiate the backup and manage deltas.

    Here's my setup:

    Newer Technology Guardian Maximus 1TB RAID1:

    Jungle Disk (network backup to Amazon S3):

    Jungle Disk is very slow (due to my network connection) but very inexpensive. Plus there's the assurance of high reliability and high availability because it's Amazon's infrastructure. I only backup my photos to Jungle Disk to keep things manageable.

    Hope this helps!


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