Does ANYONE know what is THE most reliable external hard disk drive?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by benadd, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. benadd macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Location:
    Leeds
    #1
    I've been scouring the net for weeks, looking for the best external hard disk drive for my mac... and i've had no luck.

    Well, actually, that's not strictly true. I've heard a few brand names being thrown about - Western Digital, LaCie and Seagate to be exact, but from what i've found there are mixed reviews for every single one.

    I suppose there is no "perfect" hard disk, at the moment at least, (perhaps they will become more reliable as technology moves forward) but can anyone offer me any advice as to what is their preferred brand of disk drive is? One that will last long?

    Otherwise i'm very confused.

    Cheers.
     
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    Mar 7, 2007
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    Texas
    #2
    I've had the best experience with G-Raid.

    For me, LaCies have been total crap, and Western Digitals are mostly good.
     
  3. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

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    Georgia, USA
    #3
    I've had a Western Digital 500GB external hard drive for 2 years now with no problems at all.
     
  4. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #4
    After ejecting the drive, you should wait for the drive to spin down (few seconds) before powering off.
     
  5. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #5
    While important to note, this has nothing to do with how reliable the drive itself actually is.
     
  6. Telp macrumors 68040

    Telp

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    Feb 6, 2007
    #6
    I bought myself a Seagate, and ive been very happy with it. I've had it for about a year now and have had absolutely no problems with it. I just bought another one about a month ago as well. I have also heard good things about western digital. Lacie seems to me a hit or miss.
     
  7. Halsey12 macrumors regular

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    Portland
    #7
    I've got 3 G-Drives in my family, and all of them have been running smooth for 3 years now.
     
  8. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #8
    By G-Drives you mean G-Raid, the silver metal ones with a G on the front?
     
  9. Mr Kram macrumors 68000

    Mr Kram

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    Oct 1, 2008
    #9
    i have multiple lacie drives over the years with no failures. i currently have a 500gb and 1tb that i'm happy with.
     
  10. dal20402 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    #10
    No hard drive is totally reliable.

    Any major-maker hard drive is likely to be reliable. WD, Seagate, Hitachi should all be fine.

    With the exception of the occasional "lemon" model (like the 80GB 5400rpm Seagate drives in CD MacBooks), the differences are not significant.
     
  11. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #11
    You and I have had opposite experiences, every single LaCie drive I have every used or know someone that used one has failed.
     
  12. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #12
    No matter what you use, it's going to fail at a certain time.

    Extending the life of the drive is more important.

    As to what type of drive, it is subjective and goes in cycles.

    Get something with 5 year (or 3 year) warranty, not something with 1 year warranty.
     
  13. Ice-Cube macrumors 6502a

    Ice-Cube

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    #13
    I've seen many customers coming back with faulty WD Hard drives, so I wouldn't recommend them. I've had good experiences with Seagate and Lacie though.
     
  14. darshan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    #14
    really lacies are suppose to be decent (atleast the latest gen) i bought it after doing a tons of research on the drives

    either way i had a MYBOOK drive from WD and they are really good/stable... may want to take a look at them
     
  15. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    Location:
    North Carolina
    #15
    THE most reliable would be some kind of RAID system. If you use multiple HDs, then if one fails the others have redundant data. There are many different types of RAIDs, each with its own benefits and problems.

    The basic principle is this: the more separate HDs, the more reliable the RAID.

    It's probably better to have a two-disk RAID with cheap HDs than to have a single expensive HD. In the end it might actually be cheaper.
     
  16. avalys macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2004
    #16
    The most reliable external hard drive is two hard drives, from different manufacturers, that are both storing the same data. That's the only way to get any reasonable guarantee of reliability. A single hard drive is not reliable, period.

    Buying from different manufacturers is essential - if you go to the store and buy two identical drives that were sitting next to each other on the shelf, it's likely that they were manufactured around the same time, possibly even on the same equipment - and the probability of their failure will be highly correlated as a result.

    If you follow this advice, the particular brands you buy don't really matter.
     
  17. Halsey12 macrumors regular

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    #17
  18. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #18
  19. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #19
    Boy, talk about a moving target.

    Most "name-brand" drive manufacturers have highly reliable drives, and at the same time have all had models or batches that were severely troubled. I've had over 20-some odd years of dealing with it, and no one is a standout of perfectly good or mostly crap. Seagate, WD, and the others all offer good warranties (which are useless if it's the only device holding those 25,000 photos that aren't backed up elsewhere).

    Best advice, don't rely on a single device or model series (the whole eggs/basket equation). If it's worth backing up, it's worth having an extra measure of redundancy.
     
  20. tycheong macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    #20
    Buffalo

    for two years, i have been using a 320 GB Buffalo MiniStation™ DataVault Portable Hard Drive with Full Disk Encryption
    its (in my opinion) very compact and rugged and it has never failed me before
    i've seen these Buffalo hard drives for $100 which isn't that bad of a price
     
  21. Big Boss Man macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    #21
    I have been using Samsung Spinpoint drives for a few years now and have not had any problems. I have like seven of their HDs now and they all work great. I still keep backups and run some in RAID configurations. Any brand is occasionally going to have a failure. There will not really be any major advances in reliability unless you step up to a solid state drive. I still cannot imagine not having a backup though.
     
  22. Radio Monk33 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    #22
    As pointed out, you want safety you go with mirrored raid. Picking the manufacturer will probably not differ more than a random sample.

    And if its worth RAIDing, its worth using off-site backups as well.
     
  23. anth macrumors member

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    Jul 19, 2005
    #23
    Remember that RAID is no excuse for a real back-up. Sure, it offers redundancy, but what about when there is:

    1. a power surge/lightning strike.
    2. a flood (natural or manmade, e.g. plumbing or beer issues...).
    3. a fire.
    4. a burglary.

    I'm sure most all of the contributors to the thread know this, but I just wanted to make it clear.
     
  24. Semiopaque macrumors regular

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    Oct 7, 2008
    #24
    In my Mac Pro I'm running 3 x Western Digital WD6400AAKS 640GBs in a striped set with Samsung Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ 1TBs for backup of the partitions of the WD drives (these are in macally external enclosures). I've been very happy with all of the drives of these models so far. Both are very quiet and don't get too hot.

    Just put my original Mac Pro's HDD back in to try to install Windows on it and I can't stand the noise it generates after using those others so I maybe off later today to get another Samsung.

    My personal choice is to get an external enclosure and put the hard drive of my choice in it instead of buying an all in one. At least you know for sure what hard drive is in the enclosure and, in my experience, it's easier to upgrade/replace the hard drive in the enclosure and often cheaper this route.
     
  25. yoppie macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    #25
    I'm a fan of the Western Digital drives. I have 3 ranging in varying sizes and so far neither of them has failed me yet. The oldest drive is a little over 2 years old.
     

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