Hard drive longevity and reliability

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by camner, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. camner macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2009
    Two questions/issues:

    I know that drive longevity has many variables involved, but I was curious how much longevity is tied to hours of use vs "just getting older."

    I have a number of older hard drives that I use with a dock for a variety of purposes (mostly storing stuff that I don't need to access very often, such as OS snapshots, VM backups, etc.). Typically these drives only get accessed once a month (and some even less often). Mostly they sit in a drawer, lonely, waiting for me to use them again.

    Does "just getting older" take a toll on drives, so I should periodically just toss the older drives (some are pushing 6-7 years), or given that they don't get a lot of use, is their "effective" lives are much shorter than their "elapsed time" lives and so I shouldn't worry about their ages?

    WD Blue vs WD Black and reliability
    I have a 3 year old WD Black and a 1 year old WD Blue (both 1TB) and I want to use one of them for offline storage of my photo collection originals (and yes, that offline drive is backed up periodically). The WD Black undoubtedly has many more hours of actual use. I know that in general the Blacks are more robust than the Blues, but given the difference in ages and usage is there a reason I should think of one over the other as likely to be more reliable?
  2. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2013
    DMV Area
    Typically, rotations and use take a toll on drives. "Just being old" doesn't often have a negative effect on hard drives, unless they are not properly stored for the periods of time where they are not in use. Having the drives actively rotating in a machine, or constantly being used with reads/writes are what wear hard drives out. Technically speaking, the drive that holds my BootCamp partition is almost 7 years old, but it was used for maybe a week, and then stored in a static proof, humidity resistant bag for several years, and it's in great health.

    As far as WD Blacks vs Blues, the Blacks are rated for performance (faster reads/writes) while Blues are a good "middle of the road" hard drive. If you want longevity, I would look at WD Red drives. They're designed for NAS storage and they're rated for 24/7 use. Be wary of reviews, however, because in my experience, people only post reviews when they have something to complain about. I have been using WD Red's in my company's server, which constantly runs backups and is used as NAS storage, and those drives are 5+ years old and still running strong, no clicking or scratching noises like many older drives tend to do later in their lifetimes.

    Hope I was able to be of some assistance.

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