HD Life ?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Robert4, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. Robert4 macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2012

    Have an iMac desktop. Has that extra cost Fusion (I think that's what it is called) option.

    Leave it running 24 hrs/day, although I do have sleep mode enabled.

    a. do any of these sleep modes actually turn "off" the HD revolving ?

    b. realize there are a zillion variables involved, but under the conditions noted
    above, what would most of you say is a "typical" life time for the HD ?

    Apple must have several HD suppliers, I would guess.
    Wonder if there is a meaningful lifetime variation between them ?

    There must be a considerable statistical file on this by now.

  2. droog Suspended


    Apr 10, 2018
    Drive heads park themselves and discs stop spinning on their own these days. No need to do that stuff.
    The life of the HD is typically tied into it's type and usage. It's not a straightforward answer. I try to consider: Drive's use-case, Type of drive, Manufacturer's reputation and the manufacturing date which is printed somewhere on the drive itself.
  3. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    As most drives come out of only two factories, the stats do not mean much. Drives, including platters, last much longer now than they did say thirty years ago, with greater speed and capacity. Had drives last 26 years as in my original LC running OS 7.0.1 for use with the Apple camera, to SSDs DOA brand new in the box.

    So I guess the real answer is ... how long is a piece of string?
  4. AlexMaximus, Oct 12, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018

    AlexMaximus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2006
    A400M Base
    I am very interested in exactly this question as well. My past research and practical experience of this topic are this:

    - You will never get any info from the HDD maker because it is political, and a very hot potato that impacts sales.
    - The only reliable info I have found is statistic data from data centers that use a wide spectrum of HDD models.
    - I have defined six main segments in the HDD market for my own risk assessment for data loss risk. Standard consumer(1), Performance & Pro-consumer(2), NAS(3), Enterprise class(4), Experimental(5) and Legacy-Data-Server-Save-Gov(6)

    My HDD failures in the past have been in the experimental group (5) and Legacy-Data-server-save-gov(6). The (5) was a fast WD Raptor HDD with 10.000 rpm in the pre SSD area in the year 2006. However, I was fully aware that it was a special drive, so I have not lost data. In this case I would not blame WD. The drive performed outstanding while it lasted, but you have to be aware of the category fact. If you use an experimental drive category HDD in your system, your risk is higher according to the law of six sigma/ppm. The group (6) HDD was an SCSI drive before the year 2000 from IBM.

    In your case, I would not go so far as to put a fusion drive into the category experimental (5). However, since a fusion drive has more complexity (because of an SSD part), the system has a higher risk of failure compared to a less complex system. Since you are talking about a desktop, sudden shock forces and insufficient heat might not be an issue, compared to laptops drives.

    My advice: Your risk of failure is low compared to many other scenarios. However, it is always good to have a proper data backup plan in place. Go and get some sort of data backup, just to be save. Data redundancy is great. Other then that, you most likely will be fine with your existing fusion drive in my opinion.

    Data center stat:


    A word on the term "enterprise class"

    About two month ago, I opend up my Apple Time capsule to replace the HDD (1TB) with a larger model (4TB). Since there are excellent youtube videos out there, it was a fun project to upgrade.
    Apple advertised the Time Capsule to have an Enterprise class drive, so I was very interested what drive they installed. Guess what? It is a Western Digital Green drive with an Apple logo on it?!
    This should be actually subject of a law suite. A WD Green drive is not an Enterprise class drive.
    But hey, my 4 TB HDD is, because it has a 5 year long warranty compare to a standard 3 year warranty + a longer MTBF.
    What's not known is the actual quality Apple gets from WD. I am sure it receives top bin quality, so the Green drive is most likely a good drive. I am not worried, it works in my 5.1 now.

  5. droog Suspended


    Apr 10, 2018
    o_O I don't think it works like that.
  6. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    I have a 2008 iMac that is on 24/7 except when I am on vacation and no problems with the HDD. However I have seen external HDDs die within a year of purchase. It seems to be a matter of luck AND keeping multiple bootable backups.
  7. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I believe they said "server grade" which has no standard. Not that really means much because "enterprise" is just as generic. I used to own an enterprise, I also operated it as the soul proprietor. You and I know what is being implied but considering an enterprise is just a business, any business what meaning does it really have at the end the day?

    Apple used to use a Hitachi DeskStar E7K1000 drive that was rating right with their UltraStar A7K1000 drive. While the A7K1000 was there higher end drive the E7K1000 had ECC and CRC data protection which the A7K1000 didn't and shared the same 1.2 million hour MTBF, 5 year warranty and self proclaimed as having "enterprise-class features and functions". I believe it was just more modern and met that "server grade" spec (not a standard) Apple wanted to achieve. HGST didn't really have "enterprise" drive with SATA at the time.

    They switched to WD Greens (and Seagate Barracudas). Its not a retail HDD so being thats Apples PCB so its really hard to get an annual failure rate and neither WD or Apple make it easy. However the barracuda has a MTBF of 700,000 hours. So I would image the Green would be similar. Not that we are really learning anything because MTBF is a useless metric.

    So in the end we have.
    - Server grade isn't a standard
    - Enterprise class is being used as the manufacture feels fit
    - HDD manufactures will use different metrics across the board (TB/yr, MTBF, AFR, etc) to measure reliability or not even list them and what we do get doesn't mean much.

    Apple probably just went with the Green due to cost. There is no reason for them to get a HDD with a 5 year warranty for a product with a 1 year warranty. The Green is rated for the job of being a DAS. And energy usage, the Green is a low power unit to accommodate their PSU and to meet government requirements for energy usage. A PSU as an efficiency range and a small unit like that likely has a very narrow efficiency range. They had a lot of problems with one of the generation Time Capsule killing PSU's and there could have been a business strategy of it being cheaper to use different components rather than different PSU's.

    I personally have been using WD Reds in my NAS but not partial to WD. I may pick up a couple 10tb HGST once a monthly report comes back with an error.

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6 October 9, 2018