Help with HD choice for a 24/7 system (no editing, no security system, no high perf)


macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 4, 2008
Hi all

So, following a sudden death of a drive (mechanical sadly; can't retrieve the data no matter what); I am going to buy a couple of 2-3 TB drives to just have in raid configuration (either internal or external; I have a Pro Desktop and a 4 drive enclosure on SATA 2 connection).

Now the drives: which brand and model has the best reliability, for a system that stays on 24/7? I use the computer daily, and it stays on all the time; I don't do intensive applications, so I don't need blazing fast performances (At most I watch or stream video and music from the drives ).

So far my WD and Seagate seems to die in an alternate fashion every year....I have 8 drives.
2 drives are already dead, and has been replaced with similar drives (I buy whatever is on offer, so far I have WD, Seagate, Hitachi and Toshiba). They usually die after an average of 3 years.

I know that the nature of mechanical drives brings low expectations, but I can't spend 80 bucks for a 1TB drive to see it die after 2-3 years....I would rather spend a bit more but keep it for 4-5 years.

Could anyone suggest me the best brand? Also I don't understand anything about HD stuff, but I heard that the on-off cycle is something that has to be considered, because it shorten the lifespan (if it power on and off constantly, and cases like that). Should I turn off the option in OSX to shut down the drives when not in use? Also should I turn off the external storage if I don't use it? From what I understand, it is not the time that it stays on (which deteriorate only the motor), but the on/off transition that breaks most of the time the drives.

Also should I get 2 drives and have a raid, or is fine if I just save the data when I modify it? A raid stays on all the time, so to me, it looks like it will break sooner.

Anyway; I am a newbie of this stuff, so I hope that some of you that knows more can help me to save some bucks in the long run (and the data.....).

I am looking at the WD red line, but they are fairly new, so the oldest one was made 2 years ago...not enough to know if they are reliable beyond the 2-3 years average lifespan. I am also looking at the black and green models from WD; they have the best reviews.



macrumors 68030
Apr 25, 2012
The only drives I buy are WD, my self-built system currently has 3 WD Black drives in it, I thrash them (lots of read/writes) and they're still kicking after 2-3 years so far, I can hardly hear them running. I have externals that are WD also and have no complaints, though those see much less use.

Actually, we were just talking about this at work yesterday. We have WD external drives (the My Passport drives, not the full-size My Book) and thrash THOSE, still going strong after years of service.

I won't buy anything EXCEPT WD. As for the Red Line, I haven't used one, not sure if they're worth the premium ver the Black drives.


macrumors 6502a
Oct 6, 2004
i have many Seagates Drives in raid enclosures (10 drives). Never had a problem, they are working 24/7 for video editing, fast and reliable


Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
The only companies that make drives any longer are WD, Seagate, and to a lesser extent Toshiba.

I have never seen a good study on which is better and all you will get here is anecdotal info. from users saying "I had three XX brand and they sucked"... or "I have three XX brand and they are great". It all really means nothing. Kind of like is a Ford or Chevy truck the best.

If it were me I would look at Seagate and WD in the size you want and get the one with the best warranty at a good price. It really is a coin toss IMO.

Good article here on drive longevity you might find interesting.


macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
Look at business drives. Both WD and Seagate have various drives you could use and meant for hard hitting 24/7 usage.
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