IBM or Western Digital HD

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
I have never ever had a problem with any Western Digital drive I've bought for either work or home. That's about 6 or so over the last 3 years for various machines...

Statistically insignificant but just my personal experience.

Seagates – on the other hand – get good praise but I've had two that went doolally with 18 months of use so I'm wary of them... irrational and maybe I was unlucky but twice bitten, thrice shy.


Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
Western Digital all the way. All the WD drives I've had have been rock solid. IBM don't even make hard drives any more! They sold that business to Hitachi forming HGST (or some other ordering of the same letters). Before they did that they had a debacle with the introduction of glass platter drives about 3 years ago. These drives had something like a 50% failure rate in the first 3 months! I had one die and one still going.


macrumors 6502
Aug 6, 2004
Philadelphia, PA
I would actually recomend either. I'm using 2 x 250GB Hitachi Deskstars (used to be made by IBM) in our server at work. And at home I've got a 120GB Western Digital drive in my Powermac as the main drive. I don't have any complaints about either.


macrumors 68040
Jun 15, 2004
IBM has been out of the disk business for a few years now, so don't go that route.. (ever heard of IBM DeathStar (gxp75)).

I have a few seagate barracudas, nice and quiet! My iMac 20-inch has a western 250GB which is also very silent. My LaCie has an internal Maxtor 250GB, not so silent.....
Performance wise, all 7200rpms with 8MB cache is almost equal.

Over the past years only a few disks have died on me:
a 40 mb quantum, a 40 mb connor, a 1.2GB Fuijitsu and a 2.0 gb quantum.


macrumors 68040
Jun 15, 2004
Oh forgot one little thing, Western Digitals external HDs is using the Initio chipset, not the Oxford.
Oxford have became the standard and have had much better support for macs...


macrumors 603
Jun 25, 2002
LaLaLand, CA
I did have one Seagate go wonky on me, but I've had others that work fine. Plus, the retail ones come with a 5 year warranty. I'd buy whatever's cheapest with the longest warranty. The best thing to do is to get a cheap hard drive (with like a rebate or something from some place like CompUSA or Best Buy) and an external case from some place like


macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
The Cool Part of CA, USA
First of all, although IBM had a terrible reliability record several years back, the Deskstar line of drives have improved dramatically in reliability (and speed) since the partial sale to Hitachi several years ago.

My last two main drives have been Hitachi branded, and despite the fact that I run them hard I haven't had any problems yet. Maxtor, despite their speed and price, I don't trust at all, and I haven't tried a WD drive in several years since between Seagate and Hitachi I've never seen a price or performance benefit (though back when they were the first maker at 8MB cache, it was a different story).

Still, the best source of objective and statistically significant reliability information is over at; their drive reliability database allows you to see comparitive failure rates based on thousands of real-world reports (you do have to register to see, but it's free).

It will tell you, for example, that although older IBM drives were notably unreliable, Hitachi's most recent models have been above average.

When you look at WD's drives they're not entirely consistent, but although their pre-2002 models (the 1200 series) were generally pretty good (I have one, and it's worked reliably) and the Raptors are above average, their latest drives (the 2000 and 2500 series) have fared very poorly compared to other drives.

It's not guaranteed accurate, and sometimes people just have bad luck, but it's a lot more useful information than a handful of anecdotal reports.


macrumors regular
Sep 5, 2004
Personaly the only brand I can recommend at the moment would be Seagate as ive only managed to blow one of their drives out (a 4.3gb scsi drive that served me for many years as a system drive)... As for IBM ive gone trough 2 (both managed to do the clicking thing)... and WD I've had like 6 go south over the years [kept buying them as they were the cheapest at frys]... Currently the 120gig Maxtor seems to be going out aswell though.

Now I will say the systems I have run 24/7... And quite frequently, like overnight on everynight, it'll be rendering video or 3d effects for about 8-10 hours... So I can't say im very kind or gentle to the drives.

A normal user shouldn't really have as many problems, and I'd just go with what you can afford, just backup your stuff regularly and you'll be fine. I know quite a few people with WD drives that haven't had problems, and I know a few people with IBM drives that are quite happy with them... It's just how hard your going to run the drive as to if you need (or should get) a higher end drive.
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