If I have a hard drive working fine after 7 years, is there any reason to replace it?

oxband

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 10, 2009
300
2
I have some backup hard drives that I've had 7 to 8 years and they're still doing great. Is there any reason to replace them? I wonder about their age. I have the data backed up twice. Given that fact, should I ride them out till they die?
 

Ray2

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
625
108
I have some backup hard drives that I've had 7 to 8 years and they're still doing great. Is there any reason to replace them? I wonder about their age. I have the data backed up twice. Given that fact, should I ride them out till they die?
You'll get a lot of opinions on this one. The oldest drive I have is a 15 year old Hitachi ATA drive that's dedicated to downloads. It bangs away all day long and has never been an issue. Over the course of the 30+ years I've been using hdd's, my only 3 failures were all within a week of purchase (all Seagates). With the advent of ssd's, Which I use for both internals and my primary external, I no longer replace hdd's until they die. So far, none have. For me the usual upgrading for more space keeps my drive pool fairly young.

Home users don't stress drives. Other than the data on my ssd's, I backup nothing (probably about 6 TB). If it's a concern to you, buy enterprise level drives. Double the MTBF. The trade-off being they are noisy - you bring the data center into your home.
 

throAU

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
5,287
2,278
Perth, Western Australia
Various studies have been done on hard drive failure, back blaze did a massive one.

Their drives are under more load than yours but essentially they found that hard drive failure is normally distributed, and 4 years is the upper limit of when things start failing rapidly. In their environment at least.

That said, i have arrays at work that have drives that are 6 years old in them and no failures to speak of.

So long as you have backups and are prepared for failure, all good.


However one thing i will say - drives from 7 years ago are MUCH slower than modern drives. The SATA interface is slower, and the read/write speeds are much slower also. A cheap external 2TB drive these days will read/write at well over 100 megabytes per second. Your 7 year old drives won't be anywhere close... so it may be worth upgrading for speed reasons if nothing else.
 

Hankcah

macrumors regular
Jul 8, 2010
119
4
I have some backup hard drives that I've had 7 to 8 years and they're still doing great. Is there any reason to replace them? I wonder about their age. I have the data backed up twice. Given that fact, should I ride them out till they die?
If they are simply backup drives, then I wouldn't worry about them. You don't need anything fancy. BUT pending you are ever in a pinch, and need to restore from a backup, having your image on an SSD would help the entire process. Not to mention, an SSD as your main drive is monumental.

Black Friday would be the time to reconsider an SSD. Which should last you a long time as well.
 

oxband

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 10, 2009
300
2
I have thought about upgrading for speed. I'm thinking black friday I might get some usb 3.0 externals. Can I use an SSD as an external drive?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,209
5,554
OP asked:
"Can I use an SSD as an external drive?"

Of course -- I've been booting and running my 2012 Mac Mini for almost 3 years now using that method.

Important:
Make sure that any enclosure/docking station/dongle that you use to connect the SSD to the Mac specifically states that it has "UASP" support. (USB attached SCSI protocol)
You need this in order to get the fastest speeds of which USB3 is capable.
 

thedeske

macrumors 6502a
Feb 17, 2013
963
58
Not a darn thing wrong with old drives if they run well. Enjoy your old tech a little longer.
I have a few 2.5s pulled from laptops that seem to last forever.