Is it still true that harddrives last longer if left on 24/7?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by waloshin, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. waloshin macrumors 68040

    waloshin

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    Oct 9, 2008
    #1
    Is it still true that harddrives last longer if left on 24/7?

    I remember reading a couple years ago that harddrives lastest longer if you left them running is this still true now days?

    The reason why I ask is I have a new Western Digital My Book Essential which has an auto shutdown after a certain time limit and was wondering if I should set the time limit to the longest I could to help the drive last longer?
     
  2. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #2
    False, running them just means a higher chance of running into mechanical failure. Shutting them down allows them to rest and not wear out components.
     
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #3
    Citation needed. I haven't found any evidence either way (leaving them on doesn't subject them to the stress and strain of spinning up/down). In any case it doesn't really matter. Use your drive how you want.
     
  4. tjb1 macrumors 68000

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    #4
    Citation: Bearings wear out.
     
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #5
    So do drive heads spinning up and down. :rolleyes: Filed under irrelevant.
     
  6. tjb1 macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Well the heads are connected to a shaft which is in bearings. I think the bearings under go less wear being off then at an idle speed.
     
  7. mroddjob macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    #7
    I guess this then comes down to how many times you switch the hard drive on and off. I don't think i've seen anyone bring any mechanical evidence as to how much more ware spinning up a drive causes on the bearings compared to idle spinning.

    As a complete guess I would say switching your hard drive on and off every 5 minutes for an hour would be a lot worse than just leaving the hard drive switched on, and leaving your hard drive idle for a month accessing a file once at the beginning and once at the end of the month would be worse for the hard drive than switching it on twice for each access. Two extremes but you get my point.

    With SSD drives though there are no mechanical parts to ware out so that changes things again :D
     
  8. pewra macrumors regular

    pewra

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    Jun 26, 2011
    #8
    The material used for the blocks does degrade though. Most are rated for a certain number of rewrite cycles.
     
  9. happyfrappy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
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    Location eh?
    #9
    I have a stack of old & new PATA/SATA drives with varying degrees of usage--internal & within external enclosures. Rarely used drives in my experience typically have a shorter life as the lube inside the drive can gel up in colder areas(areas with variable temps-cool in the morning, warm in the afternoon) which can result in stictation over time. In the last two years I had to RMA two SATA 500GB Western Digital drives, one which had ~1 hour of usage per month suffered stictation and the other with 5 hours of run time per month became noisy both had 8-12 months of usage. Cases with fans help with toasty drives, 2-3TB drives aren't the coolest running at the moment--I'd wait until 2-3TB drives become mainstream as materials/production improve. (been stung by Seagate on their early 1TB drives)

    Leaving a drive 24/7 on a desktop/external non-green drive is perfectly safe, in my experience the reliability is much better as they don't spin up/spin down like the "Green" drives. An idle drive running is less likely to do excessive spin up/down, you can easily expect 4-5 years at 24/7 usage. WD Greens in my experience fail within 2-3 years, they're blacklisted for personal and work use.

    As far as Western Digital My Book external drives, they're junk in my opinion as most models lack enough ventilation & cooling(fan). I've seen a fair number of them dropping dead(enclosure chipset bridgeboard) and about 10% of them had a true HDD failure(cooked). I wouldn't recommend leaving it idle if you aren't backing up/accessing files, they can cook to death during the summer/humid conditions.

    If anybody wants to see my drive failure database I'll upload it onto Google Documents and post a link. I would note, I mainly use Western Digital, Samsung and Seagate :)
     
  10. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #10
    Citation: Mechanical parts fail faster under more usage.

    Agreed with the last part. I personally have my drives working for as long as I need them. I don't let them idle much.
     
  11. Pink∆Floyd macrumors 68020

    Pink∆Floyd

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    #11
    lol you serious?

    Isn't it obvious the more you use something the more it wears down?
     
  12. Raid macrumors 68020

    Raid

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    Feb 18, 2003
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    Toronto
    #12
    Coming up on the next Mythbusters; "Hard drive dilemma: Is it better to leave you drive on or shut it down." :p

    For the record, to save physical wear and tear I shut down my drive while not in use.
     
  13. JayMysterio macrumors 6502

    JayMysterio

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    #13
    ^ I guess this would be this season's version of the episode 'Lights on, Lights off', whether leaving a lightbulb on 24 hours makes the bulb last longer than turning it on & off.
     

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