old vs new hard drives

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by camner, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. camner macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2009
    I have a number of older drives (3-5yrs old) that I use to store data that isn't necessary to have available all the time. Some of the data is backups of data that's on my internal HDs), and the rest is stuff that is NOT on my internal HDs but that I back up (so I always have 2 copies).

    These older drives don't get a lot of use. I don't know enough about how drives fare over time to know whether the hours of actual spin time are more important than the elapsed time since manufacture. The drives that spin most the time I replace on a 3-4 year cycle.

    Because these drives are not used much, the fact that they have slow access times is not important to me.

    Is it reasonable to keep the older drives in use until they crap out, or should even infrequently used drives be on some sort of replacement schedule? And how is the quality of current production drives in comparison to that of the their forebears?
  2. ybz90 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2009
    It depends on the drives. Are they PATA or SATA? I assume the latter since PATA was on its way out around 5 years ago. I tend to use my drives until failure, as drive speeds haven't really increased that much except thanks to higher density. Especially since these drives are backups (or backed up non-critical data), I wouldn't bother personally with the expense of replacing them until necessary.
  3. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    If I can use, then I'll keep them. If they have a PATA connection I won't bother (useless).
  4. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Use them til they crap out.

    However, as with any data, ensure you have more than one copy of it.

    Power up/power down is when many drives die.

    Quality of production has gone up, however tolerances in newer drives have become finer and areal density is higher.

    Thus: old drives are likely to be as reliable or more reliable in terms of total number of hours use before failure, and they store less so are likely to lose less data if/when they fail. New higher tech drives are made with more precision but NEED to be to store data at higher density.

    short story: use them, but have backups. that goes for brand new drives as well.
  5. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    I usually sell all my old drives on ebay when I get new ones. By doing this I usually get 30%-50% of the cost back. The cost of a new drive is usually about what I paid for the old one when I bought that.

    Easier for me in the long term than trying to recycle. Plus I don't have the aggro of dealing with older access times, capacity etc.

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