Reasonable life expectancy for HD?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by imanidiot, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. imanidiot Suspended

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    #1
    I have just added a second external Time Machine HD, joining another which is now 3-1/2 years old. The older drive exhibits no signs of trouble, but I'm wondering if I should not replace it anyway? Anyone have an educated guess as to when replacement should become mandatory, for safety's sake? I really haven't a clue.

    Thanks.
     
  2. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #2
    Move to 4TB drives and give the older smaller drives to friends or family. You can get good 4TB drives online or at Costco or SAMs.
     
  3. drsox, Jan 19, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014

    drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

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    #3
    According to this study on Consumer level drives, the average lifetime seems to be 6 years or so (median lifetime).

    See : http://blog.backblaze.com/2013/11/12/how-long-do-disk-drives-last/
    and : http://www.extremetech.com/computing/170748-how-long-do-hard-drives-actually-live-for

    So I'm guessing that your drive is half way into its life (on average). But, of course, it could fail tomorrow.
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #4
    Really good article here on hard drive failure rates. Failures start to ramp up around the three-four year point.

    ----------

    You misread. OP is not using a Time Capsule, just a regular drive with Time Machine.
     
  5. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

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    #5
    Yes, indeed. So half way through might be realistic.
    Glad to see you read the same article !
     
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #6
    Yeah... you Ninja'd me! :p:D
     
  7. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

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    #7
    Ah So.
     
  8. Bear macrumors G3

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    #8
    It is good that you have added a second Time Machine drive. With 2 drives, I suggest you not worry about the older drive until something happens to it. If you're really worried about it, you could replace it and save the old drive as an archive of the older backups just in case.
     
  9. imanidiot thread starter Suspended

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    #9
    Thank you all for your advice. The older drive is a OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro, which is supposed to be pretty good. Of course, it's probably a generic WD or Seagate shoved into a OWC chassis, so you never know. Still, as I mentioned, it's been trouble-free so far, so maybe I'll just let it go for awhile, since the other drive is new. I don't want to be too paranoid, but neither do I want to lose my data.

    Or retire it with the old backups intact, knowing that I can still access them.

    Thanks again.
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #10
    I am making a new prediction that you jinxed things by starting this thread and your drive will be dead by Wednesday. :D
     
  11. imanidiot thread starter Suspended

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    #11
    I hope you're wrong, but I'm not quite as concerned as I would have been a week ago :).
     
  12. Bear macrumors G3

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    #12
    Of the 2 drives I use for Time Machine, one had it's 2year warranty expire a couple of days ago and one expires next month. Every time someone I know has a drive failure, I wonder if I should cycle in a new drive and keep one of the old ones intact as a backup archive.
     
  13. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

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    #13
    Better instead IMO to get a RAID setup and be independent of any single drive failure. Better still if you are extremely concerned to get a RAID setup that allows independence of any 2 drive failure modes.
     
  14. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    #14
    I have 1 drive that died on me after years of use and that was an old ATA drive that came as an extra disk in a used Mac I'd bought online years ago so there's no guarantee it ever worked properly because I just used it as a general file dump for update downloads because it was only 40Gb.

    All my drives are 7200rpm drives with large caches apart from the original 6Gb drive from a G3 desktop. That must be about 16 years old or so by now and still keeps ticking (or not, in actual terms as that would mean it had errors).
     
  15. Bear macrumors G3

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    #15
    Actually it's better to have 2 separate backups than 1 raid covered backup. If you only have 1 backup and it gets corrupted somehow you're out of luck or if the raid enclosure fails you have no access until you can replace the enclosure. It might be worth considering a raid enclosure if I had noticeably more stuff to back up - my active disk is 1TB and my backup disks are 2TB each.
     
  16. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #16
    RAIDs make sense where you need data rate or latency performance, you have a data center where you want to reduce power, cooling, or physical space requirements, or are in a mobile/portable environment were you don't have much space or power... or don't want to carry extra weight.

    For the typical home (or even small business), the complexity a RAID solution for fault tolerance is not worth the cost and disadvantages. Recovering from a RAID drive failure takes patience and has a significant impact on performance. 4TB drives are now relatively cheap ($150) and the brute force of buying redundant drives and back one up to another makes more sense. Invest the $400 RAID hardware expense into an extra 10TB of drives.

    My drives seem to fail about 6 months after the warranty expires, rarely before (discounting infant mortality). I do have a couple seagate drives still in daily use for over 10 years now, however.
     
  17. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

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    #17
    Yes. I have 2 identical RAID systems to avoid these problems which I mirror once a week. In each RAID are 5x 3TB drives.

    ----------

    I don't agree. I've had RAID systems for 5 years or so with no problems of complexity etc, but it has cost a bit. I have 2 identical RAID systems to avoid these problems which I mirror once a week. In each RAID are 5x 3TB drives.

    I've only had 1 drive failure in actual use from a 1.5TB Seagate, but I've swapped out many drives that have started to have SMART errors to avoid failures. Seagate has changed them with no issues. Fortunately I have upgraded the drives many times after 2 years so I've avoided long term failures until now.
     
  18. mikepj macrumors regular

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    #18
    Typically if the drive makes it past the first 6-12 months, it will last for quite a few years. I still have working drives that are over 15 years old. Usually I use a drive for about 3-5 years before replacing it with a higher capacity model though.

    You can usually tell when a hard drive is on its way out because of extra vibration, noise, or clicking. Once that starts to happen, I buy a replacement and swap it in. Then I use the old drive as a backup until it dies. This doesn't work at all with SSDs (it might be the one drawback for SSDs actually, other than cost).
     
  19. imanidiot thread starter Suspended

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    #19
    I thank everyone for sharing their thoughts on this. I'm still unsure whether to replace the older drive since it has been good for over three years; my new one is only a couple of weeks old, so maybe it's a good idea to make sure it's not going to fail in the next couple of months before buying yet ANOTHER new one, which may fail, etc.
     
  20. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #20
    RAIDs for backup storage made more sense 5 years ago, but technology has moved on. Nothing wrong with what you are doing but it sounds like belts and suspenders to me. Now there are other performance reasons to use RAIDs, but most advise that their use for everyday home use or backups have become a questionable value.
     
  21. mikepj macrumors regular

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    #21
    Sure, if you could fit your entire backup on a single disk and want a redundant copy, go ahead and just have 2 hard drives and tell Time Machine to back up to both. If you have more than 4TB of data to backup though, you need something like RAID. Otherwise, you'll be spending time trying to figure out how to back up different pieces of data to separate drives and keeping everything managed properly.

    I have a Pegasus2 R4 on order to use as my main data drive and will be backing up to a NAS with its own RAID. I can lose a disk on either the Pegasus or the NAS and easily replace it without having any downtime while waiting for a new disk to arrive.

    There are still plenty of uses for RAID in a home environment.
     
  22. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

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    #22
    IMO better to look at the SMART indicators to see if the drive needs replacing.

    ----------

    I'll bet that the "most that advise" don't actually have a RAID NAS in use as a Home user.
     
  23. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #23
    Except SMART does not work for external drives like the OP is using. At least I have never found one that indicated SMART status.

    Also, it could just be my bad luck, but in all my years I have yet to have a SMART status show anything before a drive died on me.
     
  24. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

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    #24
    I didn't know that. All my drives have been internals. I did find that the Reallocated Sector Count was a good indicator of a potential failure. On all my good drives at stayed 1 or 2. On a failing drive it went from 2 to 55 in one day and then it died. With ones that added a few counts every day, I RMA'd them to Seagate without problems.

    I just checked on all 5 of my active drives and the counts remain at zero after 3100 or so power on hours, so still early days for these drives but they are out of the infant mortality phase.
     
  25. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #25
    You are right, but if my SSD started vibrating or clicking ... I think I'd be running the other way really really quick.

    Still, just like the typical HDD, as soon as those spare sectors start vanishing, likely time to get a new unit.
     

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