Which external hard drive to buy?

galaksy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 19, 2014
298
0
Which one would you rather buy? 3tb ($120) or 4tb ($150) WD My Book USB external hard drive?

I'm thinking of using it with windows too (exFAT)
 

matreya

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
1,286
127
Which one would you rather buy? 3tb ($120) or 4tb ($150) WD My Book USB external hard drive?

I'm thinking of using it with windows too (exFAT)
I wouldn't buy either because I'm not a fan of WD's cheap WD Caviar Green hard drives they put into the WD My Books...
 

matreya

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
1,286
127
How is this better than the WD My Book? I see that it is not too much expensive compared to it.

Also how is the one you linked to, sold by a third party through Amazon, better than the one sold by Amazon? http://www.amazon.com/HGST-Touro-Ex...008JQNXLA/ref=psdc12_t3_B007K4HA0W_B008JQNXLA
1. In my experience they have a better hard drive that lasts longer than the ones used in WD My Books

2. I don't think there's any difference, it was the first link amazon came up with for me...
 

laurihoefs

macrumors 6502a
Mar 1, 2013
792
22
1. In my experience they have a better hard drive that lasts longer than the ones used in WD My Books

2. I don't think there's any difference, it was the first link amazon came up with for me...
A little while ago Backblaze published some reliability data of the HDDs they use. WD Green was among the most reliable, although the sample size was smaller than with other HDDs they used, 2838 WD drives against 12 765 Seagates for example.

Here's the site: http://blog.backblaze.com/2014/01/21/what-hard-drive-should-i-buy/
 

matreya

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
1,286
127
http://www.amazon.com/HGST-Touro-Ex...?ie=UTF8&qid=1404010676&sr=8-3&keywords=touro This one is $10 more expensive and has 3 stars while

this one http://www.amazon.com/HGST-Touro-De...?ie=UTF8&qid=1404010676&sr=8-5&keywords=touro is ten dollar cheaper and has 4 stars.

By the way should you buy the $7.86 2 year warranty?
I'd go with the cheaper one.. I never buy the extra warranty... a good drive lasts longer than the warranty... it's your choice.

----------

A little while ago Backblaze published some reliability data of the HDDs they use. WD Green was among the most reliable, although the sample size was smaller than with other HDDs they used, 2838 WD drives against 12 765 Seagates for example.

Here's the site: http://blog.backblaze.com/2014/01/21/what-hard-drive-should-i-buy/
According to that, Hitachi were by far and away the most reliable of the drives deployed.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,219
9,919
California
A little while ago Backblaze published some reliability data of the HDDs they use. WD Green was among the most reliable, although the sample size was smaller than with other HDDs they used, 2838 WD drives against 12 765 Seagates for example.

Here's the site: http://blog.backblaze.com/2014/01/21/what-hard-drive-should-i-buy/
That study is deeply flawed and I would not base any purchasing decisions on it. Give this a read.

At this point I think just pick the size and connection type drive you want then just close your eyes and grab a drive off the shelf on sale.
 

laurihoefs

macrumors 6502a
Mar 1, 2013
792
22
I'd go with the cheaper one.. I never buy the extra warranty... a good drive lasts longer than the warranty... it's your choice.

----------



According to that, Hitachi were by far and away the most reliable of the drives deployed.
Yes and no, read what Weaselboy wrote:

That study is deeply flawed and I would not base any purchasing decisions on it. Give this a read.

At this point I think just pick the size and connection type drive you want then just close your eyes and grab a drive off the shelf on sale.
Backblaze were criticized strongly for being sensationalist and trying to get publicity back when the article was released. And for a good reason: the chart they chose to display on the top of the page is grossly misleading, and the conclusions are dubious.

The interesting information is in the charts further down the page. The sample sizes are small, there are many factors left out, etc. But you can still see, that with the exception of the couple of bad batches from Seagate, it does not really make any difference which manufacturers the drives are from: the failure rates are very close to each other, and with a sample size this small, not really statistically significant.

People are very wary of a manufacturer they have had bad experiences with, especially so with hard drives. Asking on a forum for the most reliable drives gets completely different answers every time, depending who happens to be answering.

So yes, you are correct: pick a drive by random.
 
Last edited:

thedeske

macrumors 6502a
Feb 17, 2013
963
58
At this point I think just pick the size and connection type drive you want then just close your eyes and grab a drive off the shelf on sale.
After long experience, it's easy to make the same conclusion. There is an ebb and flow of good and bad runs on any device from any company.

I tend to have favorites every few years, but learned to never pronounce a single model to be "The Best" from good experience or luck.
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,550
417
Atlanta
I would go with a dock or enclosure that does USB 3 with UASP. Then I would pick the best value of SATA HD at NewEgg. That way you have max transport speeds and max freedom to pick and choose a HD or SSD at any time.
 

Ray2

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
670
138
How is this better than the WD My Book? I see that it is not too much expensive compared to it.

Also how is the one you linked to, sold by a third party through Amazon, better than the one sold by Amazon? http://www.amazon.com/HGST-Touro-Ex...008JQNXLA/ref=psdc12_t3_B007K4HA0W_B008JQNXLA
BackBlaze has 10's of thousands of drives and they keep meticulous records on each of them. They also publish a disk reliability study every now and then. For drive selection, use it. It will totally support the HGST recommendation you got, as I will. They are solid.
 

Ray2

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
670
138
That study is deeply flawed and I would not base any purchasing decisions on it. Give this a read.

At this point I think just pick the size and connection type drive you want then just close your eyes and grab a drive off the shelf on sale.
Why? Using the lowest price argument is irrelevant. If the drive is on their list what does price have to do with longevity. If you're saying spend more on a better drive, then look at how those fared in the study. Then he goes on to environmental conditions. So what? Is he suggesting a change in the environment would cause a relative change in the failure distributions between drives? Highly doubtful.

BackBlaze is the best we have at the moment. Suddenly some page on the Internet, filled with logic flaws, unstated arguments and unproven positions, argues what legions of tech savy people appear to embrace. And you accept it?

BackBlaze certainly supports my own personal experience. 11 tb, been that way for a long time. Lots of drives either with upgrading or replacing. Hitachi/HGST has been rock solid. Still running 2 ATA drives on very disk intensive operations after 9 years. Seagate, which gets poor scores, deserves them in my view. I'm not sure I've ever owned one (about 4 of them) that has not failed rather quickly.
 

Weaselboy

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Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
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California
Why? Using the lowest price argument is irrelevant. If the drive is on their list what does price have to do with longevity. If you're saying spend more on a better drive, then look at how those fared in the study. Then he goes on to environmental conditions. So what? Is he suggesting a change in the environment would cause a relative change in the failure distributions between drives? Highly doubtful.
I don't think you even read what I posted. I said nothing about paying more for a better drive. I said this study was flawed and it is. It is just fine if you don't agree.

BackBlaze is the best we have at the moment. Suddenly some page on the Internet, filled with logic flaws, unstated arguments and unproven positions, argues what legions of tech savy people appear to embrace. And you accept it?
Like I said, the article points out some serious flaws in the BackBlaze paper. I don't know who these "legions" are, but all I have seen everywhere is other sites just parroting what BackBlaze said. I have not seen any "tech savvy people" weigh in on the validity of the BackBlaze article other than than the article I linked. All this is is free advertising for BackBlaze... mission accomplished.

BackBlaze certainly supports my own personal experience. 11 tb, been that way for a long time. Lots of drives either with upgrading or replacing. Hitachi/HGST has been rock solid. Still running 2 ATA drives on very disk intensive operations after 9 years. Seagate, which gets poor scores, deserves them in my view. I'm not sure I've ever owned one (about 4 of them) that has not failed rather quickly.
This comes up every time the hard drive question is asked and it means nothing. We get all kinds of posts saying "I owned X and it was junk" or "I owned Y and it was great." Meaningless anecdotes.
 

matreya

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
1,286
127
This comes up every time the hard drive question is asked and it means nothing. We get all kinds of posts saying "I owned X and it was junk" or "I owned Y and it was great." Meaningless anecdotes.
Maybe so, but personally, given my own extensive experience with hard drives, I've found Hitachi/HGST drives to be the most reliable drives I've ever used. My experiences can't compare to those running data centres, though.

*IF* Google ever released it's own experiences with hard drives, no doubt it would end the manufacturer that, in their experience, was the least reliable.

WD wouldn't buy HGST for cash and shares in WD if HGST drives weren't something worth buying :)
 

Weaselboy

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Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,219
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California
WD wouldn't buy HGST for cash and shares in WD if HGST drives weren't something worth buying :)
My guess is that is more about acquiring market share than acquiring technology. Just like when Seagate absorbed Maxtor. I'm not aware of anything special technology-wise about HGST drives that WD would have gotten with this deal. I could be wrong though. Who knows.
 

junobear

macrumors newbie
Sep 4, 2008
8
0
Newer Technology - OWC has always worked for me

I like their RAID 1 drives -- the 'mirrored 'hard-drives, in case one dies, its mirror is still OK and you can replace the bad one. In the two or three GMax drives I have gotten of NewerTechnology, I've not had one fail. macsales.com

I also like and use BackBlaze. I'm kinda into backups, you might say.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,625
448
Redondo Beach, California
...
People are very vary of a manufacturer they have had bad experiences with, especially so with hard drives. Asking on a forum for the most reliable drives gets completely different answers every time, depending who happens to be answering....

You are right. Asking on a forum is almost a waste of time because who here would have tested a large enough sample of each brand. They will say "I had a WD once and if failed." Big deal EVERY drive will fail if you wait long enough.

The best indicator of reliability is the length of the manufacturers warranty. Some still offer 5 years but many only one year. Who knows batter than the company who makes the drive.

But on the other hand just expect they will fail randomly and always have two of three backup copies of you data.
 

galaksy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 19, 2014
298
0
Does that mean you need two or three hard drives? Are CDs more long lasting?
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,219
9,919
California
Does that mean you need two or three hard drives? Are CDs more long lasting?
Hard drives are better than CDs, and yes if your data is important it is a good idea to have two sets of backups.

The problem is you could have a bad drive and not know it as you just keep happily using the backup drive. Then you need to restore data and find it is not there like you thought. :eek:

What you will find most people who are cautious about this do is use two different drives locally plus come kind of offsite plan like Crahsplan or similar. Rather than pay for a service like Crahsplan some people just take rotate a backup drive to a drawer at the workplace or something. This way if your house burns down you still have your data.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,140
6,573
Per weaselboy's post above:
[[ Hard drives are better than CDs, and yes if your data is important it is a good idea to have two sets of backups. ]]

Two backups are better than one!

There is a new type of CD/DVD/Blueray disc out there called "M-DISC" that uses a different kind of material instead of the ordinary dye that regular CD-R's use. It's supposed to last much longer than a dye-based disc. But they are more expensive than regular disc blanks, and you need a burner that is capable of burning them.

Also, with CD's/DVD's, how long they last depends on the quality of the media you use, and also storing them properly. I've got burned CD's 10 years old that are still ok.

If you're going to use a hard drive for archiving vs. backup (archiving = long term storage, whereas "backup" is more just a readily-available copy of your working hard drive), then the actual longevity of the drive itself comes into play. That's why it can be important to have a -second- archival drive, to serve as "insurance" if your first archival drive fails on you.

I've also heard it said that one shouldn't trust one -type- of media alone (such as hard drives, DVD's, flash media, etc.).
 

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