Question Which external USB 3 hard drives are generally better (less failure rates, failures): Seagate or Western Digital?

Aug 24, 2019
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Which external USB 3 hard drives are generally better (less failure rates, failures): Seagate or Western Digital?

Which of them should one buy?
 
Aug 24, 2019
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OK, thank you, actually I meant generally between Seagate and WD. Do Seagate drives have more failures than WD? Especially 8 TB drives.
 

13thmonkey

Titan
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I don't think it matters, and here's why. If it fails, it fails, and you need to have a means of recovery from a backup. Whether it's a 0.01% chance over 5 years, or a 0.02% chance, you're going to get unlucky at some point. And when it has occurred the percentages are irrelevant. Work on the assumption that it will fail, work on the assumption that it will fail in the next 15mins, plan, buy and act accordingly.
 

Sagar_20

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Jun 29, 2016
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The failure rate makes sense for particular drives and not just brands.

Many people complain that Seagate desktop drives have a high rate of failure but my Segate barracuda is working just fine since 8 years.

More than 8000 hours on power and HD sentinel says health 99%.

Though, I'm not sure about their external drives.

Some user feedbacks suggest that lots of people have lost their valuable data from Segate external drives, especially the one that has a capacity of 1.5 TB but that could have been just a bad stock.
 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator
The failure rate makes sense for particular drives and not just brands.

Many people complain that Seagate desktop drives have a high rate of failure but my Segate barracuda is working just fine since 8 years.

More than 8000 hours on power and HD sentinel says health 99%.

Though, I'm not sure about their external drives.

Some user feedbacks suggest that lots of people have lost their valuable data from Segate external drives, especially the one that has a capacity of 1.5 TB but that could have been just a bad stock.
some user feedback here finds people dropping their drives quite frequently... :)
 
Aug 24, 2019
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Yes, extremely good point of view.

Suppose one wants to try to save (presumed it is possible by that at all) money and buy the drives with the lessest failures (so one may be had to replace less defective drives respectively could use some or most of the drives longer or such), which drive should one buy, one from Seagate or WD?
 

After that month, Backblaze quit using any WD disks but not because of failure rates. It's because they could not get them for as cheap as other brands. They had been shucking external drives to get the internal disks inside, but apparently all of the good deals dried up this year. Since 2013, their most reliable tested brands have been HGST (acquired by Western Digital in 2012) and Toshiba
 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator
If you're buying 100's of drives it matters.

After that month, Backblaze quit using any WD disks but not because of failure rates. It's because they could not get them for as cheap as other brands. They had been shucking external drives to get the internal disks inside, but apparently all of the good deals dried up this year. Since 2013, their most reliable tested brands have been HGST (acquired by Western Digital in 2012) and Toshiba
Agreed, and as you say they aren't buying for reliability, they've been buying for cost, they reduce data loss risk with backups, and concentration risk of having a bad batch take out many many drives, by spreading purchasing around.

So the consumer buying 1 drive need's to ensure they have a backup.
Buying many drives buy cheap, have backups, spread risk with different types.
 
Aug 24, 2019
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Sorry for the confusion.

I don't think it matters, and here's why. If it fails, it fails, and you need to have a means of recovery from a backup. Whether it's a 0.01% chance over 5 years, or a 0.02% chance, you're going to get unlucky at some point. And when it has occurred the percentages are irrelevant. Work on the assumption that it will fail, work on the assumption that it will fail in the next 15mins, plan, buy and act accordingly.
Yes, extremely good point of view.

Suppose one wants to try to save (presumed it is possible by that at all) money and buy the drives with the lessest failures (so one may be had to replace less defective drives respectively could use some or most of the drives longer or such), which drive should one buy, one from Seagate or WD?

Many people complain that Seagate desktop drives have a high rate of failure
Yes, I have heard such.

but my Segate barracuda is working just fine since 8 years.

More than 8000 hours on power and HD sentinel says health 99%.
So although the failure rate might be higher your drive is not affected.

Some user feedbacks suggest that lots of people have lost their valuable data from Segate external drives, especially the one that has a capacity of 1.5 TB but that could have been just a bad stock
Yes, and that is what increases the failure rate, I assume. And I wouldn't like getting such drive.

It would be very hard (for me) to interpret (age, runtime, failures, circumstances, etc.) that Blackblaze report and soemhow impossible to apply ii to external USB 3 drives with 8 TB. The WD drives seem to be the worst ones anyway, If I see it right.

If you're buying 100's of drives it matters.
But why doesn't it if you buy one drive? Doesn't the probability increase that you would get a worse one if you buy one having a high failure rate?

Buying many drives buy cheap, have backups, spread risk with different types.
So more than one backup per hard drive on another or different drives?
 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator
if you are buying 1 drive it doesn't matter because if it's going to fail it'll fail, the outcome is the same, and you need to act the same way regardless.

If you are buying 100's of drives then you need to spread the risk of a batch batch, some minor design niggle around, as you couldn't afford to cope with a whole batch going bad, so you buy lots of different drives.

The upshot here is buy on cost, warranty is a secondary consideration, as even though they might replace the drive the contents of the drive are lost, and the content is surely the important bit, else why are you keeping it?

If you are really concerned about data loss, then buy 2 and have one running as a backup, buy 'robust' drives so that accidents are less likely to be an issue.
 
Aug 24, 2019
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if you are buying 1 drive it doesn't matter because if it's going to fail it'll fail, the outcome is the same, and you need to act the same way regardless.
(Unless there was no backup, I guess) Yes, if it fails. And the probability that it will fail (and may be not backuped data will be lost) should be decreased by buying from the brand which sells drives with lesser failure rates, I would think, am I wrong with it? If one presupposes there always is an actual backup it might be all the same (apart from losing the newest data not being backedup yet and may be other drawbacks).

warranty is a secondary consideration
I never would give away a (broken) drive with my personal data, unless I could wipe the data before (e.g. if expected it will get defective), what is rather unlikely when the drive is not accesseble anymore.

If you are really concerned about data loss, then buy 2 and have one running as a backup, buy 'robust' drives so that accidents are less likely to be an issue.
Yes, that would be the right method, I assume.
 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator
(Unless there was no backup, I guess) Yes, if it fails. And the probability that it will fail (and may be not backuped data will be lost) should be decreased by buying from the brand which sells drives with lesser failure rates, I would think, am I wrong with it? If one presupposes there always is an actual backup it might be all the same (apart from losing the newest data not being backedup yet and may be other drawbacks).


I never would give away a (broken) drive with my personal data, unless I could wipe the data before (e.g. if expected it will get defective), what is rather unlikely when the drive is not accesseble anymore.


Yes, that would be the right method, I assume.
The probability does decrease but only very slightly, if you were to buy a drive from "no-name drive inc." then you might have a failure rate that is 10-100x worse than a reputable brand, but all of the big players will be very very close to each other. So the IF becomes a when to all intents and purposes, it could fail in month 1, it could fail in month 60, for you with a single drive the percentages on reputable drives will not change that. If you have 100's/1000's of drives then the probability is important.
 
Aug 24, 2019
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Yes, may be the probability does not (really) matter for a single drive, is too slight to be considered, even without making backups.

So it is all the same, one could buy a (or 2, a second for back up) WD or Seagate.
 
Aug 24, 2019
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Yes, the cheapest. As long as the speed doesn't matter. Or are there generally not that big differences between the speeds of (external) hard drives at all? I have never noticed a difference at least.
 

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