Discussion:
Best 1TB Hard Drives?
(too old to reply)
David Kaye
2014-04-16 07:48:25 UTC
Permalink
A customer just got burned by not one but two Western Digital "MyBook"
external hard drives. They're used alternately as backup drives. (Files
are backed up to one drive on one day and to the other the next day.)

The first one (3 years old) simply won't mount on either Windows XP or
Ubuntu Linux. I'm not hearing any motor noise so I assuming that the HD
itself is dead. The Windows USB bloops take place so apparently the
controller is okay.

The second WD MyBook reads erratically. It also has that stupid backup
software on it which runs on its own partition and requires a driver to be
downloaded from WD in order to mount the second partition.

I can get this second unit running *enough* to copy files from it, which is
going to be a bear because it's half a TB right there.

QUESTION: I'm interested in people's opinions about 1 to 3TB hard drives.
Personally, I'm suspicious of a HD with that much storage; I just feel that
the media is too delicate to be long-term reliable. And since I don't have
a need to store that much data, I'm in the dark about HDs larger than about
160GB.

Can I have some recommendations on tried-and-true external HDs, hopefully
those that don't have all that BS backup software pre-mounted. I hate
those.

Ideas?
Roy
2014-04-16 14:38:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kaye
A customer just got burned by not one but two Western Digital "MyBook"
external hard drives. They're used alternately as backup drives. (Files
are backed up to one drive on one day and to the other the next day.)
...
QUESTION: I'm interested in people's opinions about 1 to 3TB hard drives.
Personally, I'm suspicious of a HD with that much storage; I just feel that
the media is too delicate to be long-term reliable. And since I don't have
a need to store that much data, I'm in the dark about HDs larger than about
160GB.
Can I have some recommendations on tried-and-true external HDs, hopefully
those that don't have all that BS backup software pre-mounted. I hate
those.
Ideas?
I use Seagate. If you are going to be moving the drive a lot with the
power on, I go for portable drives rather than desktop.

Another alternative is to buy a USB-SATA enclosure and plug your own
drives in. Example:

http://www.vantecusa.com/en/product/view_detail/374

For people who are not intimated by wires, you can use a USB to SATA
box. You get standard internal hard drives and plug them in the box.
The adapter I mean is a box and not just some plugin type thing.

This is not the box I have but you get the idea

http://www.usbgear.com/computer_cable_details.cfm?sku=SSX-35S&cats=170&catid=739%2C497%2C170%2C161%2C2345%2C140%2C177%2C141%2C142
Keith Keller
2014-04-16 14:59:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kaye
QUESTION: I'm interested in people's opinions about 1 to 3TB hard drives.
In the past I've used the WD RE drives successfully. They are
enterprise drives, so they may not behave in the way you expect in the
face of failure. I've also been using 3TB Hitachi drives with success
so far, though I haven't had them in production for many years yet.

The WD Green desktop series was pretty awful, but I haven't bought new
drives in that line for a long time.

I haven't used Seagate in a while, though that was mostly because their
RMA process was excruciatingly painful. I think that it's improved, and
I've had success with their drives when I've had them.

--keith
--
kkeller-***@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
(try just my userid to email me)
AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
see X- headers for PGP signature information
David Kaye
2014-04-17 06:12:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith Keller
In the past I've used the WD RE drives successfully. They are
enterprise drives, so they may not behave in the way you expect in the
face of failure.
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "enterprise drive" and how the
behavior might be different.

I ended up getting 2 Seagate 1TB "Expansion" drives ($70), which can talk at
USB-3. So far, so good. Throughput is very fast and though they had
minimal stuff on them (I guess a backup program and some kind of
registration thing) I chose to reformat anyway.

I switched from my trust XP service computer to a Win-7 with USB-3, which I
figured should work pretty well. I'm not getting the read errors I got
before, but I also did the old trick of warming the old HD in front of a
heater fan to about 75 degrees first, just in case there are motor speed or
platter seeking mechanical problems. This seems to have solved the
erraticness for now.

The source has about 500GB on it, most of which is photos and publishing
documents, but even so, there are nearly 900,000 items on the drive.
Windows predicts it will take "About 1 day, 17 hours" to copy everything. I
think it'll take maybe 8 hours. We'll see.

I normally deal with Central Computer but parking's a bear in SF, so I went
to Office Depot. I mentioned the WD failures (it seemed that most of what
they were selling was WD) and the guy said, "You'll probably like Seagate
much better."

The "Expansion" HDs are 2 1/2 inchers with power via USB and NO POWER
SWITCH, thank goodness. I don't mind a toggle switch on a HD but I don't
like a momentary contact power switch. If the power goes out you have to
remember to turn the thing back on; not good when you're trying to set up
automatic backup.

Thanks to everyone for your input.
Thad Floryan
2014-04-17 06:18:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kaye
Post by Keith Keller
In the past I've used the WD RE drives successfully. They are
enterprise drives, so they may not behave in the way you expect in the
face of failure.
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "enterprise drive" and how the
behavior might be different.
[...]
If you had bothered to do some research, for example Googling:

western digital enterprise hard disks

you would have seen:

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/internal/enterprise/

with many details here:

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=580

All other fotating HDs are substandard to WD's "Re" drives.

Thad
Keith Keller
2014-04-17 06:26:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kaye
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "enterprise drive" and how the
behavior might be different.
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=enterprise+drive

To be fair, some of the "enterprise" cachet is just marketing (and some
''desktop'' drives can be reconfigured with some "enterprise" features).

--keith
--
kkeller-***@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
(try just my userid to email me)
AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
see X- headers for PGP signature information
Igor Sviridov
2014-04-17 23:46:33 UTC
Permalink
hi,
Post by David Kaye
Post by Keith Keller
In the past I've used the WD RE drives successfully. They are
enterprise drives, so they may not behave in the way you expect in the
face of failure.
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "enterprise drive" and how the
behavior might be different.
I've mixed experience with those.

They usually develop errors earlier than consumer drives of the same vintage.
I assume this does not mean that they're flakier, just that tolerances to errors
are lower. They are also usually have time limits on retries/error recovery,
so they do not fail in RAID (TLER etc).

With longer warranties and when used in RAID setups it just means you may have
some extra work replacing failing drives. For standalone use (w/o RAID)
extra error sensitivity and TLER of enterprise drives is often a problem.
Post by David Kaye
I switched from my trust XP service computer to a Win-7 with USB-3, which I
figured should work pretty well. I'm not getting the read errors I got
before, but I also did the old trick of warming the old HD in front of a
heater fan to about 75 degrees first, just in case there are motor speed or
platter seeking mechanical problems. This seems to have solved the
erraticness for now.
Is it 75 Celsius or Fahrenheit? 75F sounds like a normal room temperature...

In any case, this is first time i've heard about heating up a drive to fix it;
freezing it out (in freezer or with cooling spray) did help me a few times.
Post by David Kaye
The source has about 500GB on it, most of which is photos and publishing
documents, but even so, there are nearly 900,000 items on the drive.
Windows predicts it will take "About 1 day, 17 hours" to copy everything. I
think it'll take maybe 8 hours. We'll see.
Block-level copy (say *nix "ddrescue") is usually much faster, but you would not know
which files were corrupted, so this works only if you've a way to validate copied files.
Ah, nice - ddrescue now allows filling defective blocks with signature...

--igor
David Kaye
2014-04-19 10:52:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Igor Sviridov
Is it 75 Celsius or Fahrenheit? 75F sounds like a normal room
temperature...
75F. For me this is about 8 degrees above room temperature, and enough (in
my experience) to mean the difference between sludgy lubricant and lube that
flows enough to work. I first discovered this about 5 years ago when I
unpacked a computer I'd packed away about 6 or 8 years previously. The HD
wouldn't even budge. Figuring I didn't have anything to lose, I set it in
the oven for about 15 minutes and turned the gas on to the lowest setting
that would work. Sure enough, I was able to boot the machine. (It's
amazing how many useless documents and photos we save -- I found nothing
useful on it, but at least it booted.)


Oh, and the copying was interesting. At first I used the regular Windows
Explorer drag'n'drop and before long the RAM was filling up and it was
swapping to the machine's HD. That would never do. The machine doesn't
have enough connections to open both external HDs and connect them to the
mobo and also have the machine's own HD, too. So, SATA was out.

And though the machine and the new external drive both have USB3, the source
HD did not, so USB3 wouldn't be of any advantage anyway.

But one thing I did find was that the freeware, SyncBack, worked faster than
Explorer, about twice as fast, for some reason, so I managed to copy about
500GB in about 16 hours, and the machine wasn't filling up its RAM, either.
For the record, SyncBack's website:
http://www.2brightsparks.com/syncback/syncback-hub.html

Jeff Liebermann
2014-04-16 16:04:21 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 16 Apr 2014 00:48:25 -0700, "David Kaye"
Post by David Kaye
A customer just got burned by not one but two Western Digital "MyBook"
external hard drives. They're used alternately as backup drives. (Files
are backed up to one drive on one day and to the other the next day.)
That's odd. I have 4 of those drives and have seen no failures for
about the last 2-3 years. One 250GB and three 1TB. I also have
customers with those drives and have seen no problems.
Post by David Kaye
The first one (3 years old) simply won't mount on either Windows XP or
Ubuntu Linux. I'm not hearing any motor noise so I assuming that the HD
itself is dead. The Windows USB bloops take place so apparently the
controller is okay.
Check the power supply for low voltage.
Post by David Kaye
The second WD MyBook reads erratically. It also has that stupid backup
software on it which runs on its own partition and requires a driver to be
downloaded from WD in order to mount the second partition.
My reading habits are equally erratic. Sometimes, I can't put the
book down. Other times, I speed read.

The stupid backup software is called Memeo. I have it running on
about 6 machines using various versions:
<http://www.memeo.com/wd/multiple_computers/en-US.htm>
<http://memeo.com/en/premium-backup/>
I do have some problems with the software but it does solve an
important problem. When I do image backups, Memeo picks up only the
files that have changed since the last backup. It also does
versioning. I suggest you take a 2nd look.
Post by David Kaye
I can get this second unit running *enough* to copy files from it, which is
going to be a bear because it's half a TB right there.
Ugh. That can be painful. I don't know if it's possible, but it
might be useful to extract the drive (probably SATA) and clone it to a
known working drive, telling the cloning software to ignore any
errors. You won't get any more than you're getting by copying, but it
will be much faster.
Post by David Kaye
QUESTION: I'm interested in people's opinions about 1 to 3TB hard drives.
Personally, I'm suspicious of a HD with that much storage; I just feel that
the media is too delicate to be long-term reliable. And since I don't have
a need to store that much data, I'm in the dark about HDs larger than about
160GB.
1. Look at the warranty. If it's 3 or 5 years, it has a chance of
surviving. If it's 1 year, forget it.

2. I'm also paranoid about large drives. 500GB has become the
commodity drive size, and I have plenty of those. Here's the office
collection:
<Loading Image...>
Not shown is a 250GB WD My Book and about 5 assorted 500GB and 1TB
drives at home. The only failures so far have been several Seagate
drives and a Simpletech. One of the Seagates dies due to driving it
around in the car, so that doesn't count. The other led a fairly safe
life on my office workbench, and failed anyway. Usually, it was a
catastrophic death, not erratic like yours. Works today, dead
tomorrow, with no warning. I have NOT been monitoring S.M.A.R.T. data
on these drives (although I should).

3. Invest in some shock absorption material for travel. I have a
foam box, usually used for shipping, for when I go on service calls.
The drives are also cheap enough that pre-emptive replacements ever 2
years might be a worthwhile policy.

4. USB 3.0 is very fast. My image backups go 3 to 5 times faster
than with USB 2.0.

5. Note that I'm using the smaller portable drives. That's so my
customers and I can lock them up in a fire safe after running a
backup. Easy to do with the USB portables. Not so easy with My Book
size drives.
Post by David Kaye
Can I have some recommendations on tried-and-true external HDs, hopefully
those that don't have all that BS backup software pre-mounted. I hate
those.
Favorite of the week is Toshiba Canvio Slim II. It's the 3rd from the
left in the picture. 3 year warranty. It has a fairly small cache,
which means it's not speedy for random access. However, sequential
access, as used in image backups, is unaffected.
<http://www.newegg.com/All-External-Hard-Drives/BrandSubCat/ID-1259-414>
<http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA24G15V4529>
I've been using 3 of the 1TB drives for about 3 months. No problems,
but it's probably too soon to tell.

2nd best would be the various WD Passport mutations. They seem to
come out with a new model every few weeks, so I can't offer any
recommendation for anything you can actually purchase. It usually
comes with some kind of backup software, which I erase immediately.
<http://support.wd.com/product/download.asp?level1=2&lang=en>
A not so minor problem is that it insists on installing a WD SES
driver, which I'm beginning to suspect is the cause of some
performance oddities and possibly might be doing some tracking.
<http://wdc.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/3739/>
Post by David Kaye
Ideas?
No ideas today. Brain is in recovery mode after taxes, the non-death
of XP, far too much work to handle properly, demanding customers, and
great weather.
--
Jeff Liebermann ***@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann AE6KS 831-336-2558
d***@19.usenet.us.com
2014-04-16 19:36:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Liebermann
On Wed, 16 Apr 2014 00:48:25 -0700, "David Kaye"
Post by David Kaye
A customer just got burned by not one but two Western Digital "MyBook"
I had two MyBooks die, I presume after a power surge at the house, since
they were a couple of years old, a little different in age, but died within
weeks of each other in 2010.

The 300 had a longer warranty, and was replaced by a 750GB.
The 500 was out of warranty.
I still have a WD80 USB that is over 10 years old and works fine, although
not often.
Which Serial Model Purchased Warranty Expiry
80GB WMAM96855272 WDXUL800BBNN 6/04/2006
320GB WCARW2810971 WDH1Q3200N 4/14/2008 4/23/2013
500GB WCASU4133744 WDH1U5000N 6/16/2008 7/05/2009

The 750 is used off and on. I use it for Virtual Machines that might be
used continuously for a few days, and then not for months.
I also use it weekly for backups.
Post by Jeff Liebermann
1. Look at the warranty. If it's 3 or 5 years, it has a chance of
surviving. If it's 1 year, forget it.
Interesting evaluator. I can't get myslef to apply that to a Hyundai car,
where the reverse seems true. I was surprised that the warranty differed
between what looked like the same model drive, just different sizes.
Post by Jeff Liebermann
drives and a Simpletech. One of the Seagates dies due to driving it
around in the car, so that doesn't count. The other led a fairly safe
The MyBook looks pretty, sitting on a shelf, but I don't think of it as a
portable drive. It is too large, with too much inertia.
The Passport series that is the size of a smartphone seems more like a
portable drive.
Post by Jeff Liebermann
tomorrow, with no warning. I have NOT been monitoring S.M.A.R.T. data
I am a nut about monitoring SMART data ever since I found out that Windows
gives no warning of impending doom.
I run smartctl -a and save the results, scanning for "Pending Sectors", or
an increase in the "Reallocated Sector Count" Value.
Post by Jeff Liebermann
3. Invest in some shock absorption material for travel. I have a
foam box, usually used for shipping, for when I go on service calls.
I don't think the MyBook are meant to travel.
Post by Jeff Liebermann
5. Note that I'm using the smaller portable drives. That's so my
customers and I can lock them up in a fire safe after running a
backup. Easy to do with the USB portables. Not so easy with My Book
size drives.
I bought a USB BlackX ST0005U dock from Newegg. Various laptop and small
SATA drives will plug into it, for small "in the safe" size, although there
is no physical protection on the drive at all. It is USB2.0 or eSATA.
The speed exceeds the speed of the drives that I stick into it.

The dock is also handy for cloning at drive replacement time.
--
Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley Lake, CA, USA GPS: 38.8,-122.5
David Kaye
2014-04-16 20:48:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Liebermann
Check the power supply for low voltage.
I did; it's fine.
Post by Jeff Liebermann
3. Invest in some shock absorption material for travel.
There's no travel involved. The HDs sit on a desk and are never moved.
Eli the Bearded
2014-04-16 19:15:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kaye
A customer just got burned by not one but two Western Digital "MyBook"
external hard drives. They're used alternately as backup drives. (Files
are backed up to one drive on one day and to the other the next day.)
The first one (3 years old) simply won't mount on either Windows XP or
Ubuntu Linux. I'm not hearing any motor noise so I assuming that the HD
itself is dead. The Windows USB bloops take place so apparently the
controller is okay.
I haven't been burned by the drives, but I did have the USB controller
on one of those fail for me. The design allowed a bump on the USB cord
to break the attachment of the socket to the board. I pulled the drive
out and put it in Plugable brand docking station[*] and still use the
drive.

[*] It looks like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Plugable/dp/B003UI62AG/
The Plugable station works, but the drive wobbles in it unless I
wedge some folded paper in with it. That wobble doesn't give me a
lot of confidence.

Elijah
------
alternates backups between several external drives
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