Jan 06, 2016

Which brand of hard drive is most reliable?

Is there a significant difference in the reliability of HDDs from different manufacturers? I’m looking for a 2.5” 2TB HDD, and one of my friends is adamant that I should stay away from Seagate drives based on his experience. Is there a best choice for HDD reliability?
For 2.5" Toshiba is actually the clear winner for reliability. The fact that their drives don't use a platter based service area to store most of the firmware prevents a huge amount of firmware related failures that other drives are all prone to. HGST are also very good.

In 3.5" HGST is the clear choice for most reliable. Most Toshiba 3.5" drives out there are actually HGST in reality. They've only recently began manufacturing on their own, so we'll have to wait and see.

WD & Samsung are both solid choices for either category, but not as good as Toshiba or HGST. Seagate is seeing some really major quality issues right now, especially relating to their 3TB Desktop DM Series: https://www.data-medics.com/data-recovery-blog/seagate-st3000dm001-data-recovery-warning/

Also beware of Samsung externals as they are usually Seagate drives inside.

And in case you're wondering where I get my info, I work in full time data recovery from failed drives. So it's kind of my business to keep track of what models are failing.
I have purchased a number of hard drives (1GB or less) from all of the different manufacturers and I have not seen much difference between any of them. I have experienced the WD problem where the drives simply stops and all that you get is the click of death. I have also had Seagate drives fail. I still got decent service out of all of them. Besides, as it turns out, Western Digital owns HGST, Fujitsu, Hoya, and Toshiba while Seagate owns Maxtor and Samsung so you only have two companies to actually choose from and that is Western Digital or Seagate. If the disk that you are looking at has a 3 to a 5 year warranty I wouldn't worry too much about which brand I bought.
I agree with your friend that Seagate drives have had quality issues lately. I prefer HGST (formerly Hitachi, even more formerly IBM) drives and Western Digital, with HGST being a slight favorite.

Backblaze (a cloud storage company) published an article with the failure rates of the different HDDs they used in their data center. This means that the sample size is large enough to be meaningful, and we can look at drives from the three main suppliers (WD, Seagate and HGST) with different capacities.

This data clearly shows the most reliable HDDs at the time, September 2014, from best to worst:
1. HGST.
2. Western Digital.
3. Seagate (Barracuda 7200.11 had a 24.9% failure rate!).

Link to the article with more data: https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-reliability-update-september-2014/
unfortunately it's a hit or miss, for most manufacturers you'll usually fine that 1-2 out of 10 people had bad experiences with their hard drives. I think Western Digital is my top choice with Seagate going in 2nd.
western digital
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