Harddrive Lifespan/Reliability?

After recently reading about dvd rot and dvd life expectancy, I was considering backing up my cd/dvd collection to a few large harddrives. Does anyone know if a harddrive is succeptable to the same sort of things (loss of information) that cd/dvd’s are? Also does anyone know what sort of life span is a harddrive supposed to have?


It always depends on HOW you use the HDDs…

chef is absolutely right. If you intend to have the discs running 24/7 then eventually they will fail, but this may take many years. If on the other hand you put it in an external case and only turn them on to make a backup then the life span is considerably enhanced. However rough handling can damage the drive and make it unreadable. Rough handling i.e. dropping it on the floor will not break a DVD.

Well, partitioning can shorten the life quite a bit. Especially if it has to seek constantly between the two partitions; which causes more stress to it.

I don’t know if it would be cost effective. Given that a 500 Gig drive would hold approximately 100 discs, you have to compare it to the cost of 100 of the new Kodak Gold 300 year discs.

ive heard LOADS of people in the net saying that the Lacie D2 external hard disks fail, from, 360 gb, to the 500gb to the 1.5tb hdd’s. Nowhere near as many people reporting the 160gb versions failing. I use my external 160gb lacie all the time, its connected for about 5 hours a day, i use it for backing up dvd’s to it, i then defragment it to burn to the external writer. That must cause a wee bit of stress on it. Had it about 6 months, pretty good so far. Its a seagate hdd inside. 135 pounds.

There use to be mtbf (mean time between falures) listed for most drives but it would seem that some are listing complete bullshit specs nowdays. western digital had one of there drive rated for 114 years (1 million hours). Back in the days of enterprise drives when raid was less common, I think 3-5 years was the average service time for buisnesses (that doesn’t mean they will fail in that much time, it means for buisness, the drive can be considered to be reliable for that long). Maxtor diamondmax 10 drives (just randomly picked that one) lists expected life of 5 years minimum. I have heard of drives lasting much longer but if properlly cared for, 5 years sounds about right (average as some die early and shorten the average). If you want to extend the life of your drives, make sure heat is well dealt with in your case. Heat is suposed to be one of the bigest killers of hard drives and you cannot really rely on your case to heatsink the heat away that well. Even a little airflow over drives can make a big diffrence.

Thats a very good point. Even with the same manufacture, reliability can very quite a bit from model to model. Thats why I always try to check out drives on storage review to see what I can expect from a drive.

Absolutely right. Heat is the enemy to components and media. In fact to everything. When I was repairing my motherboard I had the side off and the drives went to 46C+ as reported by HDDLife. Replaced the panel and it dropped rapidly to 31C.

I think it’s all in the luck of the draw. Yes, some brands and models suffer higher failure rates than others. But the only HD failures I have had were platter failures, ie: bad sectors, not spindle or head failure. And that seems to be mostly chance. You either get a good one or you don’t.

Used as an external that’s turned off 99% of the time, I’d expect a good drive to last forever.