VOGONS


First post, by SirNickity

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I always had a favorite, go-to HDD. For drives <2GB I really like the black Western Digital Caviar drives. For ~10-20GB, the Seagate U series in the foam wrap. For 20-150GB, Seagate Barracuda.

Larger than that and I'm mostly in the SSD camp, but when going for disks: For 500GB-2TB, I actually really like Samsung, and >2TB, it's pretty much 50/50 Seagate/WD.

For the single-GB range ... I don't really know. Those Western Digital Caviar drives, with the silver shell and the label with green, orange, or red accent lines -- those are just not... at all... reliable anymore. I have half a dozen and wouldn't use any of them -- the ones that still work at all, that is. That was a low point for WD, and I had a couple fail even back when they were new.

So what do you like? Preferably a decent track record and relatively low bearing noise. Seek noises that make you feel warm and fuzzy. (Y'know, what everyone wants.)

Not interested in CF / SD / SSD / SATA with adapters, nor 20-80GB drives partitioned all small-like. Go 100% authentic or go home. 😀

Reply 1 of 46, by PCBONEZ

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SirNickity wrote on 2019-12-31, 00:08:

Not interested in CF / SD / SSD / SATA with adapters, nor 20-80GB drives partitioned all small-like. Go 100% authentic or go home. 😀

I am already home.

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Reply 2 of 46, by Living

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you are playing with the most unreliable part of an old PC.

Although i have ~30 old HDD's from 30mb to 20gb i dont want to risk my invested time into installing alll the software (no, cloning doesnt work with every pc), i want something reliable, fast and easy to transfer files, that's why i use CF to IDE adapters.

Reply 5 of 46, by pewpewpew

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That might be the worst period for HDD reliablitly. In working units I've only got two left.
Seagate ST33221A 3227MB c1998
Seagate ST31722A 1624MB c1997

Worth mention I check drives thoroughly, so those would have got the 4-pass of badblocks, and whatever level of smart they returned, and had no bad sectors.

I don't have any I'd recommend until the 40 Maxtor Diamondmax Plus 8 6E040L0. That's out of an accumulation of about 50 now.

Reply 6 of 46, by MAZter

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For very old laptops (before 1993 year):

Areal A85 (85 Mb)
Areal A175 (175 Mb)
Areal A260 (260 Mb)

For some 1994 and later (without USB):

IDE-CF adapters with Sandisk, or Lexspeed cards (8-16Gb)

For most later period laptops with USB:

Samsung 30Gb 2.5 5400RPM IDE PATA Internal Laptop Hard Drive

All these hdd stable and pretty silent.

Last edited by Stiletto on 2020-03-02, 06:32. Edited 1 time in total.

Doom is what you want (c) MAZter

Reply 7 of 46, by Unknown_K

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I must be the only one alive who still uses real HDs.

Connor, Maxtor, and WD are what I use in the 1-10GB range, probably the same under that size and including Seagate if I am using SCSI. Also Micropolis for SCSI over 1GB (mostly in A/V systems).

Collector of old computers, hardware, and software

Reply 8 of 46, by PCBONEZ

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From what I've seen in customer's machines where they ran drives to bearing failure very few regardless of era or brand last much past 70,000 hours.
If you plan to use them indefinitely you better start stocking up because they are just going to get more worn, more rare and more expensive.
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GRUMPY OLD FART - On Hiatus, sort'a
Mann-Made Global Warming. - We should be more concerned about the Intellectual Climate.
You can teach a man to fish and feed him for life, but if he can't handle sushi you must also teach him to cook.

Reply 9 of 46, by TheMobRules

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Initially I was 100% on the CF-IDE camp, but I haven't had a good experience with those adapters personally. Detection problems with older motherboards, strange issues that make the FDD controller fail and missing the "feeling" of a mechanical HDD drove me away. I only use actual HDDs now, not any particular brand/model but I follow these rules:

  • I only get previously used HDDs if they're free, I'm not paying a dime for a drive that may have 100,000s of hours. If they fail later, I can just throw them away without regrets
  • I was quite lucky a few years ago and got many NOS IDE HDDs of around 1GB to 4GB in size (ideal for DOS builds) from local computer stores that were clearing out old stock almost for free, so I mainly use those. Since the use of my retro computers is much lighter than a daily driver, I trust they will last quite long
  • I also got a couple of 1GB Seagate Hawks (SCSI) recently, I'm looking forward to use them but need to get some adapters first

Regarding reliability of specific models, other than known offenders (i.e. DeathStars and the like) I have found that everyone seems to have different experiences, especially when we're talking about used drives of unknown history.

EDIT: does anyone know what's so special about Conner drives? They seem to go for ungodly prices compared to other brands, even those that look really worn out are expensive!

Reply 10 of 46, by derSammler

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Living wrote on 2019-12-31, 01:45:

you are playing with the most unreliable part of an old PC.

Although i have ~30 old HDD's from 30mb to 20gb i dont want to risk my invested time into installing alll the software (no, cloning doesnt work with every pc), i want something reliable, fast and easy to transfer files, that's why i use CF to IDE adapters.

It's a urban legend that any flash-based media is more reliable than a mechanical hard disk. Unlike HDDs, flash-based media has a limited lifetime due to every write event damaging the flash cells (a big reason to avoid used cards as a HDD replacement!). Also, the controller chip on it can fail at any time, rendering all data on it unrecoverable. A HDD on the other hand rarely fails that way. It will start to throw errors randomly, giving you the chance to rescue data. Also, there's no limit in how often you can write data to it. Apart from the very first hard disk in my first PC (240 MB Segate drive, 1994), I never had data loss because of a failed HDD. But I lost countless SD and CF cards, which just stopped working from one second to another.

I use hard disks in most systems without preferring any specific brand - I just use what I have, what fits in size, and does not show signs of wear (that is, no bad sectors and no noise). I avoid some brands, however, like Conner and Maxtor for example. Some of my systems do have CF cards, but never because I think they are more reliable. In any case, I take the time to do a backup of the system once the base install is done.

Last edited by derSammler on 2019-12-31, 09:33. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 12 of 46, by PCBONEZ

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Unlike old HDDs, flash-based media can be easily replaced, easily backed-up (just pop them in a modern machine) and they aren't hard to find in working condition nor do they cost as much.
Also makes multi-boot easy. Just use a front mounted CF and swap drives.
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So THAT'S why I have tinnitus!
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Last edited by PCBONEZ on 2019-12-31, 15:36. Edited 1 time in total.

GRUMPY OLD FART - On Hiatus, sort'a
Mann-Made Global Warming. - We should be more concerned about the Intellectual Climate.
You can teach a man to fish and feed him for life, but if he can't handle sushi you must also teach him to cook.

Reply 13 of 46, by chinny22

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IDE drives are going to old in general and at such small capacity these are easily pushing 20 years. so would go with whatever is available. Ex Xbox HDD's will probably have had an easy life and relatively new.
This is my list of drives under 10GB going from that Seagate seems pretty good but that may simply be due to being the most common of OEM PC's of the era where most of the drives will have been pulled from.

Maxtor 71080AP (1GB)
Seagate ST32122A (2.1GB)
Maxtor 83201D6 (3.2GB)
Fujitsu MPA3035AT (3.2GB)
Samsung SV0432D (4.3GB)
Western Digital Caviar 26400 (6GB)
Samsung SV0644A (6GB)
Seagate Medalist 6531 (6GB)
Seagate Medalist 6531 (6GB)
Maxtor 90650U2 (6.5GB)

WD80EB-28CGH1 (8GB) Old Xbox drive

Reply 14 of 46, by Jo22

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Unknown_K wrote on 2019-12-31, 04:49:

I must be the only one alive who still uses real HDs.

Connor, Maxtor, and WD are what I use in the 1-10GB range, probably the same under that size and including Seagate if I am using SCSI. Also Micropolis for SCSI over 1GB (mostly in A/V systems).

Nah, I'm still keeping some old HDDs, too.
However, I rarely use them. Except for that slightly buggy MFM drive in my PC/XT clone, for example.
For some reasons, it sometime won't spin-up correctly (can't locate its own position).

In that rare case, I switch the PSU OFF-ON quickly when it's about to seek.
Most of the time, this brings the old fixed disk "back on track" (pun intended). 😀
Of course, that's not very elegant. PSUs don't like that.

Anyway, I'm very happy with CF cards and XTIDE Universal BIOS in my 286/386 PCs. 😀
A few Conner drives that I still have got are reserved for future use as "props" in PC cases.
Simply for the sake of authencity and as a memento of how a PC used to look inside.

Of course, they could/can also be put in service from time to time.
Maybe as a secondary data drive for MIDI and MOD files, etc.
Or anything else that does involve linear reads (less stressing to the HDD mechanics). 😀

Bottom line:
I like both CF cards and old Fixed Disks. It's just that CF cards are so much more versatile and easy to handle nowadays.
Also, they don't cause that high-pitched noise of modern HDDs (similiar to the sound of humming coils etc). 🙁
- Don't get me wrong, I used to love that thick-thick, brrrr-tt soundn i the 286-486 days.
In fact, i was so used to it that I could "hear" which part of program was loaded during boot-up (and afterwards sometimes, too). 😁
But unfortunately, over the years, I began getting more and more headache of it, if I was listening to it over a longer period of time.
That was the main reason why I switched to SSDs on my real PCs. If it wasn't for the sound, I would have had gotten myself a #
RAID setup with quick HDDs instead.

chinny22 wrote on 2019-12-31, 11:07:
IDE drives are going to old in general and at such small capacity these are easily pushing 20 years. so would go with whatever i […]
Show full quote

IDE drives are going to old in general and at such small capacity these are easily pushing 20 years. so would go with whatever is available. Ex Xbox HDD's will probably have had an easy life and relatively new.
This is my list of drives under 10GB going from that Seagate seems pretty good but that may simply be due to being the most common of OEM PC's of the era where most of the drives will have been pulled from.

[..]

WD80EB-28CGH1 (8GB) Old Xbox drive

I remember reading a posting (at Vogons ?) about old Xboxes and their HDDs.
Apparently, in some country (Brazil ?), the original Xboxes were sought after because of their HDDs (for use in XP rigs for daily use). 😀

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Reply 15 of 46, by clueless1

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I had a thing for Quantum Fireballs back in the day. I still remember buying a 1GB Fireball when it came out. It was widely reviewed as one of the fastest at the time. My DOS PC currently has a 6.4GB Fireball CR that runs beautifully and sounds better.

As for modern drives, if you've paid attention to Backblaze's Reliability blog over the years, you'd know that up until fairly recently, Seagate has had by far the least reliable mechanical drives for many years (many drive models having >10% failure rate) About a year or two ago they cleaned things up and seem to be in line with the rest of the manufacturers now (~2% failure rates). HGST models are almost always at 1% or less failures and over the years have been consistently the most reliable.

Last edited by clueless1 on 2019-12-31, 18:46. Edited 2 times in total.

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Reply 18 of 46, by Vincebus

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On my 486DX4-100 i use a 820 MB WD Caviar, the one with red label but i cant recall the model, IT'S VERY SLOW AND I LIKE IT before this one i used a modern-ish 10gb seagate which was kinda boring, i replaced it with the WD because it matched the era of the pc and also it has that old school clicky sound which everyone loves 😀

lo-fi fingers...

Reply 19 of 46, by gdjacobs

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I tend to stick with newer, higher capacity drives and software limit them. I've used IBM, Maxtor, Seagate, Samsung, and Hitachi drives this way. I have lots of spares in stock, so I'm not really worried about replacement.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder