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First post, by Miphee

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I'll elaborate.
I have a chance to buy cheap 500 GB WD5000AAKX drives. They were all used in servers and their condition is 100/100.
They are old though with 1200-1500 days runtime and only 30-60 start/stop cycles. These are $7 each.
The other drives come from home computers: 100/100 condition, 400-600 days runtime, 3-5000 start/stop cycles. These are $10-15.
Which one would you buy?
I'm only using them as backup. Copy the data and onto the shelf they go.
Also which one is better: WD5000AAKX or Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002? Both are 7200 rpm and 16 MB cache.
I'm planning to buy these because used large capacity drives are much cheaper than Blu-ray disks.

Reply 1 of 18, by cyclone3d

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Seagate drives have a bad habit of dying. Most of the large stack of dead drives I have are Seagate. Server 3.5, desktop 3.5 and laptop 2.5.

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Reply 2 of 18, by Errius

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That's a good question. Server drives have been driven hard but kept cool. Home computer drives have been lightly used but run continually hot. Which environment is harder on the drive?

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Reply 3 of 18, by Miphee

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I've heard a few bad things about Seagate drives too so that leaves WD.
3-5 years of non-stop use is quite a lot. The question is, what's worse: tons of start/stop cycles or years of uninterrupted spinning?

Reply 5 of 18, by Miphee

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That's a risk I have to take, I won't buy new drives that are going to sit on a shelf until they're needed. I know that would be ideal but not financially.
This way I can make 2 backups and it's still cheaper than a single new drive.

Reply 6 of 18, by darry

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Miphee wrote on 2021-06-13, 10:00:

That's a risk I have to take, I won't buy new drives that are going to sit on a shelf until they're needed. I know that would be ideal but not financially.
This way I can make 2 backups and it's still cheaper than a single new drive.

I would get some of both, especially if you are going to be using them in an online storage scenario. When they start failing, as all drives eventually do, you may end up needing more spares than you expect in a short period of time . My experience for that, is that, outliers excluded, given multiple drives of a same make/model with the same usage pattern and age, when one fails, others will usually not be far behind it .

Additionally, considering the fact that these drives are more likely to fail, having more than two copies of the data at all times would probably be prudent or, at the very least, I would consider running an online RAID1 or similar setup and having and offline non-RAID cold backup that gets updated on a schedule . I do that even with new drives .

Additionally, monitoring SMART variable variations closely, can give a hint as to potential upcoming failures . Of course, sudden unexpected failures do happen, but at least some issue can be predicted, to an extent .

That said, you may well have a setup that already takes this (and more) into account, but I thought it worth a mention, just in case .

On a side note, I currently have 2 Seagate ST4000DM000 units in a RAID1 setup that are going on 6 years or so of continuous online use and am wondering if I should replace them proactively at some point or just wait for a failure to replace both (I do have spares ready and an offline backup).

Reply 7 of 18, by Miphee

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darry wrote on 2021-06-13, 10:51:

Additionally, considering the fact that these drives are more likely to fail, having more than two copies of the data at all times would probably be prudent

That's what I'm planning. I'll make a backup that I'll keep in my house and another backup that I'll keep somewhere else. Luckily I don't have too much data so 500 GB will be enough. I just don't know which one is worse: non-stop usage for years or low usage and lot's of start/stop cycles.

Reply 8 of 18, by megatron-uk

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If only LTO-7 drives were affordable, I'd grab one of those and a handful of tapes in a heartbeat. But they're not 🙁

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Reply 9 of 18, by Miphee

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There is a cheap IBM Ultrium 3 available here but the 400 GB LTO-3 cassette costs 3x as much as the 500 GB WD. It's easier to update data on a hard drive.
But I get the point, reliability. These hard drives could fail any minute while a tape lasts at least 30 years. I'll still choose 3 used hard drives over a single cassette because it's extremely unlikely that all 3 will fail at the same time.

Reply 10 of 18, by BSA Starfire

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I've got some old enterprise drives that have more than 8 years uptime on them that are still just fine, Seagate 500GB constellations mostly, 2 in the machine I'm typing this on now in fact, I've personally found these to be very strong compared to consumer drives, yes they are somewhat loud in comparison but very dependable(and pretty fast for spinners). The other ones I like are Seagate Pipeline 500GB drives, they are slower but very quiet and also seem to just go on and on and on, they run cool also unlike the Constellations that need a bit of cooling. Pipelines are really common as I think they were used in Sky boxes and other DV devices. But the Constellations are about under Dell(Pffftf! 🤣) branding and seem exactly the same as as non OEM. I really like constellations! I also have a 500GB barracuda with 8.5 years uptime, it's fine but very slow compared to the connies.
Only drives I have fail in last 10 years have all been Western Digital, one black, one blue and one(dreadfully slow) green. I still have one blue that is just fine though and has cranked out 6 years uptime so far.

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Reply 11 of 18, by weedeewee

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on a side note, which is the best way to store hard drives?
horizontally or vertically, and if vertically, with the connector to the side or the connector to the top/bottom?

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Reply 12 of 18, by mrau

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Miphee wrote on 2021-06-13, 08:10:

I'm planning to buy these because used large capacity drives are much cheaper than Blu-ray disks.

including delivery?

all my WD have died and only one of them was helped by my stupidity; seagate are a bit slower but survive harsh conditions for longer imho (heat, mechanical instability)
for backup id take cheap flash to eliminate some of potential issues; the data volume seems low so that help this scenario

Reply 13 of 18, by darry

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Seagate, Westeen Digital, I have no favorites . Both have produced excellent models and unreliable ones . Early 3TB Seagate drives were an example of the latter . See https://www.backblaze.com/blog/3tb-hard-drive-failure/

For more recent stats, see
https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-hard … -stats-q1-2021/

EDIT: Western Digital trying to pass SMR drives as NAS worthy is another matter . Luckily, they seem to have eventually come clean about it . That being said, I do have a pair of 8TB SMR drives in RAID1 and, in the use case I have for them, they are fine (very light write load). If one of them fails, I can even choose to pop in a non SMR drive and have it rebuild quickly, if I want to .

Reply 14 of 18, by Miphee

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mrau wrote on 2021-06-13, 13:26:

including delivery?

Yes. If I buy 3 WD 500 GB drives the grand total is $29 incl. shipping.
If I buy 6x10 25 GB Maxell blu-ray disks the price is $49 incl. shipping. I never really liked optical media.

darry wrote on 2021-06-13, 13:55:

Seagate, Westeen Digital, I have no favorites .

I hate the WD Caviar Green drives with a passion. They are slow, the green feature can't be turned off and the reliability is bad. But I have good experiences with WD Blue drives. I also have Seagate Barracuda drives and never had a problem with them. The absolute worst was Samsung.

I guess I'll try my luck with the WD Blue drives.

Reply 15 of 18, by Horun

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I have some WD WD5000AAKX one from 2011 has 43800 hours and has no defects, the others have 1400 to 20000 hours and also have no defects. The Blue are good drives, almost as good as WD Blacks. Some older Seagates are also very good, have had great luck with the ST31000 series like 333AS and 528AS with over 35000 hours and still spec out very well but have also heard other had issues after about 28000 hours.

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Reply 16 of 18, by SPBHM

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I have a samsung HD103SJ which I ran as my OS drive from late 2009 until 2018, and it still runs as my second drive, it's clocking 88980 hours and 3899 power counts, with 0 smart errors... hard drives can last a very long time, I wouldn't be too worried on power on time alone at this point,
it still runs as my secondary drive for some games and files

Reply 17 of 18, by Miphee

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I bought 3 WD drives, it's way too cheap to pass up. The seller has more than 100 more available so it must have been a big upgrade at some server park.

Reply 18 of 18, by dionb

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Errius wrote on 2021-06-13, 09:02:

That's a good question. Server drives have been driven hard but kept cool. Home computer drives have been lightly used but run continually hot. Which environment is harder on the drive?

Actually, how long they've been driven is rarely the limiting factor (unless excessively hot), but the number of spin-ups, spin-downs is. That is one reason why server drives running 24/7 can appear more reliable than desktop drives spun up and down daily.