Hard disk reliability examined once more: HGST rules, Seagate is alarming

“A year ago we got some insight into hard disk reliability when cloud backup provider Backblaze published its findings for the tens of thousands of disks that it operated,” Peter Bright reports for Ars Technica. “Backblaze uses regular consumer-grade disks in its storage because of the cheaper cost and good-enough reliability, but it also discovered that some kinds of disks fared extremely poorly when used 24/7.”

“A year later the company has collected even more data and drawn out even more differences between the different disks it uses,” Bright reports. “For a second year, the standout reliability leader was HGST. Now a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Digital, HGST inherited the technology and designs from Hitachi (which itself bought IBM’s hard disk division). Across a range of models from 2 to 4 terabytes, the HGST models showed low failure rates… At the opposite end of the spectrum are Seagate disks.”

Much more in the full article here.


  1. When those hard drives fail don’t just throw them away. Taking apart a drive is really fun and the magnets are fantastic, I use them for finding the screws buried under sheetrock, a really great stud finder. Just make sure you don’t pinch your finger between two magnets or you will get a nice blister.

          1. …her pouty lips murmuring Hugo poetry in sultry French, her velvet annushka spinning about her ample hips, allowing only glimpses of her “secret world.”

            I can email you some of the photos if you’d like (for a small fee, of course, this IS America, after all.)

  2. I had to learn the hard way about Seagate. Not realizing that Seagate owned LaCIE, I purchased 3 Thunderbolt drives from LaCIE each with two Seagate drives in it. All 6 drives completely failed within weeks of purchase. I replaced the drives with Toshiba and have had no subsequent problems.

  3. First Seagate external drive started clicking after two weeks of service. Seagate sent a replacement, with the agreement I would send back the original after copying data. Replacement started clicking after about two weeks. Frustrated, I took one out of its enclosure and put it in a Macally external, bus-powered Firewire 800 enclosure. Worked like a charm. So I did the same to the replacement drive. Worked like a charm. So I reasoned the external power supply for their external drives was junk. Both drives failed several months later.
    Since then I’ve been really picky to ensure I don’t buy Seagate!

    1. Interesting. I had a drive that was doing the same thing. However I think it died just as I was trying to set up a drobo. The only thing that saved me was a Time machine backup.

  4. I’ve been using LaCie drives for 3-4 years and they perform well. They replaced G-Tech drives which frequently overheated and two of six failed. Using CrashPlan for remote backup as drive failures are unpredictable.

  5. Each drive maker has an overcomplicated array of models at all price points. If you buy the cheapest drive, no matter what the brand, then reliability will be questionable.

    Seagate does make server-grade drives with excellent performance. We have never had a problem with Seagate, but we have replaced dead Hitachi drives. I guess no manufacturer is perfect.

    1. Based on my experience, their “commercial grade” drives are no better.

      I work for a major storage company and we use Seagate drives in much of our equipment, unfortunately.

      Last year, our failure rate for one particular model had us replacing over 2000 hard drives PER MONTH in customers’ systems. We currently have six people on staff who essentially do nothing by handle dispatching drive replacements.

      That mess is nearly over, thankfully….just in time for *another* Seagate drive model to start failing at about the same rate, possibly worse.

      I’ll never own another one.

  6. I remember these companies:


    Some of my favorites have been Western Digital. My very first HDD was a Seagate ST-20 or something, I can’t recall, 20MB, MFM. I put one on an RLL card and squeezed out 30MB. I ran a BBS on that drive.

  7. Interesting how the maker of the higher quality drive IBM/Hitachi/Western Digital has not succeeded against the maker of shotes drives Seagate in the marketplace. Even Apple has shipped hardware with Seagate drives.

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