Dead Drive? – You’re not alone!

As I sit here getting ready to RMA my 3rd hard drive this year!!! – I began to wonder if I’m just snake bit, or if there isn’t something else going on. We purchased an HP ex485 Media Smart Server a little over a year ago. It came with a Seagate 750GB 7200rpm drive. That drive just gave up and died without warning at about 3 months old. Fortunately we also had a second drive in the Server and had folder replication turned on, which saved a copy of our data. Still, the operating system had to be reinstalled after the drive was replaced.

Knowing I needed to reinstall Windows Home Server OS, I purchased a new WD Caviar Black WD2001FASS 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA drive. Dual processors, 64Mb cache, 7200rpm, and a $300 price tag! We just replaced that last week. Once we got the new WD drive, we decided to use it as the primary drive in a new WHS custom build. It would run alongside two Seagate drives, both 1.5TB, one 7200rpm, the other a 5900rpm LP drive. It took a lot of configuration testing to get the WD drive to run at the proper speed. The drive has the ability to use the Clock Spectrum feature on the motherboard and until we enabled it in the BIOS, the drive ran at about 10% of its rated speed.

Ok – we get the primary drive up and running, transfer files from the 7200rpm Seagate Drive, roll it into the storage pool for WHS, and now it’s time to copy the files from the 5900rpm Seagate to the WHS file shares and we’ll be up and running as we should be. Click,…Click,…Click, hmmm, Houston, we have a problem. Yes indeed, drive number 3 is about to go belly up! Fortunately, we get all the files copied. Now it’s time to test with diagnostics, attempt repartition and reformat, and inevitably, just RMA the thing in hopes of getting a replacement that will last more than a year.

If you think our experience is unique, just go to Newegg and pull up the reviews on hard drives 1TB and larger and read the reviews. Users are reporting between 10% to almost 40% failure rates depending on the model. The 5900rpm Seagate LP drive shows a 37% DOA or quick failure in the reviews.

The only manufacturer I see getting consistently good reviews is Samsung. Their Spinpoint drives have been getting good reviews for years. I’ll be trying one of their 2TB Drives next. Buyer beware, quality control just isn’t what it used to be.

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Computer Limbo