Print 68 comment(s) - last by tecknurd.. on Dec 21 at 2:40 AM

Some desktop and notebook barebones drives will have their warranties slashed from 5 years to 1 year.

Last week, Western Digital revealed that it was cutting the warranty on its Caviar Blue/Green and Scorpio Blue drives from three years to two years. Now, it looks like Seagate just couldn't stand by and let Western Digital have all fun when it comes to cutting hard drive warranties.
The Register is reporting that Seagate is upping the ante by slashing some warranties from five years down to one year. Here are some of the "highlights" of the warranty cuts:
  • Constellation 2 and ES.2 drives: 5 years reduced to 3 years
  • Barracuda and Barracuda Green drives: 5 years reduced to 1 year
  • Barracuda XT: 5 years reduced to 3 years
  • Momentus 2.5-inch (5400 and 7200rpm): 5 years reduced to 1 year
  • Momentus XT: 5 years reduced to 3 years
The new warranty policy will go into effect on December 31, 2011. According to The Register, Seagate made this move "to be more consistent with those commonly applied throughout the consumer electronics and technology industries."
By aligning to current industry standards Seagate can continue to focus its investments on technology innovation and unique product features that drive value for our customers rather than holding long-term reserves for warranty returns."
If manufacturers and consumers ever had any doubts before about embracing solid state drive (SSD) technology, maybe now is the time to start making the shift to rid us all of spinning media.

Sources: The Register, PC World

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Well that's that
By 3DoubleD on 12/18/2011 1:37:36 PM , Rating: 2
Considering that I've had to RMA every single WD green 1.5 TB and 2 TB drive I've ever owned, I would never risk buying another one without a warranty. This is coming from a guy who has 12 drives (1.5 TB to 2 TB capacity) purchased over the last 3 years. These drives are stored in a highly ventilated case and spun down when not in use.

Best to go with Seagate, even if the warranties are the same. Both my friend and I have collectively over two dozen drives and neither of us have RMA'd a Seagate. Yes there was the whole click of death thing with Seagate a while back, but it was over publicized for what it was. WD drives just fail after a year or two with little warning.

RE: Well that's that
By Mitch101 on 12/18/2011 2:12:01 PM , Rating: 3
Consider yourself lucky when you look at the failure rates among seagate and western digital drives over 1tb on NewEgg and from personal experience on both.

Ive moved to Samsung while they don't have top end performance I will certainly vouch for their reliability

2tb is a lot to lose.

RE: Well that's that
By 3DoubleD on 12/18/2011 4:28:09 PM , Rating: 2
I only have 1 Samsung 1.5 TB drive, but my experience has been the same. No problems, but slower performance all around. Not a huge deal for me though, as the max performance I expect from my server is ~50MB/s sequential read/write anyway.

Samsung had a really terrible 2 TB model last year though. It had awful gradual data corruption issues, which, in my opinion, is the worst kind of data loss. If the drive is going to die, I'd rather it be sudden, so I can just rebuild the disk and move on. Parity protection does nothing for slow data corruption (backup, backup, backup). I guess WD is certainly good when you look at it from this perspective, haha.

RE: Well that's that
By MadMan007 on 12/18/2011 8:16:28 PM , Rating: 2
Are you talking about the model that had an updated firmware released?

RE: Well that's that
By Mitch101 on 12/18/2011 9:13:13 PM , Rating: 2
Im thinking the same and if I recall that was related to only those with AMD 880 chipset. It didnt lose data but had a pausing issue. You could flash the bios and continue. You didnt have to move out your data from the drive but recommended to backup before any bios flash.

RE: Well that's that
By Azsen on 12/18/2011 9:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
Ah I had one one (Intel chipset) and it was definitely not related to just that AMD chipset. It also affected their external USB drive lineup with the same drive inside. Would click randomly and slow down for up to a minute at a time while it 'searched' for something or whatever the hell it was doing. RMAd that piece of junk and sold the replacement on auction.

RE: Well that's that
By Mitch101 on 12/18/2011 9:43:34 PM , Rating: 2
Wow Ive never heard a Samsung drive do the click of death. Seagate yes. Western Digital 750 green in a thermaltake dual external slot like the little drummer boy.

RE: Well that's that
By Mitch101 on 12/18/2011 9:47:04 PM , Rating: 2
Ill throw a bone to Seagate drives in IOMEGA enclosures and probably a lot more 2.5" externals the drive is fine but the controller in the IOMEGA external enclosures goes bad often. IOMEGA has short warranties pull the drive youve nothing to lose and youll find the drive is good.

RE: Well that's that
By Cypherdude1 on 12/19/2011 1:29:25 PM , Rating: 2
In March 2011, I bought a Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1 TB retail box. I purposely bought the retail box in perfect, unopened, condition at Fry's. Because I picked out the box and went through the trouble of buying it at the store, not an OEM HDD through UPS delivery from Amazon, I expected the HDD to last for its rated MTBF:

The newest Seagate HDD's supposedly have an MTBF of 1,000,000 hours. Their HDD started failing in November 2011. I discovered Windows 7 Pro automatically polls the drive's S.M.A.R.T. stats every few minutes:

Every few minutes Win7Pro would pop up a window warning me the drive was about to fail. I installed SpeedFan 4.45 and discovered, indeed, the drive was failing. The HDD's "Reallocated Sector Count" was increasing every 5 minutes and had already gone beyond its acceptable threshold.

I sent the HDD to Seagate with its SeaTools code and already have its replacement. They sent me a bare drive through UPS, not even a retail boxed HDD.

So let's calculate Seagate's true M.T.B.F.:
8 months x 30 days/month x 12 hours/day = 2,880 hours MTBF :)

BTW, because of the tropical storm in Thailand, where most HDD's are made today, most HDD's now cost twice as much as they did in March.

RE: Well that's that
By kraeper on 12/19/2011 3:34:07 PM , Rating: 2
Bummer about your drive experience, but you know that you can't apply MTBF to a single drive, right? The 'M' is for large sample sizes, which includes variation on both ends of the spectrum.

RE: Well that's that
By Fallen Kell on 12/18/2011 10:24:32 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure you are better off or not. Professionally, I have had horrible experiences with Samsung 1TB and plus drives. Grant it, these drives would be sent out "in the field" to remote labs, but they would be sent in secured specially designed hard drive containers (Pelican cases). I havn't had a single Samsung last 1 year (shipping approx 2-3 times). This is out of 160 Samsung drives that were purchased, all failed within a year. All replacements failed within a year of having the replacement, at which time we didn't bother replacing with a third drive. The Western Digitals and Seagates held up much better (still have 1 or 2 failures every couple months, but that is to be expected with 250+ hard drives.

RE: Well that's that
By jonmcc33 on 12/19/2011 10:00:56 AM , Rating: 2
Samsung sold their HDD division to Seagate.

I'm a Samsung owner as well but soon no more. It's just two monsters now: Western Digital and Seagate. Given Seagate's history of drive failures.

RE: Well that's that
By mcnabney on 12/19/2011 12:13:48 PM , Rating: 2
That was a (now legendary) firmware debacle. I have a dozen of those 1.5TB drives. Only one of those ever failed (replaced when SMART detected an issue) with no data loss. The replacement has been fine. Yes, I know that is anecdotal evidence based upon a very small sample size.

HOWEVER, cutting a warranty means the company isn't standing behind their product. If the quality was good they could use a long warranty as a marketing tool. All these announcments mean is that the INDUSTRY is colluding to screw their consumers. Not really any different than price-fixing.

RE: Well that's that
By Samus on 12/19/2011 1:07:17 PM , Rating: 2
Hint to people with early drive failures: stop buying from Newegg, they can't pack hard drives properly for the life of them.

RE: Well that's that
By EricMartello on 12/18/2011 3:31:13 PM , Rating: 4
These drives are stored in a highly ventilated case and spun down when not in use.

Well there's your problem. There is little benefit to "spinning down" your drives when they're idling unless that 0.5W of power they draw is breaking the bank for you.

Spinning up is one of the more "stressful" things your mechanical drive does, so spinning it down only to have it spin up when you try to access your porn collection, then spin down a minute later when you're done fapping is probably contributing to its poor reliability.

That, plus the WD Green drives were junk from the get-go.

RE: Well that's that
By 3DoubleD on 12/18/2011 4:19:47 PM , Rating: 2
HDD idle power draw is more in the area of 5W, so we are talking about a more substantial 50W+ in a large array setup. I couldn't care less about the power though, it's the extra heat under by desk and in my office that I wouldn't particularly enjoy.

There is certainly a good reason for having the drives never spin down, better access times when accessing files on powered down drives. However, I don't think my home file server spins the drives up enough that the power cycles reach anything unreasonable. I'll definitely check the power cycles on my drives though. I'll have to find an approximate number for how many power cycles are too many.

And yes, green drives are junk. But my entire file server strategy is built around using cheap "junk" drives for the best $/GB and greatest upgrade flexibility. Spend half as much on the HDD today and if it fails before warranty you can RMA. If it fails after the warranty, the money you saved on the original drive can easily buy a new drive with double the capacity. It might sound crazy, but if you use the right setup it works brilliantly with negligible risk to your data. My point was that my experience, WD drives are the worst of the worst. These short warranty periods will definitely make future upgrades even more precarious than usual.

RE: Well that's that
By amanojaku on 12/18/2011 4:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
My point was that my experience, WD drives are the worst of the worst.
I guess it depends on the drives you buy, because I've read bad things about the green line. I switched to WD when it made the first 80GB 8MB cache "Jumbo Buffer" drives. The stability was as good as the 2MB "Baby Buffer" drives, but the performance increase was noticeable. Around that time WD made the Raptor and the RAID Edition (RE) drives. I switched to the RE because it was the only WD supported in the NAS I wanted and had a five-year warranty, despite the huge cost differential. It was a good move: my RE drives have lasted a minimum of five years each, starting with my 250GB, 500GB and (as of next year) my 1TB, 10 drives total. Before then I was proactively switching all of my drives every two years, having been burned in year three.

For me, it's all about the longest warranty: those drives just seem to last the longest.

RE: Well that's that
By 3DoubleD on 12/18/2011 6:59:35 PM , Rating: 2
When I started my file server three years ago I had the same choice in front of me and I went with the cheap consumer drives. Spending half as much on a consumer drive and it failing after 3 years allows you to upgrade to a larger capacity drive (which would presumably last another 3 years under warranty) for the same total cost. Over the 5 years, compared with the RE drive, you have more storage for almost half that time. Now the consumer and RE drives won't die the minute their warranty runs out, but the point is still valid. The major draw back here is the hassle of dealing with RMA and drive failures as you will have ~twice as many.

I only considered doing this once I tried Unraid, which is a software based (at the OS level) parity protection system. You only waste one HDD of your largest capacity on parity protection. You can recover a single HDD failure by rebuilding the disk from parity calculations. Multiple failures only results in the loss of the data on those failed drives and not the entire array like many RAID solutions. Best of all, there is no need to match HDD models or to buy expensive raid cards. I buy HDDs that are the best value and add them to my array, which is pretty simple to do, up to 24 drives in the array. The best thing is that I can wait for an HDD to fail, if it's under warranty I RMA and if it isn't I buy the best value HDD and replace it. I'd call it the "poor man's" RAID, except that I find it is superior in many ways. As with any system though, there is a chance things can go very wrong in a way you don't anticipate, so I always backup irreplaceable files in another location.

RE: Well that's that
By Etsp on 12/18/2011 9:15:39 PM , Rating: 3
so I always backup irreplaceable files in another location.
Or three.

RE: Well that's that
By 3DoubleD on 12/19/2011 6:07:05 AM , Rating: 3
My thesis data is backed-up in a total of 5 separate locations ;) Overkill... maybe, but, the number of sleepless nights due to lost data... 0

RE: Well that's that
By Samus on 12/19/2011 1:22:55 PM , Rating: 2
I have a good mix of Seagate, WD, and even Hitachi drives among all my computers, relatives computers and workstations in the offices I work for.

Rarely, a drive completely fails. It will notify you with a SMART error, or BSOD on startup because a system file is missing/corrupt. Piggybacking the drive with a new system drive and copying the old data over has always been a success for me. Nobody has ever lost their data, and (knock on wood) we've never had to resort to backups that could be outdated by days, or even weeks.

I've seen what I'd consider an equal number of drives in my lifetime fail among all manufactures, with the EXCEPTION of the 75GXP which is obviously the most famous "non-recall" in storage history. Although I'm subliminally hesitant, I still use Hitachi storage products today with success.

Manufactures will tell you, and my vast 20+ year experience in technology reflects this, that 90% of hard disk failures occur due to improper transit or installation. How manu people have received a drive or two from newegg that had less than 2" of bubble wrap covering all corners? How many people have seen hard disks mounted in computers with improper ventilation (over cooling or under cooling, <30c or >50c are considered out of safe operating range) or one or two screws holding them in place causing micro-vibration or resonation, and even drives that are mounted too close to sensitive electronics that emite EMI or RFI noise?

These are all factors that account for greater than 90% of hard disk failures.

Hard disks are among the most precisely manufactures devices in the world. They are engineered exceptionally well using proven technology, and they leave the factory through excellent quality control. The defect rates among drives that exit the factory are in the thousandths.

Safe buying proceedures for consumers involve purchasing retail box drives, not OEM, because of the assurance they were packed properly and shipped in bulk. Sure, some jerk could have dropped the drives while putting them on a shelf, but in the end, your best bet is not to bitch about what manufacture you *think* is better but just to make sure you backup your files regularely and pay attention to SMART errors and drive stats using a utility like CrystalDisk Info or the like.

RE: Well that's that
By Etsp on 12/19/2011 3:45:52 PM , Rating: 3
House fires happen. Drives do fail regardless of how they're treated. If 90% of drive failures were the result of the things you described, manufacturers would be warning customers about them loudly, and would exempt these causes from their warranty programs.

I honestly don't mind the change in warranty that WD is making. The reason they're doing it makes sense, and this helps differentiate their WD Black line which was marketed for reliability in the first place, since they're not shortening the warranty period on those.

RE: Well that's that
By EricMartello on 12/19/2011 4:10:24 AM , Rating: 2
I've had good luck with most of my hard drives but WD has been my go-to choice - but I almost always go with the black series or RE series for servers.

The way the WD Green drives work is by modulating the spindle speed based on the drives load which is likely why so many of them had reliability problems. Seagate had a pretty bad run with their 7200.7 series or drives, at least from my experience...but that was years ago.

I have used consumer grade WD drives in budget servers that run 24/7 and have been doing so for nearly a decade. Mechanical drives usually fail within the first 60 days of normal operation. If you make it past that point, your drive should remain solid through it's MTBF and possibly beyond.

The only drive I've had fail on me after being used for 60 days was an early samsung spinpoint...and I've had several of the IBM Deathstars which never bombed out.

RE: Well that's that
By NovoRei on 12/18/2011 5:36:05 PM , Rating: 2
I have read RMA histories around web from every brand but never could relate to anything specific(noise, temperature, ripple, transport/region).

I know HD are very sensitive to noise, even acoustic, so I put soft rubber strips beneath them, and they have ventilation. They are holding since 2008. Caviar green series.

RE: Well that's that
By Solandri on 12/18/2011 11:40:29 PM , Rating: 2
I know HD are very sensitive to noise, even acoustic

RE: Well that's that
By augiem on 12/18/2011 5:51:44 PM , Rating: 3
Plenty of seagate problems here too. I feel like the reliability of HD's is just plain horrible compared to 5 years ago across the board and looking at customer reviews across newegg and amazon pretty much backs up that sentiment. I've never seen as bad a marketplace for HD's as now with so many average 3 star reviews. Motherboards as well. The latest system I built suffered 3(!) motherboard failures (1 Gigabyte, 2 ASRock) and 1.5 HD failures (1 Seagate, and one possible impending Hitachi failure) within 3 months of building. I mean this is just ludicrous! I don't care if you have to raise the prices 2x, just give me something of quality that at least has a 90% chance of working!

RE: Well that's that
By 3DoubleD on 12/18/2011 6:39:39 PM , Rating: 3
I agree, reliability is just dropping. The standard for electronics was always that it must last at least 10 years. However, these days we upgrade and replace electronics so often (probably 2-3 times in 10 years), I feel that the quality standard for consumer electronics is slowly slipping.

RE: Well that's that
By BloodSquirrel on 12/19/2011 9:06:21 AM , Rating: 2
3 of the 4 Seagate drives I've owned have gone bad in since buying them at the end of 2010. Two of them were in raid, and the second one died before I backup the data on it.

RE: Well that's that
By Chadder007 on 12/19/2011 11:06:28 AM , Rating: 3
Goodbye Seagate and WD. On to SSD's I will go....and they certainly won't be your brands.

RE: Well that's that
By Sivar on 12/19/2011 11:17:36 AM , Rating: 2
Every time a hard drive article comes up, a ton of people which need to learn more about statistics declare that company XYZ makes unreliable drives (because they personally saw failures) and they switched to company ABC and haven't had a problem since.

I have access to actual numbers and can tell you that the first year failure rate between the "best" and "worst" company's drives differs by less than 1%. Usually, high failure rates are correlated more with a series of drives from some company, not that company's entire line of hard drives. Maxtor, for example, had a certain run of hard drives that had a higher than usual failure rate, a problem which played a part in them eventually selling the company.

Do you want to know the secret? The one factor which by far has the greatest effect on statistical hard drive failure?
It is...



I know. Kind of boring.

The more sorting centers your drive moves through, the more likely the drive is to fail. Specific sorting centers from a certain 3-letter carrier are particularly notorious (think: 8-foot drops onto a conveyor belt), though many such problems have been addressed.

To reduce change of hard drive failure:
- Buy from a company with a nearby distribution center (we have to assume shipping to the vendor is problem-free because we can't change it).
- Overnight/2-day deliveries reduce shipping center stops
- If a vendor doesn't pad the hell out of the shipping box, don't buy from that vendor again
- If you order many drives (4 or more), they typically arrive in specially designed hard drive shipping boxes which are designed to handle oops's in the shipping process.

RE: Well that's that
By kmmatney on 12/19/2011 2:31:36 PM , Rating: 2
I've had good luck with 2 TB WD Green drives in my WHS 1.0 server box, but I only dare use them because of the duplication protection. I always recommend the Blue or Black drives to friends, though (or Seagte equivalent), and using RAID if possible. That's one bad thing about the high prices - much more expensive to do RAID 1.

RE: Well that's that
By cyberguyz on 12/19/2011 4:35:20 PM , Rating: 3
Y'know, if they are that horrible, why did you keep buying them?

I have been running half a dozen of the WD green 1.0 and 2.0 TB drives for a couple years now. Not a single problem with any of then so far. I have even so fatr put a pair of 3tb drives in my NAS in Raid 0 (I have an automated backup runs twice a week). It has ALL my household data on it.

Been solid as a rock for about 2 years now. On top of these my main system has a pair of 1TB WD blacks running as well for the past 3 years.

Perhaps you have some input power conditioning issues? Dirty power will kill drives pretty darn fast.

RE: Well that's that
By tecknurd on 12/21/2011 2:10:03 AM , Rating: 2
Considering that I've had to RMA every single WD green 1.5 TB and 2 TB drive I've ever owned, I would never risk buying another one without a warranty. This is coming from a guy who has 12 drives (1.5 TB to 2 TB capacity) purchased over the last 3 years. These drives are stored in a highly ventilated case and spun down when not in use.

Best to go with Seagate, even if the warranties are the same. Both my friend and I have collectively over two dozen drives and neither of us have RMA'd a Seagate. Yes there was the whole click of death thing with Seagate a while back, but it was over publicized for what it was. WD drives just fail after a year or two with little warning.

Powering the hard drive down when not in use is not smart. It is best to keep hard drives powered on at all times. Hard drives fail to work when they are powered down and then up or has the most wear and tear. Does brakes for the car wear out faster when doing city driving (stop and go) or on the high way? City driving is worst for brakes, so is powering down and up the hard drive.

I would not go to Seagate because of their 1 terabyte hard drives and up have history of problems. Also Seagate hard drives have issues when the power supply is aging or does not provide good power. I have Seagate hard drives, so I know their issues.

Recommending Seagate because Western Digital hard drives fails in a year is just stating you do not understand your problem. Over +20 years of using Western Digital for my computers I can say they are reliable. Moving to another brand is not going to fix your problem.

BTW, the article did not say that the hard drive manufactures will be removing the warranty completely. They will have at least a one year warranty.

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