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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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.

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