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Hard Drive Recommendations

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  #1  
Old 11-13-2006, 05:08 PM
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T Paul T Paul is offline
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Hard Drive Recommendations

Well it has been a year and it looks like I am about to lose my hard drive for the second time. It does take an extremely long time for things to load so I guess that is my clue.

I ran the free PC Pitstop test and it flagged my C drive's extremely slow performance. It is a Maxtor Diamond Max 10, model 6B200M0 (200 GB) and I just put it in May/June 2005. I ran the Maxtor diagnostic test next and of course it said it was failing. I must admit I figured it would last longer than a year. I went through all the suggestions...the drive is defragged, eliminated unnecessary background programs and so on.

I also ran the HDDlife Pro and it says it's health status is ok (76%) and it's performance is excellent (76%)...so that's a bit different from the other tests.

For the final evaluation I ran HDTach which says the drive's read speed is a mere 3 MB (well below the bench marks). The external hard drive which I bought at the same time to back up my failing drive last year (Maxtor OneTouch II, 200 GB)...well it's read speed is 28.7 MB. Now I am not a computer tech so in reality this doesn't mean much to me, but I take it that it's slow and I need a faster drive.

So does anyone have some recommendations on hard drives so this doesn't have to be a yearly adventure for me?

My computer is a Dell PC, Intel Pentium 4

THANKS
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  #2  
Old 11-13-2006, 05:51 PM
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lurch lurch is offline
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Re: Hard Drive Recommendations

T -

Your hard drive might well still be in warranty. If so, Maxtor will likely replace it for you. If not, well, I've always been partial to Seagate.

Carole
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Old 11-13-2006, 06:00 PM
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Frank Lopes Frank Lopes is offline
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Re: Hard Drive Recommendations

Now Seagate owns Maxtor and they are carrying both product lines.
They are targeting the Seagate to "higher end" systems and Maxtor to "lower end" systems.

Between the 2, I agree with Carole: historically Seagate had better, more reliable products.

Access time (the lower the better), RPM (rotations per minute=the higher the better) and MTBF (mean time between failures=the higher the better) are the tech specs that you should look at.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lurch
T -

Your hard drive might well still be in warranty. If so, Maxtor will likely replace it for you. If not, well, I've always been partial to Seagate.

Carole
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  #4  
Old 11-13-2006, 06:27 PM
BobJones BobJones is offline
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Re: Hard Drive Recommendations

MTBF is a good indicator of reliability but not of service life. Service life is seldom posted but you can get a pretty good idea of what it is by the warrenty period. Most consumer grade drives are in the 1 to 3 year range on the warrenty, but some claim 5 year. Read the terms carefully, you might not be getting what you think you are getting.

Most Maxtor retail kits, according to the information on their website, have a warrenty of 1 year. But, the Diamond Max Sata drives may have a 3 year warrenty. You can get the warrenty terms for your specific drive from the Maxtor site (you will need the model and serial number from the drive label). If it's within the warrenty period they will replace it. My daughter did that a few years back and they sent her new drive with no hassles. But, that was before Seagate bought them. I don't know if there have been any changes.

Seagate and Maxtor are not among the speediest of drives. http://www.storagereview.com/comparison.html may be of interest. See their 250gb roundup as well: http://www.storagereview.com/articles/200601/250_1.html
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:47 PM
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Re: Hard Drive Recommendations

Thanks everyone! Unfortunately the Maxtor drive I bought only has a 1 year warranty (and it made it just over a year). I started researching and the Seagate drives seem to have a good reputation and at least a longer warranty (5 years on the ones I was looking at).
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Old 11-17-2006, 06:43 PM
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Hard Drive Second Wind

Okay, I've installed the new hard drive and (fingers crossed) all looks well. (I won't go into the troubles it took to get to this point). Interestingly, the old drive is still installed and reports much better performance-wise.

Can a hard drive get a second wind? All the information is still on it, but when I ran some tests it went from a previous burst speed of 3 MB to 135.5 MB (and I ran the test twice). Is this just a temporary thing...in the words of Monty Python is the drive exclaiming.."I'm not dead yet?"

The only thing that has changed is that the hard drive wizard did make me change the jumpers on the DVD Drive...could that have affected the old hard drive's performance?
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Old 12-11-2006, 05:48 AM
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Exclamation Re: Consider a Western Digital "Raptor"

This response is probably too late, but I'll leave it anyway. Maybe someone else can benefit from my experience.

I have lots of experience with different drives and manufacturers. Maxtor-stinks. Seagate is better. Western Digital can be far superior depending on the model. This is with respect to both real-world performance AND reliability/useful life they seem to go hand in hand. I have used WD "Baracuda" drives and seen some spotty performance and reliability issues. Some drives are been fine but some problematic. I have also used WD "Caviar" drives and been much happier all around. However, if performance is high on your list of priorities.......

I needed to get some performance inprovements when I started running Photoshop. Here's what I did and it really works well. WD sells a drive called the RAPTOR. It is the only consumer level drive (i.e. affordable) that is 10,000 RPM and actually matches or exceeds the performance of a SCSI drive without all of its hassels. It is pricey. It only comes in two sizes: 74GB and 150GB, both SATA II, so you can't afford to use these for "storage". THE OPTIMUM DISK CONFIGURATION FOR PERFORMANCE ON A WINDOWS SYSTEM IS: (1) Any disk, a WD RAPTOR if you can afford it, for the system C drive with all the windows software, Photoshop and other apps. (2) One WD RAPTOR for the Windows System Swap Space, do not put your system or application software on this disk. Create one small Volume (16MB) and use it only for swap space. Create a larger volume for data that is only rarely used - not photoshop files, maybe other stuff that doesn't need the performance. (3) WD RAPTOR drive for the primary Photoshop scratch space and nothing else. Now Windows and Photoshop do not have to compete for resources AND the scratch / swap space which is so critical is on the highest performance drives AND each is independent of each other. ADDED BENEFIT: if you do as I say and allocate the entire volume for Photoshop scratch, you will never have to defrag with the Windows swap volume OR the Photoshop scratch volume. (4) Other slower disks for storing your data files, especially Photoshop and JPEGS. I actually use another PC on my home network for storage and move the files that I am working on to my main machine as required. That machine has over 500GB of storage.

Since I made these modifications I have never had a performance issue with my entire system regardless of how big my storage needs grow AND I have never had to defrag my system swap volume of PS scratch volume. Hence, performance never varies because of (a) disk defragmentation and (b) the unavailability of larged scratch space. My machine went from being a dog on PS to being quite acceptable. It has allowed me to post-pone buying a new machine for over a year and probably another. Regardless: My next machine will be configured with was from day 1. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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  #8  
Old 12-11-2006, 05:52 AM
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Re: Reconfiguring your system

I realize that this may sound too complicated or scary for some of you who may not have a technical background. If anyone wants to do this and needs help please contact me and I will be glad to help you. If you can physically install a new disk in your chassis then between you and I we can easily do this.
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Old 12-11-2006, 07:54 AM
MajorSONAR MajorSONAR is offline
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Re: Hard Drive Recommendations

I realize this is too late as well, but would like to make a few comments for others that may be having hard drive problems:

1) If your drive is running slowly and doesn't seem to be having any other problems, reformat it and reinstall your programs. Make sure to backup all your important files. I recommend reformatting every 6 months to 1 year. I know it seems frequent (and a pain), but you will be very happy with the increase in speed. (Your computer will run like a new machine). If not, maybe the hard drive is the problem.

When reformatting your drive, assuming you don't use the "Quick format", the computer will check the physical structure of the disk for problems and block out unusable sectors (spots on the disk that have gone bad). I believe "checkdisk" will also do this as well.

2) I've always been a Western Digital fan, but now that Seagate has a 5 year warranty (and WD is 1 or 3 years), I'm switching my loyalty. I've had a number of drives fail over the years, so it seems to me the drives with the longest warranties may be the best. Although I agree with Blue Dog about the Raptor Drives being the fastest drives, they are still too expensive.

My recommendation is to backup all your important information on a regular basis. Remember to backup the "My Documents" folder, your "Outlook.pst" files and your "Favorites". An external backup hard drive is a fast easy way to ensure your files are protected. CD's are also a fast convenient way to protect your files.

Just remember it's fairly cheap and EASY to replace a hard drive... Your work is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT. You may not be able to replace all the hard work you do, so be sure and backup everything important to you. A long warranty on a hard drive will not protect your data.
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  #10  
Old 12-11-2006, 08:15 AM
Cassidy Cassidy is offline
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Re: Hard Drive Recommendations

Keep telling my clients, "if you cannot afford to lose it, then you cannot afford NOT to have it backed up", a hard drive is not "if it fails" but "when it fails"
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