Old hard drives are more durable than new ones

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Secure Data Recovery examined 2,007 damaged or defective hard disk drives (HDDs) and concluded that old drives are more durable and resilient than new drives in general.

The firm, which has been in business since 2007 and has resolved over 100,000 cases, examined the HDDs it received in 2022, the majority of which ranged in size from 40GB to 10TB.

The company divided the HDDs it received into engineer-verified “power-on hours” and calculated the drives’ current pending sector count. There were 936 Western Digital drives in the sample, 559 Seagate drives, 211 Hitachi drives, 151 Toshiba drives, 123 Samsung drives, and 27 Maxtor drives.

Notably, according to Digital Storage Technology Newsletter data shared by Forbes, 74.5% of the HDDs came from either Western Digital or Seagate, which accounted for 80% of hard drive shipments in 2021.

The sample size’s average time before failure was 2 years and 10 months, and the 2,007 defective HDDs had an average of 1,548 bad sectors. Secure Data Recovery’s blog post suggested a link between when an HDD was manufactured and how long it lasted before failing, though it didn’t specify what it meant by “most.”

The company also blamed shingled magnetic recording (SMR) for compressing the platter’s tracks, causing each concentric band to overlap like shingles on a roof, allowing for more usable space.

The sources for this piece include an article in ArsTechnica.


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