What HDD should I consider buying?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
I am contemplating buying another HDD and I'd like the best bang for the buck. I have an iMac so I need either a pre packaged external HDD or an internal HDD and an enclosure. My current ext. HDD is an internal in an enclosure.

There is such a plethora of HDD's for sale for a wide spectrum of prices (falling rapidly). I am very confused as to what I need or should be buying.

1) How do you know which internal hard drive models are the highest quality? By brand? Models within a brand? What?

2) Is there a site that shows the difference?

3) What IS the difference between HDD's? Life? Performance? Speed? Cache? I mean: What should those differences mean to me?

4) Is there a way to tell what hard drive is in a pre packaged external model? Are internal models better than a pre packaged external (especially since you don't know which model of the brand is in that package)?

Sorry if these questions aren't clear. I really don't know how to ask the questions.


  • Reply 1 of 6
    To answer your reliability question, a few years ago, Google published a "names redacted to protect the guilty" study of the reliability of the millions of drives they've bought for their servers.

    The gist of that study was that all brands had equal reliability except for one very poor brand, which the internet's tech community decided (without confirmation) was Maxtor.

    I don't think it matters what brand you buy. They all have a roughly equal chance of failure.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    zimdingzimding Posts: 1member
    Google likes to cheat people.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    futurepastnowfuturepastnow Posts: 1,772member
    I was talking to sequitur, which you're clearly non.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    spotonspoton Posts: 645member
    My list?

    Hitachi is the best

    Fujitsu is near the same

    Western Digital is middle grade

    Seagate is near the bottom

    Maxtor is the worse

    Seagate bought Maxtor some time back.

    If your going to take the time or spend the money to open your machine or if you value your date, it's best to get the best drives.

    If you have a tower and/or can make plenty of backups then a lower grade of drive might do.

    Apple far as I know alternates between Western Digital and crappy Seagate drives, and I tried to get them to install a Hitachi drive in my MBP but they wouldn't. So I did it myself. Fsck em.

    Despite which drive you chose, always take the time to Disk Utility Erase w/ Zero option the new blank drive, it greatly improves reliability of the data by mapping off bad sectors a head of time.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    spotonspoton Posts: 645member
    5200 RPM drives in portables if you like longer battery life, 7200 RPM if you like more performance at the cost of less battery.

    10,000 RPM or higher drives for towers or servers only as they are more susceptible to shock and no performance realization too much in consumer desktops.

    I would avoid external hard drive units that have two or more drives in them packaged as one unit, either to increase storage or speed as this doubles (or more with more drives) the potential for hardware failure. Also the controller could fail handling the data between the drives. Avoid RAID 0 or other RAID's unless you completely understand them and their uses.

    You can check out Accellerate Your Mac or Barefeats for drive testings, speeds, performance etc.

    Performance only counts if the rest of your machine is fast as well. Like a Mac Pro. Other Mac's it makes little difference as Apple hobbles the processors to control heat or the hardware simply isn't fast enough to gain from the faster drives.

    Keeping your hard drive less than 50% filled is ideal for performance as it degrades the more it gets filled past that.

    A Mac really slows down if the drive is getting near full and might not even boot.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    spotonspoton Posts: 645member
    You can buy a external powered enclosure and then place any internal drive in that enclosure you want.

    Just make sure the external enclosure can handle the interfaces on your computer and the drives, Firewire 800, 400, USB 2 etc. These enclosures usually cost more than just the USB 2 models.
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