How can I maintain HDD to increase its lifespan?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by rOadToIS, Jan 21, 2009.

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  1. rOadToIS

    rOadToIS Registered Member

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    How can I maintain HDD to increase its lifespan and to prevent unexpected failure?
     
  2. AKAJohnDoe

    AKAJohnDoe Registered Member

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    Expect failure and backup frequently
     
  3. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    Put a fan on it. On my mediapc which runs 24/7 with 4 hard drives on it, each hard drive has it's on fan blowing on it.

    I've had that computer running 24/7 for 3 years recording TV all the time, I've only lost one hard drive a 40gb boot drive (that was already 3 years old and had no fan). Since I've been putting fans on all my hard drives, I haven't lost any drives from failure..

    I'm not sure if the fans have anything to do with my hard drives lasting a longtime but it's something that seems to work for me. Everytime I build a computer, I always make sure I have enough space between hard drives so the fans can do there work. Don't put one drive on top of the other.

    I think 45 celcius is the "sweetspot" for a hard drive, but anything lower than that is even better. Without a fan my hard drives can reach 50-55 celcius real fast.

    Even on my externals I put a room fan blowing on them when I use them for an extended period.
     
  4. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    Purchase higher quality models with longer warranties and higher MTBF ratings.

    All the brands out there sell generally 3x classes of hard drives..
    *Budget lower quality models with 1 year warranty, and usually MTBF below 500,000
    *Mid-range models, 3 year warranty, MTBF above 600,000
    *Enterprise Class...5 year warranty, MTBF of 1,000,000 to 1,200,000

    And yes..keep it cool. Most chassis these days will have air intake vents in front of the chassis, so that the exhaust fans of the chassis pull air in through that...thus across the hard drives...on the path towards the exhaust.

    I have an older Antec 1020 server case with a large hard drive bay..that has fans in front of the drive cage. My current gaming rig is an Antec Sonata.one large exhaust fan, the air intake vent is right in front of the hard drive cage..so it always has cool air incoming that goes right across the drive.

    As stated above, I also try to avoid "stacking" drives right next to each other...if you need multiple drives in a computer case..try to skip a mount between each drive, so you have that roughly 1" of space between drives.

    And in the years of working in IT, I've noticed a relationship between failed drives...and when I open the case..the case and often the drive is covered with a layer of dust bunny blankets. Preventing air from properly cooling the drive. I have also noticed that drives mounted directly on top of each other will have a higher rate of failure..they can't keep cool as easily.
     
  5. TechOutsider

    TechOutsider Registered Member

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    My Maxtor Fireball was amazingly reliable; lasted over 5 years in a poorly ventaliated chassis with a P4. And it scored a 5.3 on Vista. And it's only 40gb and 5400rpm.

    My other hard drive in my 10 year old Dell XPS still works, on 98, 2k, or even XP.

    Is there a way to find how many hours your drive has been used?
     
  6. GlobalForce

    GlobalForce Regular Poster

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    Gee, thanks for taking the time to post people, your replies have really been helpful.

    As a matter of fact, beyond a sole instance you haven't bothered to thank anyone, anywhere, your entire first page of thread starts. What gives, you above a response? They don't practice manners where you're from, reciprocation a somehow obscure concept? ~shakes head .... Terrible!

    S
     
  7. Dark Shadow

    Dark Shadow Registered Member

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    10 X Global
     
  8. pugmug

    pugmug Registered Member

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    Agree 100% with your post.You do realize that dealing with children and the way parents raise them these day's, manners are a thing of the past.
     
  9. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    Hi jonyjoe81 - are you living somewhere hot ? I have a number of machines and none ever get that hot. Right now I'm reading 24 c and 24 c for C: and D: with ambient temp of 63.1 F or 17.3 c Each machine has a 120 mm fan at the front and another to extract. Each drive sits in a Zalman cooler
    http://tinyurl.com/by2nkv
     
  10. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

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    less powerups. keep your pc on for longer. turning hard drive on and off alot wears it more. not pratical but still.
     
  11. AKAJohnDoe

    AKAJohnDoe Registered Member

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    Folks, it is a generic tool. A hammer or screwdriver. Replace it when it wears out. The data is what needs maintenance, ala backups.
     
  12. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    Look at 'Power-On Hours' S.M.A.R.T. attribute. Any program that can read S.M.A.R.T. data should be able to do this. HD Tune (free) can handle this.
     
  13. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    I think constant temperature is more important than the actual value itself, except the very low-end and high-end ones. But if your drives pur at anywhere between 25-50 degrees C or so, constantly, they're in a steady state, which is good for electronic parts.

    The annual fluctuation in drive temperatures I have between seasons, from winter to summer, is no more than 5 degress C and they're never turned off except very rare cases, so I think this makes them feel 'good' :)

    Mrk
     
  14. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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    Yep, this seems to be my experience also, whenever I run my drives 24/7 and rarely shut them down, I get very good life out of them, 5-7 years usually. I think they're happier always running at a constant temp and so on also.
     
  15. Arup

    Arup Guest

    Good clean power supply via a UPS or a reputed surge strip as well as good quality PSU and keep the temps down. I got ancient IBM IDE and SCSI, both around 9 years old still running till today.
     
  16. FastGame

    FastGame Registered Member

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    Really ?

    Keep your drive cool and turn the PC off when not in use, thats the secret ;)

    MTBF rating = the longer it runs the sooner you get there.....
     
  17. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    You'll see 2 opposing schools of thought on this subject, both of which are partly true. Running a PC 24/7 does help to increase the longevity of its components, both mechanical and electronic. With internal combustion engines, most of the wear takes place during startup. The same holds true with hard drives. Hard drives that run continously will last for more operational hours than one that's operated intermittently. Whether that translates into a longer lifespan in years depends on too many factors.

    My PCs run 24/7. I've had 2 hard drives fail in the last 6 years. Both were obtained used. Both were nearly 10 years old. This PC (HP Pavilion 4463) will be 10 years old this year. Except for occasional cleaning, it's run 24/7 for the last 5 years. It's worn out 2 floppy drives and a CD burner. The original 5GB hard drive is still going strong, as is all the rest of the original hardware. I also have a Gateway P5-133 that's been converted to a hardware firewall, Smoothwall 2.0. It's run 24/7 for the last 3 years. Still has the original hard drive.
     
  18. FastGame

    FastGame Registered Member

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    Your "internal combustion engines" vs electric motor analogy is rather weak....internal combustion engines wear during startup is due to the lack of lubrication, something the electric motor doesn't suffer.

    The HD makers list Cycle times (startup/shutdown) for the various drives, in all likelihood the PC case switch would wear out from the on/off before the HD would.

    Heat is the #1 danger to electronics, the longer its exposed to heat the greater the risk for failure.

    BTW, if anyone wants to use the Server analogy :D we could discuss the operational differences between Servers and Desktops. :)
     
  19. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    Lubrication is a factor in electric motors as well, though not to the same degree. As long as the motor is running, lubricant is evenly distributed. Temperature and lubrication are interacting. Lubricant is more effective at operational temperatures than at room temperature.

    Regarding heat, as long as the temperature remains within limits, heat isn't a major factor. It's only when it becomes excessive that actual temperature comes into play. Continous operation has an advantage here in that there's less temperature variance. Operational temperature is significantly higher than room temperature. Clearances change as temperatures vary as does the effectiveness of the lubrication. In 24/7 operation, temperatures, clearances, etc reach an equilibrium and remain nearly constant. These are the normal conditions the drives are designed to operate at. More wear takes place when conditions are not at these design parameters, like those found during startup when bearing sufaces are cooler and a bit tighter, lubricant is stiller, resulting in a bit more friction and localized heat. Temperature variation, and all the changes that happen because of it are a factor almost as much as absolute temperature, provided that the absolute temp doesn't exceed operational limits. There's also the factor of thermal shock to electronic components during power up. Electronics, including those in the hard drives, fail more often during power up than at any other time.
     
  20. FastGame

    FastGame Registered Member

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    The bold print needs to be fixed, Heat= expansion and Cold= contraction, there's no way bearing/spindle fit is "a bit tighter" during startup.

    As for the points you make there's not much argument from me, I don't believe in perpetual motion....I do understand the HD's operational design specifications.

    Now

    Why do the 24/7 people want to ignore one of the HD's (known, tested, minimal) operational design specification ? Start/Stop Cycles

    Example
    Does Start/Stop Cycles take into account all the things noone_particular speaks of ? yes it does.

    One thing I forgot to mention in my recommendation for longer HD life, use Linux. For the 24/7 people, Linux has far less HD activity during operation than Windows.

    A new can of worms :p
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2009
  21. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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    In the end, I think most of this is just talk, and all we can do is speak from actual experience. I run mine 24/7 and they have all lasted 5-7 years doing that. On the other hand, I just bought a new PC and the HD crapped after 2 months and died. So **** happens. But.... my experience tells me that running 24/7 works out well.
     
  22. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    Google’s Disk Failure Experience

    Google Study Examines Effects on PC Hard Drives

     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2009
  23. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    That doesn't surprise me at all. By the same token, 9X systems have a lot less hard drive activity than their NT counterparts. That probably contributes to the 9 year plus average lifespan the drives I'm using have had. Actually, we've most likely got this backwards. Hard drives have normally long long lifespans when used with good operating systems. It's the NT systems that make them die prematurely. :p
    Yes, I did word that backwards. Suffice it to say that the clearance does change as temperature changes. A slightly loose fit can also wear faster than a good fit. I'd bet that the looser fit also changes clearances at the disk, which would have effects of its own.

    I've never seen the problem with running a PC 24/7. I have the monitor set to power down after 10 minutes of idle time but the PC is always ready. The PCs here get used at any odd time of the day or night, often for short time periods. Powering them down and restarting every time would result in a lot of restarts each day. A lot is made of the heat they give off, regarding it as waste. The heat is only wasted during the summer. The rest of the year, it's another minor source of heat. In this climate, that heat is welcome 2/3 of the time. It's energy the furnace didn't have to use.
     
  24. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    The Google study addresses too. From the first link in my previous post:
     
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