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External HD Reliability


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I have two 500 gb external hard drives which store my music collection-both identical for backup purposes. One is connected to my notebook for music server use. It failed last week and had to be reformatted, losing all the files and requiring copying everything again. Another model failed last year and had to be replaced and re-loaded with 300+ gb of stuff. The question is, would copying what I want to play direct from the external HD to the notebook and using it as the source save wear and tear on the external drive, since it would not be spinning all the time I'm listening to music? Any suggestions will be appreciated.



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I have had as many as 5 external HDDs in my house in the last 6-7 years and have not had any failures. Most are on 24/7, and are used for constant backups, music service, streaming video, etc.


My question would be, what are the ones you are using? Prepackaged external drives can be of reasonable quality, but some are not. Western Digital, for instance, had a product run in the early "MyBook" drives with terrible failure rates. However, every bare drive I've have ever bought has been a WD, so it is not a reflection on all their products.


The prepackaged electronics store type drives like the mybook, however, are often built using the cheaper type drives, low cost chipsets, and designed to appeal to typical consumers, and turn a decent profit at that point.


Picking your own model drive from the more reliable enterprise class of drives and then a higher quality enclosure might give you better reliability, if you were not already doing that.


What kind of notebook are you using?


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Hard disks are built to tolerances that Apollo engineers could only dream of and are therefore more sensitive than most imagine.


They get hot, cold and external drives get shaken about - which will eventually have a similar effect to doing the same to an etch-a-sketch.


2.5" drives seem to be more reliable in such circumstances, but you still have a disk than rotates faster than most car engines will ever go and heads that have to quickly zip back and forth over the surface without touching the disk.


The long and the short, is that if you have an external disk, you're best to have it in an actively cooled housing and try not to move it.


Something like the QNAP TS-412 in a seperate room would be ideal, although it's not portable.


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