The 5 Most Reliable Hard Drives According to Server Companies
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CPUs and graphics cards typically generate the most excitement among computer components. Nevertheless, a hard drive is an essential element of a computer. An excellent GPU and CPU won’t remain useful with an unreliable hard disk.

With solid-state drives (SSD), Samsung reigns supreme The Fastest SSDs You Can Buy in 2017 The Fastest SSDs You Can Buy in 2017 Solid State Drives, or SSDs, improve performance over mechanical hard drives (HDD). However, if you want the fastest SSD around, you need to know two things: the connector and protocol. Read More . But what about traditional platter drives? Learn about the most reliable hard drives according to server companies.

Should You Buy a Server-Class Hard Drive?

Not all hard drives are created for the same purposes. Broadly, consumer HDDs fall into two categories: desktop or server-grade. Server-ready hard drives are engineered for 24/7 workloads and (in theory) last longer under heavier usage. You should buy a server hard drive if you’re running a home-based or in-office server.

With devices such as the Netgear ReadyNAS, Data Robotics Drobo FS, or QNAP TS-419P+ Turbo, it’s simple for anyone to cobble together a home server.

Defining Reliability for Hard Drives

Often, the word “reliability” gets thrown around. But what does that mean exactly? Unlike SSDs, an HDD’s data integrity is almost as essential as mechanical reliability.

Server company Backblaze tested 10,000 hard drives for 2017. In its extensive testing, Backblaze found that enterprise drives carry a 1.61 percent failure rate on over 300,000 days. Consumer drives, on the other hand, feature a 1.60 percent failure rate on over 420,000 days.

Therefore both consumer and enterprise drives feature similar annualized failure rates for comparable drive days.

Failure Rate

ExtremeTech sorts data by annualized hard drive failure rate and compares that to drive size. A failure is defined as:

In a 2016 hard drive reliability report, Backblaze allowed that it can accept a fairly high failure rate before yanking drives. It’s not about the number of drive failures. Rather, annualized failure rate proves reliability.

For instance, a low number of drive failures over a low number of days can prove more volatile than a high number of drive failures over a significant lifespan. Backblaze found the HGST HDS5C3030ALA630 fail 148 times. Compare that with just seven for the Toshiba DT10ACA300. But the Toshiba was clocked 72,299 drive days compared with the HGST’s 6,583,679. Additionally, that spanned 40 Toshiba drives versus over 1,000 HGST models. As such, the HGST has a low 0.82 percent annualized failure rate, compared to the Toshiba’s 3.53 percent.

  • Look for: Low annualized failure rate

What’s in a Name?

Whereas certain spaces feature loads of choice, the hard drive space is pretty small. With the predominance of SSDs and general use hard disks, server-capable HDDs are limited mostly to a few well-known names. Not surprisingly, Seagate and Western Digital make the cut. Yet HGST and Toshiba appear as sleeper hits.

Despite this dominance, exceptions do occur. At one point, Backblaze yanked a set of unstable Seagate drives. But Seagate’s current drives, and notably their 8TB hard disks, are increasingly reliable.

  • Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, and HGST stand as the most reliable hard drive manufacturers as rated by server companies

5 Most Reliable Hard Drives

1. Western Digital Red

Most Reliable Hard Drives According to Server Companies - WD Red
Image Credit: Amazon

Hard drives from manufacturers are designated as consumer-facing and NAS-oriented. Western Digital’s Red line of NAS hard drives boasts incredible reliability.

The WD60EFRX clocked in a 4.6 percent annualized failure rate, with the WD40EFRX sliding in at 1.9 percent. The WE30EFRX achieved a 1.21 percent failure rate. In my home server, I’m using a Western Digital drive. Although it’s a consumer-grade hard drive, not the Red line, it’s been high performing, and I run my media server 24/7.

However, it’s limited to 5400 RPM. 7200 is ideal, though even a 7200 RPM drive presents minimal performance gains over a 5400 drive. Especially when compared to an SSD.

2. Toshiba MD04ABA400V

Best hard drives according to server companies - Toshiba MD04ABAV
Image Credit: Newegg

Although it’s not traditionally known as a hard drive company, or computer components manufacturer for that matter, Toshiba produces a solid line of hard drives.

Its MD04ABAV line is rated for 24/7 use. Specifically, these drives are created with video surveillance in mind. Moreover, Toshiba includes rotational vibration sensors. These ensure the MD04ABA500V remains functional even in a RAID array or multi-hard drive stack.

3. HGST HUH728080ALE600

HGST 8 TB drive - Most Reliable Hard Drives According to Server Companies
Image Credit: Amazon

The HGST HUH72808ALE600 is a speedy, high-capacity hard drive. This 7200 RPM drive delivered an annualized failure rate of 0.2 percent. Extreme reliability coupled with a quick read-write speed, for a spindle drive at least, makes this a solid choice.

Because of its 8TB capacity, HGST’s HUH728080ALE600 is a top choice in a server environment. Backblaze discovered modest 1.7 percent and 1.10 percent annualized failure ratings for these disks.

4. Seagate ST8000DM002

Seagate IronWolf - Most reliable hard drives according to server companies
Image Credit: Amazon

Leaving Seagate out of a discussion on the most reliable hard drives would be remiss. Enter the enterprise-level Seagate ST8000DM002. This 8TB 7200 RPM hard disk features 6GB/s SATA and 12GB/s SAS interfaces. It’s specifically designed for 24/7 workloads of about 550TB per year.

According to its research, Backblaze recorded a 1.2 percent annualized failure rate. You might also consider the ST8000NM0055. This Seagate offers a low annualized failure rate, 7200 RPM capacity, and 8TB of storage space.

5. Western Digital Black

Whereas the WD Red line is aimed at a NAS application, the WD Black line is geared toward high performance. It’s still reliable, but better suited to applications like video editing, gaming, and general use.

If you’re not running a server, or even if you’re using this in a basic home server, the WD Black line is reliable. However, for an always-on environment, opt for WD Red hard drives.

The Most Reliable Hard Drives Available

Ultimately, the hard drive you select depends on your needs. You’ll want a server hard drive for, well, a server. That includes both enterprise environments and homelabs. Just as with building a server The Best Parts to Build Your Own Server The Best Parts to Build Your Own Server Building a computer teaches you about hardware and software. Among the many other reasons to build a server, you get control and customization, and no surprises. It's also cheaper to build your own server. Read More , however, consumer-rated HDDs are still reliable. These may merely present a higher annualized failure rate if run on an always-on machine.

Generally, Western Digital and Seagate rank among the best hard drive manufacturers. But Toshiba and HGST offer superb disks as well. HGST particularly delivers drives with low failure rates. Additionally, many of the HDDs tested are high performing but low cost. Although companies often sell server hard drives at a high cost, low cost, high-reliability drives abound.

Keen to learn more about hard drives? Learn about data corruption What Is Data Corruption And How To Prevent It What Is Data Corruption And How To Prevent It Data corruption is more common than you might think, and it could happen to you when you least expect it. Heed these tips before it's too late! Read More and how to prevent it. Looking for an operating system for your server hard drive? Check out the best Linux operating systems 12 Best Linux Server Operating Systems and Who Should Use Them 12 Best Linux Server Operating Systems and Who Should Use Them Building a server? Linux is ideal, typically offering enhanced permissions, increased flexibility, and stability. But which one should you choose? Check out the 12 best Linux server operating systems and who should use them. Read More .

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  1. Najd
    February 23, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    In my experience Seagate is the worst one, and barracuda is the worst hdd in Seagate that even momentous last a lot longer than all barracuda that I already have. The best one in my experience is #1 Toshiba #2 Hitachi #3 HGST, while WD is not that good anymore in the last couple of years, even BlackWD failed before my Toshiba hdd. I will always go for Japanese brand but not American greedy shitty hdds. By the way, I have old Samsung hdds that last for 11 and 14 years.

  2. dragonmouth
    December 5, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    What is the basic difference between HDs designated for NAS use and the non-NAS drives?

  3. RDF
    December 1, 2017 at 5:30 am

    For surveillance, WD Purple is the one designed for this purpose.

  4. Bunny Jenkins
    November 30, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    My understanding is the only difference between WD Red, and Blue/Green is the software that comes with the Red Drives

  5. rusty
    November 30, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    I've run a standard 500 GB WD always on since 2007 on an HP box.

    In my experience the seagate doesn't make a year. After 3 replacements, I sold the forth refurbished as used and never looked back. WD all the way!

    For SSD Crucial is doing well!