Is there anything worse than going to boot up your computer and realizing that your hard drive is dead? You can lose all your documents, photos, music, and more if your hard drive fails.
For that reason, many people want a very reliable hard drive. And who better to advise on hard drive reliability than a server company? Here we’ll recommend to you the most reliable hard drives, according to server companies.
How Hard Drive Reliability Is Measured
Before we get into the hard drive recommendations, you might be wondering how exactly we’re defining reliable. To find out which hard drives are least likely to fail, the best option is to look at a report which covers a large number of drives. And so we looked at the Backblaze Hard Drive Stats 2019.
Servers use vast numbers of hard drives, so server companies are really the experts when it comes to reliability. Backblaze currently employs a total of 108,660 hard drives for storage and has been collecting data on their reliability since 2015. That makes it one of the best sources of information when you’re looking for a reliable hard drive.
Now we can list the most reliable hard drives, according to the Backblaze report.
The most reliable hard drive is the Western Digital 12TB Ultrastar. This SATA hard drive comes in a range of capacities, starting at 1TB and going all the way up to 12TB. You’ll sometimes see this or similar models labeled as the HGST Ultrastar. But don’t worry, Western Digital owns HGST. So you can expect the same quality from HGST as you get from Western.
This model is aimed at the enterprise storage market with a focus on reliability over speed, hence why it is so popular with server companies. Inside the hard drive, the air is replaced with helium, which is lower density. That means the drive can run more efficiently with fewer issues, making it a top choice for people concerned with reliability.
A similarly reliable hard drive is the HGST MegaScale DC 4000.B, another enterprise drive from Western Digital/HGST. This 4TB SATA drive is designed to be efficient as well as reliable, using up to 45 percent less operating power compared to other 4TB enterprise hard drives.
This drive isn’t as fast as those aimed at regular consumers. But it makes up for that with features like Advanced Power Management, which should keep both temperatures and power usage low.
Seagate is a recognized and trusted hard drive brand, and their Exos 12TB Internal Hard Drive is a good choice for reliable storage. This one is an enterprise model too, coming in capacities from 1TB to 12TB. The SATA drive is hermetically sealed to prevent dust or other debris from getting inside the drive and causing problems.
The Exos is more responsive than other enterprise models, too, with speeds of up to 261MB/s. It can also handle a massive workload of up to 550 terabytes per year. For reference, that’s around 10 times as much work as is possible on a standard desktop hard drive. The Seagate Exos comes with Advanced Write Caching, resulting in a 20 percent boost in random write performance.
The Toshiba 14TB SATA 512e Enterprise HDD is a solid enterprise hard drive. It comes in a 14TB capacity, although there is a 12TB version as well if you don’t need quite so much space. This SATA drive has a helium-sealed inside using precision laser-welding technology. And it has a lower operational power profile, keeping power usage down.
It is rated for a total transfer of 550TB per year, which is surely enough for any home user. There’s also Advanced Format Sector Technology, which should prevent data loss if the power to your system gets cut off unexpectedly.
The Seagate BarraCuda Pro 8TB is the updated model of one of Backblaze’s most reliable drives. This SATA drive comes in sizes from 1TB to 14TB. And there’s an option to include data recovery in your purchase. If you’re looking to store your files safely, the data recovery option can give you peace of mind.
As it’s not exclusively an enterprise drive, you can expect excellent responsiveness as well as reliability, with a transfer rate of up to 250MB/s. The BarraCuda is a power-efficient model, using as little as 6.9W of power. The drive is rated for a workload of up to 300TB per year, so it should fit the needs of most users.
A more affordable alternative to the Seagate BarraCuda is the Seagate ST4000DM000. As it is designed for desktop use, it comes in smaller sizes. This particular drive comes in sizes from just 500GB up to 8TB. So, it’s a good choice for those looking for a smaller capacity SATA drive. It was one of the earliest 1TB-per-disk hard drives available and has had plenty of years on the market.
Models up to 6TB come with 128MB of cache, but the larger 8TB drive has 256MB, so it should have improved write speeds. Even though it’s a consumer product and not an enterprise one, this drive still offers solid reliability. If you’re looking for a reliable drive, but you don’t want to sacrifice consumer options like a two-year warranty and a larger cache, this model is an excellent choice.
The Most Reliable Hard Drive for Your System
The majority of the hard drives we’ve recommended here are enterprise models, meaning they’re intended for use in servers. They are incredibly reliable, but you might sacrifice some speed for that reliability. There are other options out there, too. Consumer-grade drives from companies like Seagate are also highly recommended.
To learn more about what to look for in a hard drive, see our guide to things you must know before buying a new hard drive.