OT --LONG POST HARD DRIVEs was Save the Mac Mini

Stephen Barncard stephenREVOLUTION at barncard.com
Fri Jul 13 13:38:15 EDT 2007

Ok I was thinking about getting one.. I signed #1028

Paul, I'll have to disagree here about hard drives. At least with the 
brand that I've stuck with over the years; MAXTOR drives really seem 
to last. As I use hard drives like audio and video tape (and at least 
two or three drives per project) I have gone through literally 
hundreds of hard drives over the last 7 years. I buy raw (internal) 
drives and plug them into a drive dock and use them like digital 
paper. They fit into VHS Tape cases for storage and fit nicely in 
storage systems designed for the tapes.

Before each project, I go to CompUSA and check out the latest 
price-performance combination. Back in 2003, we were lucky to get 
7200rpm 8mb cache drives for $120 US. And although rare, they would 
sometimes go bad. Keeping this same price, the next level of drives 
from Maxtor got a lot more reliable and much bigger; 7200/16/120gb 
drives started to appear. They seemed to survive a lot longer - 
although this seems counterintuitive - as more platters were added to 
increase storage size. Today Maxtor offers 320 gig drives with 16 mb 
cache for $109 US...the extra 20 is provided for that which gets 
eaten up in formatting. Yes I still buy them in pairs. Also I'm 
planning a redundant style RAID array soon with my old Cube as a main 

I attribute the longevity of these drives to good engineering, and a 
science that they carry out and improve over time. They seem to have 
conquered the dreaded power interruption problem to a great degree - 
emergency head-lifting technology has come a long way.

My failure rate is way low now. And I hit these drives hard with 
pushing multi-track audio and video delivery to limits. They get 
warm, but don't fail.

I live in San Francisco and can get anything here (Fry's), but I've 
been spending more time at my mom's house in Mobile Alabama, and it's 
a lot harder to get stuff you want there (although there is always 
mail order). It was also impossible to walk into any store and buy a 
copy of Tiger - but that's another rant). They did have some Mac 
software in a corner at Office Max, but no Tiger.

For some reason, it is hard to get MAXTOR raw drives in 
brick-and-mortar stores. They are not carried in OfficeMax, Staples, 
Target, Best Buy or Wall-Wart. These places carry the little USB2 
backup drives from Maxtor, but that's about it.

Instead, most offer WESTERN DIGITAL product. I would recommend that 
people avoid this brand. They have consistently made cheap and 
unreliable product, and are not on the leading edge. I would never 
trust my data to this brand. And their pricing is not competitive.

Seagate to me is an unknown. They don't seem to offer many bare 
drives to consumers, just packages for them and pallets for OEMs. I 
think these guys have been making drives since the 70's.

I think SONY and TEAC still make drives, but I don't see them in 
stores. Everything else is either China generic or re-branded.

sorry for the long-windedness/OT - just want to share the experience.

>Consumer Reports has, for the last three years, said Apple had the most
>repair-free hardware (especially the desktops) and the best tech 
>support - this
>based on reader surveys.
>Paul Looney
>PS I'm not sure MTBF HAS increased. Seems that HDs fail more frequently, RAM


stephen barncard
s a n  f r a n c i s c o
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