Originally Posted by Zon2020
If you want to talk about lousy packaging, look how a box of bulk drives is packaged when it arrives at that local store. It's basically a cardboard box with cardboard dividers between a few dozen drives with no padding whatsoever.
I'm not sure what you are talking about. Are you talking about retail-box HDDs? Or OEM packaged HDDs?
For retail box HDDs, I've seen nothing but good packaging -- the HDD is tightly wrapped in an anti-static bag, then cardboard or plastic endcaps slip onto the ends of the bagged HDD and that is inserted in the retail box, completely suspending the drive by the flexible endcaps, which act as shock absorbers. I've never seen how those get shipped to Fry's or Microcenter, but I imagine they just put a lot of retail boxes in a large box.
For OEM packaged HDDs, I believe all the manufacturers use the same method. They take a rectangular box that is around 2 feet long and 1.5 feet or so in the other dimensions. They put a styrofoam form that fits tightly into the box, and has 20 slots in it for HDDs. The HDDs are in anti-static bags and one HDD is inserted into each slot in the styrofoam. There is a piece of styrofoam that goes on top of the lower piece as a lid, fitting tightly into the box. I have seen this type of box from WD and Seagate.
The problem with the OEM packaging is that once newegg (or whoever) receives the box of 20 HDDs, they take them out of the foam and then somewhat randomly pack them when they ship them to the end user. The best that I have seen is for them to take something like the retail box I described above (but plain brown) with endcaps when they ship the HDD. But all too often I have seen them just wrap the HDD in a layer of bubble wrap that has very large bubbles (say, about 3/4"). The problem is that the corners of the HDD can sometimes stick out in the areas between the large bubbles. If such a corner comes in contact with the shipping box, and the shipping box receives a shock at that point, then it can be just as bad as if the HDD were not wrapped in anything and was just in a cardboard box (like amazon ships books).
That is why I always prefer to buy the retail-boxed HDDs, even when I am buying from newegg or amazon.