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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me start by saying this is simply a lesson learned. Way back when I was a sys admin some years ago, we purchased computers from many vendors. Every vendor had problems now and then but one thing remained consistent: Regardless of the PC Vendor, Western Digital Hard Drives had more problems.


When I built a media server about 8 months ago I revisited the question of whose HDs should I use. I had been using Quantum, Maxtor, and Seagate HDs in 24/7 operation (RAID 0/RAID 1) for some time without problems. I decided to reconsider WD since so much time had passed since I was a sys admin and I generally read positive things about WD these days.


Unfortunately, like clock work every HD (WD) I purchased for use in my media server (3ware - RAID 5 config) has died, all within 1 month of the others. Because they did not die at the exact same time I was able to save my data. And they were under warranty so I did not have to pay for new ones. But that is not enough for me to regain my confidence.


Has anyone else had similar experiences? Maybe next time I will buy the Maxtor MAXLINE drives that are advertised as being designed for 24/7 operation.


FYI, its a pretty solid set up with an antec truepower power supply, multiple fans, and space between the drives. Also, I have one other drive in the case (quantum) that is several years old and still runs like a charm.
 

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It sounds like your disks have adequate cooling so that would rule out the most common cause. The other possibility is that your RAID controller is incorrectly sensing disk failure. A RAID box that I took care of had on 3 seperate occasions sensed a failed disk but the disks were Seagate Barracudas and I used a number of those disks individually and none ever failed so I finally concluded it wasn't a problem with the disks but it was a problem with the RAID box. I've installed and have running continuously a number of the recent WD 7200rpm disks and they've been trouble-free.


Are you using a UPS?
 

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Hey logan, sorry to hear of your troubles. There is definitely something up with your setup to bring on such universal failure, that isn't luck-of-the-draw behavior at all.


First, I'd consider using an UPS for power conditioning if you aren't already. Next, I'd make darn sure the voltages of my power supply were adequate under load/stress, particularly during spin-up.


Also, I have a lot of hard drives including quite a few 120 gig Western Digital Special Edition units (1200JB). One thing that is very clear is that these units do run quite a bit hotter than the Seagate, Maxtor and IBM/Hitachi counterparts. Even with space between them, if you're not moving a lot of air directly across the drives, I come back to cooling as being my number one suspect.


HTH!
 

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I've got a WD special edition 80g drive that doesn't show up on start up from time to time. With a P4 2.8 and a Radeon 9800 pro also in the mix I wonder if my PS (Nexus 300w) is enough, but for now all is well.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Glimmer Man
I've got a WD special edition 80g drive that doesn't show up on start up from time to time. With a P4 2.8 and a Radeon 9800 pro also in the mix I wonder if my PS (Nexus 300w) is enough, but for now all is well.
Hey! I had the same problem. I posted here a few weeks back and w/o mentioning the brand, someone told me to pull the selector pin if it was a WD drive--and the only drive on that cable. I pulled the pin and it works perfect. I had it on master and had everything set up right... now the pin is in my mother board box in the closet and the PC boots normally. I would have to hit del, then F3 to get it to find the HD when I would boot up until I pulled that selector pin.


Daniel
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I do use a UPS and it is a 430W Antec True Power. I was wondering. Could it be something inherently wrong with the model HD. They are WD 1800BBs (180gb). I was thinking that maybe those were the first big drives on the block at the time and maybe there was something in the design. Especially since they spin at 7200rpm. Also, they are only 8 months old and when I send them back they are being replaced by WD2000BBs (200gb)
 

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Not too long ago I read someone was calling the WD 120GB drives the new "Deathstar". I went with WD this build because of the warranty. 3 and 5 years vs 1 yr for the Seagate. I'm not happy with drive performance, seems slow and benches slow.
 

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Funny thing is that I have a "deathstar" and its been really reliable for the past 3 years. Anyways What size is this WD drive? There is a drive failure problem if you have a hard drive over the 137gb barrier and you go into standby or hibernation mode. I had this happen to my WD200se. What are the symptoms of the failure, if its the one im talking about then windows will reboot over and over again before it reaches login. Good thing is that there is a patch to prevent this from happening.
 

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Never buy Western Digital again. I had 7 of their 40 gig drives one by one die on me in less than a year. I got them all from compusa. I also had 8 or so compaq computers at work die due to WD hard drive failures. I have 0 confidence in their product line now even if they may have been bad batches of drives.


Now I buy maxtor and hope I don't have bad luck.


My .02 cents.
 

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loganross -- don't know if you just typoed or not, but an Antec True Power is not a UPS, it is just a switching power supply. From your description, it sounds like your Antec may be out of spec, either pushed too hard or just broke from the factory. I've been running 4 WD 120GB drives off a 3ware 24x7 for about 16 months now without a problem. In fact, for the last 9 of those months, my intake fans have been reversed (by accident when I reassembled the case) and I've been too lazy to fix them. But I've been running on a UPS and with a PC Power&Cooling 400W silencer which has higher rated outputs (some significantly higher) than the Antec 430W.
 

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funny, maxtor drives is what I have had go bad on me. My 2 WD 120se's have been going non stop for just under a year.
 

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the funny thing about hard drive brands is for each one of them you'll find people who either swear by them or at them. I notice more people overall having complaints about Maxtor and Western Digital than I ever do over Seagate and IBM/Hitachi, especially in the demanding world of video production I work in. IBM/Hitachi seem to be universally regarded as the best ATA drives in these circles.


Still, I don't swear off using Western Digital hard drives at all. I get good performance out of them and they are priced well. I like the 3-year warranty where others only offer 1 year, yet WD's price about the same.


I do notice that they run hotter than others though so I always allow for this. For example, I do not use them in non-ventilated external firewire enclosures as in my testing they quickly overheated.


Back to addressing your problem: Check out your serial numbers and see if you can detect if they are all from the same/similar batch. It could simply be a bad batch. It could be that WD had a bad run or model. If so, this is the first I've heard of it though.


If you have anything like a Digital Doc or any other device that can display voltages on your 12V 5V 3.3V rails during actual use, you can see if things are dropping too low. It's possible your power supply is wimping out.


Antec TruePower is a good brand but even the best brands have failures. Just last week I had an Antec TruePower 480 go out on me and take it's motherboard with it! I'm currently running that machine on a generic 400W PS while I RMA the Antec. Oh, BTW it's got a WD 1200JB in that machine too. Works fine.


So, I guess my vote is for heat first, power second, defective manufacturing third as to why your drives failed.
 

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I bought 5 WD2000JB two month ago with 450W PSU, UPS, and Cremax MB810-AKF RAID cage. One died. Another had strange LBA from the beginning. So, I exchanged two already. However, I don't think it is only WD problem. I just think recent big sized drives are simply easy to die. Or, I'm just unlucky. ;)


However, I don't like WD's exchange policy. One drive in RAID array was broken, so I asked them to advanced RMA. They shipped the item 3 days later by ground... I needed to use degrate array 10 days. Therefore, I bought 5th unused WD2000JB to save my data. How about other companies? I would like to hear your recent experience. Because, two years ago, IBM was using Air for exchange, but they used ground few months ago.
 

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Well, over 3 years ago I bought 3 IBM 60GB drives and one WD 30GB.


All IBM drives were exchanged twice. Only one is barely alive. But WD 30Gb is alive and well and is hosting the machine where I am typing this.

Since that I bought 2 200GB Caviars w/8mb cache and one 40gb WD.

No problems whatsoever, despite that I am cruel to my hard drives. (Digital video+ reboots with power button when nothing else can be done).


Just my $0.02 experience.


Best.
 

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I have 8 WD 120s on a 3ware raid 5 setup. 1.5 years and no problems.
 

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The only HD failure I have ever had was also WD(80GB)...


Plus they were a real PITA about arranging the replacement and refused to deal with me locally.
 

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I had the same problem with a set of 4 WD 2000JB drives in RAID 1 and RAID 0 arrays (2 drives each). 3 failed one after another (all within a week)at about 10 months. It turned turned out to be a power supply problem. I had added a DVD writer and within a week the drives started failing. After tearing my hair out trying to recover my data and get new drives (under warranty) I disconnected my CD and DVD drives for testing and the WD drives started behaving correctly. I replaced the supply with an Antec 435 watt unit and all of the problems cleared up completely.


Double check your PS voltages under load, that may be the problem.
 

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A few months ago the 400BB in my wife's computer died. The power supply also died.


I think the power supply died first, then took the hard drive with it. After this the drive would not even work in any other system.


That's the only problem I've ever had with WD hard drives (have installed around 40-50 in the last 4 years, including all of my machines at home). Yes I think I'm very lucky. :D


edit: My father-in-law also builds and works on PCs, and he said that he's seen power supply failure take down hard drive several times as well.
 
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