What’s the Most Reliable Hard Drive?

Your hard drive is the central location for all of the data that you currently have in your system, so suffice it to say that you would definitely be eager to find a way to buy one that is as reliable as possible. An unreliable hard drive might have a high failure rate, which means that there is a fairly strong likelihood that any and all data you had on the drive will end up being corrupted and therefore impossible for you to access or retrieve.

The folks over at Backblaze have drafted a report that might put things into perspective for you. Backblaze is a company that specializes in cloud storage as well as data backups, and they often test how reliable various consumer focused hard drives tend to be. Their 2021 report involved an analysis of well over 200,000 hard drives, so suffice it to say that it is one of the most comprehensive resources that you can take advantage of while you are on the lookout for the best hard drive that money can buy.

One of the more surprising things that have been revealed by this report is that slightly older hard drives are actually among the most reliable. For example, the Seagate ST6000DX000 which has a storage capacity of 6 terabytes had an average age of a little over 80 months, and its failure rate was impressively low at just 0.11%. That is around 10% of the average failure rate that the report noted within the industry, with this average failure rate being at approximately 1.01% overall.

Some might be concerned at this average failure rate since it represents a bit of a rise from 2020 where the failure rate had dropped to under 1%, coming up to just 0.93%. However, it should also be noted that this is still a lot better than what was standard in 2019 where the failure rate was a bit too high since it hovered at the 1.83% mark. This proves that the lower failure rate in 2020 was not a stroke of luck, and it instead revealed concentrated efforts within the industry to lower failure rates across the board.

Looking at this data might lead some to believe that older hard drives are more reliable than newer ones, but this actually isn’t the case at all. 40,460 of the just under 207,000 hard drives contained within this report are newer models, and their performance is pretty stellar on average. For example, the WUH721816ALE6L0 which is a 16TB drive offered by WDC had one of the lowest annualized failure rates of all at just 0.14% which is almost as good as the aforementioned model from Seagate.

Also, Seagate’s ownership of the drive with the lowest annualized failure rate should not be taken to mean that all of the company’s offerings are as good. The ST14000NM0138 didn’t perform all that well until the company implemented a firmware update. That means that brand loyalty is not a good strategy to use while selecting a hard drive, and you should instead look at the report so that you opt for the right one based on the lowest annualized failure rate as well as what your storage requirements are along with the budget that you can afford to spend on this purchase.
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