3.5" or 2.5" HD more reliable?


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pangolin88

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May 4, 2009
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#1
Ignoring the price and size difference, does anybody know whether the normal 3.5" HD or the 2.5" notebook HD is more reliable.


So far I have been storing my photos on internal as well as external 3.5" HD and they usually give problems after some time. WD, Maxtor, Seagate -- the brand does not matter.. they will all ultimately fail.

I have to buy a new HD soon and am thinking of getting a 2.5" one but I do not know whether they are better than the bigger ones or not.
 

alfredlau

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May 8, 2007
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#2
If you are talking about reliability and want to get the most reliable HDD out there in the market now, get a solid state drive.

A good SSD will outlast HDD by many, many times, and allow much faster access speed too. But get ready to pay the price; SSDs are not cheap.

But if you are just comparing just the 2.5" and 3.5" HDD, there's no real difference between the two, in terms of reliability and lifespan, as far as I know.
 

Octarine

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Jan 3, 2008
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#3
There are MTBF numbers as first guideline. Secondly, if you are concerned about reliability then don't buy consumer products. They are not designed to last long but to be easily replaced once the next model / version hits the shelf. Next, create redundancy to overcome the outage of a single disk. There are plenty of offerings for simple NAS with RAID1. Makes more sense than the question which disks would fail earlier. If you get a lemon all statistics will not help - but a backup or mirror will save you :)
 

spheredome

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Jul 5, 2007
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#4
Dear computer users. All harddisk will fail regardless good of bad, thus redundancy like mirroring is your alternative solution. Or get symantec ghost for image backup.
 

An drew

Senior Member
May 27, 2005
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#5
I think a 2.5 is more reliable as all my 2.5s are still working while I had problems with 3.5 before.

My IT guy gave me a tip that you should not buy the newest and largest capacity HD and the technology is not stable. Buy something that has been around sometime.

NAS with RAID is probably best. But I would still go with 3.5 for the capacity.
 

pokiemon

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Mar 5, 2005
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#6
i think a 3.5" is more reliable than 2.5".

a 2.5" is more portable and you tend to carry it around more and in the process trash it up more. 3.5" on the otherhand is like an ugly girlfriend you just want to leave at home.
 

An drew

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May 27, 2005
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#7
i think a 3.5" is more reliable than 2.5".

a 2.5" is more portable and you tend to carry it around more and in the process trash it up more. 3.5" on the otherhand is like an ugly girlfriend you just want to leave at home.
So I would think they would design a 2.5 to be more robust as they are more mobile.

haha, ugly girlfriend, what an analogy. :)
 

xMetalx

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Sep 5, 2009
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#8
Bro it's best to upload a back up server like the Flickr Pro
You can upload unlimited images.

For HDD back up. Use multiple HDD and Disc.

Don't rely on 1 HDD for back up.

Just my 2 cents
 

Diavonex

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Sep 23, 2008
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#9
If both are of the same capacity, the 3.5" are more reliable because the tracks are farther apart (less dense).
 

Jul 29, 2009
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#10
Have anyone considered the fact that 3.5" external harddisk have to run on power socket?

Due to very real risk of power surges, 3.5" seem to fail a lot more.
Whereas 2.5" taps power from USB, so it's less prone to the same degree of power surges.
 

Southbeach

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Aug 11, 2009
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#11
They are really pretty much the same. Regardless 2.5" or 3.5". As stated above by a coupla, if your looking for reliability you should consider server/enterprise class HDD's. As compared to Consumer class, they have different MTBF's (Mean Time Before Failure) and are often made with higher quality components to withstand months on end of constant use and stress. Im currently using a WD Velociraptor (2.5" HDD 10,000 RPM Sata) Its an enterprise class HDD and all i can say is that as of reliability and speed, this thing has never failed me once. Though you might have to pay a premium for such things, cost me close to SGD $400 back then when i first got it, its only 300GB btw. You can get consumer class 2.5" for way way less than this, however you are paying for that extra speed, performance and reliability.

P.s. This thing has outperformed and outlasted any 3.5" or 2.5" HDD ive used in the past which include:

- 2X Seagate 160GB 7200.9 RPM 3.5" Sata HDD (both failed at least once)

- 1X Seagate 160GB 5300.3 RPM 2.5" IDE HDD (Failed)
 

Octarine

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#12
Have anyone considered the fact that 3.5" external harddisk have to run on power socket?
Due to very real risk of power surges, 3.5" seem to fail a lot more.
Whereas 2.5" taps power from USB, so it's less prone to the same degree of power surges.
A good power surge (or peak) caused by anything out there in the power grid doesn't care much whether your HDD gets the 5V/12V from the power supply or via some chips on the mainboard (which are also connected to the very same power supply. If it strikes it's a mater of luck what will survive.
Chances that one of two disks survives are just higher when .. well when there are two disks with the same data to begin with :)
 

spheredome

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#14
Agreed. HDD of the same family has different grades just like ram. Those will lesser deviation from specs will be sold to high enterprise usage.

Even when manufacturers developed tools to monitor the lifespan of HDD, the guarantees are not assured. The more heat the HDD produces and poor heat dissipation of the enclosure, the lifespan is shorten.

They are really pretty much the same. Regardless 2.5" or 3.5". As stated above by a coupla, if your looking for reliability you should consider server/enterprise class HDD's. As compared to Consumer class, they have different MTBF's (Mean Time Before Failure) and are often made with higher quality components to withstand months on end of constant use and stress. Im currently using a WD Velociraptor (2.5" HDD 10,000 RPM Sata) Its an enterprise class HDD and all i can say is that as of reliability and speed, this thing has never failed me once. Though you might have to pay a premium for such things, cost me close to SGD $400 back then when i first got it, its only 300GB btw. You can get consumer class 2.5" for way way less than this, however you are paying for that extra speed, performance and reliability.

P.s. This thing has outperformed and outlasted any 3.5" or 2.5" HDD ive used in the past which include:

- 2X Seagate 160GB 7200.9 RPM 3.5" Sata HDD (both failed at least once)

- 1X Seagate 160GB 5300.3 RPM 2.5" IDE HDD (Failed)
 

spheredome

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#15
Surge locally is slim as our SP is pretty good at this. The pros for standalone power HDD enclosure is you won't be turning if off/on all the time, while USB does. These on/off will shorten the lifespan too very significantly. However AC powered HDD are hotter.

Regardless of choice, it boils down to total capacity size.

SSD is way too expensive to be of any good use.

Have anyone considered the fact that 3.5" external harddisk have to run on power socket?

Due to very real risk of power surges, 3.5" seem to fail a lot more.
Whereas 2.5" taps power from USB, so it's less prone to the same degree of power surges.
 

spheredome

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Jul 5, 2007
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#16
My final statement, no backup...no sympathy even with the statement "more". :bsmilie:
 

Diavonex

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Sep 23, 2008
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#17
A good external HDD should have surge protection.

 

Last edited:

geekbrains

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Aug 3, 2008
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#18
If you are talking about reliability and want to get the most reliable HDD out there in the market now, get a solid state drive.

A good SSD will outlast HDD by many, many times, and allow much faster access speed too. But get ready to pay the price; SSDs are not cheap.

But if you are just comparing just the 2.5" and 3.5" HDD, there's no real difference between the two, in terms of reliability and lifespan, as far as I know.
Haha, this is a joke innit..An SSD is never proven for reliability. Wonder why the enterprises are very very slow in adopting SSD's in enterprise environments even though SSD's provide insane IOPS?

A good SLC based SSD should technically be superior than a traditional HDD (in theory). But SSD is not only about the Flash, What's rather more important is the controller being used and the firmware (Ever heard of the infamous JMicron controllers and the stuttering issues?)

Ever heard of the slow performance after a half full SSD? Do you know how TRIM works and which SSD supports it now?

Coming back to TS' question..A 2.5" HDD was earlier limited by the speed (RPM), onboard cache and the platter density. With huge advancements in platter technology and with abundant availability of 7200RPM HDDs & Huge Caches the gap between the mainstream 3.5" and 2.5" drives have shrunken a lot. I have about 5 - 6 external HDD's which are all 2.5" and they are working fine for years now (None of them are branded)
 

astroboy

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2005
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#19
Whatever it is, avoid Maxtor 3.5". I had a 640GB which crashed after 8 mths and I am a light user. :(
 

pokiemon

Senior Member
Mar 5, 2005
2,039
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#20
Haha, this is a joke innit..An SSD is never proven for reliability. Wonder why the enterprises are very very slow in adopting SSD's in enterprise environments even though SSD's provide insane IOPS?

A good SLC based SSD should technically be superior than a traditional HDD (in theory). But SSD is not only about the Flash, What's rather more important is the controller being used and the firmware (Ever heard of the infamous JMicron controllers and the stuttering issues?)

Ever heard of the slow performance after a half full SSD? Do you know how TRIM works and which SSD supports it now?

Coming back to TS' question..A 2.5" HDD was earlier limited by the speed (RPM), onboard cache and the platter density. With huge advancements in platter technology and with abundant availability of 7200RPM HDDs & Huge Caches the gap between the mainstream 3.5" and 2.5" drives have shrunken a lot. I have about 5 - 6 external HDD's which are all 2.5" and they are working fine for years now (None of them are branded)
i would trust someone by the name of geekbrains on a photography forum. :bsmilie:
 

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