How to prolong HDD life?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Nighthawk, Sep 28, 2007.

  1. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk Guest

    After a slight gliche today I decided to check the SMART state of my
    hard drive. My 160GB Samsung SP1614N has been very good and fitness
    and performance always came up at 100% but today I found performance
    down to 98% and fitness down to 97%. I used the online analysis on
    the SMART tab in SpeedFan and it indicated the area of concern was the
    power-on hours. I had been using it 24/7, with P2P. With P2P running
    constantly the drive never went into sleep mode. With the recent
    demise of the fixed IP servers on the eDonkey network I have decided
    to discontinue with P2P.

    What I was wondering was, which is better: turning off the computer or
    letting the drive go into sleep mode, or keeping it running
    continually, though there is no disc activity? Which would actually
    be more strenuous on it?

    I gather powering up or spinning up a drive is stressful for it?
     
    Nighthawk, Sep 28, 2007
    #1
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  2. Nighthawk

    peterwn Guest

    On Sep 29, 3:03 am, Nighthawk <> wrote:
    > After a slight gliche today I decided to check the SMART state of my
    > hard drive. My 160GB Samsung SP1614N has been very good and fitness
    > and performance always came up at 100% but today I found performance
    > down to 98% and fitness down to 97%. I used the online analysis on
    > the SMART tab in SpeedFan and it indicated the area of concern was the
    > power-on hours. I had been using it 24/7, with P2P. With P2P running
    > constantly the drive never went into sleep mode. With the recent
    > demise of the fixed IP servers on the eDonkey network I have decided
    > to discontinue with P2P.
    >
    > What I was wondering was, which is better: turning off the computer or
    > letting the drive go into sleep mode, or keeping it running
    > continually, though there is no disc activity? Which would actually
    > be more strenuous on it?
    >
    > I gather powering up or spinning up a drive is stressful for it?


    There is ulikely to be a definite answer. With electronic equipment,
    keeping it on 24/7 would be the best option since the equipment is
    subject to surges when powering up. With mechanical equipment such as
    fans and HDD motors, there will be bearing failure in due course and
    that would be advanced by 24/7 operation. Whether SMART takes account
    of motor running time, I have not a clue. A good option would be to
    leave the computer on but to allow the HDD to go into sleep mode as
    need be to save mechanical wear and tear. This has negative
    implications for energy conservation, so a compromise would be to turn
    off the computer at nights.

    This is a problem in large steam turbine power stations like at
    Huntly. Starting up imposes enormous stress on the turbine and
    contributes to ultimate metal fatigue. Merely hitting the 'start'
    button has an effective cost of a few tens of thousands of dollars.
    They cause least trouble if left running continuously at full output.
    This is not so much of a problem in the hydro stations, so the trick
    is to dispatch long periods of running of the steam turbine plant and
    to take up short term slack with hydro stations. These were
    deliberately designed with twice as much capacity than the average
    available water.
     
    peterwn, Sep 28, 2007
    #2
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  3. In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:

    > What I was wondering was, which is better: turning off the computer or
    > letting the drive go into sleep mode, or keeping it running
    > continually, though there is no disc activity? Which would actually
    > be more strenuous on it?


    Hard drive death is a fact of life. Make sure you have a backup.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 28, 2007
    #3
  4. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk Guest

    On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 10:12:25 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
    <_zealand> wrote:

    >In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:
    >
    >> What I was wondering was, which is better: turning off the computer or
    >> letting the drive go into sleep mode, or keeping it running
    >> continually, though there is no disc activity? Which would actually
    >> be more strenuous on it?

    >
    >Hard drive death is a fact of life. Make sure you have a backup.


    Tell me about it. I've lost two in the six few years. This current
    Samsung SP1614N 160GB is the best hard drive I have had for
    performance, reliability and quiet and cool running. I have been
    making images of C: drive and other data is usually well backed up,
    which has got me out of jail on a few occasions. My last drive, a
    20.5GB Quantum Fireball was hotter, noisier, and according to SMART,
    was down to 79% fitness when I moved it on. It hadn't had the same
    usage as the current Samsung one.
     
    Nighthawk, Sep 29, 2007
    #4
  5. Nighthawk

    Gordon Guest

    On 2007-09-28, peterwn <> wrote:
    > On Sep 29, 3:03 am, Nighthawk <> wrote:
    >>

    [snip]

    >> I gather powering up or spinning up a drive is stressful for it?


    [snip]
    >
    > This is a problem in large steam turbine power stations like at
    > Huntly. Starting up imposes enormous stress on the turbine and
    > contributes to ultimate metal fatigue. Merely hitting the 'start'
    > button has an effective cost of a few tens of thousands of dollars.
    > They cause least trouble if left running continuously at full output.
    > This is not so much of a problem in the hydro stations, so the trick
    > is to dispatch long periods of running of the steam turbine plant and
    > to take up short term slack with hydro stations. These were
    > deliberately designed with twice as much capacity than the average
    > available water.
    >
    >

    Oh dear, we seem to have taken a trip back to the source. ;-
     
    Gordon, Sep 29, 2007
    #5
  6. Nighthawk

    Gordon Guest

    On 2007-09-28, Nighthawk <> wrote:
    > After a slight gliche today I decided to check the SMART state of my
    > hard drive. My 160GB Samsung SP1614N has been very good and fitness
    > and performance always came up at 100% but today I found performance
    > down to 98% and fitness down to 97%. I used the online analysis on
    > the SMART tab in SpeedFan and it indicated the area of concern was the
    > power-on hours. I had been using it 24/7, with P2P. With P2P running
    > constantly the drive never went into sleep mode. With the recent
    > demise of the fixed IP servers on the eDonkey network I have decided
    > to discontinue with P2P.
    >
    > What I was wondering was, which is better: turning off the computer or
    > letting the drive go into sleep mode, or keeping it running
    > continually, though there is no disc activity? Which would actually
    > be more strenuous on it?
    >
    > I gather powering up or spinning up a drive is stressful for it?
    >

    Look starting up and internal combustion engine is stressful for it. All the
    oil is cold and at the bottom of the sump. During start up metal to metal
    contact happens which never does in a warm enging powering on down the
    highway of airway, or water way.

    So, do you keep your internal combustion engine rnning all the time?

    HDD like ones car engine have become so reliable that we ignore their life
    span. Read they have become so cheap.

    Save power, and put it towards your next HD.
     
    Gordon, Sep 29, 2007
    #6
  7. In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:

    > My last drive, a 20.5GB Quantum Fireball was hotter, noisier, and
    > according to SMART, was down to 79% fitness when I moved it on.


    You bother with SMART? I just use drives until they either develop bad
    sectors or die.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 29, 2007
    #7
  8. Nighthawk wrote:
    > After a slight gliche today I decided to check the SMART state of my
    > hard drive. My 160GB Samsung SP1614N has been very good and fitness
    > and performance always came up at 100% but today I found performance
    > down to 98% and fitness down to 97%. I used the online analysis on
    > the SMART tab in SpeedFan and it indicated the area of concern was the
    > power-on hours. I had been using it 24/7, with P2P. With P2P running
    > constantly the drive never went into sleep mode. With the recent
    > demise of the fixed IP servers on the eDonkey network I have decided
    > to discontinue with P2P.
    >
    > What I was wondering was, which is better: turning off the computer or
    > letting the drive go into sleep mode, or keeping it running
    > continually, though there is no disc activity? Which would actually
    > be more strenuous on it?
    >
    > I gather powering up or spinning up a drive is stressful for it?


    Power on hours of themselves are not an indication that the drive is in a bad
    state. In the absence of other reported errors keep doing whatever you've been
    doing.
     
    Mark Robinson, Sep 29, 2007
    #8
  9. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk Guest

    On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 18:43:24 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
    <_zealand> wrote:

    >In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:
    >
    >> My last drive, a 20.5GB Quantum Fireball was hotter, noisier, and
    >> according to SMART, was down to 79% fitness when I moved it on.

    >
    >You bother with SMART? I just use drives until they either develop bad
    >sectors or die.


    Well, after losing a couple, I would rather get advance notice.
     
    Nighthawk, Sep 29, 2007
    #9
  10. In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:

    > On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 18:43:24 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
    > <_zealand> wrote:
    >
    >>In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:
    >>
    >>> My last drive, a 20.5GB Quantum Fireball was hotter, noisier, and
    >>> according to SMART, was down to 79% fitness when I moved it on.

    >>
    >>You bother with SMART? I just use drives until they either develop bad
    >>sectors or die.

    >
    > Well, after losing a couple, I would rather get advance notice.


    But the SMART readings don't seem to correlate to real life.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 29, 2007
    #10
  11. Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    > In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:
    >> On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 18:43:24 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
    >> <_zealand> wrote:
    >>> In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:
    >>>> My last drive, a 20.5GB Quantum Fireball was hotter, noisier, and
    >>>> according to SMART, was down to 79% fitness when I moved it on.
    >>> You bother with SMART? I just use drives until they either develop bad
    >>> sectors or die.

    >> Well, after losing a couple, I would rather get advance notice.

    >
    > But the SMART readings don't seem to correlate to real life.


    True, smartmontools under linux does seem to have a bit of a problem there.
     
    Mark Robinson, Sep 29, 2007
    #11
  12. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk Guest

    On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 22:52:23 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
    <_zealand> wrote:

    >In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:
    >
    >> On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 18:43:24 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
    >> <_zealand> wrote:
    >>
    >>>In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> My last drive, a 20.5GB Quantum Fireball was hotter, noisier, and
    >>>> according to SMART, was down to 79% fitness when I moved it on.
    >>>
    >>>You bother with SMART? I just use drives until they either develop bad
    >>>sectors or die.

    >>
    >> Well, after losing a couple, I would rather get advance notice.

    >
    >But the SMART readings don't seem to correlate to real life.


    It seems that some do and some don't.

    http://www.storagereview.com/guide2000/ref/hdd/perf/qual/featuresSMART.html

    I have had the chip on the logic burnout failure, no warning. I had
    an el cheapo PSU at the time, which might contribute to that.
     
    Nighthawk, Sep 29, 2007
    #12
  13. In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:

    > On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 22:52:23 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
    > <_zealand> wrote:
    >
    >>In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:
    >>
    >>> On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 18:43:24 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
    >>> <_zealand> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>>In message <>, Nighthawk
    >>>>wrote:
    >>>>
    >>>>> My last drive, a 20.5GB Quantum Fireball was hotter, noisier, and
    >>>>> according to SMART, was down to 79% fitness when I moved it on.
    >>>>
    >>>>You bother with SMART? I just use drives until they either develop bad
    >>>>sectors or die.
    >>>
    >>> Well, after losing a couple, I would rather get advance notice.

    >>
    >>But the SMART readings don't seem to correlate to real life.

    >
    > It seems that some do and some don't.


    There were a couple of large studies of hard-drive failures published
    earlier this year. Both of them showed very little relevance of SMART
    readings to actual failure modes.

    My conclusion is: don't bother monitoring SMART readings. That time is
    better spent ensuring your backups are up to date.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 29, 2007
    #13
  14. Nighthawk

    PeeCee Guest

    "Nighthawk" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > After a slight gliche today I decided to check the SMART state of my
    > hard drive. My 160GB Samsung SP1614N has been very good and fitness
    > and performance always came up at 100% but today I found performance
    > down to 98% and fitness down to 97%. I used the online analysis on
    > the SMART tab in SpeedFan and it indicated the area of concern was the
    > power-on hours. I had been using it 24/7, with P2P. With P2P running
    > constantly the drive never went into sleep mode. With the recent
    > demise of the fixed IP servers on the eDonkey network I have decided
    > to discontinue with P2P.
    >
    > What I was wondering was, which is better: turning off the computer or
    > letting the drive go into sleep mode, or keeping it running
    > continually, though there is no disc activity? Which would actually
    > be more strenuous on it?
    >
    > I gather powering up or spinning up a drive is stressful for it?
    >
    >



    You may find this pdf from Google Research on hard drive reliability
    interesting:
    http://research.google.com/archive/disk_failures.pdf

    The sample base is of over 100,000 consumer grade drives from all
    manufacturers.

    During a quick browse thru the following points were noted:

    'Smart' does not necessarily predict HD failure.
    Temperature is not the HD killer popular opinion suggests.
    Failure rates jump at the 2 year rate.

    Or put another way the life time of your particular Hard Drive is mainly
    down to Luck.

    My own experience has been similar.There was a certain 20GB series of HD's
    made around 2001-2002 that all crapped out after 12-18 months due to a chip
    failure on the electronics board.
    But other than that all the other drive brand/models I've used, installed or
    sold have had lifetimes ranging from a couple of hours to 20 years or more.


    Best
    Paul.
     
    PeeCee, Sep 30, 2007
    #14
  15. Nighthawk

    Enkidu Guest

    Mark Robinson wrote:
    > Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >> In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:
    >>> On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 18:43:24 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
    >>> <_zealand> wrote:
    >>>> In message <>, Nighthawk
    >>>> wrote:
    >>>>> My last drive, a 20.5GB Quantum Fireball was hotter, noisier, and
    >>>>> according to SMART, was down to 79% fitness when I moved it on.
    >>>> You bother with SMART? I just use drives until they either develop bad
    >>>> sectors or die.
    >>> Well, after losing a couple, I would rather get advance notice.

    >>
    >> But the SMART readings don't seem to correlate to real life.

    >
    > True, smartmontools under linux does seem to have a bit of a problem there.
    >

    So does Windows. Disks which are 'about to fail' go on for years, and
    disk which throw no error messages fail without warning.

    Cheers,

    Cliff

    --

    Have you ever noticed that if something is advertised as 'amusing' or
    'hilarious', it usually isn't?
     
    Enkidu, Sep 30, 2007
    #15
  16. Nighthawk

    Squiggle Guest

    PeeCee wrote:
    > "Nighthawk" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> After a slight gliche today I decided to check the SMART state of my
    >> hard drive. My 160GB Samsung SP1614N has been very good and fitness
    >> and performance always came up at 100% but today I found performance
    >> down to 98% and fitness down to 97%. I used the online analysis on
    >> the SMART tab in SpeedFan and it indicated the area of concern was the
    >> power-on hours. I had been using it 24/7, with P2P. With P2P running
    >> constantly the drive never went into sleep mode. With the recent
    >> demise of the fixed IP servers on the eDonkey network I have decided
    >> to discontinue with P2P.
    >>
    >> What I was wondering was, which is better: turning off the computer or
    >> letting the drive go into sleep mode, or keeping it running
    >> continually, though there is no disc activity? Which would actually
    >> be more strenuous on it?
    >>
    >> I gather powering up or spinning up a drive is stressful for it?
    >>
    >>

    >
    >
    > You may find this pdf from Google Research on hard drive reliability
    > interesting:
    > http://research.google.com/archive/disk_failures.pdf
    >
    > The sample base is of over 100,000 consumer grade drives from all
    > manufacturers.
    >
    > During a quick browse thru the following points were noted:
    >
    > 'Smart' does not necessarily predict HD failure.
    > Temperature is not the HD killer popular opinion suggests.
    > Failure rates jump at the 2 year rate.
    >
    > Or put another way the life time of your particular Hard Drive is mainly
    > down to Luck.
    >
    > My own experience has been similar.There was a certain 20GB series of
    > HD's made around 2001-2002 that all crapped out after 12-18 months due
    > to a chip failure on the electronics board.
    > But other than that all the other drive brand/models I've used,
    > installed or sold have had lifetimes ranging from a couple of hours to
    > 20 years or more.
    >
    >
    > Best
    > Paul.
    >


    But how relevant to a desktop user is that study? All those drives were
    more or less on 24/7 for there entire life, so most of them had probably
    only ever been spun up a dozen or so times in total.
     
    Squiggle, Sep 30, 2007
    #16
  17. Nighthawk

    Gordon Guest

    On 2007-09-30, Enkidu <> wrote:
    > Mark Robinson wrote:
    >> Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >>> In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:
    >>>> On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 18:43:24 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
    >>>> <_zealand> wrote:
    >>>>> In message <>, Nighthawk
    >>>>> wrote:
    >>>>>> My last drive, a 20.5GB Quantum Fireball was hotter, noisier, and
    >>>>>> according to SMART, was down to 79% fitness when I moved it on.
    >>>>> You bother with SMART? I just use drives until they either develop bad
    >>>>> sectors or die.
    >>>> Well, after losing a couple, I would rather get advance notice.
    >>>
    >>> But the SMART readings don't seem to correlate to real life.

    >>
    >> True, smartmontools under linux does seem to have a bit of a problem there.
    > >

    > So does Windows. Disks which are 'about to fail' go on for years, and
    > disk which throw no error messages fail without warning.
    >

    Any mechanical devices tends to do this.

    As another poster has said backups win every time
     
    Gordon, Sep 30, 2007
    #17
  18. Nighthawk

    thingy Guest

    Nighthawk wrote:
    > After a slight gliche today I decided to check the SMART state of my
    > hard drive. My 160GB Samsung SP1614N has been very good and fitness
    > and performance always came up at 100% but today I found performance
    > down to 98% and fitness down to 97%. I used the online analysis on
    > the SMART tab in SpeedFan and it indicated the area of concern was the
    > power-on hours. I had been using it 24/7, with P2P. With P2P running
    > constantly the drive never went into sleep mode. With the recent
    > demise of the fixed IP servers on the eDonkey network I have decided
    > to discontinue with P2P.
    >
    > What I was wondering was, which is better: turning off the computer or
    > letting the drive go into sleep mode, or keeping it running
    > continually, though there is no disc activity? Which would actually
    > be more strenuous on it?
    >
    > I gather powering up or spinning up a drive is stressful for it?
    >
    >


    Yes, and no, depends on the frequency of the stops and starts....

    If you have old scsi drives, like 9 and 18gig, never stop them for
    long....they really do have a tendency to not restart (minutes OK, days
    no)....I have not seen IDEs suffer the same way but thats usually
    because they have already died and I dont have as many compared to scsi....

    What you are trying to do is run a retail disk like an enterprise disk,
    24/7, they have different standards....in which case you need to be
    careful and aware of the reliability issues....I have done that a few
    times and have found the IDE's die within 3 years.....

    So, personally I look for at least 3, preferably 5 year warrantees on
    disks. If I recall the Samsung's only come with two....that would be
    enough for me to shop elsewhere.....

    If your data is a concern and your machine has raid you could buy a new
    disk and run raid 1. DSE (and I am sure others) have cheap $50 PCI raid
    controllers with PATA and SATA on board....if yours does not. and YES I
    know they are cheap and nasty, but $50 v $500 for performance I dont
    need....$50 wins.

    regards

    Thing
     
    thingy, Sep 30, 2007
    #18
  19. Nighthawk

    thingy Guest

    Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    > In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:
    >
    >> On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 22:52:23 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
    >> <_zealand> wrote:
    >>
    >>> In message <>, Nighthawk wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 18:43:24 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
    >>>> <_zealand> wrote:
    >>>>
    >>>>> In message <>, Nighthawk
    >>>>> wrote:
    >>>>>
    >>>>>> My last drive, a 20.5GB Quantum Fireball was hotter, noisier, and
    >>>>>> according to SMART, was down to 79% fitness when I moved it on.
    >>>>> You bother with SMART? I just use drives until they either develop bad
    >>>>> sectors or die.
    >>>> Well, after losing a couple, I would rather get advance notice.
    >>> But the SMART readings don't seem to correlate to real life.

    >> It seems that some do and some don't.

    >
    > There were a couple of large studies of hard-drive failures published
    > earlier this year. Both of them showed very little relevance of SMART
    > readings to actual failure modes.
    >
    > My conclusion is: don't bother monitoring SMART readings. That time is
    > better spent ensuring your backups are up to date.


    yep....smart is over rated IMHO...raid 1 it and back it up.....have a
    nice day....

    regards

    Thing
     
    thingy, Sep 30, 2007
    #19
  20. In message <>, thingy wrote:

    > What you are trying to do is run a retail disk like an enterprise disk,
    > 24/7, they have different standards....


    Those hard drive studies previously mentioned found no significant
    difference in reliability between "enterprise" and "retail" hard drives.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Oct 1, 2007
    #20
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