Hard drive reliability

ProviaFan

Lifer
Mar 17, 2001
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Yes, this is OT (on topic ;)), because the drive is going to go in a cruncher (secondary use being multi-track recording) that I'm probably going to be building for an organization that I'm involved in. As such, it needs to be very reliable. With that said, I was recently informed on an sound tech listserv that SATA drives are less reliable than PATA drives, because the SATA interface "allows more intense data transfer." To me, this doesn't make sense at all for reasons that are probably clear to most of us (I can explain my logic if it's not clear), but I'm still interested in hearing if those of you who have more crunchers running at once than I'll own in my entire lifetime have had any increase in HDD issues with the coming of SATA.

Thanks in advance. :)
 

BlackMountainCow

Diamond Member
May 28, 2003
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Well, I can say that indeed SATAs are a bit more strict on the variables of your system than normal ATAs. I know this only from an overclockers point of view. Many times when I built and overclocked systems for my friends, at a certain point it were the SATA drives that kept me back from a higher overclock. When I switched the SATAs to normal ATA / IDE drives, I was able to go much higher in overclock. If that is also a sign for them being less reliable? I don't know for sure. But I can say this: If you system is just a bit off the best settings, due to age, temps, voltage, or whatever, SATAs will probably fail to work properly before ATA/IDE drives do. I assume this will also hold true in the long run for a none OCed system, but I really miss any longtime experience here to give a clear advice. I can only tell what I have observed in the last years.

:beer:
 

Wolfsraider

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2002
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Originally posted by: BlackMountainCow
Well, I can say that indeed SATAs are a bit more strict on the variables of your system than normal ATAs. I know this only from an overclockers point of view. Many times when I built and overclocked systems for my friends, at a certain point it were the SATA drives that kept me back from a higher overclock. When I switched the SATAs to normal ATA / IDE drives, I was able to go much higher in overclock. If that is also a sign for them being less reliable? I don't know for sure. But I can say this: If you system is just a bit off the best settings, due to age, temps, voltage, or whatever, SATAs will probably fail to work properly before ATA/IDE drives do. I assume this will also hold true in the long run for a none OCed system, but I really miss any longtime experience here to give a clear advice. I can only tell what I have observed in the last years.

:beer:

Sata controllers are not controlled by the pci lock (thats what I read) hence they become unstable rather quickly.

I really don't know if thats true but saw it in a post on 2cpu iirc.

Mike
 

BlackMountainCow

Diamond Member
May 28, 2003
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That would exlpain my observation. But then again, how likely is it so reach such a point if not overclocked? I guess, if you just build a SATA system with a nice RAID1 (?) for security & backup, you shouldn't run into any major problems.
 

ProviaFan

Lifer
Mar 17, 2001
14,993
1
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Well, this is going to be a serious work machine, so no overclocking will be going on. While I was fairly sure that SATA drives wouldn't fail due to being pushed harder than their identical PATA counterparts due to the "more intense data transfer" allowed by the "faster" interface, I wondered if there was some other reliability issue that I should know about. Thanks for all the responses so far. :)
 

mrwizer

Senior member
Nov 7, 2004
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The problems with overclocking are related to the SATA interface not being locked. I believe that this was a problem mainly on nForce boards, but I could be wrong. I had this problem, and just switched to the 3rd connection I believe. This is on my MSI K8N Neo2 Plat (nForce 3).

On the reliability, I have not heard anything of the sort. My logic (no proof to back this up) would be that the changing of the interface would not impact the reliability of the motors, etc. And if you are concerned about the life of the drive, you may want to look at the WD Raptors. Although these have become popular with enthusiasts, they were designed for commercial use in competition with SCSI. WD offers 5 year warranties (I think). They are supposed to be solid. I have had one running 24/7 for almost a year now. Although this is not long enough for me to compare to ATA drives.

Just my two cents.
 

kb3edk

Senior member
Jul 11, 2004
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Originally posted by: mrwizer
The problems with overclocking are related to the SATA interface not being locked. I believe that this was a problem mainly on nForce boards, but I could be wrong. I had this problem, and just switched to the 3rd connection I believe. This is on my MSI K8N Neo2 Plat (nForce 3).
I had bad corruption a few weeks ago on a Via board too (ABIT AV8) - cranked it up to 250 FSB and I lost the boot sector in a RAID 0 SATA array. RAID controller on this board is the Via VT8237 Southbridge which is very common, so this may be a widespread issue. Fortunately in my own case I had the array partitioned and was able to keep most of my data... but reinstalling Windows, all the patches, DirectX, .NET, yadda yadda yadda... what a waste of time.

Best to keep some drive imaging software like Norton Ghost handy if you plan on OCing regularly. Or, if you have the resources, have an IDE-based box handy to use as a file server for when stuff hits the fan.

-Adam in Philly
 

Rattledagger

Elite Member
Feb 5, 2001
2,989
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Well, Raptors has a reputation of being bad overclockers, and the faster SCSI-systems has always been bad overclockers, so very likely it's just some overclockers complaining about their system isn't working when using SATA but thinks it's "stable" when using IDE...

For some users it's also the 1st time uses a drive spinning at 10k, these will run hotter than the slower-spinning drives, so if isn't using adequate cooling it's much bigger chance to error-out early.

Non-overclocked and with cooling can't say there's any difference when it comes to IDE and SATA, except smaller cables and faster speed that is. ;)
 
Aug 27, 2002
10,043
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the new seagate sata drives have 5 year warranty's, kinda hard not to pass that off as being a highly reliable drive eh?
 

ProviaFan

Lifer
Mar 17, 2001
14,993
1
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Originally posted by: lobadobadingdong
the new seagate sata drives have 5 year warranty's, kinda hard not to pass that off as being a highly reliable drive eh?
Yeah, although I have a Raptor in my rig here at home and am very satisfied with it, this system is going to be an audio recording rig in a noise-sensitive area, so I'm more interested in the Seagate drives (they're supposed to be really quiet, or so I've [not] heard). I just wanted to check with you guys before making any final decisions, just to confirm that what I thought was a myth was really a myth. :)
 

BadThad

Lifer
Feb 22, 2000
12,093
47
91
Originally posted by: ProviaFan
Originally posted by: lobadobadingdong
the new seagate sata drives have 5 year warranty's, kinda hard not to pass that off as being a highly reliable drive eh?
Yeah, although I have a Raptor in my rig here at home and am very satisfied with it, this system is going to be an audio recording rig in a noise-sensitive area, so I'm more interested in the Seagate drives (they're supposed to be really quiet, or so I've [not] heard). I just wanted to check with you guys before making any final decisions, just to confirm that what I thought was a myth was really a myth. :)


That's a myth. The rate of data transfer is not a "physical" thing that would cause a drive to wear out faster or be "less reliable" when it's run under the designed bus speeds. If you need the ultimate in reliability, then you need to go with a SATA RAID 1 array (mirrored array). It's more expensive because you need two drives, but you have piece of mind that you'll pretty much never go down due to drive failure. :)