Which massive hard drives are too big to fail?

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One year ago we were given some insight into which hard drives last the longest thanks to Backblaze media’s analysis of the tens of thousands of hard drives in their data center. The company uses regular consumer-grade hard drives due to the cheaper costs to power their unlimited storage offerings for customers, and this year they’re back with a new study revealing which 4TB hard drives are too big to fail.

After spinning 41,213 disk drives in its data center, Backblaze crunched the numbers at the end of 2014 to find that if want a hard drive with the lowest failure rate possible, go with an HGST drive.

HGST is a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Digital that inherited its tech and designs from Hitachi, who bought it from IBM’s hard drive division. Backblaze tells that while the HGST drives usually run a little pricier, they have an extremely low fail rate of 1.3%. The company says it now uses over 12 thousands of the drives to power its services.

On the lower price range, Seagate’s Desktop HDD.15 is one of the best values. 12,000 Seagate drive were purchased by Backblaze in 2014 because they usually had the lowest price. The study found that they also have a low failure rate of 2.5%.

Western Digital has a great reputation for building solid performing drives, but Backblaze has found that WD 4TB drives are consistently priced $15-$20 higher than Seagate and HGST drives. That premium is a little bit too steep when other companies are now performing so well.

If you’re looking for a new hard drive, the study recommends staying away from 3TB drives which have a higher failure rate around 9.3%. A new crop of 6TB drives have hit the market in the last year, and Backblaze says they’re slowly converting over to the beefier storage option but haven’t had any fail yet.

All hard drives fail eventually, but if you’re looking for the best value when upgrading your storage this year, it will be hard to beat the current lineup of 4TB drives from HGST and Seagate.

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