back to article Seagate pulls out the biggest hard one in the industry

Hot on the heels of Hitachi's terabyte platter drives comes Seagate's 4TB GoFlex Desk external drive, a terabyte fatter than the previous version. It is the highest capacity hard drive in the industry and is a 3.5-inch SATA unit, spinning at 7,200rpm. Seagate is carefully not saying how many platters there are inside it. Has it …

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Hard to believe...

Where I work, we have had nothing but trouble from any large capacity Seagate drives. Failure after failure, and we avoid them now like the plague. What happened to Seagate anyhow, they used to make good drives. I even remeber installing their ST-225 (20 MB) and ST-238 (RLL 30 MB) drives back in the day, but in the last couple of years, just problems...

Also, "Seagate says this GoFlex can store 2,000 high-definition movies" - these movies must have some incredible compression, that's nowhere near enough storage space for any kind of quality audio and video.

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Not really

"Also, "Seagate says this GoFlex can store 2,000 high-definition movies" - these movies must have some incredible compression, that's nowhere near enough storage space for any kind of quality audio and video."

Hate to break it to you, but that is on-par with most DVR's. 1GB per hour is what most DVR's encode at, so you get 2000 movies if each are 2-hours in length.

Don't forget that the bitrate is not as important as the CODEC used. MPEG-4 will perform better than MPEG-2 will.

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Meh

Yes,

I have been forced to add Seagate to my 'Suppliers of last resort' poster on my wall too.

At least WD seems to be getting their act back together recently.

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Vic
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Re: Hard to believe...

> What happened to Seagate anyhow

They bought Maxtor.

Vic.

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Go

About Seagate drives being crap

I agree with you - every single one I ever bought went bad within 6 months. I personally swear by WD drives, since I've yet to have one fail on me.

You know what's really interesting? A good friend of mine swears by Seagate drives. When he buys them, they last for donkey's years. Likewise, he detests WD because every time he's bought a WD drive, it's gone bad on him within 6 months.

Explain that anomaly!

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WTF?

Same as up to xxx MP3s

Bitrate may not be as important as the codec used, but it's still a major factor.

I'd query where you get your figures from on DVR recording bitrates.

H264 1080i HD broadcasts from the BBC over Freesat average about 3GB an hour when recorded to my PC - or about the same as an SD MPEG2 from a DVD. Given how much room HD content takes on my SkyHD box I'd be surprised if they are re-encoding it to reduce the size before storing it. It adds a lot of complexity and adds an extra point of failure to what should be a fairly simple process (take the transport stream and store it directly).

By comparison, my Blu-ray of Watchmen (also H264, but now 1080p) is 38GB for a film of about 2.5 hours, or around 15 GB an hour. Admittedly this is an extreme, other rips are around 25 GB per film.

Given this I calculate I'd manage 160 HD films at BD quality (4000/25), or 800 HD films at broadcast quality (4000/5). Obviously these are rough figures and ignore the 1024/1000 rounding that disk manufacturers get away with.

I personally would argue that anything supposedly in HD that is at less then broadcast quality is bordering on being no better than scaled good quality SD. All that real estate demands a decent bitrate, and squeezing a HD film into 2 GB (or in fact significantly less when you factor in a 384 kbps 5.1 soundtrack) does not sound like quality to me.

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Boffin

Not crap

Seagate drives aren't crap. I have quite a number of them (ST31[05]00525AS mostly, 1Tb and 1.5Tb). No particular problems. I've experienced more failed WD drives, though probably not a greater percentage, and I don't look after enough drives to have statistically reliable numbers.

One Seagate drive started reporting an increasing number of errors through SMART (Reallocate Pending). It was in a RAID array so I swapped it out to be safe. Seagate's online warranty process was the best I've ever used, and I had a replacement drive in days.

ALL drive manufacturers have at times shipped batches of problem drives. If you bought many with near-consecutive serial numbers (or many same-spec PCs with near-consecutive serial numbers which amounts to the same thing) then you may experience a high failure rate that does not generalize to other customers whose drives were manufactured a month earlier or later. It's usually not the drive manufacturer's fault that they contain a faulty component.

ALL hard drives that you buy are in some sense prototypes. By the time they've been proved reliable in service (say five years) they are also obsolescent. Accelerated ageing tests can only get a manufacturer so far. Occasionally, the envelope may be pushed too far, and again all manufacturers have occasionally shipped a drive model with less than the hoped for reliability.

The worst experience I ever had was with a batch of Samsung 40Gb drives that went from working to brick in the blink of an eye (4-5 years back). Despite this, I'll gave Samsung the benefit of the doubt, and recent Spinpoints have been fine. Most hard drive problems I've experienced haven't been so suddenly terminal. They've shown signs of distress (I/O errors, or SMART reallocations) and I've managed to rescue all data off the failing drive.

Google are the only organisation I'm aware of that has published drive failure statistics for statistically significant numbers of drives. They said that they could find no evidence that any of the major manufacturers made drives that were significantly more or less reliable than the others. Their problems were with batches, not with manufacturers.

Whenever I'm constructing a RAID-1 (mirror) I always pair drives from two different manufacturers, to minimize the risk of common-mode failure (a bad batch of drives).

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yep, thats how you do it.

re: Whenever I'm constructing a RAID-1 (mirror) I always pair drives from two different manufacturers, to minimize the risk of common-mode failure (a bad batch of drives).

RAID manufacturers should do this by default. They have enough parallel production capacity and knowledge of the supply chain to insure that no two drives in a single enclosure are from the same batch.

This would add some complexity to their assembly process, but might prevent cascading failures for their customers.

Conversely, you could get 12 drives from 12 crap production runs and be S.O.L. before you finish the installation...you pays your money and you takes your chances.

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Hard to believe...

Where I work, we have had nothing but trouble from any large capacity Seagate drives. Failure after failure, and we avoid them now like the plague. What happened to Seagate anyhow, they used to make good drives. I even remember installing their ST-225 (20 MB) and ST-238 (RLL 30 MB) drives back in the day, but in the last couple of years, just problems...

Also, "Seagate says this GoFlex can store 2,000 high-definition movies" - these movies must have some incredible compression, that's nowhere near enough storage space for any kind of quality audio and video.

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Anonymous Coward

Only until you read into the market speak

"HD" can include lower resolutions like 720p according to the monkeys in marketing, and you can easily crunch a couple hours of 720p down to less than 2GB each. 4000GB/2GB=2000 movies, no?

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Awesome!

A new Seagate drive that can take 4TB of valuable data with it when it crashes after 3 months (hey, it IS a Seagate after all).

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Headmaster

Wtf?

ready to "productise" in May ...

Why so many letters? "Produce" seems to fit quite nicely.

Ta,

Mikey

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FAIL

Only 2 hd manufacturers remaining...

...and they are both crap.

Did Seagate catch the Maxtor virus when they bought them? Seagate have gone from reliability second to none, to reliability measured in seconds. The larger Seagate makes their drives, the worse they've become, best of luck to anyone who buys them.

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2000 high definition movies?

Surely it should fit 2001...

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JDX
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re: nowhere near enough storage space for any kind of quality audio and video

4Tb. 2000 files. 2Gb per file. Doable although a bit of a push... you can download HD movies on PS3 for something like 3-4Gb IIRC. Is American HD different to ours?

Maybe they just mean really short movies, not BraveHeart.

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Paris Hilton

I love the headline!!

:DD

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Coat

moving parts are so yesteryear

I'm growing weary of spinning platters. They cost more to run, have heat and reliability issues and occupy too much space.

SSD's are the future and for files that change infrequently are ideal. I wish they would me 1TB SSD's with low read/write speeds for the price of a 1TB platter disk rather than concentrate on speed and keeping the price artificially high.

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