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  #1  
07-02-2017, 01:29 PM
Reading Bug Reading Bug is offline
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I was in my local Fry's yesterday checking out external desktop hard drives. It had probably been three months or more since I last looked but I was surprised to see how few 1 and 2 TB HDs are sold now, and how large (capacity) the more abundant stock was. I saw a significant number of 8, 16 and even a growing number of 24 TB options. The 1's and 2's were far fewer in number, and even so the 3's. This was both big brands (Western Digital and Seagate).

This brought to mind a few things I've been wanting to check with. I recall site staff saying, years ago, a few things about HDDs:

1) Due to, presumably the reality of physical manufacture, the most trustworthy capacities are 2 TBs or smaller.

2) They should still be the drives to archive, as it's too early to fully trust SSDs for long-term storage.

3) Fantom drives were the recommended brand/manufacturer.

My question is simply whether all three items are still true, and what advice might be offered for a very possible, and possibly near, future where 2 TB drives are no longer common or even available?

-- merged --

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  #2  
07-12-2017, 04:49 PM
juhok juhok is offline
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For long term storage only multiple copies on different media is "trustworthy". One copy on any media is not reliable.
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  #3  
07-23-2017, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reading Bug View Post
I was in my local Fry's yesterday checking out external desktop hard drives. It had probably been three months or more since I last looked but I was surprised to see how few 1 and 2 TB HDs are sold now, and how large (capacity) the more abundant stock was. I saw a significant number of 8, 16 and even a growing number of 24 TB options.
I didn't think they'd broken the 8tb barrier yet. So a "16tb" or "24tb" would just be multiple 8tb in a RAID or JBOD case.

Quote:
The 1's and 2's were far fewer in number
I'm not really surprised. B&M stores, even Fry's and Microcenter, are going to heavily stock the 4tb drives. And some around that size: 3tb, 5tb, 6tb. A few 8tb, mostly externals, and the aforementioned multi-disk external boxes.

Quote:
This brought to mind a few things I've been wanting to check with. I recall site staff saying, years ago, a few things about HDDs:
1) Due to, presumably the reality of physical manufacture, the most trustworthy capacities are 2 TBs or smaller.
Sort of.

2tb = the limit for many OS, including Windows XP, needed by most video capturers. Seagate is best. Hitachi is good but noisy. WD is the worst of them, both due to confusing color-coding of drive models, and a higher fail rate than the others. Non-Seagate also tend to vibrate.

Avoid 3tb, 5tb and 6tb. For whatever reason, drives in that size have a huge number of failures.

4tb = the modern 2tb. On new OS and hardware, it's reliable. I have a pair of Seagate 4tb in my Skylake build, and they are whisper quiet, almost zero vibrations.

Something you need to realize is how data is written:
- horizontal / longitudinal recording
- vertical / PMR (perpendicular recording)
- overlapping / SMR (shingled magnetic recording)

Exactly when each manufacturer implemented them, and at what capacity drive, varies a little.
But essentially:
- LMR = 500gb and smaller
- PMR = 750gb to 4tb
- SMR = 5tb or 6tb and larger

The real problem comes with data integrity, data recoverability, and speed.

LMR and PMR are easy(ish), good speeds (5400 to 15000 rpm).

But the SMR drives have issues. Those are often referred to as "archive drives" because these are not fit for many reads/writes. For example, when you erase data on SMR, the other data on the shingle must be moved/rewritten so as not be lost. And that's especially a problem with large files and fragmentation. All those read/write gyrations make read/write speeds take a real hit speed-wise.

See attached image.

I would advise you to ONLY use 2tb and 4tb drives for non-backup situations. Some smaller 1tb are fine, too. Due to age, I often dislike older sub-1tb drives. At any hint of problem, I'll usually toss a sub-1tb SATA drive, because it's not worth the effort.

Quote:
2) They should still be the drives to archive, as it's too early to fully trust SSDs for long-term storage.
- Large 8tb externals are good for infrequent backup.
- SSD is great for OS, software, and processing space (intermediary video edit files), but is not archival.

Quote:
3) Fantom drives were the recommended brand/manufacturer.
Still are. The 1tb, 2tb and 4tb are all awesome. They use the best, not cheapest, from a given manufacturer. I've opened all of mine, and the you can often see the internals with disk management software. We use a lot of the 2tb drives here, and I use them for my personal video collection.

Quote:
My question is simply whether all three items are still true, and what advice might be offered for a very possible, and possibly near, future where 2 TB drives are no longer common or even available?
Most past advice is still applicable, yes. But as you can read above, I'd added more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by juhok View Post
For long term storage only multiple copies on different media is "trustworthy". One copy on any media is not reliable.
Worth repeating.

LTS = discs, disks, and paper printouts. (Yes, paper. Kill a tree, stick in a file cabinet! )


Attached Images
File Type: jpg seagate-smr-vs-conventional-hard-drive-writing.jpg (45.6 KB, 9 downloads)

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  #4  
07-28-2017, 02:13 PM
Reading Bug Reading Bug is offline
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Thanks so much, LS! That's a lot of info.

I've purchased nothing but Fantoms the last few years and love them, except I'm having trouble with one right now. It seems to be the circuit board... the drive is fine but only connects and transfers on USB 2.0. Customer service at Fantom/Micronet is wanting, so I'm trying to figure out what to do. They're hesitant to ship a new drive and want me to ship what I have for a fix. Not sure about that, especially on such a low-cost item.
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  #5  
07-29-2017, 11:20 PM
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I'd not give them the drive, if it was still working AND had data on it.
They could have the enclosure only.

This is why most hard drive warranties are less valuable than used toilet paper. They want you to give them a drive with data, and you'll get a blank one in return. That's simply not acceptable.

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  #6  
08-04-2017, 12:13 PM
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Soooo..... Fantom agreed to fully replace the drive rather than repair it, but like you say LS, doing that is a bit hairy. I would like to get another drive as I need one anyway, so would consider purchasing a new Fantom and then sending them the trouble one.

But from reading reviews on NewEgg, several other customers are having the same issue: the USB 3.0 stops working, or never works. 2.0 is fine.

Do you know how widespread this issue is? Has this happened to you?

I really like the builds on Fantoms and trust they have great components, but they're a little funky. I have both Green and Gforce 3 drives, and they only stay connected to my laptop. Most work I do on my Windows 7 desktop, but plugging in a Fantom means constant connecting and disconnecting at random. So I have to transfer from the desktop to *another* brand drive, then transfer from that drive to the Fantom on the laptop.

Weird stuff that doesn't make me warm and fuzzy. I think I might switch to Seagate.

-- merged --

I've decided to hold onto the faulty drive as the drive itself is still fine and attaches to the 2.0, but last night I plugged in another Fantom (same model and time of purchase) and now it won't read on the 3.0 either. Which reminded me to add that both drives initially worked on the 3.0 until something changed.

What's going on? Is there a real reason to be concerned other than I would need to deal with a slower transfer speed on these two? Ultimately that's okay if there's nothing wrong with the drives and access won't diminish further.

Help please?
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  #7  
08-10-2017, 06:09 PM
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You need to test the drive on another computer.

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  #8  
08-11-2017, 04:31 AM
DigitalDanny DigitalDanny is offline
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Is the drive still reading in Device Manager and asking you to safely remove it?
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  #9  
02-18-2018, 03:04 AM
Reading Bug Reading Bug is offline
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Per Lordsmurf's advice, I want to stick to 2 TB Fantoms. I just ordered another (my first since this thread was started) to find a nice little sheet inside informing that the drive can be formatted to a capacity greater than 2 TB. I plug in and, lo and behold, it's actually a 3 TB drive.

I can reformat to create partitions but I'm worried the physical build is the real measurement i.e. partitions don't matter; it's built to hold 3 TB and that's no good. Even with partitioning starting a diagnostic on HD Tune shows 3 TB, so it's definitely a 3 TB build.

Either way I'm annoyed at Fantom for selling me a drive I didn't want. This doesn't seem like a mistake so should I send it back? Or does partitioning the drive make all the measureable difference and I'm fine just reformatting?

Thanks!

P.S. As an update I believe my earlier problem was with the driver. I have still not been able to get my other Fantoms on the 3.0 USB. Not too happy with them right now.
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  #10  
02-18-2018, 09:38 AM
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That's terrible.

1.5/3/6tb form factor drives have issues. For whatever reason, those size drives do not last as long as the 1/2/4/8tb sizes. I've long had anecdotal evidence of this, not liking 1.5tb especially, but the Backblaze stats really showed this in recent years.

That "free terabyte" is useless. That's not what we want or expect when getting a 2tb drive.

I've not had any issues with Fantom USB3, 2tb, or otherwise. This is the first I've heard of this.

The main reason for 2tb is the backwards compatibility. The 3tb drive won't have it. So if I need to get a non-compatible drive, strictly for Windows 7+ use, I'd grab a 4tb.

Note that Windows Update can cause problems, so loss of USB3 could always be related. I'd not be surprised if that was a root cause.

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  #11  
02-18-2018, 04:12 PM
Reading Bug Reading Bug is offline
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Yeah, screw this.

I think I'm going to return it and just get a couple of 1TB portable Seagates to hold me over. I suppose my other option would be a 4TB Fantom, but I don't need that much space, don't want to spend the money and frankly don't know why I should trust it will actually be 4TB.

If Fantom had a phone number for customer service rather than email tag, I might investigate further. But I just don't have time to play that game.

Thanks as always LS.
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  #12  
09-15-2018, 07:04 AM
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As an update, those 5tb Seagate drives are working amaizingly well.
Only $120 each from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LZP2B23/?tag=thdifa-20
Great deal for the space you get.

I now use several for myself, and it has really cut down on heat and noise being generated by those bigger 3.5" drives that I had on more than not. My Fantoms are all now relegated to archival use or file transfers only. My WD Mac drives are either backups or just unused.

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