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08-03-2012, 12:39 AM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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A recent article discusses the construction of a hard drive disk expected to last up to a million years. It took a few weeks for ABC to pick this up, (http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/this-cou...134154367.html) but most importantly, they add that "Considering that most hard drives don't last more than a decade..."

Now, the easiest assumption is that the writers have based this claim on popular folklore--hard drives fail and fall. Technically speaking, however, how long is the life span of a typical hard disk drive? I am looking to buy one soon (I plan to ask in another thread). When considering the life of a hard disk drive, one must obviously consider decay and the quality of its parts. I have a hard drive that is fifteen years old, albeit one used infrequently. If these drives are not recommended for long-term storage--though I would think they are a better alternative to the increasing popular file-decaying flash hard drives--then are thousands of DVDs still the best archival format? I have read that Blu-Ray disks are made from better materials, and therefore are predicted to last longer (http://blog.cdrom2go.com/2011/04/lon...blu-ray-discs/). They also can hold far more data.

Does the site have any plans to make a Blu-Ray disc buying guide in the future?
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08-03-2012, 12:57 AM
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Yes, the Blu-ray disc guide (and CD-R guide, and historical VHS/S-VHS media guides) will all be out by end of year.

A typical hard disk is expected to fail within 5-10 years, depending on use, environment, and (if applicable) storage conditions. Google did extensive credible research into this area, and I've attached the PDF. A BBC article from the time did a quick overview, though I suggest reading the entire PDF in order to gain more than passing summarized knowledge on the subject.

The past decade has proven that journalists do a half-assed job when it comes to verifying media research claims. So any news outlet reporting a "million year drive" is simply passing on propaganda, as far as I'm concerned. Of course, even calling it a "hard drive" is misleading, because it's etching data into platinum and sapphire, not too dissimilar from a vinyl record. And it has a single proposed use: for logging coordinates of nuclear waste.

Obsolescence affects archivability more than anything else. I can't even open up documents from 10 years ago, much less worry about the media it's been stored on. The media can become secondary. While DVDs will probably last 50 years, good luck finding a functional DVD player/reader in a few decades, as it's the weak link in that workflow. Just ask any Betamax user about the difficulty in finding quality machines for transfers.

Attached Files
File Type: pdf Google Disk Failures.pdf (241.7 KB, 4 downloads)

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08-03-2012, 08:11 AM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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You'd be surprised how long some hard drives last. I have a 20+ year old 40MB SCSI drive here kicking along just fine. 25+ year old Seagate ST-225/412 drives are still in service as well. I have plenty of modern IDE drives well over a decade old that still work with no problem too.

As for Betamax, its to be expected. The format lost mainstream acceptance by the early to mid-80s so never had as many machines produced. There are a heck of a lot more DVD players out there, so playback shouldn't be an issue any time soon.
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08-03-2012, 08:35 AM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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ive always felt the media will far outlast the players.
it 30 years my VHS tapes will probably still be fine - but finding a working vcr my be a challenge

i have a bunch of DDS and ADR data tapes i cant access - i cant even find a working ADR drive and they are only 10-15 years old. also the software that wrote them is long gone.
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