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How long does a laptop hard drive typically last?

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8:39 am
August 14, 2012


Financial Samurai

Admin

posts 1803

Hi Folks,

Yesterday, I dropped my 4.8 year old Macbook from a height of one foot.  When I went to boot the laptop, it just pinwheeled on the startup page.

After formatting and trying to reload from backup, it was determined from the Apple Store my HD was bad. As a result, I just bought a new one.  Curious to know the following:

* Thoughts on the typical life of a laptop hard drive that is not based on memory eg moving parts?

* How long has your hard drive lasted?

* Would you say new hard drives are faster at retrieving and writing data than old?  Are new hard drives stronger than old?

Thanks,

Sam

Don't forget to back up your drive!  

Regards,

 

Sam

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5:52 pm
August 14, 2012


Edward Antrobus

Fort Collins, CO

Member

posts 1008

I believe that most drives are rated for something along the lines of 10,000 hours MTBF (mean time before failure). That said, the magnetic arm hovers VERY close over the platter and if it touches, your drive is toast. It doesn't take much of a bump if the disk is in use to destroy your hard drive.

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7:03 pm
August 14, 2012


Glen Craig

Member

posts 1087

Almost a half decade and a foot drop I guess will do that.  Sorry to hear about that.  From what I understand SSD's are supposed to be more durable since there are no moving parts (think first couple generation iPods versus the newer ones).

 

SSD also boots faster and shuts down faster.

7:23 pm
August 14, 2012


The College Investor

San Diego, CA

Admin

posts 1935

I have had my trusty Dell laptop since 2003 believe it or not, and it still runs like a champ.  I've dropped it, knocked it, and it looks like I've dragged it on the ground (it has scratches all over it).  It still runs though!

 

I recently upgraded to a SSD, and I'm impressed with the performance.  However, the reviews say they are still having issues with reliability from time to time.

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6:38 am
August 15, 2012


OneCentAtatime

Florida, USA

Member

posts 1778

SSDs die pretty soon within 2 years SSDs become incapable of keeping bytes, especially if you keep on adding and removing files on a regular basis.

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7:08 am
August 15, 2012


FamilyMoneyValues

Member

posts 812

My HP died after 2 years but I think a virus killed it.  The Mother board went – not the hard drive.  I gave it to my tech son and he was able to replace the MB and it works fine now.

 

This time I went with a Dell. Hope it lasts as long as College Investors!

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7:47 am
August 15, 2012


Financial Samurai

Admin

posts 1803

Edward Antrobus said:

I believe that most drives are rated for something along the lines of 10,000 hours MTBF (mean time before failure). That said, the magnetic arm hovers VERY close over the platter and if it touches, your drive is toast. It doesn't take much of a bump if the disk is in use to destroy your hard drive.

Interesting stat on the 10,000 hours! At 4 hours a day, every day, that is 6.8 years.  Hmmm…. perhaps I was robbed by 2 years then.

Regards,

 

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7:48 am
August 15, 2012


Financial Samurai

Admin

posts 1803

Glen Craig – Free From Broke said:

Almost a half decade and a foot drop I guess will do that.  Sorry to hear about that.  From what I understand SSD's are supposed to be more durable since there are no moving parts (think first couple generation iPods versus the newer ones).

 

SSD also boots faster and shuts down faster.

It was unfortunate, but after I realized it stopped working, I just closed the laptop and went to bed and didn't sweat it. It only cost about $140 for a new HD and 2 hours to get everything back including going to the Apple store for diagnosis the next morning. I couldn't have asked for an easier and quicker experience.

Just dont forget to back your HDs up!

Regards,

 

Sam

Financial Samurai - Helping you achieve financial freedom sooner, rather than later.

Yakezie Network Founder 

7:50 am
August 15, 2012


Financial Samurai

Admin

posts 1803

The College Investor said:

I have had my trusty Dell laptop since 2003 believe it or not, and it still runs like a champ.  I've dropped it, knocked it, and it looks like I've dragged it on the ground (it has scratches all over it).  It still runs though!

 

I recently upgraded to a SSD, and I'm impressed with the performance.  However, the reviews say they are still having issues with reliability from time to time.

I'm considering getting the new retina display, thinner MBPro 13" when it comes out… however, I'm sure it's going to cost over $1,650, and after replacing my HD, my 5 year old MB deserves at least another year of use!

I like using things until they die, but man… I wouldn't be able to stand a 2003 version laptop b/c of the speed and likely bulkiness? 

Regards,

 

Sam

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Yakezie Network Founder 

8:20 am
August 15, 2012


Eric – PersonalProfitability.com

Portland, OR

Member

posts 2120

I've had one defective HD that lasted about two months, but no other problems. I have heard many horror stories, so I am a big fan of backups. I am using Dropbox for everything important these days.

8:53 am
August 15, 2012


20s Finances

Admin

posts 1147

Sorry to hear that, Sam.

Good to know about the expected hours of use. This is also a great reminder that I need to do a manual backup of my files. I really need to consider an automated system of backing everything up onto an external HD (or the cloud)…. for another day, I guess. :)

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5:06 am
August 17, 2012


MoneyBeagle

Member

posts 1466

I've actually only had HDs fail in my desktop computers.  My laptops have either died of video screen, motherboard, or old age problems.

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6:49 am
August 17, 2012


PK @ DQYDJ

The Intersection of Politics, Economics and Personal Finance.

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posts 361

I've seen numbers closer to 500,000 hours MTBF on mechanical drives.  MTBF can be a stupid number (think life expectancy, except with some humans living to be 1,000), but in a vacuum it means by 500,000 hours around 65% of drives will have failed.  Even though you dropped the drive from only a foot, you can still kill it – drops from more than a foot (within reason) are usually safer since the acceleration sensor has time to react to the fall.  Still, I've bricked a few IBM Deskstars that way.

SSDs are a solid choice (literally).  Any model from the past few years will last a while.

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10:46 pm
August 22, 2012


Super Frugalette

Member

posts 484

Financial Samurai said:

Glen Craig – Free From Broke said:

Almost a half decade and a foot drop I guess will do that.  Sorry to hear about that.  From what I understand SSD's are supposed to be more durable since there are no moving parts (think first couple generation iPods versus the newer ones).

 

SSD also boots faster and shuts down faster.

It was unfortunate, but after I realized it stopped working, I just closed the laptop and went to bed and didn't sweat it. It only cost about $140 for a new HD and 2 hours to get everything back including going to the Apple store for diagnosis the next morning. I couldn't have asked for an easier and quicker experience.

Just dont forget to back your HDs up!

 

Thanks for the reminder. I am good about backing it up. I do it once a month but I always have to ask my husband to remind me how to do it….

 

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10:48 pm
August 22, 2012


Super Frugalette

Member

posts 484

Financial Samurai said:

The College Investor said:

I have had my trusty Dell laptop since 2003 believe it or not, and it still runs like a champ.  I've dropped it, knocked it, and it looks like I've dragged it on the ground (it has scratches all over it).  It still runs though!

 

I recently upgraded to a SSD, and I'm impressed with the performance.  However, the reviews say they are still having issues with reliability from time to time.

I'm considering getting the new retina display, thinner MBPro 13" when it comes out… however, I'm sure it's going to cost over $1,650, and after replacing my HD, my 5 year old MB deserves at least another year of use!

I like using things until they die, but man… I wouldn't be able to stand a 2003 version laptop b/c of the speed and likely bulkiness? 

I have a Dell, my husband has a MAC…I now "borrow" the MAC to blog. It is faster and quieter. I will vouch that my Dell has held up quite nicely though. 

 

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6:46 am
September 1, 2012


JT_McGee

Member

posts 723

PK @ DQYDJ said:

I've seen numbers closer to 500,000 hours MTBF on mechanical drives.  MTBF can be a stupid number (think life expectancy, except with some humans living to be 1,000), but in a vacuum it means by 500,000 hours around 65% of drives will have failed.  Even though you dropped the drive from only a foot, you can still kill it – drops from more than a foot (within reason) are usually safer since the acceleration sensor has time to react to the fall.  Still, I've bricked a few IBM Deskstars that way.

SSDs are a solid choice (literally).  Any model from the past few years will last a while.

~20,000 days? I guess consumer abuse reduces that substantially?

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7:57 am
September 4, 2012


PK @ DQYDJ

The Intersection of Politics, Economics and Personal Finance.

Moderator

posts 361

JT_McGee said:

~20,000 days? I guess consumer abuse reduces that substantially?

Do you leave your computers on all the time, and how often is your disk spinning?

 

Haha, it's not all consumer abuse.  Remember, MTBF is a mean, so at 500,000 hours most drives have already failed.  Additionally, it's not like new drives go through 500,000 hours of testing.  It's just predicted error rates based on a much shortened test time (say you test 1,000 drives for 10 hours and 2 fail – what does that mean?).

Think of it like "of all the people using this drive, a drive fails every 500,000 hours of use".  You should look at the useful service life of the drive to get an idea of how long you can 'expect' a drive to last.  Odds are your drive's mechanics will wear out long before it has an unrecoverable error.  Oh, and backup things you can't lose (I'm bad at this, but I'm going to do something real within a year).  And read reviews.

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4:41 am
June 16, 2013


jimsing59

Pittsburgh PA

New Member

posts 1

Post edited 4:42 am – June 16, 2013 by jimsing59


I own a Dell Inspiron 1525 since 2007 and it is about six years old. I was wondering if I could get 10 years out of it or will I have to, or should I, replace the hard drive if it shall fail? I keep it defragged so it shouldn't work that hard.

6:11 am
June 16, 2013


michael @ financial ramblings

Member

posts 196

Was it powered on and awake at the time of the drop? When a computer shuts down or goes to sleep, it locks down the hard drive. When it's powered on and awake it's much more susceptible to damage, especially from something like a drop (even a smallish drop).

More generally, my experience has been that a drive will either die within the first 72 hours (if it has a manufacturing defect; this is rare) or it will last more or less indefinitely. I'm much more likely to outgrow and upgrade the drive before it dies, though, so drive death has been a rarity for me.

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8:51 am
June 16, 2013


ConsumerFu

Member

posts 48

Financial Samurai said:

I'm considering getting the new retina display, thinner MBPro 13" when it comes out… however, I'm sure it's going to cost over $1,650, and after replacing my HD, my 5 year old MB deserves at least another year of use!

I like using things until they die, but man… I wouldn't be able to stand a 2003 version laptop b/c of the speed and likely bulkiness? 

We just bought our rising college freshman the thinner MBPro 13" with retina display. We couldn't wait for the newest version to come out. We bought the superdrive to go along with it because she likes to watch movies on her computer. I'm really jealous because it is so light and my MBPro is so much heavier. It is also blazing fast.

We drive until they die, but that doesn't mean the older versions remain our main laptops. Both of our daughters are still using their old white MBs for music, etc. Our oldest is a dj at her college radio station and her MB is 6 years old and she uses it to organize music for her shows. She keeps her MBPro strictly for school and her internship.

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