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Which hard drive has the lowest failure rate?

Backblaze HDD Reliability Report: Insights on Failure Rates and Lifespan

As of Q1 2023, Backblaze managed 236,893 HDDs. The report assesses the reliability and failure rates of various models, and since its inception, the company has witnessed 17,155 HDD failures.

Backblaze, the cloud storage and storage analytics expert, has published a comprehensive report detailing the reliability of hundreds of thousands of hard drives employed in the company’s servers. On average, the failed hard drives had an operational lifespan of merely two years and six months, which is less than the minimum three-year warranty mandated by European law.

Seagate has Highest Failure Rate

The data was compiled from 30 different HDD models, ranging from 4TB to 12TB, with a focus on Annualized Failure Rates (AFR) for products manufactured by HGST (7 models), Seagate (13 models), Toshiba (7 models), and WDC (3 models). Seagate emerged as the leading brand in drive failures, with its 12TB ST12000NM0007 model experiencing 2,023 failures, an AFR of 7.46%, and an average lifespan of just 18 months. In contrast, WDC claimed the lowest average failure rate at 0.31%.

The overall average failure rate for Q1 2023 was 1.54%, a rise from 1.21% in Q4 2022 and 1.22% in Q1 2022. This data aligns closely with a similar analysis conducted by Secure Data Recovery, which found an average HDD lifespan of approximately 2 years and 10 months before failure. To safeguard crucial data, it’s essential to have a reliable backup strategy in place, such as utilizing an external storage device.

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Senior Member

Posts: 4286
Joined: 2003-03-03

#6129469 Posted on: 05/05/2023 10:52 AM Zero surprises in respect to Sh¡*gate.
What I didn’t expect was for WD to have better numbers than HGST.

Marky Mark
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Posts: 6
Joined: 2019-07-30

#6129526 Posted on: 05/05/2023 02:08 PM Unfortunately I bought a dozen of those ST12000NM0007 drives. They were a major headache for the first two years with drives dropping like flies, but at least they were replaced under warranty and I’m running RAID 6 in my server. I’ve since been using Exos drives and have yet to lose one.

Junior Member

Posts: 5
Joined: 2017-04-24

#6129840 Posted on: 05/06/2023 11:26 AM If WD reliability is so good, it’s because those WD drives are actually HGST drives (only the Ultrastar lineup). WD has bought HGST and still sell their HDDs under WD brand as Ultrastar. And i can confirm on my side they are very reliable, i’ve about 10 drives (HGST and WD Ultrastar from 8 to 22To) and i didn’t have any problems with them yet. The other WD lineups are probably not as reliable as Ultrastar.
I’ve had a lot of problems with seagate before, now i only buy WD Ultrastar.

Senior Member

Posts: 353
Joined: 2021-01-21

#6129848 Posted on: 05/06/2023 11:39 AM Something to note is that those drives are used in data centers where they undergo way way heavier loads than what is typical for average computer user. Drives in most computers just sit idle 99% of the time. So the reliability report looks shocking that one hard disk dies just after 2 years of use, but if same hard disk is used in an office computer, it will for sure last much longer. Nevertheless backup is always important thing to do. As your computer or your drives maybe damaged by other things other than just wear and age.

Senior Member

Posts: 875
Joined: 2007-09-24

#6130058 Posted on: 05/07/2023 11:35 AM I bought three 8 TB Seagate drives last year- two for a NAS and one for a mobile storage solution and two of them are with problems after 6 months: one of them even if working normally with no SMART alerts it started to make a rhythmic clunk noise and I don’t trust it anymore and the other just died — and I always valued seagate as more reliable than WD. — btw those were ironwolf nas drives

Which hard drive has the lowest failure rate?

Hard Drive Failure Rates Studied: Seagate vs. WD vs. Hitachi

By Steve Burke Published January 21, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Hard Drive Failure Rates Studied: Seagate vs. WD vs. Hitachi

PC components have frighteningly high failure and DOA rates when compared against other industries, but perhaps one of the least reliable components — and worst to lose — is the hard drive. While talking with a representative from the audio industry at CES, the point was made that «you only need to have the device fail one time before you decide to never buy from that company again.» That’s generally true, and is generally why we opt for WD or Hitachi in our gaming PC builds — I’ve personally had too many drives fail from other sources not to do this.

Online backup provider Backblaze ran an internal reliability study on 25,000 hard drives and statistically analyzed the endurance of devices from each major company: Seagate, WD, and Hitachi . The worst hard drive manufacturer, according to Backblaze, is Seagate — swaggering in with a 14% annual failure rate across all of its offerings.

It looks as if Hitachi has the lowest failure rate (best reliability) among all tested hard drive manufacturers, with WD performing second best, and Seagate performing worse than both its competitors combined (. and multiplied, twice).

Backblaze reports that hard drives tend to fail at either the 18 month or post-3-year marks. This isn’t too surprising and is in-line with components across the industry. Interestingly, Backblaze even issued warranty replacements as drives failed, then tested the received units on their bench. The company notes:

«The Seagate Barracuda Green 1.5TB drive, though, has not been doing well. We got them from Seagate as warranty replacements for the older drives, and these new drives are dropping like flies. Their average age shows 0.8 years, but since these are warranty replacements, we believe that they are refurbished drives that were returned by other customers and erased, so they already had some usage when we got them.»

Number of Hard Drives by Model at Backblaze
of Drives
Age in
Seagate Desktop HDD.15
Hitachi GST Deskstar 7K2000
Hitachi GST Deskstar 5K3000
Seagate Barracuda
Hitachi Deskstar 5K4000
Seagate Barracuda LP
Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000
Seagate Barracuda 7200
Western Digital Green
Western Digital Red
Seagate Barracuda XT
Seagate Barracuda LP
Seagate Barracuda XT
Western Digital Green
Seagate Barracuda Green

Backblaze also statistically analyzed the rate at which each company’s drives died, noting a higher initial failure rate for WD than either

or Seagate, but better stability once burned-in.


With this data noted, it’s generally a good idea to burn-in test your components upon receipt to ensure long-term reliability, as we’ve written before. For hard drives, using a tool like iometer or HD Tune (both with free versions) can help perform a burn-in test. Use one of these to root-out any rapidly-failing drives before committing important data to them.

Read more of Backblaze’s report here — definitely interesting.

— Steve «Lelldorianx» Burke.

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