The best hard drives??

Peter Corlett abuse at
Tue Nov 17 03:26:34 CST 2020

On Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 12:37:23AM -0500, Ethan O'Toole via cctalk wrote:
> HGST. 4TB seem really good.

I have a half-dozen of those in raidz2 on my workstation and can confirm. HGST
disks are good enough that WD bought them, declared them to be so good that
they are clearly Enterprise drives, and doubled the price overnight. Which is
why I stopped at six.

The current wheeze is to "shuck" (remove the internal disk from) externals such
as the WD Elements and MyBook. They'll contain the worst of whatever happens to
be in stock at WD and the units up to 6TB are therefore to be avoided -- in
particular, you will get atrocious DM-SMR disks or other consumer-grade junk --
but 8TB and above will get you something decent.

The downside is that they nobble the firmware slightly to have aggressive
powerdown and other tweaks to suit the intended use cases of external USB
disks. The upside is that the hardware is the same. Well, another downside is
that you have to spend a few minutes carefully cracking open the cases without
breaking the tabs so that they can be reassembled in case the disks need to be
RMAd. We've all got spudgers, right?

(You can also shuck Seagates, of course, but then you end up with a terrible
Seagate. Lacie and Intenso externals will also contain nasty Seagate disks.
Good Seagates exist, but are expensive enough that you might as well get SAS
disks and be done with it. I'm still running a (dwindling) fleet of shucked 2TB
Seagates from a decade ago when they didn't yet suck.)

Five MyBooks bought 18 months ago had debranded He8 disks in there: very nice.
The three Elements a few months back have (non-SMR) WD Reds in them, which is
OK. Three more are supposedly turning up tomorrow.

I'm generally getting 8TB disks for €120-140 each from either or Sometimes the best prices only appear when they're on backorder and
then they randomly turn up a month or two later after I've forgotten I've
ordered them, but that's fine for my needs. It beats paying €300 full retail
for the same disk just so I can have it sooner.

The shucking landscape does shift over time as shown by me getting "only" Reds
in the last batch instead of He8s previously. If you need a disk in several
years time you should do a bit of research and double-check before taking this
advice lest WD have started doing a DM-SMR line of 8TB disks specially for
these enclosures.

It also turns out that £1 ≈ €1 ≈ $1.

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