Secure Data Recovery, a company specializing in data recovery from corrupted storage units, released a survey that signals changes in the life expectancy of hard drives (HDDs), which are increasingly less popular on the market. According to the analysis, the durability of this hardware seems to have diminished in recent years.
As revealed in an article published on March 8, the Estimated useful life of hard disks is now 2 years and 10 months, in average. The study looked at 2,000 defective units that were sent for recovery, and based on user reports, the current life expectancy of HDDs appears lower than last decade’s estimates.
The useful life of a hard disk is evaluated by its mean time between failure (MTBF or “mean time between failures”, in free translation), that is, the approximate time interval between its correct functioning and its first critical failure.
Secure Data Recovery, on the other hand, took the devices’ total uptime into account to estimate their useful life—from their first use to the point where they failed. Another parameter considered in the study is the amount of damaged sectors along its read and write operations.
Paying attention to the manufacturer, number of hard drives and other parameters, the company obtained interesting data about the useful life of different models. Check out:
The number of working hours of the tested models indicates that the average lifetime of the disks is 25,233 hours before a failure, that is, 1,051 days or 2 years and 10 months. The average number of malfunctioning sectors was 1,548. Remember that the average number of sectors on a 1TB HDD is around 2 billion.
Although the number of “bad blocks” may seem small compared to the total number of sectors, the tendency is for the rate of problems in the subdivisions of the hard disk to increase over time, multiplying the risk of data corruption.
Hard disks are mechanical pieces of hardware. To find stored information, the optical disk inside it rotates at high speed — up to tens of thousands of revolutions per minute — so that it can be read by a moving electromagnetic arm until the desired data is identified.
This process is susceptible to failure due to the influence of several factors, such as physical impacts of the device, so it is ideal that all its mechanisms are close to impeccable since its manufacture.
The problem is that, in order to try to keep these storage units performing well enough to handle today’s computing applications, manufacturers try to push the limits with new technologies to increase capacities and read speeds, which ends up putting the disk under more stress. .
In this scenario, Secure Data Recovery identified that the most defective hard drives received were produced after 2015although the amount has not been revealed, indicating that models produced in the last decade are more fragile.
HDD is still a frequently used technology due to its lower “price per byte”. It is possible to find 1TB models for less than R$300, while an SSD of approximate capacity can cost up to R$400. The discrepancy is due to the unmatched sequential read speed of the SSD, which can easily exceed 7 GB/s.
On the other hand, hard drives still serve as an interesting option for those who don’t usually run games on their computers or have a mild use routine. For these usage profiles, Seagate recently previewed its new 30TB HDDs with HAMR technology.