Hard Drives Fail More Often Than Vendor Estimates

Hard drive in flames illustration by Bob Rankin

It turns out that manufacturers’ estimates of the life of hard drives are way off the mark. As a matter of fact, vendor Mean Time To Failure (MTTF) ratings for hard drives are quite misleading.

This is according to a study by Carnegie Mellon whose researchers conducted tests in several locations and found typical failure rates of 2 to 4 percent (with a high of 13%). This is in contrast to vendor claims of 0.88 percent (PC World Chart).

The CM study also confirms earlier Google findings of 3 percent annual rate failure for hard drives of different manufacturers.

The two studies were based on observations of approximately 100,000 drives, with Google looking at its own farm of consumer-grade disks and Carnegie Mellon examining both consumer-grade drives and the ostensibly more reliable enterprise variety.

Bottom line: hard drives do fail and the old adage still holds true: backup your data, so that when that 3 percent chance of failure happens on you, it will just be a hard drive failure and not a personal or professional disaster.

[Via: PCWorld.com]
Hard drive illustration: Bob Rankin

Chris Malinao

About Chris Malinao

Chris teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the FPPF, Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation. He also teaches smartphone photography.

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