Seagate vs Western Digital Harddrive Comparison dorktTech

Who is Better: Seagate or Western Digital?

It’s time to talk about that one computer part some of us forget about, until it breaks; usually at the worst time – the hard drive.

I personally own around 30 hard drives, which equates to about 28TB of space. 2x 12TB RAID setups (one backs-up the other) – as well as 4TB of various other drives. Why so much? Well, I run a video production company, and when you shoot a lot of events with a lot of cameras, all that content adds up. Today, I’m glad I backup all my data, because there was a time I didn’t…

Way back in 2008, I filmed a wedding, my first wedding. We shot all the footage from 4 camera angles, and I imported (tapes – yea, ew) all the footage to my computer after the shoot. I then spent the next 50 hours editing away, making the video perfect. Eventually, I was done. It looked beautiful. I turned off my computer and went to sleep, peacefully knowing that my masterpiece was ready for distribution.

The next day I woke up to a blue screen that ruined my life for a short while - my hard drive had crashed.

I now backup everything I work on, because since then, I have had 3 more hard drives go out on me. So, take it from a guy who owns dozens of hard drives, yes they do fail – it’s really just a matter of time.

That realization brought me to think about, “Which hard drive lasts the longest, and gives me the best return on my investment?”. For the past few years I have tried both Seagate and Western Digital drives, and figured it was about time I talked about my experiences with them.


Seagate:

Seagate External Hard Drives dorkTechAround 70% of the hard drives I have owned have been Seagate drives. I have only owned their 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB drives, some of which were external drives. From a speed standpoint, I always got the 7200RPM drives, and would connect them via firewire 800 to my computer (if they were external). Of course I was limited by my bus speeds and read/write speeds of the actual drives – so I was not crazy impressed with the speed. But for general work, they were pretty fast. The only time I had issues with the speed of the drives was when I would edit multi-cam HD footage. I would have trouble doing more than 3 camera playback at a time from the same drive (8 at 1/4 res). Other than that issue, I was happy with all the internal drives I bought from Seagate.

The external hard drives I purchased from Seagate I didn’t like very much, especially the Backup Plus (2TB). This model stands up, and can be easily knocked over. Before I learnt to zip-tie the hard drives to something stable, I happened to bump one of my Backup Plus drives off my desk, causing it to break. I guess that design is probably a marketing ploy by Seagate, to prompt users to knock over their drives forcing them to buy new ones.

Overall, Seagate’s new Hybrid Drive looks promising, and their standard hard drives never left me too upset. I will probably buy more Seagate drives in the future because they just work. Here is my breakdown from my personal observations of the Seagate hard drives I have owned:

Likeliness to Crash*:   1 Year: 2%   3 Years: 8%   5 Years: 22%
Quality of Build*:   External Drives: 4/10   Internal Drives: 9/10
Boot Time*: 6/10

*all of the above stats I have based purely from my own observations by using these drives


Western Digital

Western Digital Hard Drives on Desk dorkTechI have only used a few Western Digital drives, mostly because I started using Seagate and they worked ok, so I kept purchasing drives from Seagate when I needed new ones. I will say, with the Western Digital drives I owned, I didn’t notice any huge difference compared to the Seagate drives. Again, I got internal 7200RPM drives, and a couple external drives (MyBook 2TB), and they preformed up to my expectations. I did notice that the Western Digital external drives preformed a little bit faster than the Seagate external drives. The other nice feature I found convenient was that the MyBook has a little wider base, so it doesn’t tip over as easy (but yes it still tips over).

A difference I have seen between the Seagate and Western Digital external drives is that Seagate allows a user to swap out the base of the external case with different I/O base options. I have seen USB, USB 3.0, Firewire 400, & Firewire 800 models that snap into the bottom of the unit. The Western Digital drives I owned did not have that option, and you were stuck with what was built into the back. I guess if you were tech-savvy, you should know why you are buying a hard drive and get the right one the first time, instead of ordering attachments for your hard drive after you realize it doesn’t use the connection you want.

Overall, my experiences with Western Digital have been good, and I have nothing big to complain about.

Likeliness to Crash*:   1 Year: 1%   3 Years: 5%   5 Years: 20%
Quality of Build*:   External Drives: 5/10   Internal Drives: 8/10
Boot Time*: 6/10

*all of the above stats I have based purely from my own observations by using these drives


HardDriveReliablityComparision

I did find a graph that BackBlaze posted on their site that shows some data from the 25,000 hard drives they own. I guess that it proves that Seagate drives trend to fail a lot faster than Western Digital and Hitachi drives.

Altogether, everyone has their own opinion on which maker of hard drives is the best. I personally am starting to lean more towards SSD’s at the moment. I just put a 500GB Samsung SSD into my iMac, and it acts like a brand-new computer. Boot time is practically instant (ok, maybe not instant, but super fast) and transferring files is super fast. Just did a 12-camera HD edit, no problem. Also, have not had a SSD fail on me, or any of my co-workers as of yet.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below if you have something to say.

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© 2014, Payton Peterson. All rights reserved.




  • TnComs

    I just had my Seagate drive die. I’m in the process of recovering it (I hope). I just wanted to give Seagate a blackeye or bloody nose for making me go through the process.

  • saintfighteraqua

    Only external I’ve ever had was WD and it died just out of warranty, causing me to lose a ton of data. I was so upset I don’t know if I can buy from them again. (plus their software was garbage!)

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