more reliable main OS HDD's? (not SSD's)

For those of us still on conventional spinning rust for whatever reason, what HDD would you buy and why to be your main drive? Like are there certain value ranges for cost per TB, or notable reliability differences between makers for not a radical amount of money? (assume that things will be backed up but more just avoiding inconvenience, like after seeing STACKS of dead Seagates in the past they arent my first choice and if someone's got something statistically lower in failures for $10-30 more I wont be complaining over that) And avoiding shingled garbage since I heard WD is shoving it down people's throats in the 2-6tb space now without clear labeling if I heard right?

Like Seagate has a horrible rep but I don't want an accidental WD shingled drive, so what to get... (for just generic PC use - basic apps, games, lots of space for your Steam library and so forth)


Well-Known Member
Mar 18, 2016
what HDD would you buy
Personally? None, it's 2020 and you can get for $50-60 a new wd blue ssd with 500GByte that will give old laptops or pcs new life...
(Even 2007 laptops with ssds are fast enough for browsing & office tasks)


int 21h
Seagate got rubbed hard back in the day especially because of their 'DM' models having poor quality parts in them (heads primarily). However their enterprise drives have been on par with the competition. Indeed it doesn't help when some large datacentres were rolling out Seagate's consumer SATA drives driving even higher failure rates into the media. I too lost a 3TB DM model back in the day, I was gutted, still am, had no backup and lost priceless video footage, it hurts, hurts a lot, because data of sentimental value can never be replaced. Nowadays everything is backed up and offloaded onto tape too, I shall never be making the same mistake ever again!

I have been for a few years sporting 12tb Seagate EXOS sas drives, 24x7 in the rack, no failures, no bad sectors (recently just formatted all of them before going into a backup raid-10 pool).

@i386 - is bang on the money though, for a main-drive, you can grab great bargains for SSDs, you can even consider Intel's S3700 and S4600 as well as S4610 as a great enterprise endurance drive with power-loss-protection as a primary main drive for anything from desktop computers through to servers. Though if you can go the M.2 nvme route for a main drive (motherboard permitting), I'd say just do that, especially considering the stonking deals on low-usage nvme drives routinely popping up on ebay from 1tb to 2tb sizes.

I do also have a 12tb WD sas pool and an 8tb WD sas pool, both of which are going on sale.

Why did I choose to stick with Seagate instead of WD? The Seagates run cooler!

Bottom line, SSD as a main drive is the way to go, doesn't make sense to go mechanical unless you're one of those immense data-hoarders/plex-media-centre-types or where the drive is destined to play a role in the system's backup infrastructure.


Jul 17, 2016
Düsseldorf, Germany
3.5" or 2.5"? Desktop, laptop or server? SATA or SAS?
If for whatever reason I can't have an ssd as my boot drive I'd go for used 4-8TB HGST drives. But honestly, no. No more spinning rust unless I want to store > 5TB of data
I know people mean well suggesting SSD but it's drifting a little off topic... I could go into reasons why but I think it defeats the purpose.

Some people still have use or need for a physical hard drive in their desktop or laptop, maybe even their server if they aren't using a workload that cares. (like just streaming simple data with limited HDD connectors)

I left it open wanting to hear opinions on better quality spinning rust for general desk app usage. I heard one vote for HGST tho not sure why i'd choose used over new.

Open question but not needing talking into SSD... what is the more reliable nonshingled spinning rust drives in 2.5 and 3.5 SATA for desktop and laptop use/workloads, for where you don't care about the speed/iops benefits of SSD? And dont exclusively need the cheapest cost per terabyte? (else i'd just go for shucking those WD 10-14TB models) Ie if there is some higher reliability to be had that's fine.


Well-Known Member
Mar 26, 2013

the technical reasons to use SSD vs HDD as a boot drive are over. there is no good reason to use spinning rust as a boot drive. the last machine in my house without a boot SSD is my wife's computer. and that is only because, she has not allowed me the downtime to do the replacement. Her next computer will have a SSD to boot from.

while we think the question is somewhat valid. it does not make real sense in the long run.

  • Like
Reactions: Dreece

the technical reasons to use SSD vs HDD as a boot drive are over. there is no good reason to use spinning rust as a boot drive. the last machine in my house without a boot SSD is my wife's computer. and that is only because, she has not allowed me the downtime to do the replacement. Her next computer will have a SSD to boot from.

while we think the question is somewhat valid. it does not make real sense in the long run.

Alright well I guess I cant get around it then.

Fine the magical wish fairy has made SSD the boot drive. Now I need a second drive which happens to store all my hundreds of Steam games. What are the more reliable drives to go with and do people have any statistical suggestions or expert sources to quote? (whether its Backblaze or people on storage-centric websites who track failure stats or anything) Assuming i'm more concerned about reliability than absolute cheapest cost per terabyte again or i'd just shuck WD 12's. (and please don't have someone derail this into selling me on RAID1 next I dont understand how a question about reliable HDD's somehow can't talk about reliable HDD's in at least half the posts :( I'm not trying to sound snippy or ungrateful, but i'd post about helping choose between SSD and HDD if that was the top question in my mind.)


int 21h
I had the same issue when I wanted a Maserati GT, everyone kept saying it's old and dated, go Porsche/german because you get better acceleration and tonnes more infotainment features and whatnot... the thing people couldn't understand, I just wanted a grand tourer with a powerful normally aspirated V8 with a classic exhaust tone... truth of the matter is, everyone was right, the german rides are on another level, but when a man says he wants a classic, he wants a classic!

With your situation, if you are definitely going with an SSD as system drive for a desktop computer, my suggestion is find a good price for a Samsung Evo drive, Pro will be a little dearer and you probably don't even need it for your use case. As far as the storage HDD, prices have come down a lot recently, both modern WDs and Seagates as well as Toshibas are fine, just make sure it's a CMR drive at the best price/capacity point for your budget/needs. I won't mention redundancy nor backups, you didn't ask about that and I will presume you have all your bases covered.

A little tip, posting in a forum filled with serious techies/geeks requires a little bit of clarity in questions, if you maybe added "I am not interested in SSDs. I desire just one mechanical huge drive for everything." - or something similar to that, then the responses would probably have been exactly what you were hoping for.

The gents here are all about helping, and experience tends to want to steer people in a positive direction.

You don't sound snippy or ungrateful, you simply asked a question which had no limits imposed and that tends to leave the floodgates open to everything.


Well-Known Member
Oct 26, 2015
Drive reliability is a total crapshoot when you have a single drive. I don't think you're going to get the answer you want as failure rates only become statistically significant when you have a large number of drives.
  • Like
Reactions: Netwerkz101


Radioactive Member
Feb 12, 2015
I'd only call any HDD "more reliable" than any other after about five years study of ten different samples from ten different batches of ten different models :) Until then you're mostly at the bias of user bias prejudices unless there's a precipitously steep start of the bathtub curve. General consensus on what's a reliable drive type usually isn't reached until they've been off the market for a year already.

I don't think there's been any "desktop optimised" HDD since the days of the Raptor; since then, SSDs have been eating HDDs lunch for anything involving random access, and now we're even seeing plenty of PC games that are demonstrably faster loading on SSDs now. Bulk storage is pretty much their only niche now and personally I found using HDDs for OS drives alarmingly tedious back in 2012. Unless you're at the very, very bottom of the budget or supply chain hierarchy (and can't even source a s/h SSD) there's simply no good reason to use solely a HDD any more, the user experience is demonstrably worse in every way I'm aware of other than cost/GB.


Active Member
Dec 27, 2015
I tend to stick with Seagate and Western Digital Hard Disk Drives (3.5").
Main reason is availability in local stores.

Each MFG has had it's share of bad batches.
i still trust them and didn't hesitate to try out newer offerings when I needed them.
Having said that .. I have not made a HDD purchase in 10 years.
Last 3.5" WD was a 1TB RE3 in 2010.
In 2009 I purchased my last 3.5" Seagate HDD - 1TB Barracuda ES (yes the "bad batch"!)
I performed a firmware update and ended up buying more as people were dumping them.
Used the 6 Seagates initially in a PowerEdge 1900, then moved them to a 6 bay QNAP for 24/7 NAS duty.
They lasted ~8 years before the QNAP told me i better get replacements - one actually failed not too long after the warning first showed.

So, like BlueFox mentioned ... crap shoot.

If you want to avoid SMR .. the links below may help.


Western Digital:


Active Member
Jun 15, 2018
Santa Monica, CA
Back 20 years ago, I swore by WD drives. 5 year warranty, top of class performance, high reputation; surely the days of death clicks were over. I neglected to remember that mechanical drives are mechanical. WD dropping warranties from 5 to 3 years was a big sign. Needless to say, I lost the drives in rapid succession.

I switched to Seagate due to my bias against WD, and sure enough some years later Seagate started having issues also in some of their drive lines.

So my conclusion is spinning rust can’t be trusted. Even if the data isn’t critical (such as a Steam library or basic OS install), surely the hassle is annoying if drives need to be replaced.

What platform do you have? If you’re on a recent AMD (B450 or up) platform, I would probably use a SSD for the OS and some apps. Then pair an SSD with a big hard drive using StoreMi caching for your Steam library. That would give you the best of both worlds. Once the algorithm learns the usage patterns of your Steam library the commonly played games would be cached and enjoy SSD or near-SSD speeds.

IMHO even an affordable mainstream SSD is quite reliable. Just don’t buy a bottom of the barrel off-brand and you should be fine. If you’re concerned about TBW life, you can buy used enterprise drives for pretty cheap, and they usually don’t have much data written to them.