Hard drive technology has come a long way in the past several years. Gone are the days of simple internal hard drives.
Now, manufacturers are producing hard drives with built-in tech that predicts when a drive is likely to fail. These predictive hard drives have ratings ranging from one star to five stars, with five stars having the highest predictive technology.
Manufacturers include Seagate, Toshiba, WHitneyss and HGST among others. The technology used to predict failure is not made publicly available however.
A one-star rated drive has a higher chance of failure than a two-star or three-star drive however. This is because one star drives use older technology that does not predict failure. Two and three star drives have some form of predictive technology however.
There are many ways to check if your hard drive has this technology, and what its rating is.
Hard drive technology that is being used now to predict when a drive is likely to fail is the use of helium in the hard drives.
Most hard drives today use what is called platter technology. This refers to the magnetic disks that are used to store data. These have a casing, a magnetic disk, and a motor to read and write data.
In this style of hard drive, the difficulty in manufacturing these components was keeping them airtight. If there was any air leaking into the platter component, then there would be problems with reliability due to issues with internal pressure.
The use of helium replaces the air in the hard drive with a lighter gas. This removes one source of internal pressure that could potentially cause issues with reliability.
It is important to know that while the use of helium reduces one potential issue, it does not guarantee that your hard drive will not fail.
3D NAND is the latest innovation in hard drive technology. It is still in its infancy, but it is quickly being adopted by many hard drive manufacturers.
3D NAND allows for more layers of memory to be stored in each chip. This makes it possible to have higher capacity drives and smaller chip sizes while using the same amount of memory chips.
The problem with 3D NAND is that it has to be manufactured very carefully. If the manufacturing process is not perfected, the drives will not work.
Also, since there are more layers of memory in each chip, there is a higher risk of one layer breaking through to another layer, which would render the hard drive unusable.
Over the past few years, manufacturers have shifted away from aluminum to copper for hard drive bases. This is not just for aesthetics, although some people do prefer the looks of copper over aluminum.
The main reason manufacturers have made the switch is because of reliability. Copper is more durable than aluminum, which means the base of the hard drive can be stronger.
A weaker base would require thicker metal, which would cost more money to produce. By using copper instead of aluminum, production costs are lower and the drives are more reliable.
Copper hard drives are also a little heavier than their aluminum counterparts, which can help prevent internal mechanical damage due to impact. This is not a major factor in preventing failure, but it does play a small role.
SAS vs. SATA
A hard drive’s interface determines how data is transferred between the drive and the device it is connected to. The two common hard drive interface types are SATA and SAS.
SATA (Serial ATA) is the standard hard drive connection used by most computers. It has several speed grades, the fastest of which is calledUltra Direct Memory Access (UDMA) Speed 6.
SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) is a higher-performance interface that is more expensive than SATA. It has several speed grades as well, with Speed 6 being the equivalent to SATA.
Which is better? Neither! It depends on what device you are connecting the hard drive to. Most desktop computers use SATA, but servers typically use SAS due to its higher performance. Computer professionals should always check which interface a device needs before purchasing hard drives.
How to protect your hard drives
As it stands, hard drive manufacturers use two main methods to predict when a hard drive is likely to fail. These are SMART and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
SMART stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology. It is a built-in system that monitors the internal functions of a hard drive.
There are nine specific functions that SMART monitors. These functions include disk rotation speed, read/write errors, hardware terminations, trip times, etc. By monitoring these functions, SMART determines if there is any potential for failure.
Although SMART is a good starting point in predicting hard drive failure, it does not take into consideration external factors that can cause failure. For example, it does not consider whether or not your computer has warm components that could potentially damage the hard drive.
Hard drive failure symptoms
As mentioned before, one of the main reasons people pay for hard drive diagnostics is to find out if their hard drive is likely to fail.
If you had your hard drive tested by a professional, you would get a report that lists all of the components of the hard drive and their reliability.
This includes the chassis, motor, circuit board, and other components that make up the hard drive. You would also get a rating for overall HDD reliability.
The report would tell you if your HDD needs repair or replacement, or if it is operating at an exceptional level of performance. It would also list possible causes of failure and ways to prevent this from happening.
A common cause of failure is when dust gets into the internal parts of the hard drive. This can be prevented by keeping your computer in a place where there is minimal dust accumulation.
A cloud storage solution is a service that allows you to store your files online, allowing you to access them from any device. This includes phones and tablets as well as laptops and desktop computers.
Most cloud storage solutions offer you a certain amount of free storage space to start with. Once you fill up that space, you must pay for more or risk losing precious memories and files.
Some offer paid subscription plans that provide you with more free space and possibly other perks, like expedited support for file downloads or an increased number of uploads per month.
Having your data stored in the cloud is a valuable safety net should something happen to your computer or local device storage. If you are unsure about how to transfer your files to the cloud, most services offer helpful instructions on how to do this.
A backup is when you have another copy of something in case the original is lost or damaged. A backup can be a paper copy, an electronic copy, or both.
It is very important to have a backup system in place to protect you from total data loss. Unfortunately, most people don’t invest enough time into creating and maintaining a solid backup system.
There are several different types of backups you can use: paper, external hard drives, internal hard drives, online cloud storage, and combinations of these.
Using all of these can help ensure that you have a fully restored computer after a disaster. Of course, having all of these costs money and takes up space.