Just bought a new 4 TB Hitachi NAS oriented HDD to replace my pair of aging 1.5 TB Western Digital Green HDDs. Going through the slow process of copying my files and media over now. The older WD Green will go into a development machine and the other might make it into a HDD enclosure to serve as a media repository on the local network. The second WD is a bit faulty considering it sometimes drops completely and/or locks up and doesn't respond. Had me worried so much that I haven't made any file changes on that drive for the last year. The HGST is fairly nice. Roughly the same size as my older WDs, a bit heavier, and it's a 7200 rpm spinner vs. the 5900 rpm spinners of my WDs. Plus these current generation of HDDs seem to have a better sustained write speed. In this case, I was getting 92 MB/s writes. Nice. Better than the 65 MB/s writes of my older 7200 rpm drives and that of my WD Greens.

If any of the reviews across various sties (NewEgg, Amazon, etc) are to be believed (assuming there is even a grain of truth), then most of the current crop of consumer hard drives from almost every manufacture is utter crap. Most notably, those from Seagate are seemingly the worst with most reviewers/purchasers saying their drives failed within 4-6 months of normal use. Western Digital is next up. I ended up going with Hitachi (HGST) due to a number of reasons: 1) they haven't sold their hard drive business to a competitor yet and thus might have better quality overall. 2) They have fewer bad reviews or at least those who report failure of drives seem to fall in a wider range from 6 months old to 5 years old. Most of the recent drive purchase reviews I've seen are pretty positive. 3) Hitachi acquired IBM's former Deskstar line of hard drives and I'd assume some of their personnel too. That gives me a bit more faith in the company's products compared with my recent terrible experiences with Seagate's and to a lesser extent Western Digital's.

In the end, if 4 TB SSDs only cost $400, I'd snatch one up in a heartbeat. At least with SSDs, I have a somewhat measurable expectancy of life. With HDDs, any number of things could go wrong and poof, no working drive. Not to mention data recovery is very expensive or next to impossible (in the case of a severe head crash). I will continue to say this even though most refuse to believe it: my SSDs will outlive all of my hard drives. I'm expecting another 5-7 years of life out of my Kingston (2 years old now) and another 6-8 years out of my Samsung SSD. My second WD hard drive is about 3 years old and given it has started acting funny 2 years into normal usage is a terrible sign. Just terrible and I spent $95 on that drive years ago. Money not worth spending it seems.

How long do I expect this new HGST to last? No clue. I'm hoping for 5 years out of this $185 drive, but if it starts acting funny before then...well I'm done with HDDs altogether. I'll splurge on the highest capacity SSD when I have the cash for it. Reliability when it comes to HDDs are just poor to terrible it seems the last few years. Hell, Anandtech had a mission-critical HDD array that gave them problems to no end (and the worry those drives would just dropout/die on a whim). Once they went to a SSD array, not a single problem has come up. Plus it's faster. Sure expensive, but reliability is there along with performance. Money well spent.