How can I make sure that I pick a reliable hard drive?
I would review the warranty periods of the manufactures. While Seagate and Toshiba have two years Western digital and their sister company HGST have five years. For me, this indicates the manufacturers comfort to maintain profits without having to dish out replacements past a certain period. This is not to say that nothing will fail in the warranty time frame, just that it is less likely and the company feels that their risk is far less during this time frame.
These drives need to last for years.
Years = 2? 3? 5? 100? Most likely they will last as long as you need them, but you do need a plan for failure to protect those non-replaceable files (pictures, tax forms or whatever is critical to you) where there is a guaranty (Corbonite or something like that).
It may be worth noting that reliability is subject to the user and environment the drive are exposed to.
Situations that could cause failure:
- Vibration during read/write activity - this could be from a wobbly
table that moves when someone walk by to earthquakes.
- Heat - excessive heat build up is never good for any component in
- Shock - Fido runs by and pulls the cord and the drives drop to the
- Power surge - That electric spike of death for unprotected
- Manufacturer defect - it happens
I am sure there are more and some of these can be managed out with proper placement, fans and so on.