Are Chinese disk drives flaky?

Are Chinese disk drives flaky?

Summary: What is Cantonese for "sucks"?A piece in the UK web site The Register, says of some recent Mac drives:According to Retrodata, its customers have sent in a much higher number of failed Seagate 2.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Storage
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What is Cantonese for "sucks"? A piece in the UK web site The Register, says of some recent Mac drives:

According to Retrodata, its customers have sent in a much higher number of failed Seagate 2.5in SATA drives made in China and loaded with firmware version 7.01 than of any other current hard drive model.

"We're getting 20-30 times more failed drives of this kind than others," Retrodata chief Duncan Clarke told Register Hardware. . . .

Clarke blamed the problem what he described as "poor quality control in Chinese hard drive factories" - an issue he maintained affects other hard drive makers in addition to Seagate. He also warned all hard drive buyers to avoid HDDs manufactured in China.

Mr Clarke's sweeping recommendation. System vendors track drive failures closely. If there were a problem with Chinese-built drives, the vendors would certainly know about it sooner than Mr Clarke.

When I wrote the piece Who makes the best hard drives I left off the tables a Chinese vendor named Excelstor. They don't sell that many drives here and I couldn't search in Mandarin or Cantonese for the equivalent word.

Excelstor was the only vendor with no complaints - in English - about their drives.

The Storage Bits take It never hurts a data recovery vendor to trumpet drive failures. They happen at every stage of a drive's life and often without warning. Most people don't back up - silly people - so data recovery firms get a lot of very profitable business if people remember them when drives go "clank".

But the only people who really know if any drives are dodgy aren't talking - to us. You can be sure that flaky manufacturers, if any, are getting an earful. It is just too costly for vendors to ship sub-standard drives for long.

Mr Clarke may be seeing a statistical fluke or a batch of drives whose container got dropped a couple of times in shipment. What he hasn't done is presented a convincing case that Chinese drives are inferior to ones built in Malaysia, Singapore or Taiwan.

Comments welcome, of course.

Topics: Hardware, Storage

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16 comments
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  • Wow, the Mac sure is high quality!!!

    I followed your link and I laughed so hard at the following quote:
    [i]Some of the failures are attributable - indirectly - to Mac OS X's Safe Sleep feature. This copies the contents of a laptop's memory to the hard drive whenever the computer is put to sleep.
    To be fair to Apple, [b]it does warn users not to move the machine until this process is complete[/b] - at which point the light on the lid catch begins to pulsate - but it's easy for users to grab their laptops and go as soon as the lid's down.[/i]

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Only Mac zealots could possibly still believe that their beloved Macs are anything other than flimsy, poorly made, unsafe, overpriced calculators!!! "Don't move the laptop until it finishes thinking." CLASSIC!!!!

    snicker, smirk :)
    NonZealot
    • Same crap parts everybody else is using

      Do you thing Stevie boy is still building them in his garage
      zmud
      • He doesn't think

        Master Snicker merely reacts in a very knee-jerk manner to anything Apple. He thinks he is an anti-zealot despite the ironic nom-de-guerre. All he is really doing is baiting people, and he is still trying to master the skill.
        MarcB_z
    • What the hell does this have to do with Failing Segate Drives ?

      You, Sir, remind me of a Cat pouncing at his own reflection in the mirror...
      BitTwiddler
      • Cats don't recognize anything in a mirror...

        ... they react to scents, not visuals.
        Confused by religion
        • "Cats don't recognize anything in a mirror... "

          Obviously you have never owned a cat.
          IT_Guy_z
          • I'll Second That

            All three of my cats are capable of recognising themselves, each other and us in the mirror.
            nmh
      • Didn't you read the story on the Register?

        Robin linked to it and it has juicy bits like:
        [i]Data recovery company Retrodata has challenged Apple to come clean about what it claims is a "critical manufacturing flaw" affecting some hard drives used in MacBook laptops and desktops like the Mac Mini - an issue that could result in data loss.[/i]

        SCARY!!

        [i]"We're getting 20-30 times more failed drives of this kind than others," Retrodata chief Duncan Clarke told Register Hardware.
        ...
        And the drives in question all came from Apple machines, Clarke claimed.[/i]

        So [b]only[/b] Seagate drives found in Apples are having this issue. One possible explanation:
        [i]Some of the failures are attributable - indirectly - to Mac OS X's Safe Sleep feature. This copies the contents of a laptop's memory to the hard drive whenever the computer is put to sleep.[/i]

        So says The Register! They are probably lying and it isn't Apple's fault at all. Oh wait, what does the next paragraph say?
        [i]To be fair to Apple, it does warn users not to move the machine until this process is complete - at which point the light on the lid catch begins to pulsate - but it's easy for users to grab their laptops and go as soon as the lid's down.[/i]

        Apple [b]knows[/b] about this issue and instead of fixing the problem, they are telling their users not to move their laptops while the hard drive is working. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

        So my post was 100% on topic. Yes, the problems are with Seagate Drives but [b]only[/b] when they are in a Mac and it is probably due to Apple's refusal to fix a real design flaw. Apple's solution instead is to give ludicrous instructions to their consumers.

        snicker, smirk :)
        NonZealot
  • tell me something I don't know

    [i]?poor quality control in Chinese hard drive factories?[/i]
    ...but thhey are so cheap ;)
    Linux Geek
  • When are companies going to learn

    That made in China now a days is a liability, not an asset. Everything coming out of that country is crap!
    DarthRidiculous
    • But Apple is the only one having these problems

      So says the Register story that Robin linked to. If everything coming out of China is crap and Apple uses hard drives made in China, does that mean that Macs are crap? Hmm, where is the iPod made? China? I guess iPods are crap too!

      snicker, smirk :)
      NonZealot
  • I've noted several failures of "China" Seagates on NewEgg as well...

    The Taiwan drives seem to be ok...

    Your drive can come from either source.
    BitTwiddler
  • Doesn't everything come from China these days?(nt)

    .
    voska
  • My Nephews Mac Book Pro (Which I recomended he get)

    Has had to have two hard drives replaced. So much for the Apple Quality Myth. For awhile there I thought he was the fist person to get a Mac boot Virus. I'm still betting he will be one of the first. ;-)
    bka1959
  • RE: Are Chinese disk drives flaky?

    "Mr Clarke???s sweeping recommendation.
    System vendors track drive failures closely. If there were a problem with Chinese-built drives, the vendors would certainly know about it sooner than Mr Clarke."

    Please tell me HOW would they know?? I am an ordinary user, who goes to the shop to buy a computer. Nobody listens to me. Not the vendor (he already made his money - and tells me to go to hell!), not the wholesalers (ever tried to contact one of those suckers?), not the manufacturers (just try to e-mail, fax or phone them - tell me how far you get!!). Trust me they don't know, because they don't want to know. When last did you see a survey of a hard drive manufacturer?

    Heinz Iten
    heinz@...
  • RE: Are Chinese disk drives flaky?

    As a smaller data recovery company with a need to keep our records accurate have / to make the comment:-
    "20-30" times seems a little misleading, as Retrodata chief Duncan Clarke should be aware of his stats. As a company that professes to do thousands of drives it would imply that this is happening to at least 20 or 30 drives compared to the normal 1, or if they normally see 10, then they were unsuccessful with 200-300 drives, the implication to their 95% success rate must be alarming, and how come other data recovery comapanies have not picked up on this problem ? we have not.
    abc data recovery