Memory and Storage

Western Digital has the Most Reliable High Capacity HDDs with a Failure Rate of <0.35%

Western Digital offers the most reliable high-capacity hard drives, with Annualized Failure Rates (ARF) of under 0.35%. Or so the latest quarterly data from Backblaze indicates. The drives include the 14 TB and 16 TB models that have been in operation for 8.537 million and 5.139 million days, respectively. The WDC WUH721414ALE6L4 (14 TB) registered a 0.32% failure rate, with 76 drives dead out of the 8,450 in action.

Seagate’s 14 TB ST14000NM001G produced 370 failed drives out of the 10,781 in operation, resulting in a 1.31% failure rate. The company’s AFR has improved in the last few quarters but continues to trail WD and Toshiba in most segments.

In the 16 TB segment, two SKUs from Western Digital, three from Toshiba, and one from Seagate were employed. Most of these were truly high-volume installments, with 18,000 to 27,000 drives in operation for each model. The WDC 16 TB WUH721816ALE4Lx pair was the most reliable, with an AFR of under 0.35%.

Toshiba and Seagate offered roughly the same level of reliability with a failure rate of 0.77% and 0.81% for their high-volume 16 TB variants, respectively. We only consider the 20K+ clusters for a balanced comparison, leaving the 5,000 to 6,000 variants out of the equation.

Important Points from the Q3 2023 Drive Stats

Western Digital’s 22 TB drives: Up to 1,200 22TB drives are operational. They were installed on September 29, so they only have one day of service each in this report, but zero failures so far. 

Seagate’s 6 TB drives: The 6 TB Seagate drives had zero failures in Q3 2023 with 883 drives and a lifetime AFR of 0.88% after 101 months in operation.

Zero failures: In Q3, six HDDs managed zero drive failures through the quarter. But only the 6 TB Seagate, noted above, had over 50,000 drive days.

Just one: There were four drive models with one failure during Q3. Filtering using the 50,000 drive-day metric, two HDDs stand out: 

  • WDC 16TB WUH721816ALE6L0, with a 0.15% AFR. 
  • Toshiba 14TB MG07ACA14TEY, with a 0.63% AFR. 

Areej Syed

Processors, PC gaming, and the past. I have written about computer hardware for over seven years with over 5000 published articles. I started during engineering college and haven't stopped since. On the side, I play RPGs like Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Divinity, and Fallout. Contact:
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