2.5" vs 3.5" external hard drives, which is more reliable?

Started Feb 27, 2016 | Discussions
Ron Zamir Senior Member • Posts: 1,193
2.5" vs 3.5" external hard drives, which is more reliable?
1
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Vikas Rana
Vikas Rana Contributing Member • Posts: 916
Re: 2.5" vs 3.5" external hard drives, which is more reliable?
2

2.5 in are more portable and can easily fits inside your pocket, where as 3.5 are heavy and you will have to carry a power adapter, which makes the size as big as of a shoe box.

Neither of them are reliable, these both expansion cases have regular desktop/laptop drives inside them. USB 3.0 connector on these case is also very fragile

If you want reliability then get a NAS , use NAS Hard drives or Enterprise Hard drives for reliability.

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Gesture Veteran Member • Posts: 5,923
Re: 2.5" vs 3.5" external hard drives, which is more reliable?
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I'll answer another way.  One would think 3.5 drives to be more robust, but that hasn't been my experience. I've seen a very low percentage of drives fail, but both types do.

Vernon D Rainwater Forum Pro • Posts: 13,728
Re: 2.5" vs 3.5" external hard drives, which is more reliable?

Ron Zamir wrote:

A very simple question, based on your experience - 2.5" vs 3.5" external hard drives, which is more reliable?

http://www.seagate.com/gb/en/external-hard-drives/desktop-hard-drives/expansion-hard-drive/

http://www.seagate.com/gb/en/external-hard-drives/portable-hard-drives/standard/expansion-portable/#features

I Can't provide data based on experience since I have never had a laptop so never had the 2.5 drives (either internal or external).  However, I always select hard Drives that are rated for continuous usage (24-7-365) and with a 5 year warrantee to "hopefully" get the best available hard Drives.

I also have a few external enclosures equipped with the same described Internal Hard Drives inside.  I believe that is the way to have the best available hard Drives regardless of Mfgr -- although all my Hard Drives are Western Digital.

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Vernon...

skyglider Veteran Member • Posts: 4,740
Re: 2.5" vs 3.5" external hard drives, which is more reliable?
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Ron Zamir wrote:

A very simple question, based on your experience - 2.5" vs 3.5" external hard drives, which is more reliable? .... snip ....

For spinner "desktop" hard drives that most people buy, my experience is that it's either a bad batch or the luck of the draw whether a drive is more reliable or not.

But even more importantly, I've found that there is a crucial difference between bare and enclosed hard drives.

I discovered that a Seagate spinner that came in a USB2 enclosure used a proprietary method of writing to the drive that is not compatible with the SATA connectors on a motherboard. What happened is that a Seagate spinner that came in a USB2 enclosure failed after about a year of use. Removed the HDD from the enclosure and connected it directly to a SATA port on the motherboard and it wouldn't work. Put the drive in a working Seagate enclosure and then it worked. Was able to backup the drive and restore it to a new bare drive.

OTOH, bare drives in external docking stations that I've used are compatible with the SATA ports on a motherboard and with other external docking stations. So I only use external docking stations now.

I don't know if all external drives that come in enclosures use a proprietary method of writing to the hard drive but the one problem that I described above convinced me to never use external hard drives that come in USB enclosures. Besides, I find it much easier to swap drives using a docking station then swapping USB enclosures. And bare drives take up less space in my safe when they are being stored.

Sky

Chris Noble
Chris Noble Senior Member • Posts: 2,642
Why HDDs fail
3
  1. Rough handling;
  2. Power supply spikes and fluctuations (always use a UPS; spike filters don't protect at all against brownouts or power-outs and don't really protect against significant spikes);
  3. Heat, vibration, plugging/unplugging under power (even USB drives).

Those three factors are much more important than 2.5" vs. 3.5" or brand vs. brand.

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 14,338
Re: 2.5" vs 3.5" external hard drives, which is more reliable?
2

3.5 inch drives are:

* Larger
* Heaver
* Typically cheaper
* Typically faster
* Come in more flavors/colors

There's not much difference in reliability. However, 2.5 inch drives are probably more convenient for mobile applications and they may be a tad more drop-resistant due to their lower mass (especially if mounted in one of those ruggedized cases). Nevertheless I strongly recommend handling all HDD's very carefully rather than relying upon their shock resistance..

StIves Senior Member • Posts: 1,077
Re: 2.5" vs 3.5" external hard drives, which is more reliable?
3

malch wrote:

3.5 inch drives are:

* Larger
* Heaver
* Typically cheaper
* Typically faster
* Come in more flavors/colors

There's not much difference in reliability. However, 2.5 inch drives are probably more convenient for mobile applications and they may be a tad more drop-resistant due to their lower mass (especially if mounted in one of those ruggedized cases). Nevertheless I strongly recommend handling all HDD's very carefully rather than relying upon their shock resistance..

Malch pretty much nailed it.

Assume that most disks are equally unreliable and you're off to a good start.  Just keep your data backed up instead.

The reliability of 2.5 vs 3.5 is not worth it on an individual disk basis, your decision should be driven on what capacity and degree of portability you need.

OP Ron Zamir Senior Member • Posts: 1,193
Re: 2.5" vs 3.5" external hard drives, which is more reliable?

Thanks all for your input!

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NewsyL
NewsyL Veteran Member • Posts: 5,736
Re: 2.5" vs 3.5" external hard drives, which is more reliable?

In terms of drive reliability, I'm not so sure you are asking the right question.

I'd buy a external 5400rpm or 5900rpm  drive over a 7200rpm model.  Simply because it is stated in some tech sites that usually there is less heat and wear and tear with the slower spinning models and that make sense to me.

In order of general reliability preference I'd buy a pre-packaged external drive made by certain manufacturers over others, in this order:

  1. Hitachi (HGST)
  2. Toshiba
  3. Western Digital
  4. Seagate

Even within that grouping, I'd consider some models better than others and some that I'd never buy from a specific manufacturer.

For example, I don't think I'd buy certain sizes of Western Digital Green drives even though the same size in a WD Black is more than acceptable to me.  I'd buy certain Seagate models over that WD Green drive.  I'd never buy a 3TB Seagate drive in any model but one of their 4TB models is acceptable to me and I might buy a certain 4 TB Seagate before I buy a 4TB WD Black.

Those are my own personal preferences extrapolated from reliability reports provided by BackBlaze that I have followed over the last couple of years.  Those BackBlaze reports have a number of pro's and con's and are the subject of endless arguments in certain forums.  They're the best mass data I can find so I use them.

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-reliability-q4-2015/

There are lots of Seagate owners that claim to have never had an issue with their drives and there are lots of Western Digital owners that complain bitterly about their drives that have failed. I can say (knock on wood) that I have never had a PC drive fail in use but I have never bought a pre-enclosed drive for my PC's, only bare drives and I use them in a PC or in a hard drive dock.

.

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