14.7 Our Picks

Over the years, we've used hard drives from many manufacturers, including Fujitsu, IBM, Maxtor, Quantum, Samsung, Seagate, Western Digital, and others. All of them have made some excellent drives and some mediocre ones, but over the last few years we've come to use Seagate (http://www.seagate.com) drives almost exclusively based on their performance and reliability. Maxtor (http://www.maxtor.com) also makes fast, reliable ATA drives and, like Seagate, has been an innovator in hard disk technology. We no longer use Western Digital hard drives because we experienced multiple premature drive failures with various Western Digital models. Although we have never had a premature drive failure with an IBM ATA hard drive, enough of our readers have reported severe problems with some IBM models that we avoid them as well. We don't have sufficient data to judge the reliability of Samsung models. Our experience is that Seagate and Maxtor ATA drives are fast, inexpensive, and reliable, so that's what we use and recommend, as follows.

ATA hard drive

Seagate or Maxtor. If you need an ATA drive, choose a Seagate or Maxtor model of the appropriate size and speed. Both companies offer multiple lines of fast, reliable drives in both serial ATA and parallel ATA interfaces. One of them is almost certainly ideal for your needs. We normally use Seagate drives in our own systems, but Maxtor drives are also excellent.

SCSI hard disk

Seagate Barracuda and Cheetah series. The 7,200 RPM Barracuda drives, formerly Seagate's midrange SCSI line, are now the company's entry-level SCSI drives. The Barracuda blows the doors off the fastest ATA drives, compares favorably in our testing to competing models from other makers, is incredibly reliable, and is remarkably inexpensive. When we need even higher disk performance, we install a 10,000 or 15,000 RPM Seagate Cheetah. We've used Seagate SCSI drives in our personal systems for years, as well as in workstations and servers owned by clients. Seagate SCSI drives are fast, quiet, and cool, have extremely low failure rates, and are competitively priced. There's not much more you can ask for in a SCSI drive.

For detailed current recommendations by brand and model, visit: http://www.hardwareguys.com/picks/harddisk.html.