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WikiForce

can too much constant load on HDD affect it's lifespan or reliability?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I am extremely worried if downloading multiple games at once and also installing some from my ext hdd at the same time can affect HDD in some way or cause strain on it, HDDs have always known to be fragile and with moving platter att there's always a chance of failure, so as you guys know from my last thread that my brother mistakenly formatted my 2tb game drive instead of his external one so i had to download many games that night and i was also installing some from my ext hdd although that wouldn't have put too much constant load considering it's usb 2, i also forcefully installed a few games that i initially didn't want because i am not interested in them but just did it thinking i need to utilize some space on my hard drive as i was still in a huge shock with my brother's extremely mistake and i had them before anyway.

 

I am really concerned about my HDD's health and longevity in long run considering what i have done to quickly get most of my important data back.


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4 minutes ago, WikiForce said:

I am extremely worried if downloading multiple games at once and also installing some from my ext hdd at the same time can affect HDD in some way or cause strain on it

Don't. Stop being worried about it. HDDs don't really wear out from writes the same way SSDs do. HDDs typically die from motor- or head-failures.


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You're overthinking this a good bit.  HDD's aren't all that fragile, and in the end it's usually user error (like in your case).

 

You won't hurt it by having it under constant load any more than normal lifespan takes into account. 

 

Needing to utilize some space so you downloaded some games?  I do not understand this concept at all.


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Yeah, don't worry so much about it.

You could write 1-2 TB each drive to the hard drive and it will be fine.

 

The hard drive doesn't care about writing to it, it cares more about working at reasonable temperatures. As long as it's within reasonable temperatures it will be happy and last a long time.

 

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6 minutes ago, WikiForce said:

I am extremely worried if downloading multiple games at once and also installing some from my ext hdd at the same time can affect HDD in some way or cause strain on it, HDDs have always known to be fragile and with moving platter att there's always a chance of failure, so as you guys know from my last thread that my brother mistakenly formatted my 2tb game drive instead of his external one so i had to download many games that night and i was also installing some from my ext hdd although that wouldn't have put too much constant load considering it's usb 2, i also forcefully installed a few games that i initially didn't want because i am not interested in them but just did it thinking i need to utilize soem space on my hard drive as i was still in a huge shock with my brother's extremely mistake and i had them before anyway.

 

I am really concerned about my HDD's health and longevity in long run considering what i have done to quickly get most of my important data back.

If you somehow found a way for it to be downloading games 24/7, then you might have some cause for concern as that constant writing of data would put wear on the motors, bearings, and read-head. Now that is pretty much a worse case scenario and you'll only start to see problems if you had a drive pinned at 100% utilization with work loads like that for maybe a year or more. If you accidently formatted a drive and needed to redownload your entire game library overnight, that's not a problem at all. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 minutes ago, Dedayog said:

Needing to utilize some space so you downloaded some games?  I do not understand this concept at all.

yeah, it sounds weird and i also felt a bit silly about it. I have issues with overthinking stuff. as you said.

3 minutes ago, WereCatf said:

Don't. Stop being worried about it. HDDs don't really wear out from writes the same way SSDs do. HDDs typically die from motor- or head-failures.

Doesn't head or moving platter needs to work hard for constant read / writes on the drive? or does the hdd rated for it's given 7200rpm or 5400rpm does that all the time and constant load doesn't affect it in anyway?


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Posted · Original PosterOP
26 minutes ago, Dedayog said:

You won't hurt it by having it under constant load any more than normal lifespan takes into account. 

is writing similar to copying or moving to another drive? because i never had a problem with that and i have actually done that with filling my whole ext 1tb fully several months back


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The motor inside a hard drive tries to keep the platters inside at a fixed rotation speed, which is typically between 5200 and 7200 rpm for "regular home user" drives.

A hard drive can stop the motor and park the heads if you have that enabled in power management. For desktop computers it's not recommended, because the mechanism which parks the heads outside the surface of the platters (to protect the platters in case of mechanical shocks) has a limited number of "cycles", it's large amount like tens to hundreds of thousand of cycles but nevertheless it's not infinite.

Also, the platters inside the drive warm up as they spin from friction with the air (and other chemicals) inside the drive, and that's why hard drives have a "breathing hole" allowing the drive to suck in cold air from inside to balance the athmosphere inside as needed. The drive heads float less than a hair thickness above the platters and variations in air temperature would make the heads float closer or farther from the surface.

So lots of cooling and heating up cycles is bad for the platters, and it's also bad for the hard drive... best to let it spin the motor for as long as it runs unless you're using the drive in a laptop.

The motor of a drive is rated for tens of thousands of hours... let's say more than 10 years.

 

Moving heads causes almost no wear and tear, like i said they flow above the platters and they move using a magnetic actuator ... electricity flows through a coil which is near a permanent magnet and variations in current in the coil make the heads move closer or further (therefore they position over a specific track)

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 minutes ago, mariushm said:

A hard drive can stop the motor and park the heads if you have that enabled in power management.

yeah, i always disable power saving for HDDs whenever i do a clean install. So it's the optimal choice?


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5 minutes ago, WikiForce said:

is writing similar to copying or moving to another drive? because i never had a problem with that and i have actually done that with fulling my whole ext 1tb fully several months back

Moving data on the same partition is literally changing a few characters on the drive.

There's a record saying "File c:\filename.txt starts at 100 MB and is 1 MB long"

When moving file, the operating system simply adds a second entry : "File C:\a_folder\filename.txt" starts at 100 MB and is 1 MB long"  and now there's two files pointing to same location on the drive.

Right away, the operating system deletes the original entry.

 

Copying... a second entry is created, and then the contents is read and written in another location on the drive. So read data, write data, repeat until all is read and written.

 

If you have two or more partitions (drive letters on the same drive), moving can't happen that easy way (just making duplicate entry and deleting original one) because each drive letter has its own folder with file entries 

In that case, moving involves copying the file to the other letter, the deleting the file from original location.

 

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13 minutes ago, WikiForce said:

Doesn't head or moving platter needs to work hard for constant read / writes on the drive? or does the hdd rated for it's given 7200rpm or 5400rpm does that all the time and constant load doesn't affect it in anyway?

The platters are spinning, whether you do anything with the drive or not. Writing to it doesn't change that, and the platter don't stop spinning when you're not writing to it, unless the entire drive goes to sleep-mode. As for the head: the head doesn't touch the platters, it just floats very near them -- doesn't change whether the drive is reading, writing, or just being entirely idle. Again, the only case when this changes is if the drive goes to sleep-mode.


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Regardless of how use affects wear, you must always consider a storage device as potentially being to fail at any time, whether it's been 3 days since you got it or 10 years. 

 

If it dies it dies, that's life. If still under warranty get it replaced, if not buy another one. Worrying is pointless.

 

Of course for that reason have backups of anything important on other storage.


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