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Gear & Apps

Which Hard Drive Should You Buy? | BackBlaze Releases Q2 2017 HDD Reliability Results

By Justin Heyes on September 7th 2017

With the recent demise of CrashPlan’s ‘For Home’ backup subscription, photographers have been scrambling to find an affordable online solution that will not burn them. BackBlaze, a popular data storage service, has been the go-to solution for many photographers. The service recently published their Q2 2017 hard drive stats, which, as always, provides some interesting insight.


As camera manufacturers continue to push the megapixel frontier the every growing need of storage space is needed to hold the massive files. The files on the Canon 5DS R are about 60 megabytes per image, and one could assume that the Nikon D850 will be similar. We all face the ever tedious task of figuring out/implementing a backup solution. As we do many of the same questions arise, which drives are the best? How much storage do I need? What is the failure rate of these drives?

The storage pods at BackBlaze currently run off of off-the-shelf consumer drives, but in vast quantities, putting them the position to test the drives and report back to consumers.

The last time we checked Backblaze’s data was just last quarter 2017, since then Backblaze has added 4,921 new drives and retired 4,286 old drives as they migrated from lower density drives to higher density one, bringing the total 83,151. Below are the stats for the dives in their system.

When looking at the quarterly numbers, BackBlaze recommends looking for those drives with at least 50,000 drive days for the quarter. In this case, it works out to about sample size of 550 drives. If the sample sizes are below that, the figures can be skewed.

Since 8TB Enterprise Drives that BackBlaze uses are not cost effective for the average consumer, what would be the best for the average photographer? Based on the published findings the best drives seem to be as follows:



WD Red 4TB

Granted, HGST drives are usually top performers (one of the reasons why I use them in my own personal NAS), but their price can be a bit steep for some. Owning both HGST and SanDisk, Western Digital have been one of the better brands out there. The data for Seagate is a bit heavy on the failure rate due to the QC issues that they have had in the past, but they are coming back strong with their Ironwolf line.

Over time photographers tend to become a brand loyalist when it comes to storage. What ever you choose to hold your memories, videos, or work material make sure that is the one thing you don’t skimp on. Saving a few bucks on a refurbished model is not worth it when your career can be at stake.

Via: BackBlaze

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Justin Heyes wants to live in a world where we have near misses and absolute hits; great love and small disasters. Starting his career as a gaffer, he has done work for QVC and The Rachel Ray Show, but quickly fell in love with photography. When he’s not building arcade machines, you can find him at local flea markets or attending car shows.

Explore his photographic endeavors here.

Website: Justin Heyes
Instagram: @jheyesphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Michael Feltner


    8TB Deskstar 7200 rpm SATA III 3.5″ Internal

    Just bought of few of these for $249 at bh. Seagates are the only HD’s that I ever had a problem with. I always used WD in the past, but at the price for the size I had to choose the deskstar 8TB.

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