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best way to test hard drives?


ultra99
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Everyone will say, "Here we go again", but I'll say it anyway: I run all my drives, new or used, through SpinRite on Level 4 before putting them into service. In fact, last year I discovered a DOA WD Red 2TB drive by doing this. Of course, it went right back for RMA. FYI, There is no free version of SpinRite.

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SpinRite will read every sector, multiple times if necessary, to get all of its contents. If it has to re-read a sector to amalgamate all its content, it will trigger the drive to swap in a spare sector and mark the one that required re-reading as bad. Some people in the forums are fans of SR, some are not. I will you tell that it takes a number of days to process a 2TB drive, because SR tests and retests every sector.

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I hate to admit I never test my drives but probably should snag a copy of SR. I've had 8 x 3 TB WD Red HDDs in a RAID 6 array for exactly a year now and have been fortunate. Also have 2 new spares in original pkgs on deck as backup. I don't have enough ports on my Adaptec 7805 to use as hot spares.

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If you don't want to shell out the $$$ for SR, you can try HD Tune (www.hdtune.com/) Pro (they have a 15 day trial).  Give it a try first and see what you think.

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I use both Spinrite and HD Sentinel for stress testing. The latter has the advantage that it runs under Windows so that testing can go on while the server is running. Unlike Spinrite, HD Sentinel will process hard drives >2 TB and is typically much faster. It does, however, not do the extensive read retries if a bad sector is found. Unfortnately, HD Sentinel is not much cheaper than Spinrite but once in a while there is a good sale.

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