I was an Equipment Engineer building and maintaining machines that make Hard Disk Drives in one of the largest HDD manufacturers in the world for 8 years. I was also given a choice to leave via a separation scheme in 2012 of which I took. AMA.

Here's proof, my old ID tag! http://s8.postimg.org/a3p6xl0it/image.jpg

Hey folks, thanks for participating with me. Continue dropping questions, and I'll try to answer them as much as I can. =)

Comments: 276 • Responses: 92  • Date: 

Halo-3-FTW1 karma

When I buy writable media, some are better from certain factories. Ie. They are typically better quality when they come from Singapore rather than India.

  • Are hard drives like this? Are some better quality when they come out of different factories (even if they are the same brand).

  • Do you know where one could find hard drives (both internal and external) for much cheaper than they are sold for in retail stores? I know they are relatively cheap online, but surely they sell them really cheap (I believe they don't cost much to make at all, unless I'm utterly mistaken).

althing1 karma

No, I would want to say that there are no exceptions to hard drive manufacturing standards. Any location that makes them will have to follow a strict guideline on the processes.

Saying that, the only exception that I can think of is when the Thailand Flood happened and WD had to reshuffle its manufacturing stations back and forth. Many things could have gone awry but we have had very solid quality control systems to ensure that the outgoing product is always good.

The internal yields were crap though. We were hitting 70's to 75's% during this time, and morale was incredibly low.

The HDD cost is once again driven by market demand and supply. Unfortunately, the best prices are from vendors who purchased those drives in bulk and are trying to rid of them cheaply before the new product comes in. Online shops MAY NOT always be cheaper, but then again, sometimes they are.

I wouldn't suggest a shop, because there are just toooooooo many of them to choose. Sorry, can't really help you here. Best of luck.

althing1 karma

Kinda replied to this already, but wanted to add on to say that we should never accept low quality products from a high quality provider. Make a complaint and get your money's worth!

If you pay a premium for a product but get jack back, don't accept it.

danthezombieking1 karma

what is the largest 3.5 inch HDD you have ever seen/ heard of being made?

I hope not 4tb...

also, I apologize for buying a Toshiba HDD.

althing2 karma

Toshiba HDD makes some of the best Notebook drives in the industry.

Saying that, Hitachi has been kicking ass in the notebook drive scene for years.

Also, 4TB for a 3.5" drive, if it isn't already being made, it will be surpassed by the time you read this post =)


'south east Asia'? Does this country have a name?

althing1 karma

If you read through the AMA, you would know that I'm talking about Western Digital Malaysia =)

Unkn0wnn1 karma

What was the best part of working there?

althing2 karma

The people. The job was madness, but the people were awesome. Its something about being in the same rocking boat that brought everyone together.

pancakehiatt1 karma

Why are hard drives so cheep?

althing6 karma

They should be!

Its purely because its an essential component of a computer system. Since volume usage is high, manufacturers can afford to sell Hard Drives cheaply, hence earning money and profit through VOLUME, and not through high profit margins. Its a very pleasing money making system.

Unlike a certain fruit company that sells millions but charges each item expensively (ahem, Koff koff, take the hint already you Fruity Company!)

Likewise, if a hard drive is cheap, people can afford it, and since storage is essential for any computer system, there is guarantee that hard drives will be needed.

"BUT WHAT ABOUT SSD's, MEMORY CHIPS, AREN'T THEY MORE SUITABLE?", you may ask. Of course they are, but for any application there is, you'll need to wonder if it will be practical.

I would LOVE to have an iPad with 1TB of storage using a disk drive, BUT i'd need to be careful in how I handle the iPad, I can't swing or shake it like I do cos I would realize that there is a spinning disk inside that might get damaged if I dropped or shook the iPad too much. I wouldn't even bother since the iPad uses memory chip storage now.

That's the trade off, cheap cheap vs not cheap cheap.

maninthesky1 karma

what brand of hard drive do you buy/recommend?

althing3 karma

I'm trying not to be biased, but I'd go in order of preference, Western Digital, Hitachi, Seagate, and nothing else.

Why? Cos WD has always put emphasis on providing the better quality product at an affordable price, whereas Hitachi is WHO-GIVES-A-CRAP-ABOUT-COST-LETS-MAKE-GREAT-STUFF and Seagate is always the best priced item.

goshie441 karma


althing10 karma

Western Digital

yen2234 karma

Malaysia or Thailand? I used to work for WD too, didn't take the VSS though :)

althing8 karma

Malaysia. You did? Which dept were you previously in? When did you leave?

yen2237 karma

I was in the Tooling Software Dept, working at P2. Basically I maintained the software for the machines (well, 3 of them) that built the drives. Interesting to see another WDM fella here!

althing16 karma

I know who you are. =)

55SSS1 karma

WD Penang, Malaysia?

althing5 karma

Nope, Petaling Jaya

55SSS-1 karma

Do you still have contact of the Safety Officer for that plant? Or could you introduce me to the Head Safety Officer? I service Automatic Fire-Suppression Systems and would appreciate any help. I know the HDD economy is not doing really well now, but I would like to make a visit.

althing3 karma

Sorry, the officer left the company the same time as I did. =(

Nineza0 karma

I assume it does, but will torrenting decrease the lifespan of a hard drive? Especially an external hard drive, and what would it actually do to it - kill some sort of I/O board? (Think I've seen an error like this.) Or will it make it slower at read/write at first, then just make it so slow it's unusable?

I ask because I used to have an external hard drive, I think it was Buffalo, and used to torrent onto it - eventually Windows was unable to transfer data to or from it, except for like... The first 10 seconds after I plugged it in. (It was via USB)

EDIT: Typo (on phone)

althing1 karma

Regretfully, yes. Torrenting will just keep the drive spinning and read/writing.

Its really not too good cos the drive doesn't get a chance to cool down every once in awhile.

Advise, once torrent is done, force sleep for the night.

[deleted]0 karma


sour_creme-12 karma

i can print one of those logos on my inkjet, and age the paper it so looks yellowed too.

althing6 karma

Sure sure.

Online_Host0 karma

Will you guys meet or beat this quarter expectations? Or will you horribly miss? Thanns

althing1 karma

No idea, I left the company last year.