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How far can published feedback be trusted?
10 replies to this topic
Posted 12 March 2012 - 04:14 PM
Hi everyone,In preparation for a 2012 project to build my own flight simulation computer, I've been reading with much interest the exchanges of information in this forum, taking note of recommendations of actual flight simmers on various hardware, and viewing demos and reading reviews found on Newegg's and Tom's Hardware's web sites. Except for a replacement PSU for my existing rig to accommodate an upgrade to my GPU, both of which I intend to use in the new setup (Corsair AX850 and a GTX 580), the remaining parts of the new build exist only on paper as a shopping list at this point.I'm finding the learning curve quite steep but I'm determined to see this through to success as many others have. I had previously elected to not seek guidance from members of this forum until I felt that I'd done my homework and that I could present a 'complete picture' of a proposed build for your feedback. However, I feel I must pause at this point to seek your guidance on the value of feedback published for example on Newegg's website.As an example, Western Digital's Caviar Black 1TB harddisk comes highly recommended from certain members of this forum and so is the same company's Velociraptor 600. However, when the feedback from recent purchasers of the products is sampled on Newegg's web site, the hardware doesn't seem to shine as much because of a fairly high percentage of malfunctioning discs and other issues. Simply glancing at the first page of feeback for these two components seems to directly challenge some members' views:Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drivehttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136533Here's a sampling of the feedback:. Windows 7 couldn't install on to it. This hard drive can be noisy...literally sounds like a pot of coffee being brewed . . .. Upon boot up my PC doesn't recognize the drive and tells me the MBR is corrupted. I tried everything.... nothing worked. RMA'd through WD and they are sending a replacement immediately.. died after about half a yearWestern Digital VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX 600GB 10000 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drivehttp://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136555Here's a sampling of the feedback:. It says it is 10,000 RPM and it runs just like my old 7200 hard drive, it does not run any faster and plays my games slower.. With this particular drive I bought 2 from Newegg and one failed within about 2 months. When I RMA'd it they sent back the wrong model (450G).. RELIABILITY! I've had the drive for a little over a year, and I am now encountering bad sectors. I've had to RMA the drive, and am currently waiting for a replacement. . Bought it in May 2010. Failed in November 2011. Did get over a year out of it, but for $300 for a mechanical drive under 1GB in size I expect WAY better performance and reliability. Now is dead...For comparison purposes, when I visited Newegg's web site during the preparation of this note and selected 'Hard Drives', the viewer is presented with a video of Seagate's Barracuda 2TB 3.5 SATA 64 MB Cache which features two 1TB discs. After viewing the 3-minute video, I got the impression that this drive is highly recommended mainly for its technology which increases storage capacity per disc and reportedly increases the access speed by 45% in comparison to Seagate's last generation of the product. Again, when owner feedback is reviewed, I as a potential purchaser is left wondering where to go next!http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148834&cm_sp=Cat_Hard-Drive-_-YTcaVideo-_-YT22-148-834Here's a sampling of the feedback:. activity light stays on on my server 24/7. No other hard drive does this. had to set it up using disk management, system would not automatically allow setup. . Woowee, this drive can be frustratingly slow to spin up. I've got it in an external enclosure and accessing it via an eSata port on my HTPC.. Bought 2 of these drives; one was DOA, other works fine. I just now received my replacement drive (RMA), and it is DOA as well!. Hard Drive was DOA. It made a funny, screeching noise when powering up and was not recognized by the computer.I apologize for being long-winded but I did want to put some context around my question which is 'How much trust should a person place on published feedback?' considering that some people will find something to complain about regardless of how good a product is. The sample feedback is dated no older than 60 to 90 days. Is this a bad time to buy hard-drives for some reason?I'd be interested in your thoughts.Many thanks,JJ
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Posted 12 March 2012 - 04:44 PM
On Newegg, take most negative reviews that seem "troll-ish" with a grain of salt. If you've got 95% good reviews, and then one numb skull has something dumb to say, chances are it can be disregarded.
- If the guy had two HDD fail in a matter of months, I began to wonder if he's just a dim wit (bad luck does happen, though).
- When someone says a Caviar Black is noisey, I wonder if they've secured it in a tin Spam can (a crappy case) or a reasonable, dampened HDD cage.
- "Activity light stays on on my server 24/7. No other hard drive does this..." How on God's green Earth could points be deducted for this?
- "Woowee, this drive can be frustratingly slow to spin up. I've got it in an external enclosure and accessing it via an eSata port on my HTPC" Wow.
Posted 12 March 2012 - 05:59 PM
Hi JJ,I do exactly what you do and always research fellow simmers and user's reviews on hardware and software. As Zach said, many of the reviews are not accurate. Are the reviewers verified buyers? Their experience with building systems? Every build is so different and the software installed is also that.For example, I just finished sysprepping (an MS term for getting Windows ready for a rollout using some specialized software from MS) a Win7 Enterprise rollout of 220 Dell high-end PCs. Same hardware and same software. Same results you would think...not. Forty of the PCs from Dell had updated hardware and slightly different components. This does happen often (These 220 were part of an order for over 10,000 PCs) and is a known occurence. So my image had one driver missing and needed updating after install. No big deal as Win7 does a pretty good job of it.Now take this example of different people doing their own thing on different systems. Some know more than others. Software incompatabilities, etc....you get the idea. That's why even here we read about high-end systems performing sluggishly and low-end systems running stellarly.Final point...keep reading reviews from as many sources as possible and take everything in, sometimes with a grain of salt, but never give up and keep reading. I never stop researching. Best wishes.
Posted 13 March 2012 - 01:49 AM
The problem with many reviews is that satisfied customers post their opinions FAR less often than disgruntled ones. With HDDs in particular, how many thousands of drives worked just fine for every one of the bad reviews? I look for an overwhelming barrage of complaints on a high-volume component like this before I draw an adverse conclusion. OTOH, some of the low-volume feedback can be very useful--i.e. if quiet is important and a number of people report that it's noisy, I'd heed that warning...or if the supplied accessories differed from what was advertised, it might bear asking some specific questions etc.There's a little bit of risk in any decision you might make, though. Good warranties from the seller and/or manufacturer mitigate that, but they don't completely eliminate it.
Posted 13 March 2012 - 06:58 PM
JJI'm going a different way I have purchased a 1TB Seagate GoFlex (on special at around $80) and installed an OCZ Synapse SSD and using OCZ caching software, I am getting similar loading times to using a dedicated SSD for FSX, and OS loading is blisteringly fast. Technololgy is changing rapidly and many review and 'expert' recommendations are out of date. I have found in the past that Samsung (now part of SG), Seagate and WD (incl Raptors) all make very good reliable drives and I buy the cheapest on special at the time. Just an amusing note, SMART has reported that my system Seagate drive is faulty and I should change it - well I've had that message for over a year now (have dynamic backups) and the drive is still to fail. I want to see how long the drive will last before it actually fails!Col Bob is correct "bad news travels fast" and good news hardly gets a look in.RegardsPeterH
Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:42 AM
Just on that HDD matter: I recently bought a new WD1002FAEX 1TB Black for my rig and I am very pleased so far. Before I had another WD HDD, which I wanted to replace after 5 years of service just out of precaution and the fact that new HDD's perform a lot better than old ones. I can't say that it's really noisy, even though I have it in a Xilence cooling case with integrated noise reduction ability - so I don't know how "noisy" it will be without that case. My guess is that you won't hear it in any scenario, as the GTX 580 should create a fair portion of noise anyway and if you're not using a water cooling system all the fans will be louder than your HDD. In addition I also have a last generation Velociraptor and I'm very pleased with it after 1.5 years of service so far. Not really noisy either and very good performance.Like the other posters already mentioned, a lot of people that write negative reviews are often too "stupid" (excuse my choice of words) to operate their hardware the way it's supposed to be. Of course there are also people that have bad luck or when a majority of the reviews are negative there probably is some truth to it. Anyway: Somebody that is pleased with his product is more likely not to write a review about it than somebody that is not pleased. If you look at reviews of the above mentioned products on amazon.com, they have pretty good ratings. I can only back that up from personal experience. So good luck with your new rig and as a last tip: If you want to know about some specific piece of Hardware you consider to buy, just ask in this forum. The people here are more likely to give you objective reviews and experiences about certain parts than on many other sites and they can also tell you if the chosen Hardware will be suited for your needs.
Posted 16 March 2012 - 01:40 AM
I have 2 WD 1TB Caviar Black in my PC...Not entirely convinced I would buy another to be honest.1 of them (slightly earlier S/No.) is very noisy - the aforementioned "pot of coffee" isn't entirely unrepresentative of the grinding it makes when seeking!1 of them is...Ok noise-wise - about on a par with other drives I have had.Both test as "healthy" and I have had no issues with data loss, corruption, installation issues or anything else that may point to them being unreliable or faulty.The performance on both of them is actually a little below what I would have expected, both in general "user experience" and in benchmarks. My older Seagate 1TB is both faster and quieter. Their selling point of "6Gb SATA" is also a total white elephant - no platter-based HD is going to come anywhere remotely close to utilising that kind of transfer bandwidth - 3Gb/s is still substantially more than enough.Perhaps part of the issue with seek and random write/read times is the fact that they are a 1Tb drive - smaller ones should be quicker if you don't need all that space on your main drive...If I were in the market for a new drive and couldn't stretch to an SSD, I would probably try a 600Gb or less Velociraptor.
As an example, Western Digital's Caviar Black 1TB harddisk comes highly recommended from certain members of this forum and so is the same company's Velociraptor 600. However, when the feedback from recent purchasers of the products is sampled on Newegg's web site, the hardware doesn't seem to shine as much because of a fairly high percentage of malfunctioning discs and other issues. Simply glancing at the first page of feeback for these two components seems to directly challenge some members' views:Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drivehttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136533Here's a sampling of the feedback:.Windows 7 couldn't install on to it.This hard drive can be noisy...literally sounds like a pot of coffee being brewed . . .. Upon boot up my PC doesn't recognize the drive and tells me the MBR is corrupted. I tried everything.... nothing worked. RMA'd through WD and they are sending a replacement immediately.. died after about half a year
Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:38 PM
Well that wasn't vague. Are they even comparable models?Considering the Blacks have been in production for 5(+?) years, there's many flavors and differences between each model.That said, the Seagate Spinpoints are excellent.
I have 3 250GB SATA II Seagates and two Western Digi's (250GB SATA II). The Seagates sound like SSD drives and out perform the noisy WDs by a pretty good margin.
Posted 20 March 2012 - 06:27 PM
Hi everyone,I thought I'd give this post no more than a week or so before closing the loop by thanking everyone that took time, first to read my long-winded question, but most important, took the time required to elaborate on their experience and offer advice. My degree of anxiety has now lowered after having read your input and can now read negative reviews in a different perspective while continuing to be alert for 'clear' signals and how to double-check such indications.So thank you Zach, Chris, Bob, Peter, Ben, Max, MrBenevolent, and finally Ken for your valuable input.When I think I've got a 'system', I'll call again on you good folks for your opinion and valuable recommendations.Regards,JJ