Top 4 Hard Drive Manufacturers

Hard Drive Manufacturers

These days, hard drives are frequently overlooked components of a computer. It may be a combination of the fact that the price per gigabyte has fallen way down and people focusing more on the number crunching and polygon-pushing components such as the processor and video card, but hard drives are still a vital component and they do fail over time, catastrophically at that.

When a video card or CPU fails, you can pretty much resume where you left off when you get them replaced. A hard drive dying on you, on the other hand, could mean years of work, data, and software lost in an instant.

So ensuring that you get the most reliable brand is important. In order to find out which one is indeed the best (or rather, to find out which ones had the most failure rate), online cloud service conducted a 3-year study at the end of 2013. Using an equal number of hard drives from different manufacturers, they subjected all to heavy use for 3 years and then assessed which ones had the least amount of failure rates. Based on their testing, here are 4 of the best hard drive manufacturers in the industry:

Western Digital

Western Digital has been around since 1970, after being founded by a former Motorola employee under the name General Digital. Its original products were MOS test equipment, but they eventually became a specialty semiconductor maker.

They changed their name to Western Digital in 1971 and began making hard disk drive controllers in the early 80s. They managed to secure a contract with IBM as the exclusive supplier of the controllers used in the PC/AT. The controller they supplied, the WD1003, was the precursor to the ATA interface that they co-developed with Control Data Corp (which is now known as Seagate) and Compaq.

Western Digital used to be considered as second only to Seagate Technology in terms of sales, but they have since overtaken the competitor after merging with another hard drive manufacturer, Hitachi, back in 2012.


American data storage company Seagate Technology PLC was first incorporated in 1978 under the name Shugart Technology. They are known for being responsible for the development of the first ever 5.25-inch hard disk drive, called the ST-506. The prototype had 5 megabytes of storage capacity, which was a huge amount at the time.

They became one of the biggest suppliers of storage devices in the 80s and was actually the most successful until they were overtaken by Western Digital in the last few years. Still, they are a very close second and has also acquired other companies along the way, including Conner Peripherals in 1996, Samsung’s HDD arm in 2011, and Maxtor a little earlier in 2006.

The sheer number of established storage device companies that Seagate has absorbed means that had Seagate not chosen to absorb or buy any of them, this list would be a lot longer than 4. However, they were able to acquire said companies for a reason – even if the other companies are still around, Seagate would most likely still remain on this list.


Toshiba is an odd 3rd placer. The name will be familiar because Toshiba is a Japanese multinational conglomerate with an extremely diversified portfolio consisting of everything from industrial electronics to medical equipment, office tools, and even consumer electronics.

The company itself is bigger than the two previous entries in this list, but their storage products are smaller due to being relatively newer, and because they are focusing more on Solid State hard drives, which is already gaining a huge market share but still relatively niche due to being more expensive per gigabyte than traditional magnetic hard drives.


Fujitsu’s storage hardware brand, Eternus, may seem new and unknown compared to the other brands above, but the company itself is tenured and considered as the world’s third largest IT services provider based on revenue, after IB and Hewlett-Packard. They’re also the second oldest IT company, having been founded in 1935. In terms of their contribution to storage devices, they are known for being the leader in the research and development campaign that resulted in both the magneto-resistive head and the partial response/maximum likelihood read channel technology. While still a major provider of storage solutions all over the globe, Fujitsu has since transferred ownership of their hard drives to Toshiba.

There are many other storage companies out there, and there are new ones coming along, especially now that solid state devices are becoming viable replacements for magneto-optical drives, thereby shaking the firm grasp that the above companies have in the industry and paving the way for new players in the market. Still, these four companies are established for a good reason. If you’re looking for a new hard disk drive, you can’t go wrong with choosing any of these brands.

Monday, May 9, 2016