Posted by: Anonymous
on April 22, 2008 11:49 PM
There are many, many causes of "spinning-disk" HDD failure, and the specifics are very lengthy. Many failures are mechanical for a variety of reasons including (but not limited to) vibration, inadequate heat dispersal, the use of poor quality materials, and poor manufacture/standards compliance (including design of/and component choices), whilst many failures can be attributed simply to the lack of design experience or a willingness to forgo quality-in-design for the sake of economics. I have even had problems with IDE interface compatibility between certain motherboard brands and HDD manufacturers. Age of any motherboard and HDD (spinning or not) and therefore tolerance shift, only tends to highlight and exacerbate such design errors.
"Maybe the repeated power cycling will actually reduce the life of the drive" - this is true in that the most likely cause of semiconductor failure is at a time when the component undergoes most stress, either through a domino effect from a fault condition elsewhere, or at times of initialisation or switch-on.
In summary, this is a very in-depth topic; IMHO, I would suggest each to his/her own; as non-spinning drives become more common, many issues (like spin-up/spin-down benefits/risks) will dissappear, some new ones will appear (esp with 3-dimensional storage), but many will remain as a testament to the widely varied causes of failure, pre-mature or otherwise.