I need advice on the reliability and economics of buying OEM Hard Drives in bulk. Is it false economy?
I work for a video & film production company that generates a ton of data every month, now that tapeless video acquisition is the norm, and not the exception. We used to go out to BestBuy every so often and pick up a cheap external Firewire or USB drive that we'd archive our project data off to and the end of a job.
But it quickly became apparent that the external FW/USB drive route was clunky and inefficient. The varying form-factors of the drive enclosures and incredibly annoying powersupply juggling (we'd use bus-powered drives if they were big enough and fast enough to dump all our data, which they generally arent) caused me to investigate other options.
I came up with a plan to buy a NexStar FW/USB Hard drive dock
for all of our editor's workstations, and buy bulk 3.5" 1TB SATA bare drives that they can just plug into the docks and dump off the data. Then we'd put the drives into our media vault using something like these Wiebetech Protective Harddrive cases
(or a cheaper, reasonable facsimile).
(We backup all this data to LTO-3 tapes, as well, for redundancy. I trust neither tape nor spinning platters of glass & metal on their own, but together, I think it's as solid a backup plan as our budget allows for)
So now the question is, what hard drives do I buy? Since we generate at least 2-3 terabytes of backup data a month, I think we'd have to buy the drives in bulk in order to get any level of economy from this plan (preferably in lots of 10 at any single time, in case drive prices fluctuate). I noticed that on sites like NewEgg.com, the prices for "OEM" drives are significantly cheaper than their retail boxed counterparts. That's fine with me, as I dont need any of the screws, brackets, cables or software that the retail units ship with.
What's disconcerting to me, however, are the seemingly large number of negative reviews about these OEM drives, in particular, this Seagate Barracuda 1TB drive
(I always buy Seagate by default, mostly out of superstition, but also because I've had many more memorable drive failures with Western Digital and Maxtor drives. But I'm more than willing to be convinced otherwise).
Is this a classic case of "only people with problems post product reviews on the internet", or are these OEM drives really inherently sub-par to the retail versions?
Any advice, info or pointers to better bargains are most appreciated!