question about buying a Sata hard drive (for desktop)

Posted on 2012-03-31
Last Modified: 2012-04-19
Hi,  I do computer repairs and every so often a customer has a problem with the hard drive. So I would like to buy a few spares, I have several spare IDE drives but dont have any spare SATA drives. Just looking for a fast reliable drive, for an average computer user (so a huge drive is not required).

So I was looking on ebay and I can get an 80 gig Seagate Barracuda Sata drive, 7200 RPM, used but tested. The seller has a few in stock and is selling them for $11 each (includes shipping).
P/N: 9CY131-276
FRU: 40Y9034

I googled both the P/N and the FRU number and can not find any user reviews on this drive. So does that make it suspicious (that maybe it isnt too reliable?) Or are all Barracuda drives considered reliable?
Question by:hydrive1902
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 37791176
Do you think your customer would be happy to know their important data is on an $11.00 disk drive that is so old there isn't any warranty left?   These low-cost drives degrade over time, and you have no idea where they have been stored.  What if they were in a warehouse near an ocean?

Get modern drives with factory warranty that are still in production, and charge your customers appropriate margin.  I doubt you will have any problems talking them into paying a fair price for a drive that has a warranty.

Expert Comment

ID: 37791211
I agree with dlethe on this one.

As a secondary option you can ask the customer if they desire a used drive and quote your price.  Make sure you explain the issues that could arise from such an action and what may possibly happen due to it being a used drive.

The price of hard drives is not too bad as it is and you should probably visit a site like and specifically focus on the drives that have the best reviews, new.  There are other options to consider such as a factory refurbished drive that are available (but I don't recommend that either similar to dlethe comments)  But if it is about saving money that is what you could do.

You can also consider an open box drive from such a site or at the same time an OEM or without manual and cables new drive just the same that is under warranty.

I always use the biggest selling sites that have the best reviews and go with the percentages that the more good reviews are the best.  Once I find the drive I want to buy based on as many reviews as possible, I then search the entire net to find the best price on said drive.

You probably want to do something like this and at the same time explain to the customer the options available and the good and bad of each option.

Good luck.
LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 37791487
If YOU want to take a chance using used drives for yourself, fine, but if you do that to a client l'll be the first to advise them to sue if they come to me after a failure.  Drives are cheap and they don't fail that often. I would first rely on a local store - staples, frys, micro center. Office max, etc if I need it right away for the client - or newegg and have it shipped overnight. If you really want to stock one go ahead, but just one and only new drives.  When you end up using one, order s replacement the same day.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 37791538
Unless you have some decent diagnostics (NOT THE CONSUMER STUFF AND OPENSOURCE FREEBIES) that gets vendor/product specific counters, and do things like get cumulative minutes powered up and data revealing reserved sectors used, as well as perform a full destructive DVT, then you have no idea if they are suitable for use.

Used disk drives under 250GB are typically destroyed rather then sold by the bigger used equipment dealers.  That should tell you something more.  No such thing as a "refurb" unless you are one of the disk manufacturers.  To anybody else, a refurb is basically a poorly executed data wipe and a good treatment of an alcohol-based cleaner to make them look pretty. It isn't cost effective for most dealers to even test them.

Author Comment

ID: 37791663
perhaps I should have noted in my original post that I always give the customer a choice, I would not be buying the old drive and selling it to the customer as new. If the customer wants a brand new one I would go to my local store (staples, best buy) and get one.

Just in my experience people tend to want a low cost solution most of the time. I understand there is a slight risk in going the cheaper route but that is not for me to decide, ultimatley if the customer does not want to pay a high price for a new drive, I will sugest a used drive and sugest they keep the data backed up.

Ultimatley I feel that giving the customer options is better then me saying "I will only install a brand new drive".
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 37791888
Your customers, do what you want .. but, really, even offering an $11.00 ancient disk drive well beyond warranty, and you don't have the means to even fully certify it?  Even offering such a thing denigrates you because this implies such a choice is a valid option to consider.  It isn't.
LVL 92

Accepted Solution

nobus earned 500 total points
ID: 37792480
>>  I will sugest a used drive and sugest they keep the data backed up  <<   that they should do - even with a NEW drive ; since they fail also.
FYI i have always 2 or 3 backups of my data, on different drives.
IF you have such a backup - you can consider using used drives - but the risk is yours :  reinstalling time etc...

Author Comment

ID: 37863631
Thank you NOBUS- I agree with you 100% on this one. That is exactly what I did with this customer, I didnt go with the one I mentioned for $11, but I found an 80 gigger for $21 (and that model has several hundred + reviews on newegg). I would rather pay a bit more and know that particular model is good and has lots of + reviews.

To everyone else who posted- you all made way to many assumptions.

dlethe- just wanted to respond to your comment (on saying how just by offering a used drive denigrates  me). If the drive HAPPENED to fail then I would cover it out of my pocket and I would replace the drive and reinstall windows on the replacment at N/C. I would atleast attempt to recover the data at no charge for the customer in that case as well. Thats more then ANY hard drive manufacturer would do, so please dont say my attempts to save a customer money denigrates me. It does just the opposite.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 37863634
Thanks again!
LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 37864479
it's people that give warranty imo, not a good or bad drive (since , if a drive fails they replace the drive, not the data)
i understand dlethe's comment, it is VERY GOOD, but there are other ways to cover it, as you posted

FYI : i am using (not daily) a drive for backups and tests that reports bad at post : SMART error
if i test the surface - there is no error to be found, and it behaves normally; i even ran HDDRegenerator on it - no bad sectors even

and this for about 5 years now, it is a sata DiamondMax10 250 Gb drive
too bad i can't reset the smart data - this drive can't be used for customers

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