Posts Tagged ‘crash’

Are 5400 RPM drives more reliable than 7200 RPM drives?

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Bottom line, I don’t have an answer.  But, if I had to bet, I would bet yes.

I skimmed many of the top 10  pages that came up on a Google search and found a lot of hand-waving and very little actual data.  So, I decided to post my own theory here!

Even if there was data, it doesn’t matter.  The differences between various models of drives, or different factories, or different years from the same manufacturer, are probably larger than the difference from spindle rotation speed.  Every brand of hard drive has head crashes, and generally, it seems proportional to market share.  Every once in a while a company has a bad run, and it’s happened to almost all the brands at one time or another.

I decided to replace the crashed hard drive of my home “server” with a 5400 RPM Western Digital Green drive.

My theory is that almost all the components that go into a hard drive are designed and spec’d for 7200 RPM drives.  I can’t imagine a hard drive manufacturer producing parts that are only stable up to 5400 RPM.  The engineering and machinery costs are far higher than the price of the bits of metal and chemicals.  Thus, if the majority (or even all) of the parts are designed to run at a faster speed, running at a lower speed will generally be better for the drive life.

Besides, for this particular machine, speed isn’t that important, plus saving a few watts in power is an added benefit.

What do you think?


Explorer.exe Crashes After Selecting a Large HuffYUV AVI File

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

I’m playing with massive 20GB-90GB video captures from the TV tuner. You learn a few tricks when you start playing with 50GB files. It’s mind boggling, only a few years ago, the hard drive in my day-to-day computer was not this big!

Anyway, they’re HuffYUV compressed AVI’s. HuffYUV is a neat codec for video capture, it’s lossless, and it’s fast. I am transcoding these files to MPEG4 on the computer downstairs, but, Windows’ explorer.exe kept crashing every time I highlighted the .avi. It was either the massive file size, or something with the AVI. It turned out to be the code, HuffYUV, I think.

Installing ffdshow tryouts, which includes a multitude of codecs for Windows, including HuffYUV, seems to have done the trick! Plus, I’ve probably updated a whole bunch of codecs that were several years old on that computer.

Free Computer Burn-In Software

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

I thought that free burn-in software would be easier to find.

Every now and then I cobble a computer together from parts, or I have to diagnose a PC that is crashing from time to time.  Unfortunately, even though a PC can boot, it doesn’t mean that it’s stable and ready to go. The tool for this job is burn-in software.

I used to use the free-as-in-beer version of SiSoft Sandra, but over the years it has gotten rather bloated.  Anyway, SiSoft Sandra is more geared towards benchmarking a computer rather than stress testing.

Today, I found a great little tool that seems to do a good-enough job of testing the CPU and RAM – it also puts a modest amount of load on the hard drive.

The free tool that I am currently recommending: CPU Stability Test by Jouni Vuorio. It seems to run fine in all current versions of Microsoft Windows.


It’s a bit old, circa 2000, and I can’t find a current website for it… but it works.  There are several “high-quality”, i.e. non-spammy, websites that host CPU Stability Test. Just Google for it if the link above goes stale.

There is still room to find a better free utility, but for now I’m satisfied.  But, if you have other suggestions for free burn-in testing software, please leave a comment!

Update: A free utility for testing memory (i.e. looking for bad memory sticks) that runs inside Windows – If you’ve got the ability to reboot the machine, then use Memtest86.