Wednesday, July 20, 2011

To RefurBish or Not Refurbish! that is the question! (HARD DRIVES)

Oh hello there, so nice to see you again :D

You may have heard about REFURBISHED items which are basically items that have been reworked, fixed, re calibrated, re packaged in order to be sold once more to the consumer in an effort to re-cycle and re sell otherwise well and functioning product, Most of the times, since we like new and shiny and "un-handled" these products are cut  down in price, we have to make clear, these are not Used(mostly)  and worn out items, that you find in outlets, here is a little deeper explanation:

he is such a great sales man!

As the guy in the video claims, Refurbished can be same as new, and or even better as they have been quality checked twice!, but there is a bit of lie and truth to this, because you may or not be getting USED hardware, even if the plastics and covers are replaced.

Ive dealt with Refurbished parts all my work life,and there are a few situations where you may or not want a refurbished item.

 The number one reason for Refurbished Laptops is Broken /damaged and or faulty LCD/LED panel, Shipping and handling can be a bitch sometimes and retailers have to send back these products to manufacturer, the hard drive memory, keyboard and other parts, are still  in brand new working conditions, so the manufacturer, simply replaces the panels with new ones and reships the product for sale, of course they are obligated by law to mark these items as refurbish, but in the end you end up with a new product that just suffered a minor seat back , and cheaper!


Lets say you buy a 2 TB hard drive, and fill it up with your stuff, to only have it die within the firsts months, well, glad you have a 2-3 year warranty and can just bother the manufacturer for a replacement,and true to their word, you get a brand new hard drive!, no trick here you just send yours back, they actually give you a new one, but where things start to get ugly is what they do with yours!

Like i talked about in a recent post (Hard Drives Backup!) , hard drives are mechanical miracles that store  data, and that new 2 tb drive you sent for warranty, may have failed in so many ways, upon arrival to the manufacturer, they tear it down at the lab and inspect its components, Platters, heads, arms, magnets, motors and replace what ever part was damaged for another, and you guessed it, from another returned drive (or new ones in some cases)

all those moving parts! all that wear!

Lets say  your hard drive's motor went kaput, and they put in a fairly new one inside and resell as Refurbished, if it was not for the motor the disk would have probably lasted you years reliably, and will now to the lucky fellow that lands his hands on it when resold!

But what if the motor put in is "in working condition" but used for a few months, or maybe the platters belong to a hard drive that was used by someone else before (they zero fill /magneticlaly reshape the tracks at factory so no risk of personal data theft when you claim warranty here folks) with its matching heads, that are about to fail, or fall off the arm actuator, the magnets coils might seem ok, but maybe are loose from use! the next unlucky fellow to buy this refurbished drive might, get the short end of the stick and have the drive fail within days or months of use with a much greater chance than a new drive.

Refurbished hard drives are often sold at half price from their new counterparts, BUT with a limited 3-6 months Warranty, and yes you get another Refurbished for a replacement.

In my experience Refurbished hard drives are just a big NOPE, with 3-6 months of warranty and an even bigger probability of failure than  new ones,   you cant expect to feel secured finding out the drive is closer to its death,  what would you use these drives for?

Assuming you do backup your data to DVD's and or Usb sticks (go do it NOW D:) you could buy one of these babies and gamble it out, in the end you may never have a problem.

Use them in a RAID-1 array, putting two drives of the same size to Mirror each other constantly and under the hood, and in the case of one's failure, you just swap it out for another and loose nothing, 

You can Raid-0 them and aggregate them together to create a drive twice as big and fast, for un-important fast loading, volatiles, like Temp folder, Caches Work folders Video storage ,games  and other files that you just need to work on, and delete in a couple of hours-days and that can die out without affecting your life-work

You can just plug them in as a form of backup, filling it up with a copy of your data, store it in a safe place spot, and hope it works well the next time you use it-need it! because sometimes a 4gig DVD is not enough and 500Gb of flash media or SSD are still too costly.

I have personaly aquired 4 refurbished drives over the years a 80Gb, 160Gb, 320gb and 500gb, the 80 Gb one was slow and still to this day is slow to transfer data no matter what computer i put it in, but has kept working with out a problem,  the 160gb one serves as a 24/7 file server for about 2 years and counting, the 320Gb one was Dead on arrival, and the 500Gb one, has given too many bad clusters, and keep producing more no matter how many times i "fix" it, so i cant consider using it at all.

I think i got lost in my ramblings, but i hope to have given you an insight on the topic, Be wary, ask questions and check your product! but do like me and just stay away from Refurbished hard drives!.

Stay Tunned :3


  1. now i know why my hard disk was so cheap, and failed in a year

  2. oh dang. I'm definitely geting an SSD.

  3. why do i feel the urge to buy things from the guy on the first video?

  4. That's some really helpful info man! Awesome blog too!

  5. Getting a f*cking SSD here too... LMAO!!!

  6. Maybe i should post about the wonders of SSD :D

  7. Definitley getting an SSD as a primary drive, this regular optical one I have is a bottleneck to my otherwise beast PC.

  8. Woow, Amazing post. I see refurbished Nintendo Wii's, half the price, all the time, i still wonder if they are worth.

  9. @Samuel Used Lasers= read errors fail XD

  10. You may be completly right

    Refurbished parts can or are very rarely as good as new :]

  11. Refurbished is good or bad someone tell me?!!

  12. its good for everything but hard drives XD

  13. Given how cheap storage is thesedays I don't know why you'd try and cheap out and go for second best.

  14. thats a nice insight buddy!
    like ur blog, keep it up

  15. Very informative, I bought a fridge from a place claiming it was refurbished, I think it may have been used/broke/fixed because it broke in the first two weeks

  16. I would never get a refurb hard drive, it's not worth it.

  17. hmm if i get the time i must start reading your blog!

  18. I would go for refurbished myself honestly.

  19. Wow man, had no idea that hardrives worked like that O.o