User Guides Hard Disk Failure and Bit Torrent

Discussion in 'Reviews and Guides' started by ultra vires, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. ultra vires

    ultra vires Active Member

    If you are a bit torrent junkie who satisfies his daily dose of movies, serials, software, etc... There is a very good chance that you might have heard of Bit Torrent wearing your HDDs. So, all that you have read on net, is it just crap or there is some truth behind it??

    Well using Bit Torrent does speed up the wear of your HDD’s but its not going to kill it in a few months. There are people who will swear by the fact that HDD are meant to store data and this is what they do, so BT is nothing to be worried about. Let’s not argue about whether it does that or not (will come to that latter), rather lets discuss about how to save your HDD from BT burnout.

    HDD Temps

    Running those PC’s all night long with BT maxing out your connection does take a toll on your HDD. With constant read and write over a long period of time the HDDs tend to heat up (you might have noticed that same with LAN transfers). It does lead to decline in the HDD life (however small it maybe). So how to protect it?? Try not to download for long period of time, but if you cant do without it make sure that you attach a fan to your HDD and there is ample space for the Hot air from HDD to move out of the cabinet.

    Dedicated BT drive

    Try and not to download through BT to your main HDD which contains all your movies and documents. If you have that old 8 giger lying around make that a dedicated BT drive and use it for downloading. It does hurt to loose 100 of GBs of data.

    Larger Cache Space

    We are going to tackle frequent writes to HDD by increasing the limit that our torrent client uses to cache files before writing.

    BT Clients Cache Limit ( The best way to tackle the problem)

    In utorrent go to Preferences -> advanced -> Disk cache and change the size. Personally I use 35mb because I have a fast connection so it takes max 5 minutes to reach that amount and its short enough that I don’t loose too much data if utorrent crashes.

    Edit : Azureus can do the same and you can also view the read-writes saved due to cache and set an optimal limit for yourself

    Note : Remember not to set the cache value too high , you will loose any data in cache if utorrent crashes.


    When I made my old trusty computer be my downloading rig I could see the HDD light flutter for long times, it had 256mb ram. After I upgraded to 1 GB the lighting up of HDD led was less frequent. Yes I know there are like 100 of factors to this point but increasing RAM does help.

    Btw higher speed connections ( read 2Mbps and above ) magnify the effect as compared to our standard Indian speeds of 256Kbps.
    Now before I finish up the article let me cover both the views.

    HDD Failure and Bit Torrent are not related!! (Crap I wasted my time reading this article)
    • HDD’s are meant to store, read and write data and this is what they are doing.
    • Those 10k RPM network drives don’t fail so why will my 7.2k RPM drive will.
    • Bit Torrent is like any other software it reads and writes data.

    Bit Torrent does affect HDDs... Why?

    Bit Torrent was made in such a way that files could be distributed faster among the users, for that files were divided into tiny little pieces. Now when the cache limit is low these piece downloads generate a lot of reads and writes to the HDD. If you don’t believe me set the cache limit to 0 Mb and see the magic.

    When the HDDs run for long hours at go and generate as much heat in your cabinet ( thanx to Bit Torrent) it does take your toll on HDD. You can also validate this point just run the computer with normal usage and note the temps (Avg it over 5 hours) now do the same with Bit Torrent running.


    Link to HDD reliability and Temps : Hard Disk Drives | Library | Hitachi's Drive Temperature Indicator Processor (Drive-TIP)

    Your criticism and comments are welcomed ( so are ur reps :p ).
    2 people like this.
  2. stalker

    stalker Well-Known Member

    i shall argue!

    can you point me to a proper review/discussion which concludes that torrents affect hard discs please?

    admirable though your effort is,

    until you can provide legit proof that it actually does affect the hdd, i dont see the point behind having this thread!
  3. nukeu666

    nukeu666 Well-Known Member

    turning off cache on bittorrent is like keeping your comp on permanent defrag

    its going to stress the hdd to death

    any cache more than 1mb is decent
  4. ultra vires

    ultra vires Active Member

    As i said before .. the main aim of this was to prevent HDD thrashing.

    The whole concept of HDD thrashing is arguable. that why i wrote points from both the camps, its up to you to decide :)
  5. Saiyan

    Saiyan The L33t Admeen
    Super Mod

    ^I RMAed 3 hdd in 6 months (Nov 07 to April 08) and all those are my torrent drives :(. Started using utorrent now and no issues so far *touchwood*. Was using Azureus before, am not sure if it had the option set the cache n all.
  6. ultra vires

    ultra vires Active Member

    Azureus also has that option and you can also view the disk read writes saved due to caching and choose a optimal value :)
  7. vinaycm

    vinaycm Active Member

    I've one 200GB WD drive that's running continusly (for BT downloads) for almost four years & still no probs..
  8. VanishingNerd

    VanishingNerd New Member

    My Seagate 500G developed bad sectors within a week of it being made torrent drive. Guess where the bad sectors appeared!! Right where the torrents were being written. Actually I remember it was a zipped piece of Grey's Anatomy episode that got the bad sector first followed by a piece of Gossip Girl. I am using a EeePC now along with a dedicated WD passport 160G for torrents. Works pretty well. Although I will bump the cache size even more, considering the EeePC has 2GB of ram installed and I can safely increase the cache as the chances of utorrent crashing or being forcibly closed by shutdown are slim, because of the battery backup. utorrent and peerguardian are the only things running on it.
  9. ronnie_gogs

    ronnie_gogs Morphing from a Geek to a Nerd
    Veteran tht u mention 160 GB HDD is littered with bad sectors...all where the downloads happened....

    Made a backup and now just waiting for the HDD to die :kill:.... :D and thn RMA....
  10. ultra vires

    ultra vires Active Member

    You can RMA the HDD citing bad sectors as the reason. They replace HDD if bad sectors occur :)
  11. techfreak

    techfreak Active Member

  12. ultra vires

    ultra vires Active Member

    Everything in that page is fine.

    Just uncheck the box that says disable windows caching of disk writes.
  13. bottle

    bottle Caffeine Addict
    Super Mod

    apparently i read long ago its an issue with high speed connections 1mbps and above and especially while seeding multiple torrents where the drive has to access different parts of a drive with short intervals. form of stress.

    on low speed connections i doubt if its an issue since I have been using a raptor as a download drive and its holding up for the last 4 years with no issues or bad sectors.
  14. ronnie_gogs

    ronnie_gogs Morphing from a Geek to a Nerd

    I know but i am too lazy to go for RMA when I have a working system....
    installing os ... configuring....way too much effort....RMA only when its needed :bleh:
  15. -nsan-ty

    -nsan-ty New Member

    It definitely has that option and details as well ;) ( Azureus > Utorrent :eek:hyeah:)

  16. hammerhead

    hammerhead New Member

    I agree Vuze>utorrent. I used Azureus for over 3 years on my 40GB WD and 160GB seagate without even one bad sector on either. Either that or I am plain lucky.
  17. ultra vires

    ultra vires Active Member

    ^^ The reason you didn't get bad sectors with torrents is that you have a slow connection ( 256 Kbps ). Just upgrade to a 2Mbps plan and you will notice the difference.

    Reason :
    The hard-disk wearing out speeds up when the torrent client fills up cache faster and writes to the disk ( that happens a lot with higher speed connections).

    Thats why i have written a not also...
  18. techfreak

    techfreak Active Member

    I am seeing drop in the temps of my HDD for abt mere 2C.This may be the region ;). Thanks dude
  19. Saiyan

    Saiyan The L33t Admeen
    Super Mod

    ^Exactly re :( it all happened when i got mine upgraded to 2MBps, i seed multiple torrents atleast 18hrs a day. Right now am seeding 20 torrents (minimum size of a torrent is 4Gb).

    Earlier i started a thread asking if i should get a server series hdd assuming it might be stable.

    I always ensure that the temp of my hdd never exceeds 40c, (when it was in my Antec Super Lanboy it never exceeded 36c).
  20. Arun.P

    Arun.P Well-Known Member

    ^ why can u switch µTorrent i don't have any problem i download 24/7 i got only i replacement rma 160 gb i suddenly play with my power cable :p

    i download total 1 TB past 1 1/2 year :devil2:

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