Still alive after all these years: NEC D3835 45MB SCSI hard disk

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Recently I got around 20 old IDE/SCSI hard disks for free from a member of a Singapore technical forum and decided to try out all of them, one by one, with the help of an Adaptec AHA-2940UW, since my motherboard does not have SCSI ports. Utilizing the maximum available space in the chassis, I install 7 of them to my computer:

The 2 identical Seagate ST31276A drives are installed on the primary IDE channel while the IBM DARA-206000 6GB 2.5in drive is installed on secondary master with the help of a cheap 2.5″ to 3.5″ IDE converter purchased from eBay.

The 4 SCSI hard drives are detected separately by the SCSI BIOS. The last hard disk in the list, also the most notable, is the NEC D3835:

It’s a 45MB 3500rpm SCSI hard disk drive, even older than the hard disk of my first computer (an old 80386 with a 106MB IDE hard disk). The rated speed is at 1.5MB/sec, way below the tens or hundreds megabytes per second which modern hard disks are capable of.

It is so old that HDTune refuses to test it:

The error message said “Read Error! Test Aborted” and popped up immediately after I clicked on the button to begin the test. But do not think that the hard disk is faulty – the error shows simply because the hard disk capacity is too small for HDTune to read/write data buffers onto it for testing. Perhaps the author did not expect such an old drive to be still alive today.

All the installed hard disks can be seen from Disk Management in Control Panel, with the NEC in the last position, certified as ‘healthy’ by Windows:

Unfortunately Windows is just plain wrong and the hard disk is actually on its last legs:

The label says the manufacture date is December 1990, which means the drive is getting 21 this year. That’s equivalent to 100+ years for a human being. You will get nowhere near that for a modern hard drive, flash drive, or even solid state drive (SSD). Commercial pressure has forced manufacturers to use cheaper components, resulting in shorter life expectancy of their products, and you must be very lucky to see any modern storage device lasting more than the warranty period without issues.

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A tough developer who likes to work on just about anything, from software development to electronics, and share his knowledge with the rest of the world.

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