I have accumulated about a dozen Hitachi 7200RPM 3.5" HDs over the past 4yrs, ranging from 640G to 2T. They have proven to be mostly reliable.
I just purchased their latest 7K3000 2TB (reviewed by SPCR here: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1243-page1.html
) and installed in the my usual USB AMS Venus external case (for testing/evaluating, one can carefully
operate with this case's cover removed.)
To evaluate physical performance as well as troubleshoot, I always do a "hand test" -- place my hand lightly (gently) on the drive and feel for heat and vibration whilst it is idling/reading/writing.
Something weird I've noticed with this new drive is an "idling vibration" that feels like drives that are INTENSIVELY reading/writing. I can pull the USB cable (disconnect) to make sure the drive is NOT really reading/writing, and the vibration remains. Plugging USB back in to the PC, and actually doing some reading/writing, the drive becomes absolutely vibration-free
in-between read/write cycles.
You can think of this issue with the following analogy: it's like a nervous leg-shake habit for an over-caffeinated office worker waiting around ("activityless") for their next assignment. One he/she is busy again, the nervous leg shake ceases.
I moved the "vibratey" 7K3000 2TB to another external case (made by AMS Venus, but a newer model) hoping the 2nd case's sata mother/driver-board and/or firmware may be culprit, but the vibr. issue remains.
I'm not sure exactly what "vibration" L. Lee measured for this drive when he tested it in Feb 2012 (it rec'd a poor "5" for Vibration).
Again, the vibration is slight but it is not a mechanical issue (out-of-balance, etc) because the vibration is not constant: it disappears when the not idling but also not seeking/reading/writing ... or when you plug in USB and the PC BIOS is "plugging" it in (vibr disappears) ... it's that hard-to-pin-down (or put into words) "in-between" state.
One more example: playing music or video file, this HDD cycles between vibration and non-vibration -- methinks this back/forth is due to normal caching. If I pause the music or video player, the constant vibration returns. The music files toggles vibration/nonvibr. much more frequently than the much-larger AVI video file. It's almost as if this HDD's default state is "constant" read.