Enterprise drives VS. Consumer drives
If you are unsure if you need an enterprise hard disk drive, you need to evaluate your priorities and decide what makes sense for your situation. Unsurprisingly, the way people use desktops or enterprise systems creates different requirements for the hard drives they choose. So, let's discuss what those differences are and how they may affect your decision.
Drive usage for a desktop vs. a server is quite large. For example, you may use a desktop 8 hours a day and five days a week in a business. Whereas a server typically is used 24 hours a day and seven days a week. In addition, the workload for a desktop is much less, perhaps 80-90% less than a server. A desktop may have only one or two drives because of the fewer demands and is typically shut down or unused for long periods. A server can have multiple hard drives for storage and redundancy; it may have RAID configurations, an operating system, and have off-peak programs such as system backups and error detection. This increased workload means servers have more significant wear on the disk components and increased heat and vibration.
Enterprise HDD are designed to be used longer and with more rigorous usage. The parts for the platters, bearings, and actuators are designed to have maximum uptime. Enterprise drives have sensors and components that minimize vibration and misalignment also.
The reliability and uptime of your HDD may or may not be as crucial to your situation. For example, if you have a desktop and the drive fails, the outage only affects one person. You may backup the PC, and it may be okay for the person to be down for a while. Maybe they can do critical work tasks on another PC so that longer error recovery is acceptable. On the other hand, if a server drive goes down, it affects multiple users. A prolonged outage means more dollars are lost, which is not acceptable for you or your business.
The firmware on enterprise drives is different as well. For example, if your desktop drive tries to recover a bad sector, it will try to reread the area several times before kicking out an error and this can take time. On the other hand, server drives will use a sector checksum to recover, if available, and then kick the error while still attempting to rebuild the sector. The typical timeout for an enterprise-class drive is 7 to 15 seconds. Additionally, enterprise drives offer advanced encryption features such 512e, which can save you valuable time and money when repurposing drives in your business.
If data integrity is essential to you, you will choose enterprise drives. Desktop drives have limited error detection, but enterprise drives offer end-to-end error data protection. Enterprise-class drives use error correction code (ECC) in system memory and drive memory buffers that ensure data integrity. Desktop drives do not offer this kind of protection.
One of the big downsides to enterprise hard drives is they cost more than consumer hard drives, sometimes 3x as much. For desktop drives you would be more sensitive as to price. Your business and what you are using the HDD for would dictate what is acceptable to spend.
Enterprise drive cost is offset by a longer warranty typically 5 years vs 3 years for brand new drives from a reputable company. For a desktop, cost would be more sensitive, but in business you need to balance the requirements for reliability, availability, and data integrity for a server.
In conclusion, it probably does not make sense to pay the extra money for an enterprise drive for a desktop/ PC. However, if your company risks coming to a stop if your server or storage fail then you should purchase high quality drives that will perform and last a long time. Only you can decide what an acceptable risk for your business is.