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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:24 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:55 pm
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I have at least 100 hard drives I need to test before I scrap them out. I'm getting enough of them now that I want to setup a permanent test/format station. I have scsi, ide, sata to test. Do you guys have any particular hardware you recommend. Space is a premium so something that can handle multiple types would be best. I'm also thinking it may be good to have something that can clone drives too.

The goal is to be able to separate what to scrap and what to refurb and then reformat


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:24 pm 
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There are two common methods for this type of setup.

The first and easiest is also a bit pricey. A storage device testing machine.
Such as B08VRSP7GH. These are either rack systems, like to the left, or all in one units that have a boot to live program setup, support hot swapping, even on ATA, and are full diagnostic units. This one supports format trays, so almost any drive could work with the correct tray. Including flash.

The other is thin client testers. They are rom based units with multiple connectors.

I prefer WL drive testers. Usually in the low to mid hundreds.
They are the only company on the market with current production (that I know of) that still covers true-IDE, Apple Talk, Apple SCSI (pre standard), SA-20 and also have the most recent buses like PCIe/M2
They can but used without a monitor using only the on unit display (think Altair) and buttons. Or plug in a monitor for a gorgeous GUI system.


The far more common method is to use a small form-factor or thin client machine as a host and use an external drive to usb dock. With a drive test program.
Ideally you reformat the computer to a thin OS like Mint for Linux, or micro BSD.

You don’t need specs here. Processor/OS wise only USB support is of concern.
The catch here is you need memory. On old systems make sure you have at least 512MB, on newer ones 2-4GB.
Drive test programs usually clone a section of the drive to RAM and verify the disk over multiple read write tests.
The more ram you have the more of a drive you can test per test cycle.
It won’t be any faster with 32GB worth of ram vs 128MB but it’s a lot less writing to memory. The more memory you have the longer it will last by reducing write/erase cycles.

You can get used TCs and SFFs for under $100. Watch the sales and brand new ones can be in that $100 range.

As far as docks I’ve found adaptors to be the most reliable. For actual docks you want a horizontal one, not vertical. Sabrent and Vantec/Vantech have been the most reliable for me.

The fastest way to get going with a computer as host is to download the image of Linux Toolkit from Distrowatch to CD or USB and boot directly into it. It has all sorts of test software included. Including MemTest and MemTest 64, and DriveTest 3. Makes short work of testing hardware. The LTK primarily runs from memory and takes apx 150MBs of ram.


Just remember drive testing is machine intensive. And takes a while. You won’t be using your computer for anything else while testing drives.

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