Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Review: Stay away from Rock Mobile Disk

If you use "External Hard Drive" as keywords on eBay, you will find that an image that constantly appears in search results is following:

I bought two of those in 2007. One in May and second in June, 500GB each. I paid $140+ for each. The one that I bought in May, I used to store enormous amount of pictures which are inevitable in this day and age of digital cameras. I had to use ACDSee to regularly organize pictures on it.

In about May 2008, exactly after one year after its purchase, it completely gave up on me and I regularly began to hear the dreaded click of death whenever I tried to access it. I lost all of my pictures. I had no backup. In fact I was quite satisfied that now I had this mass storage which had sole purpose of storing images, I had nothing to worry about. Silly me.

It all happened when I used Windows Disk Defragmenter. So I figured maybe this was the culprit. I checked the second hard drive that I bought in June 2007. It had videos on it and I did not use it as often. It had huge number of bad sectors. I had not used Windows Disk Defragmenter on this one. It was slowly giving up on me. By experience, I estimated that it would completely give up in June 2008, if I accessed it a few more times. I bought a 1TB external hard drive from FutureShop and transfered all of my data on to the new one and never used Rock Mobile Disk again.

Now I noticed something else. External hard drive that I bought from FutureShop, hardly ever got even warm, whereas Rock Mobile Disk heated up so quickly and so much so that you could hardly touch it.

Then I decided to open the disk with click of death.

I removed all four tiny screws. Two at the top and two at the bottom; see picture (only top screws shown):

Then you can pull the covers sideways to remove them. Following is a picture of front of the disk with the cover removed:

Following is a picture of back of the disk with the cover removed:

See following two pictures and see how they fit the hard drive in the casing. They used pieces of cardboard:

Here's another picture. I have pulled out all the pieces of cardboard and put them beside the hard drive:

Here's how to pull the hard drive out of the casing:

Look at the following close-up of the hard drive, and the close-up after that. Try reading the label and pay attention to the condition of the lable:

In above two pictures, you can clearly see that the hard drive is manufactured by Western Digital. The seal has been deliberately damaged.

I assume whoever is selling these hard drives have got a bulk of faulty hard drives which are doomed to fail after much shorter than normal use and he/she is selling them as external hard drives by enclosing them in cheap casings. The label of the hard drive clearly instructs not to cover any holes and the casing is essentially airtight with no possibility of ventilation for the hard drive whatsoever. An over heated hard drive is more easily prone to failure. Any quality external hard drive's casing should have a way of cooling for the hard drive. The hard drive that I bought from FutureShop is from a well known company and, as I said before, doesn't heat up like a Rock Mobile Disk.

If you do a Google search for Rock Mobile Disk, you'll never find the manufacturer's web site. The only web sites you'll find will be either auction web sites or the forums with heaps of complaints about this product. Here's another assumption for your thought: Rock Mobile Disk is a phony company which only manufactures or supplies cheap, low quality casings for the standard hard drives.

There is no question, these external hard drives sure look good on internet and cause a lot of bid wars which result in inflated prices. These external hard drives with added shipping & handling charges, cost more than a high quality product with same capacity bought from a well known retail store.

Here are some tips to keep yourself safe from rip-off known as Rock Mobile Disk:

  • If you are bidding online on one of these, stop. Pull out your bid if you can or hope someone outbids you. Alert the bidding site about the possible fraud.
  • Do a survey of your local computer retail stores and compare prices. I bet you'll find a better hard drive at much lower price.
  • If you are currently using a so-called Rock Mobile Disk, make a copy of all the data in it and to prevent any possibility of data loss, stop using it. You have been a victim of internet rip-off like me. Don't lament. Help prevent such frauds.
  • If you have won a bid on one of these disks and haven't paid yet, then don't pay. Negotiate with the bidding site and let them know about the situation involving possible fraud. I hope they'll understand.

If you have any further information, if you want more information added to this blog entry or if you have relevant links to share please feel free to leave a comment. You don't have to register to do so.

Be safe and prevent fraud!