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Seagate Acknowledges Problems With 1.5-TB HDD 239

AnInkle writes "Seagate's 1.5TB Barracuda has been available for a couple months from multiple retailers. But shortly after release, reports of random freezes appeared on several sites. The hang apparently occurs in Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows Vista when streaming video or transferring files at low speeds. After a couple of weeks of silence, Seagate has finally officially acknowledged the problem. In a response to The Tech Report, they say they're investigating the 'issue' affecting 'a small number of Barracuda 7200.11 hard drives.' Acknowledging the 'inconvenience' is a start, but most users expect at least average performance and prompt service from the capacity king of data storage." In a related story, reader Lucas123 plugs a ComputerWorld piece examining the question of Seagate's plans to stay relevant at a time when SSDs increasingly capture OEM mindshare.
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Seagate Acknowledges Problems With 1.5-TB HDD

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  • Seagate is good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FredFredrickson ( 1177871 ) * on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:25PM (#25726823) Homepage Journal
    I've never had too many problems with seagate, and consider them to be a great brand. I also like western digital, but when I have a choice, I go seagate for the 5 year warranty.

    As for SSD drives, I'm not exactly sure what everybody's worried about here. I don't see any affordable SSD drives, let alone any in the 1TB range.
  • What I would do... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Paul Pierce ( 739303 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:31PM (#25726893) Homepage
    Put it as my secondary Hard drive. Unless that is your only drive, I would tend to not put such a big hard drive as my main. Then the entire OS wouldn't slow down at once.

    The comments on that page are pretty harsh. I've never had a problem with Seagate and would still put it with WD as my favorites, but I am curious as to what is causing this, more cache needed?
  • by QuasiEvil ( 74356 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:32PM (#25726905)

    I have no idea - wake me up when an affordable SSD can hold 1TB or so. Until then I'll stick to spinning magnetic media everywhere but maybe my laptop.

  • by sith ( 15384 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:33PM (#25726923)

    The real problem with these drives, or the scary problem, is the folks using these in RAID arrays, or things like the Drobo. The drive freaks out, so the array marks it bad. You pop the drive out and put in a new one, or even the same one again, to start a rebuild. But another drive freaks out during that process, array says "oh crap, another bad drive!" and your data goes to /dev/null. Even though no data was ever actually lost... just bad drives.

  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:39PM (#25726989) Homepage Journal

    The 1.5TB drive is part of a family of Seagate drives, the 7200.11 drives. Supposedly the only differences between the different drives in the family are the number of platters and the size of the cache. So if there's a bug, I would expect the same issue with the smaller 7200.11 drives. (If not, the the root cause is probably related to the increase in power draw from spinning the fourth platter.)

  • by cheater512 ( 783349 ) <> on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:52PM (#25727129) Homepage

    I'd worry about a SSD being destroyed too quickly with certain database loads.

    If its mostly read then yeah the SSD would kick butt but throw in frequent writing and I'd get worried.

  • Re:Running Linux? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @07:00PM (#25727219)

    CIte your authority. NTFS is partially journaled as well.

    I smell a rat.

    FS like ext3 can be partitioned in any number of usable ways for streams; a 1.5TB drive isn't that large.

    And it wasn't that long ago that NTFS couldn't be used on a volume larger than 4GB.... then 32GB.

    And additionally, take your 235 Microsoft patents violated and cite them, too.

  • by dhanson865 ( 1134161 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @07:01PM (#25727225)

    If the rebuild time exceeds the average time of the problem behavior it doesn't matter what RAID level you use or how many drives are involved.

    With Terabytes of data RAID 5 and RAID 6 will take way too long to rebuild and your array will fail during rebuild.

    Even with RAID 10, if the behavior occurs in less time than synching the mirror takes you are screwed.

  • by Anonymous Psychopath ( 18031 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @07:51PM (#25727703) Homepage

    Bugs in hard drive firmware are completely unexpected. We aren't talking about a nVidia driver here. Hard drives are expected to perform flawlessly when new.

  • Re:Seagate is good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @07:54PM (#25727735)

    Yes Western Digital has some drives with a five year warranty, but they also still sell drives with only one or three year warranties. (Source Newegg. Model WD1600AAJS 3 yr & Model WD5000KSRTL 1 yr) When I buy a Seagate drive I don't have to search to find out if this one has a five year warranty instead of a one year warranty. Even the laptop drives are a five year warranty.

    When WD goes all 5 year I'll buy & recommend them. Until then I'm not playing their musical warranty game.

  • Re:Half baked (Score:1, Insightful)

    by dotgain ( 630123 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @07:57PM (#25727785) Homepage Journal
    Well, while the original intention might have been to get big money disk performance out of relatively cheap disks, these days I would think most people mean 'independent' instead. When we built our RAID, we used some of the most expensive FC disks going. Inexpensive has no meaning in RAIDs of today, if it ever did.

    If a single pair of disks matching the performance of my RAID could be had (for say, twice as much money) then yes, my disks would be "inexpensive". But such a disk set doesn't exist (or didn't at the time), and saving money was certainly not our intention.

  • by tivojafa ( 564606 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @08:26PM (#25728041)
    "Seagate is investigating an issue where a small number of Barracuda 7200.11 (1.5TB SATA) hard drives randomly pause or hang for up to several seconds during certain write operations. This does not result in data loss nor does it impact the reliability of the drive but is an inconvenience to the user that we are working to resolve with an upgradeable firmware."

    "We are therefore asking customers if they feel they are experiencing this issue to give our technical support department a call with any questions."

    "Affected part number: 9JU138-300, 336 with firmware revisions SD15, SD17, or SD18."

    The official statement is slightly misleading...

    1) When the problem occurs all hard drive operations stop until the OS times out the ATA command - typically 30 seconds. This results in the computer freezing for 30 seconds.

    2) The problem can result in data loss if using a RAID system. Depending on the OS/RAID configuration the problem may cause a RAID system to think the drive has died. The RAID system automatically removes the drive and continues to run degraded (as designed). 20 minutes later when another drive exhibits the problem the RAID system drops the second drive and dies.

    3) The problem may be a systematic problem rather than a small number of drives - all drives have I tested running the SD17 firmware have exhibited the problem.
  • Re:Half baked (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @08:41PM (#25728209) Homepage Journal

    ... RAID doesn't stand for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks, but rather "Independent Drives".

    The name hasn't changed. RAID has never had anything to do with the price of the disks. You've always been able to make a RAID set out of expensive disks, and the biggest RAID packages usually are made up of expensive disks.

    Yes, you could, but then you'd be missing the point. MAny did miss the point, in fact.

    Independent Disks is a sort of marketing revisionism because they were tired of customers pointing out that "this isn't really inexpensive, is it?".

  • Re:Half baked (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dotgain ( 630123 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @09:07PM (#25728451) Homepage Journal
    Fair enough - they're not inexpensive.

    It used to be you used three cheap 4 gig drives instead of a single nine. That was when 4 gig drives were "cheap". Capacity/Spindle never kept with the rate of growth of the data we keep, now we have to build SANs out of shelves and shelves of disks. We don't do it because it's cheaper than buying single multi-Exabyte drives, we do it because it's the only way.

    When you build a SAN in a datacenter, one typically installs the largest, fastest (not disregarding application usage patterns of course), and implicitly most expensive spindles you can get. Like hell would you install disks a generation old (inexpensive) and use twice as many shelves (and power) these days. What little meaning "inexpensive" ever held, it has well and truly gone.

  • by siliconbunny ( 632740 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @10:50PM (#25729173)
    err, I think he means AAK firmware, which most definitely was a Seagate issue (I had one): []
  • Re:Half baked (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @04:30AM (#25731157)

    Independent Disks is a sort of marketing revisionism because they were tired of customers pointing out that "this isn't really inexpensive, is it?".

    Yes, you are right. But the reason for this is not that disks are not cheap, it's because people don't realize what the prices of disks used to be. The inexpensive harddisks referenced by Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks actually used to cost many thousands of dollars, as compared to the many tenthousands of dollars that larger more reliable disks would have cost in that period.


  • SSDs? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @01:02PM (#25735021)

    Here's what nerds do:

    They go to newegg.
    They go the the hard drives section.
    They pick narrow it down to SATA II.
    They sort by lowest price.
    They middle-click a few Seagates that are around their capacity requirement.
    They double check the 5 year warranty.
    They make sure any bad reviews are from idiots who don't know what they're doing.
    They pick one based on cost and capacity.

    OEMs like SSDs because of the margins they can get, sure. But until DELL stops selling HDDs, Seagate and Western Digital and Hitachi have nothing to worry about in that department.

    Besides, it's not as if Seagate is skipping SSDs.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.