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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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  • Half baked (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bjb ( 3050 ) * on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:24PM (#25726819) Homepage Journal
    I've been looking to buy a large second drive for my Mac and ALMOST hit the buy button on this drive a week ago. However, I noticed some 1-star comments on Amazon's reviews of the drive and have been watching this ever since.

    The problem appears to manifest itself in lockups for 30 seconds or so at a time which kills music streaming, video streaming, etc. The only reports of success appear to be from people who are using it for an archive disk and thats it. Some people claim the problem can be avoided somewhat by disabling the write cache, but naturally you get a serious performance hit from that (especially since the memory cache is 32MB!)

    Reading the forums, it appears that Seagate has not only thus told people that the drives aren't meant for a RAID environment, but even gone so far as to tell people that RAID doesn't stand for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks, but rather "Independent Drives". Hmm. Seems that time has changed this definition (FOLDOC and Wikipedia seem to claim the change in name as well).

    I'm rather disappointed since now that I have a taste for a 1.5TB drive, I'm not looking to buy "just" a 1TB. Hopefully one of these companies can resolve this.

    On a more serious note, I read something in Maximum PC this month that there are thermal reliability issues with perpendicular storage technology? Does this mean that all perpendicular drives are less reliable?

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:27PM (#25726851) Journal

    Where are SSDs "capturing mindshare" anywhere other than the portable market?

  • Re:Seagate is good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dhanson865 ( 1134161 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:40PM (#25727007)

    I keep reading about people going Seagate over Western Digital "for the 5 year warranty".

    If you think that WD doesn't offer a 5 year warranty on any drives you are wrong. If you think there is only "the" 5 year warranty instead of "those" 5 year warranties then maybe I'm going to be a grammar nazi too. [] will get you started on 5 year warranty drives from WD.

    WD1001FALS = 1TB
    WD7501AALS = 750GB
    WD6401AALS = 640GB (I'd recommend this drive)
    WD5001AALS = 500GB

    People are so quick to look to the top end but there is a reliability/speed/power/noise benefit to buying the sweet spot drive. Cost is in the eye of the beholder as the 640GB drive is lower in purchase price but won't be the best price per GB. Myself I'm willing to use the smaller drives, but then I'm the type that can still make out on a 250GB drive without being low on disk space.

    As a single drive or in an array as long as you don't run out of space you gain performance using smaller drives so long as you buy carefully. In RAID more spindles equal more speed. As a single drive you can pick and choose the highest density platters (320/333/334 as the desired platters currently vs the 250GB platters that are still floating around the supply chain in so many drives)

  • Re: SV35.3 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:42PM (#25727019)

    thats why i buy only from seagates sv35 line of hard drives optimized for video streams.
    and they arent more expensive than the regulars and come with larger warranties and 1tb capacities.

  • Harsh Comments (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MaxwellEdison ( 1368785 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @07:08PM (#25727291)
    HDD manufacturers will always face a large amount of negative press. The reason is simple. If your DVD drive breaks...ho-hum I'm out $XX and need a new one. Guess I'm not watching Kung Fu Panda tonight. If your HDD breaks...OMFG!!!I had 5 years of tax returns, 20000 hours of music, 1000s of irreplaceable pictures!...and I'm out $XX!!!

    Simply put, the cost of failure for a storage manufacturer is an order of magnitude above the rest of the industry. People don't just lose money, they lose memories, they lose costly business information. Of course you and I know that we should back up our data. But its hindsight talking, because we've probably lost data before too.
  • Re:Lifespan... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mapsjanhere ( 1130359 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @07:15PM (#25727355)
    There are two different technologies for SSDs, single and multicell. The former is used in the $600 for 32 GB enterprise drives, the later in the $100 for 128 GB cheapos. The MC drives are the ones with the low write cycles. But if you use your SSD in a fast read-little write application like a database server it lasts forever and you can take advantage of the blazing read spead (most write performance I've seen isn't much ahead of a good HD array).
  • New Firmware Bugs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NeGrusti ( 912384 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @07:37PM (#25727601)
    From 7200.11 series Seagate switched to a completely new firmware, so a new bunch of bugs is not unexpected :)
  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @07:52PM (#25727713)

    Give it time, SSDs were nowhere on the consumer market before the last year.

    Also, I notice hard drive capacity just isn't increasing at the rate it used to (early 2000s). I think last year the biggest was 1TB already and now it's just hovering at 1.5TB. OTOH, for about $49 two years ago got you a 1GB usb drive at walmart (micro cruzer). Same brand 8GB/16GB costs $25/$59 respectively. Can get a generic 32GB online. Not a bad rate of increase.

    I suspect once capacity gets within 2/3 of harddrive space, you'll see a jump from mechanical to SSD bigtime. I think it will happen within 5 years.

  • Re:Seagate is good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @07:52PM (#25727715) Journal

    How many were made in Hungary? I'm betting very few to none. We had a huge lot of 20 gig drives die on us, all from Singapore (or something?) but none of the Hungarian ones died. To me this means it was not a design issue, but rather a quality in production issue.

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

    by pin0chet ( 963774 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @12:01AM (#25729643)
    You make a very valid point. As sites like Newegg start to get hundreds--even thousands--of reviews for products like hard disks, a prospective buyer can look at the percentage of negative reviews as a rough guide to the probability of failure. Compared to the 640GB WD6400AAKS, pretty much all 1TB-plus drives on Newegg have a lot of 1-star reviews. That does suggest these huge drives aren't up to par in terms of reliability.
  • Re:Half baked (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aqk ( 844307 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @03:24AM (#25730855) Homepage Journal

    They are INEXPENSIVE!

    Back in the early 1990s, when the arrays began replacing those huge mainframe disks, they were considered "CHEAP!"
    In every sense of the word.
    Does anyone know what one of those washing machine- or refrigerator-sized disks cost 20 years ago???

    300 Meg disk: About $50,000. Umm. excuse me, probably more!

    I, as a somewhat scruffy-looking techie, used to go to IBM seminars and sales sessions back then, (Hey, the food'n'drinks were great!) and would ask occasionally when they were going to replace those huge monsters with perhaps an array of "PC-sized" disks.
    Guess what the answer always was.
    "Those cheap little things? Har-har, sonny! We are IBM! You wanna trust your data to those little things?" he would sneer, while all the suits in the room would then look disdainfully at me.
      About 10 years later one of those "medium-sized" AS/400 disks (about the size of a breadbox by now) crapped out after perhaps two years' service.
        The C.E. came in and replaced it with a unit of the same physical size.
    Of course I had to kibitz.
    Strangely however, the new disk-drive box was 5 times lighter, and was mostly... an empty box!
    When I peered into it, I noticed "Hitachi" written on the little disk-drive inside it.
    The CE joked "Shhh... you're not supposed to see that!"
    Management of course was always impressed with big boxes.

      My, how times change.
    Well, IBM had to do SOMETHING with those warehouses full of unsold dinosaurs!

        So, do you get it now?
        It's INEXPENSIVE DISK! Whether it's a f---n redundant array or not.

    BTW... where's the IBM disk division these days? Aren't they just down the road from Chrysler, GM and Ford plants? LOL!

    But I digress.

  • by janopdm ( 1292860 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @05:31AM (#25731379)

    From []

    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.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall