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matthew.austin

Seagate 3TB Reallocated Sector count steadily on the Rise - Advice?

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Hey everyone!  Just got Stablebit DrivePool and DriveScanner a couple of weeks ago. 

 

I have a 1.5 year old Seagate 3TB external drive and, when I purchased DrivePool, I added a new 5TB external model. 

 

It's the 3TB drive I'm worried about.  Model: ST3000DM001-9YN166

 

DriveScanner indicates 4680 Reallocated sectors.  It's careful to remind me that the drive is not showing indications of imminent failure.   I've been choosing the "Ignore once" or "Ignore this time only" error (I forget what it's called, forgive me.).  And, I'd say 2 or 3 times a day, I get the warning again, as the count has increased.  

 

Another thing that kind of worries me is I hear a strange chatter every few minutes out of it--this chatter, to me, sounds exactly like that initialization sound you often hear immediately after a HDD spins up when you first power it on.  Except the drive never disappears from windows, I never hear the windows hardware removal or reattachment sound I would expect to hear if it was *actually* powering off and on.  SMART reports 120 different power cycles (this number is not growing but seems high since I can only thing of 10 or 20 times in the last year when it's been unplugged) and 0 spin retries.  

 

It seems to be still working just fine, but I'm worried--I manage the IT help desk at a small college and in the past month, we've had users bring in not one but TWO seagate 3TB drives that have failed them.  Additionally the latest BackBlaze Report showed a spike in failures from the Seagate 3TB drive, so I think I may be doomed.

 

I'm leaning toward buying a replacement and taking this 3TB out of the pool: would you folks agree, or recommend a different course of action?  I'm all ears.   

 

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and input!

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Matthew.

 

 

I'm very familiar with that model of drive. I had 7 of them. Emphasis on had.

 

From what you describe, between the rising reallocated sectors and the sound, it sounds like there is a mechanical issue with the drive. I would HIGHLY recommend replacing the drive if it is under warranty still. And move any available data off of it as soon as possible..

 

 

As for the Backblaze reports.... these are anecdotal AT BEST.  One thing not mentioned in the newest report, is that MOST of these drives that are tested are "shelled" external drives. Meaning that the bought the drives as externals, removed them from the "enclosure" and put them into the system.  It's a long held belief (and most anecdotal evidence supports it) that the drives that are used for externals are ones that did not pass the more rigorous tests.  And my own experience supports that belief, as well.

 

In fact, the Seagate drives that I have that are failing are ALL external shelled drives. The seagate one that isn't (ST2000DM003, I think) is an internal drive (and sold as such). And it has lasted far longer.

 

Additionally, the backblaze reports mentions enterprise drives, but doesn't really list them in the statistics they have. So .... you should only use their report as an anecdotal report. Like the "IT guy at work said" sort of thing. 

 

And more to the point, in 2008, I experienced significantly higher failure rates with WD drives, than Seagate drives. And saw a lot of people reporting similar. So it depends on a lot of factors here. Also, Seagate tends to be one of the preferred drives for OEMs. So more of them out there, means more likely to see failures.

 

 

But to re-emphasize, even with the growing Reallocated sector count SMART warning, I would recommend replacing the drive. It indicates that a section of the drive (or even one of the platters) is experiencing an issue. Not to mention, a large number of reallocated sectors will significantly impact performance on the drive. 

 

But coupled with the bad sound.... definitely a hardware issue, and one that should be resolved SOON. 

If you're curious, here is a link to a bunch of different "HDD death rattles": http://datacent.com/hard_drive_sounds.php

 

Check the Warranty here: http://support.seagate.com/customer/en-US/warranty_validation_multi.jsp

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Thanks for the detailed response!  Yeah, I know the evidence is anecdotal with the backblaze, but the fact that they experienced a noticeable rise in defects over their last report for similar (or same?) model seemed to mesh with what I've seen at our help desk as well.   Another thing people complain about is that their seagate and wd samples are generally consumer-grade equipment while the hitachis are enterprise, which makes it an apples and oranges comparison there.   

 

Anyway, two more questions:  

 

1) is there a way to trigger a drive evacuation manually in DrivePool/Scanner?  I'd rather let the software move all my stuff off of it vs manually copying, if only for the fact that I don't have to watch out for "Are you sure you want to move "X" files?" messages that always seem to popup and delay the file transfer until I acknowledge them.  

 

2) Any recommendations for an affordabel 3-5TB drive?  Would a WD Red drive in an enclosure be a good idea since they're designed to be on 24/7?  

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Well, Hitachi no longer produces the drives. WD bought their drive division. For better or worse.

 

 

  1. As for the drive evacuation... You can set the Scanner Balancer to evacuate the drive based on SMART warnings (good for the future). Additionally, you can use the "Disk Usage Limiter" to manually clear out the drive, prior to removal.

    ALso, removing the drive from the system will evacuate the contents automatically. But I recommend using the above to remove the data from the drives prior to removal.
    Unless everything is duplicated, that is. Then use the "duplicate later" option. This will immediately remove the drive, unless you have unduplicated data. Then it will remove that stuff first.
     
  2. Any NAS drive, actually. I've been using Seagate NAS drives for a while, and they've been running great. No issues with them at all. But that, a WD Red drive, or any other "NAS" branded drive would be good. They're meant to be lower powered (but none of the "Low Power/Green" drive issues), and to be ran 24/7. 
    Though, as for the enclosure, it depends. I'm not a fan of passively cooled anything. Good airflow is very important. Especially for hard drives. HDD Temperature affects it's lifespan.

    But again, any NAS drive is a good buy for long term storage.

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Thanks!  I set it to evacuate drives with SMART errors and that's what it's doing right now.  Thankfully I've got my important stuff mirrored, so it's not a big deal.  

 

The drive is up from 4680 reallocated sectors to 4792 in less than 24 hours.  That can't be good, right?  :)  Anyway I now have a plan of action going forward, the data is being moved as I type this, and I think we'll end the day no worse for wear.  I purchased this drive January 2013 so it's out of the 1-year warranty by a mile.  Oh well.  

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You are very welcome. Though, I am very sorry to hear about the bad drive. :(

 

And yeah, if it's increasing rapidly like that (which I suspected it would), then it indicates that there may be damage to the physical platters in the drive. Definitely a sign to replace it immediately. 

 

 

Also, just FYI, the ST3000DM000 and ST4000DM000  drives specifically seems to be problematic, whereas the ST2000DM001 drives seem to be fine. This sort of thing does happen (as it's probably an issue with the manufacturing process). But as I said, most of the other seagates I've owned have been rock solid.

 

And again, I would highly recommend a NAS drive for the replacement. (Or enterprise class storage, if you're willing to shell out the money)

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Just an update, the drive is evacuated and out of the pool, but one thing that is now annoying me is that I realized it's actually my 5TB drive (ST5000DM000-1FK178) that's chattering a couple of times per minute.  I would have sworn it was coming from the 3TB.  DriveScanner says it's healthy though.  I've just never heard that coming from a hard drive at relatively regular intervals before, esp. when I know it's not in use.  

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Forgive the double post.  I bought a replacement drive today--I didn't want to spend a lot of money so I decided to forego a NAS drive, But using the anecdotal evidence from backblaze I bought a Deskstar HDS5C3030ALA630

which is hitachi/HGST.  Out of 4,593 samples of this model, with an average age of 2.1 years, they only experienced a 0.7% failure rate (compared to 15.7% for the seagate 3TB with a similar sample size of 3846 and an average age of 1.9 years).  I picked up a used one for $80 on ebay and if drivescanner shows it as healthy, I'll be putting it into the pool.  

 

A caveat--Yes, I know the backblaze reports are anecdotal, but it helped sway me anyway.  For $80, I'll risk a used one.  If it's SMART parameters show it as healthy, I think it has a good chance of lasting awhile.  Time will tell.  

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Funny, I had issues with the ST2000DM001 where two crapped out shortly after the other. Now have the ST2000VM001, not for more than a year yet but I have _faith_...

I've had a couple that have lasted a long while (almost 3 years now), and that's what I use for HyperV and temp downloading. No issues at all so far.

 

Also, usually when I have WD drives fail... it's catastrophic failure. Like causing the system BSOD catastrophic. 

 

Just an update, the drive is evacuated and out of the pool, but one thing that is now annoying me is that I realized it's actually my 5TB drive (ST5000DM000-1FK178) that's chattering a couple of times per minute.  I would have sworn it was coming from the 3TB.  DriveScanner says it's healthy though.  I've just never heard that coming from a hard drive at relatively regular intervals before, esp. when I know it's not in use.  

 

What sort of sound is it making? It could be important. SMART doesn't catch everything, as it's software driven, basically (firmware in the drive's controller).  So it may not catch some things. 

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What sort of sound is it making? It could be important. SMART doesn't catch everything, as it's software driven, basically (firmware in the drive's controller).  So it may not catch some things. 

 

I just made a quick audio recording using my cellphone:   You'll notice it twice in this 1m16s recording, one at the very start of the recording, and again near the end.  Basically the drive just kind of chatters for a second.  But I don't see that it has any reason to, I'm not accessing the drive, my download programs are all shut off, no browsers running, etc.  It does that little chatter thing once or twice a minute, sometimes more often, sometimes less frequently.  

 

The thing is I don't remember any of my other drives doing this.  I work managing an IT help desk, so I'm around computers, drives, etc, often.  I don't know a ton about the intricacies of hard drive malfunctions (I do know enough to recognize a stuck platter, or a head crash, etc), but to me it doesn't seem quite right to be doing that all the time.  

 

Here's the audio clip, hopefully the forum allows external URL's:  http://clyp.it/ygli5pyj

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That sounds like it's spinning up, or the disk head seeking, at the time. Though it's hard to tell.

 

If you're really concerned about it, then I would recommend RMAing the drive, just in case. 

Here are the 'misc' error codes for RMAs: http://www.seagate.com/staticfiles/support/seatools/seatools-test-codes.html

In fact, Seagate has a specific error code for this: 979866A7 (Noisy - SeaTools passes all tests). Though, I'd recommend running SeaTools on the drive just to make sure there isn't an underlying issue. (we don't use any of the manufacturer commands or SMART tests when checking the drives, as they can cause issues if used wrong).

 

But it sounds like it could be a bad head, or one that isn't 100%. 

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That sounds like it's spinning up

Yes, that was what it sounded like to me- the sound a hard drive would make immediately after it's turned on and the platters have gotten up to speed.  But listening to it, it's definitely not spinning down and back up or anything like that.  I don't think it's seeking.  It's pretty frequent, 1-2 times a minute, without fail.  

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That... is not good, then.  In that case, it may be an issue with one of the heads. In this case, then I would definitely recommend RMAing the drive.

 

In fact, if you have the funds available for it, opt for the advanced replacement option. They ship you the drive, and then you have two weeks to return the "bad" drive.

 

 

If this is indeed the heads, (or even the platter), it may fail sooner than later, and it may do so without any warning. 

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I'll probably do just that.  I've only had the drive for maybe three weeks?  With my drives, traditionally (excepting the 3TB on which this thread is based) my drives either seem to fail in the first month or two, or last until I retire them.  

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Yeah, that's pretty normal. Companies such as Backblaze have show that drive failure follows a "bathtub curve".  Either the drives fail right away (infant mortality) or after a few years.

 

 

Hopefully, no more drive issues for you!

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Interesting; I just had the EXACT SAME PROBLEM with two 3TB ST3000DM000 drives. One started counting up QUICKLY to 11,800 reallocated sectors, then started counting bad sectors soon after. Then, days later, the second one jumped up to 13,200 reallocated sectors. Both drives were instantly evacuated and pulled.

Completed the RMA process a while back and just got notice that they're on back order. :/ So, in the interim, I just bought (or, broke the bank) on four 6TB HGST NAS drives. Never again, Seagate... Never again.

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Collapsed,

 

Actually, I've had problems with multiple drives in this specific product line. Same model. I think there is a defect in this line, actually. And it should be avoided.

 

As for Seagate, well, the same thing happens to every manufacturer. Including Western Digital (who is manufacturing those HGST drives).  I have 4 Seagate NAS drives for a while now, and I haven't had an issue with them.

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Just kind of an FYI.. Seagate says these sounds are normal. 

 

 

I have several of these drives scattered about and they all still make this sound to this day.  None have failed.

 

NONE pass Seatools when I originally ran it on the drives. (when I created the video) 

 

<Shrug>

 

I don't use them in anything important.

 

-Tony

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