Looks like there are problems with Seagate’s 1.5TB drive firmware

We have customers interested in using these drives. So we are looking into getting some. I am seeing some awful reports on the fora about buggy firmware.

The response from Seagate doesn’t appear to be good. First they say they don’t support Linux, then they say they don’t support RAID with these (despite small local RAIDs being on their list of best fit applications). Now they claim it is a Linux problem, and the folks on the kernel list … um … disagree.

But the problems aren’t isolated to Linux. People are seeing them on Mac’s under OSX, on Vista, on XP. It looks like the only constant throughout this is the drive and its firmware, and it has a similar failure mode all around.

The current work-around appears to be disable write caching. This is a good thing in general for RAID units, but absolutely horrible for desktop RAID (suggested use case as noted on their page) where you are usually aiming for performance.

More than that, their suggested fix, of disabling the write cache, will generally result in more head motion as the on-board disk elevators won’t be used for writes, which means more wear and tear on the drive, and earlier failures.

We saw a similar problem with the early 750 GB ES devices. High failure rates.

This is a shame as we like the Seagates. They have generally been good drives.

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5 thoughts on “Looks like there are problems with Seagate’s 1.5TB drive firmware

  1. Unlike with the previous Barracudas – like this example:
    Vendor: ST350063 Model: 0AS (desktop)
    Vendor: ST350063 Model: 0NS (enterprise)
    …the current 1.5TB drives will not have an ‘enterprise’ equivalent.
    ((BTW isn’t the word “desktop RAID” a funny creation ?))
    Most RAID-vendors don’t even start qualification tests for non-enterprise drives…. – you probably know now WHY 🙂

  2. Hello,

    Could the 1TB Seagate drives have similar issues? I have had problems with my two 1TB (Linux software raid 1) “disappearing” both exactly at the same time at random spots when trying to transfer DV data using dvgrab. See for details. I don’t think it is a hardware fault, but maybe a hardware bug?

    Brian May

  3. Sorry for the late response … been trying to diagnose problems with Windows iSCSI initiator connecting to ΔV

    @hirni

    Hmmm… Not sure about the 1.5 TB not having an enterprise version. Will check.

    On the RAID qualification, people were seeing problems with single drives, never mind RAID.

    As of today, it appears Seagate has admitted to the problem and is preparing a patched firmware. Their responses as seen in the Seagate fora were … well … unfortunate. Seatools isn’t Linux, but Seagate’s, quite a few of them, do happily provide storage to Linux. If Seagate just isn’t interested in this, I wish they would let us know. We use and like their kit. And we use them for Linux.

    @Brian

    Possible. We have had problems with hardware raid with the SN05 firmware. The SN04 firmware was a little better. What controller are these plugged into? We have seen some SATA controllers not behave well. Also, if you get correlated simultaneous “drops”, then you might be running into power as an issue (power supply rails can’t handle the load for some reason).

    The issue we have seen is the (extreme) sensitivity of the unified controllers to timing, and the somewhat lax(er) SATA drive timing result in timeout issues. This is not to indict SATA. This is simply to note that the unified controller concept, while cool, has some … well … more exciting features.

    @Chris

    Hope to see you in Austin! I’ll come by your booth at some point.

  4. Good day,

    Please avoid buying these drives. Old problems are not addressed by Seagate for months . All the recent ‘cudas have problems no matter the drive or firmware version.

    We have filled a support request on Seagate’s CSO Customer Portal… not really helpful

    Internet is full of reports about the drives being buggy and the support staffers being unable to help.

    They should be ashamed…

    We have filled a request to return the discs to our vendor…

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