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Is Seagate Hiding Something?

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MisterEd

Member
Joined
May 10, 2004
Location
Alabama
Three weeks ago I bought a Seagate external hard drive (Seagate Expansion 2TB STBV2000100). Since I wanted to use it to back up important data I decided to test it with Seagate Seatools. I am now on my 3rd drive. Here is a summary of what I have found:
Drive #1: failed the Short Generic and Long Generic tests. I returned it to the vendor for replacement.
Drive #2: failed the Seatools Short Generic test. Seagate sent me another drive. I am to send drive #2 to them within 30 days.
Drive #3: failed the Seatools Short Generic test.

I contacted Seagate Technical Support about this problem. They offered no help and seemed clueless that there might be a problem either with their diagnostic software or drives.

I just tested the 3rd drive again but this time I used the Western Digital Data Lifeguard Tools. I tested it with the "Extended Test" option which took 19 hours. It passed this test. Since I still had the 2nd drive I am testing it also with the Western Digital Data Lifeguard Tools. The test is still running but I expect it to also pass.

I guess I will keep the 3rd drive and send the 2nd to Seagate. As long as Western Digital Data Lifeguard Tools says the drive is OK I have some confidence that the drive is safe to use.

BTW, I got the same failed results on two other computers so nobody can say that the problem was my computer. Also, I tested the drive on USB 3.0 & USB 2.0 on my main computer and USB 2.0 and the other computers.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
I dont get it... seems like they would NOT want their drives to show bad with their tools...

Title makes no sense, LOL!
 

Super Nade

† SU(3) Moderator  †
Joined
Aug 30, 2004
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
If the Seagate test tool works with non-Segate drives, you might want to try it on a good non-Seagate drive. If that drive fails the test, then it is reasonable to conclude that the software may have issues.
 

moz_21

Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2002
Location
MN
I vaguely remember there were issues when testing SMART over USB, it had to be direct to motherboard via IDE/SATA. ESATA should not have this issue however.
 
OP
MisterEd

MisterEd

Member
Joined
May 10, 2004
Location
Alabama
Both my internal drives also pass the Seagate Seatools diagnostics. Note that one internal drive is a Seagate drive while the other is a Western Digital drive.

I used Seagate Seatools to test another external enclosure with a USB 2.0 interface and 3 different Maxtor IDE drives. It had no problem passing any of these drives that are over 9 year old.

The only drive that fails the Seagate Seatools diagnostics is the new Seagate external drive. Since it consistently fails 3 different drives of the same model that is what concerns me. In other words how will I ever be able to tell when one of these drives is failing if Seagate's own diagnostics can't be trusted? The answer I guess is to let the drive completely fail. That way I will know for sure.

BTW, I suspect that the enclosure electronics is at fault. I will have to wait for the warranty to run out before I dare open it up. When that happens I will probably pull the drive and test it internally. I suspect the drive will then pass the Seagate Seatools diagnostics.
 
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Super Nade

† SU(3) Moderator  †
Joined
Aug 30, 2004
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
Perhaps you could remove the drive from the enclosure and connect it as an internal drive before you test it. As the person above mentioned, it is possible that the test software does not like USB.
 

Xtreme Barton

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
I would check warranty before removing it from the enclosure. That might void it


Also do you have another machine to install Seagate tools on and test drive ? Can you request drives be tested before being sent to you ? Don't be afraid to ask for test documentation.
 

larrymoencurly

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2002
19 hours to scan 2TB is 29 megabytes/second and indicates the drive is operating in USB 2.0 mode, not USB 3.0 mode. That often happens because the driver software isn't installed (Device Manager should list a USB 3.0 or Super Speed controller) or the cable isn't making good contact with the USB port. Some cable plugs and USB 3.0 port sockets don't quite fit together because the plastic ridges separating the 5 USB 3.0 pins at the front of the socket are slightly too wide to let the corresponding pins way in the back of the plug to slip down between them, and the solution that's always worked for me has been changing the cable (every replacement from Seagate was fine, also darker, indicating a different production run) or trimming those ridges to make them narrower has always solved this problem for me.

I think the fact that SeaTools reported failure indicates that the contacts with the USB 3.0 pins was marginal because when I tested with a USB 2.0 cable, it said the drive passed. OTOH SeaTools is a piece of crap, and ver. 12.08 often gets stuck at start-up and either reports an error or endlessly tries to detect SCSI drives. It also said my USB drive needed a firmware update but then sent me to a page that said either no update was available, or the only update was for the SATA drive inside. I couldn't get the newest ver. 12.10 of SeaTools to do anything but freeze at start-up. OTOH Western Digital and Hitachi diagnostics worked fine on my Seagate Expansion USB 3.0 drive.

HDDguru.com has two diagnostics, HDDscan and MHDD, that indicate problems even when SMART diagnostics pass because SMART apparently allows for lots of sector read retries before it declares a sector bad, while HDDscan and MHDD report the amount of time needed for marginal sectors. and it's not unusual for some sectors to require 10 spins to read successfully. However HDDscan will report lots of false positives, probably from Windows overhead, so try to run MHDD (is on the Ultimate Boot CD).

If you try to take apart a Seagate Expansion drive, you will end up breaking some of the plastic tabs. The best way to do it is with an old credit card:


Start prying at the front, not the sides. Also when the case is horizontal, try to separate its halves horizontally, not vertically, to minimize breaking the tabs. The cases vary slightly There's an internal metal shield, and apparently the cases where the shield has holes all over are easier to break than cases where the shield has holes only at either the front or back.
 
OP
MisterEd

MisterEd

Member
Joined
May 10, 2004
Location
Alabama
Perhaps you could remove the drive from the enclosure and connect it as an internal drive before you test it. As the person above mentioned, it is possible that the test software does not like USB.
All 3 external drives were less than a week old. I am reluctant to open them up especially since Seagate told me that doing that would void the warranty.

SeaTools has no problems with another enclosure that works with IDE drives and has a USB 2.0 interface. All 3 drives used in it passed the Seagate SeaTools Short Generic test.

Since people keep bring it up I decided to try out my 3rd enclosure. I didn't have any spare SATA drives lying around so I had to tear one of my computers apart and pull its SATA drive out. I tested the hardware below. It passed Seagate SeaTools Short Generic test. Note I used the USB 2.0 interface for the test.
MaCally Model T-S350SU (Hi-Speed eSATA/USB2.0 Enclosure)
Seagate Model ST3300620AS (Barracuda 7200.10 SATA 3.0Gb/s 300-GB Hard Drive)

19 hours to scan 2TB is 29 megabytes/second and indicates the drive is operating in USB 2.0 mode, not USB 3.0 mode. That often happens because the driver software isn't installed (Device Manager should list a USB 3.0 or Super Speed controller) or the cable isn't making good contact with the USB port. Some cable plugs and USB 3.0 port sockets don't quite fit together because the plastic ridges separating the 5 USB 3.0 pins at the front of the socket are slightly too wide to let the corresponding pins way in the back of the plug to slip down between them, and the solution that's always worked for me has been changing the cable (every replacement from Seagate was fine, also darker, indicating a different production run) or trimming those ridges to make them narrower has always solved this problem for me.

I think the fact that SeaTools reported failure indicates that the contacts with the USB 3.0 pins was marginal because when I tested with a USB 2.0 cable, it said the drive passed. OTOH SeaTools is a piece of crap, and ver. 12.08 often gets stuck at start-up and either reports an error or endlessly tries to detect SCSI drives. It also said my USB drive needed a firmware update but then sent me to a page that said either no update was available, or the only update was for the SATA drive inside. I couldn't get the newest ver. 12.10 of SeaTools to do anything but freeze at start-up. OTOH Western Digital and Hitachi diagnostics worked fine on my Seagate Expansion USB 3.0 drive.

HDDguru.com has two diagnostics, HDDscan and MHDD, that indicate problems even when SMART diagnostics pass because SMART apparently allows for lots of sector read retries before it declares a sector bad, while HDDscan and MHDD report the amount of time needed for marginal sectors. and it's not unusual for some sectors to require 10 spins to read successfully. However HDDscan will report lots of false positives, probably from Windows overhead, so try to run MHDD (is on the Ultimate Boot CD).
I was using the latest version of SeaTools ver. 1.2.0.10. The tests with SeaTools took a long time because I was using a USB 2.0 port. Further tests are going to be done on a USB 3.0 port.

I tried using Hiren’s BootCD because I had that already. I tried MHDD on it but found out that it did not see my USB drive. I read that there may be workaround but did not explore that. I then tried HDDscan but it had glitches in the interface and gave an error when I tried to read the SMART information. I gave up on running any of these tests from the boot CD.

I tested both drives with HDDscan in Windows using the USB 3.0 interface. The SMART information looked acceptable for both drives. I ran the RD-Read test on both drives. There were no read errors on either drive.

The read test completed in just under 4 hours. The average read speed was about 150,000 KBytes/sec. That compares with about 35,000 KBytes/sec if tested on a USB 2.0 port.
 

lukemike

New Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Same problem.

I have exactly the same problem. 2 Seagates 2TB expansion, same model no, first fails Long Generic, second, Short Generic with a SeaTools Test Code: DACEA7C1. I'm testing them on USB 2.0. Drive made in China. Returned to the vendor, came back with the note that the drive is not defective, which is cearly not the case.
I have another one purchased 2 years ago, no problems whatsoever. Anybody have any ideas what's going on.
 

Culbrelai

Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
It's well known that Western Digital > Seagate in the reliability arena. Seagate drives are cheaper though.
 

Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
I also couldn't use Seatools on a USB drive. Last time when I was testing drives I had to use SATA ports.
I have Seagate Central 2TB at home but it has LAN connection and can run diagnostics via website soft. I'm not sure if USB drives have something like that but every drive has SMART so if any other soft sees it then should read SMART values.
 

Pierre3400

annnnnnd it's gone
Joined
May 15, 2010
Location
Euroland, Denmark
It's well known that Western Digital > Seagate in the reliability arena. Seagate drives are cheaper though.

Personal experience is that both drives have a certain lifetime, but WD tend til die faster. I cant speak for your facts.

I have had over the past few months many laptops with WD drives, that needed replacement, no errors on disks, good health, but un able to install, or run windows, if they did run, it was slow, very slow.

I had a 2tb WB external drive, 1 year old, the HDD once more with no errors, dropped to max transfere rate of 5mb/s, and ran ultra slow. Worked perfect, but slow, and once more, no errors.

Seagate, well, i run Seagate as my storage, i have 4x 1tb in my NAS unit, 1 in my PC, we use them in the work NAS unit too, while running WD in our servers.

About a month ago, at once, 3 out of 5 WD drives in our server died at once, causing a mass panic, and loss of work. Not great. One drive at a time is ok, but when 3 die at once, its an issue.

Then one of the seagates in our NAS reported an error. Note this, reported! While so far, any and all WD drives have failed to work like they should, or just plain out and died, without warning!

Basically, WesternDigital has always left me with bad experience. I choose seagate every time, only because of the amounts of fails and unwarned deaths i have seen from WD drives.

So it being well known, i dont agree what so ever.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Personal experience is that both drives have a certain lifetime, but WD tend til die faster. I cant speak for your facts.

I have had over the past few months many laptops with WD drives, that needed replacement, no errors on disks, good health, but un able to install, or run windows, if they did run, it was slow, very slow.

I had a 2tb WB external drive, 1 year old, the HDD once more with no errors, dropped to max transfere rate of 5mb/s, and ran ultra slow. Worked perfect, but slow, and once more, no errors.

Seagate, well, i run Seagate as my storage, i have 4x 1tb in my NAS unit, 1 in my PC, we use them in the work NAS unit too, while running WD in our servers.

About a month ago, at once, 3 out of 5 WD drives in our server died at once, causing a mass panic, and loss of work. Not great. One drive at a time is ok, but when 3 die at once, its an issue.

Then one of the seagates in our NAS reported an error. Note this, reported! While so far, any and all WD drives have failed to work like they should, or just plain out and died, without warning!

Basically, WesternDigital has always left me with bad experience. I choose seagate every time, only because of the amounts of fails and unwarned deaths i have seen from WD drives.

So it being well known, i dont agree what so ever.

WD has a lower RMA rate, looks like you just got unlucky.
Also, error reporting is typically handled by the controller, not the HDD.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Well known...Cul? See above and then mine below... :p

Latest information:http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=741728

- Seagate 0.95% (against 1.44%)
- Hitachi 1.16% (against 2.40%)
- Western 1.19% (against 1.55%)
- Toshiba 1.54% (against 1.15 %)


Its funny that sooooooooooo many people think that their experience with a couple pieces of hardware is THE experience with that hardware. 'dat box... get outside of it. :)
 

Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
For me desktop WDC is still more reliable than desktop Seagate HDDs. That's my experience while working in IT/distribution and benching/testing for long years.
There are series that are better or worse. There are even single shipments that are in big part faulty while all other deliveries of the same drive series can have ~1% RMA. I actually saw delivery with 20%+ RMA within' 1st month couple of years ago.

2 days ago 2TB WDC in my brother's PC broke. It was 2 months after end of warranty but I will probably get him one more WDC.
In my current job I was RMAing more Seagates than WDC. Still, it was really close number and really low comparing to number of sales.

I would be more worried about % of SSD RMA than HDD. In last 3-4 years I had 2x HDD RMA and 8x SSD. Also barely any HDD will instantly die without any warning. Most HDD show SMART errors or give any other info like problems with write/read to some sectors or louder work. SSD in most cases instantly die but manufacturers still try to make you think they're more reliable than HDD.
 
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Culbrelai

Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
I would be more worried about % of SSD RMA than HDD. In last 3-4 years I had 2x HDD RMA and 8x SSD. Also barely any HDD will instantly die without any warning. Most HDD show SMART errors or give any other info like problems with write/read to some sectors or louder work. SSD in most cases instantly die but manufacturers still try to make you think they're more reliable than HDD.

Which is why I still boot from a platter drive. People always bash mechanical drives, but they will tell you (unless they die from some crazy shock like dropping a laptop or something) something is going wrong. SSDs can die out of the clear blue sky.

Its funny that sooooooooooo many people think that their experience with a couple pieces of hardware is THE experience with that hardware. 'dat box... get outside of it.

I still have a WD HDD from 2005 that runs, has no bad sectors, passes every test I can throw at it. Stick that anecdote in your pipe and smoke it =P
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
LOL Cul...So that means if I have two seagate's still going from then... then what? Does your head explode because you logic just got bunked? :snipe::rofl: