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About Makosuke

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  1. There's a problem with this device (or, more generally, QNAP itself) that I discovered after buying into its little brother the TS-469L last month. I'll explain it as a timeline: They released version 4.0.5 of their very nice and easy to use firmware on December 20th, along with a beta of the upcoming 4.1.0. It turns out that both the shipping version 4.0.5 and the beta had a bug in the AFP implementation. This bug would cause a small percentage of files saved to (or in some cases just viewed on) the NAS to be corrupted. If the file was copied to the NAS and not subsequently checked, there was in fact no warning whatsoever to the user--the copy completed and the filesize appeared approximately or exactly correct, but some of the data was replaced with junk, which you would discover the next time you went to look at the file. Because of the quiet nature of the bug, that might be an instant save failure, or you might not notice for months if it was a drag-and-drop copy operation. This is a very, very serious bug in a NAS. Honestly, it's about as serious as a bug can possibly be--not only data loss, but data loss that could easily go un-noticed by the user. This bug also completely broke MacOS Time Machine support, one of the advertised features. A patch was eventually posted for that. QNAP support became aware of this bug after a few days when people started complaining. There are several threads in their forums as well. They plan to eventually fix it in the final 4.1.0 release, according to support. However--and this is the real problem--despite having a data-destructive bug in shipping firmware, posted on their website, they neither pulled that firmware nor put any kind of warning on it or the beta on the site. It was just sitting there for unsuspecting users to download, install, and have data corrupted. Eventually, about a month later, in late January, they finally pulled the 4.0.5 firmware and re-posted a version that presumably fixes the corruption bug. The same build of the beta, with the bug, remains on their site, with no "known issues" warning whatsoever other than the standard disclaimer of "for testing only" and to be sure you've backed up your data. Again, they had an acknowledged data-destructive bug in shipping firmware that they were aware of for somewhere in the vicinity of three weeks before they pulled and fixed the firmware publicly available on their site, and they neither before nor after issued any sort of warning to people who might have downloaded and installed it unless they contacted support (in which case they were told to use SMB because of the bug). I like the hardware. The software UI is fantastic. The features are really good as well. But after seeing that happen in real time, there's just no way I can trust the company to produce software I can trust with data of any importance whatsoever. If they shipped data destructive firmware once and didn't issue any kind of warning for a month, who's to say the next time I install a firmware update (or buy a device with one already installed) it isn't going to have something equally egregious again?
  2. Makosuke

    Samsung STORY Station 3.0 Contest

    Giveaways = good. StorageReview actually doing reviews again = better. Being able to compare SSDs against older drives in the database = theoretically awesome. Now get the reliability survey back in order and things will be perfect!
  3. Makosuke

    My Maxtor caught on fire!

    Wow, that's a spectacular failure--I've done that to chips once or twice by accidentally reversing power supply polarity, but even then it's not nearly that spectacular. Were I you I'd certainly try to milk this for as much as it's worth out of Maxtor (besides, they'll probably be interested in it for analysis), but in general I really wouldn't read too much into this--it's in the category of "extreme statistical outlier", and unless I start hearing about a whole bunch of similar failures on Maxtors, I'm going to chalk it up as a fluke (though I admit, despite having a jones for the MaxLine III, I've never been very confident of their reliability anyway and this sure doesn't help with that gut feeling).
  4. Technically true, but only in the very, very extreme; that is, if you put, say, 10 watt-hours of heat (a hot cup of coffee) into a container, a solid aluminium container, the outside will get very hot, but will quickly dump all that heat to the environment. If you put it in a styrofoam container, the outside will never get more than warm, and while it will eventually disappate all that heat, it'll do so over a very long period of time.In the case I think you're thinking of, it's true that this theoretical insulated hard drive will eventually have to start dumping all the heat input to the outside surface, but depending on how good the insulation is, by the time it's getting that much heat through the insulation the internal temperature could be hot enough to melt the internal components. Which is why I was implying that the drive would fail before you were dumping all the heat input to the surface. In reality, as it applies to real hard drives, if you run the drive for long enough at a constant power level to reach total thermal equilibrium, then the total outside temperature will reach a point consistent with the power input. That doen't change the fact that it's where that heat ends up that matters, and top-plate measurements don't necessarily reflect that in a meaningful way--the drive with better thermal transfer to the top will "look" the hottest, whether it is or not.
  5. Thank you for the detailed description of the theory behind your methodology, jtr1962; I'm glad to see that you seem to understand thermodynamics a lot better than most, and that kind of approach gives me more confidence in the validity of the Test Bench results as a whole. A couple of additional comments, for those who have trouble equating the similarity between power dissipation and heat generated: First, keep in mind that ALL power that goes into the hard drive becomes heat. Technically, a very small amount becomes mechanical energy, but since that's dissipated frictionally anyway, in the end it is ALL heat. Second, as pointed out, since hard drives are externally pretty much the same--the shape and materials used are close enough to be functionally identical--the only thing that could cause a difference in how much heat is effectively "in" the drive would be interal layout, which the SR crew have no way of telling anything meaningful about (even if they tore the thing apart, they still probably woudn't be able to learn anything meaningful). You can do this set of thought experiments to get an idea for why top-plate measurements aren't particularly useful: 1) One can assume that it's usually actuators, motors, bearings, and chips that fail due to heat. All of these are located inside of the drive or on the bottom surface. Let's say that, hypothetically, a drive manufacturer figured some magical way to transfer all the heat generated by the drive to the top plate, where it's away from the electronic components that it might damage. The drive would, based on this measurement, "look" incredibly hot, despite being very cool where it counts. 2) Similarly, pretend you had two drives, one with perfect thermal transfer (pretend it's solid diamond) while the other completely isolates the guts from the outside of the case with a layer of styrofoam. The styrofoam-encased drive would appear incredibly cool on the outside, since almost all the heat generated would be held internally, even though it'd rapidly bake itself to death, while the cool drive would appear comparitively warm on the outside surface. As such, it's quite possible for an apparently cooler drive to actually be running hotter where it counts--in fact, if you give me two drives with the same power dissipation, I'd wager the one that felt hotter is the better design, as it probaly does a better job of dumping the heat to the surface where it can be carried away. None of this, however, takes into account how good a job the drive does internally of keeping the important components cool, which leads to... 3) The only really good way to experimentally measure how heat would affect a drive would be to take a thermal scan of the chips on the bottom and, ideally, also the internal components. That strikes me as well out of the range of any realistic test SR could do, and in any case few of these components are near the top plate where it's easy to take a reading. Hey, I could be full of it here, but it jibes with what I remember from thermodynamics.
  6. Makosuke

    hard drive is beeping at me!

    Stick the dead drive into a ziplock bag and leave in the freezer for a few hours. Once out immediately install it, see if it boots and if it does, back-up as much as you can. I must confess the one time i did this it didn't work for me, but I've heard others succeed quite nicely. 210937[/snapback] Indeed, this can work and I've saved data using it (actually, I just used the fridge). Note, however, that every time I've see the cooling trick work the hard disk was one that would spin up and function for a little while, then die abruptly. This is, one would assume, because some flaky component is overheating, and getting the drive chilly gives you longer before it conks out to get your data off. There may be other situations where the "freezer" trick would work as well, but it sounds like the mallet issue is more likely in your case.
  7. Makosuke

    Seagate 7200.8 When?

    Prices creep steadily downward: PATA 300GB: $195 @ NewEgg (no stock), $224 @ (no stock) PATA 400GB: $343 @ NewEgg (in stock!), $245 @ (no stock, and yes, it's that cheap) SATA 300GB: $208 @ (no stock), $239 @ ZipZoomFly (in stock) SATA 400GB: $428 @ (no stock), $449 @ ZipZoomFly (in stock) Now, if I could get the SATA version for the price is selling the 400GB PATA, I'd be a happy customer. Only a matter of time, hopefully. (Though micnn's early report is certainly discouraging--thanks for letting us all know!)
  8. Makosuke

    Seagate 7200.8 When?

    Well, the prices are already starting to drop. It's only been a week since ZipZoomFly started listing the SATA models at those ridiculous prices, and they're already down $50 on the 400GB (still an outrageous $455) and $150 on the 300GB (a bit pricy at $249 in comparison to the 300GB/16MB Maxtor at ~$206, but at least it's in the realm of reason). I was seriously considering one of those 16MB Maxtor drives, but I've had such bad experiences with their stuff in the past I figured I'd just get a 7k250 to hold me off till the Seagate drives get more reasonable. At this rate they could be approaching affordable before Christmas! (Though I really wish the 16MB buffer would happen...)