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About MaxtorSCSI

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  1. MaxtorSCSI

    Seagate to Acquire Maxtor!

    There's really nothing specific that I can say. What will or will not ultimately happen is anyone's guess. My SCSI team in Shrewsbury has been through this kind of situation before and survived... I'm hoping for a "hattrick". But there's just no way to know what form our survival might take. According to WHOIS (Which makes this info public knowledge) the "seagatemaxtor" domain name was registered on June 13, 2005. So this deal has clearly been it the works for quite some time. Contemplate that, if you're looking for something to analyze! That all being said, I'm relatively "high up" in the management Hierarchy here at Maxtor, so I'm unlikely to be at liberty to expand on or comment further. This note is probably all that I'm likely to say on the merger topic! I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to you all for your comments regarding my Atlas product line. That is much appreciated1.
  2. MaxtorSCSI


    The primary risk with lead-free solder is, as mentioned above, tin whisker formation (the other issues, mostly related to dealing higher reflow temperatures, were all easily addressed). Whiskers require more attention, but can be addressed through control of the chemical composition of the solder and the composition of the things that the solder is soldered on to (like component package leads, like I mentioned above). Unfortunately, there's really no way to fully assess the long term risks except by doing the long term testing. Since everyone's only been focused on this for the last year or two, what's going to happen to lead-free products built now, in another 10 years, is anybody's guess. However, the large OEMs that buy our HDDs were all *very* concerned about the long term risks, and they all demanded extensive testing from HDD suppliers (as well as all the other suppliers of soldered components of their systems) to be sure the risks are understood and were satisfactorily addressed. There are no 100% certainties in life, but to the best of the ability of the combined wisdom of every major computer manufacturer, all the HDD suppliers and all of the HDD supplier's suppliers, RoHS products don't present any reliability risks above and beyond those already present in leaded product.
  3. The U2W controller, as you surmized, is only capable of (theoretically) 80MB/S. However, the reason you only saw 60MB/S was because the U2W doesn't support any of the Ultra 160 or 320 packetization or streaming features. SCSI Bus overhead is actually a fairly significant component of the performance equation. U160 and U320 have features like packetization and streaming that help reduce that overhead, leaving more bandwidth for actual data transfers. Running a U320 capable drive on a U2W interface is the worst possible solution from a bus utilization perspective.
  4. MaxtorSCSI


    There are no functional differences between RoHS and non-RoHS drives. The electronics are identical, the FW is identical, the mechanics are identical. The differences are all in the PCBA assembly process. Different solder, different soldering (reflow) temperatures, some minor changes to tinning on component package leads. That's all.
  5. It depends. If the RAID controller only cares that there needs to be two drives, you could remove one of the drives, attach to another computer and Format, then reinstall in the original computer. If the RAID controller wants to see two devices with the proper "signature" this method won't work. But I doubt this would be the case. Note: you risk loosing all your data playing this game. Take my recommendations for what they are, recommendations. You make your choices and you take your chances on your own...
  6. MaxtorSCSI

    Hard disk recovery

    Hard disk drives are not end-user repairable. No user servicable parts inside. If the drive doesn't work and you can't afford to pay a recovery service to attempt to repair it, you might as well bust it open and see what's inside, it can't hurt. But the odds of you being able to "fix" anything in the process are on the low side of NIL.
  7. MaxtorSCSI

    Stripe size and segment size

    The "stripe" refers to the array stripe size, as you suspect. When you transfer data to/from the disk, this is how much data is written/read to one drive in the array, before the next drive is selected in turn. 64K is a good typical value for most desktop/workstation/server applications. The "segment" refers to the size of cache segments on the controller's local cache DRAM. Smaller segments will yield better cache performance for workloads that are predominantly short-block pseudo random (desktop benchmarks are good examples where lots of small cache segments are a win), larger segments will do better for workloads that are primarily long-block sequential (for example, video streaming where fewer, larger segements tend to be a win).
  8. MaxtorSCSI

    Sector error

    Grown bad blocks are generally caused by one of three issues, mechanical vibration/shock, internal particulates, or mechanical failure of either the spindle or actuator motors. Mechanical failure does not produce isolated bad blocks, it produces continual bad block growth. If your OneTouch isn't continuing to grow bad blocks, odds are good that this is not your problem. On the otherhand, isolated occurences of bad blocks (or in your case, sectors) are due either to mechanical vibration/shock or particulate. Generally, these are not an indication of any defect with the drive and are not reasons to request a replacement. Transient events like mechanical shock can produce single instance of bad blocks for obvious reasons. You bang the drive while it's reading or writing, you can effect it's ability to perform that operation, much the same as hitting a phonograph turntable gets the record to skip. Clearly, errors resulting from something like this isn't a problem with the drive, it's a problem with the way the drive is being used. A replacement would have the same problem. Even if you're not moving the drive around, there's still particulate. The disk drive is built in a class 100 clean room. This environment is nearly dust and particulate free. As a result, the interior of your HDD is very, very clean. But it isn't perfectly clean. Some environmental particulate is captured inside the HDD during assembly. And as the drive operates, it generates more (albeit at a very low rate. But there are moving parts inside the HDD. Moving parts have friction, and where there's friction, there's wear, and wear makes particles). Mostly, this stuff ends up in the "recirc filter", a filter designed to capture particulate as air circulates inside the drive. But the filter, like the clean room where the drive was built, is far from perfect. Some stuff always gets by. And, when you move the drive around, jostling it about in the process, you knock loose some of the particulate that was safely sequestered and that stuff blows around inside the HDD again the next time you spin the drive up. Recording heads fly at heights that are fractions of the size of a dust particle. When they bump in to particulate, they tend to ride over and then hammer that particle into the surface of the disk (at 7200 or 10K or 15K RPM, the head is moving pretty fast relative to the surface of the disk. For 15K, nearly 90MPH). The particle is small, but the size of the magnetic bits on the disk are small, too. Where the particle hits, it damages the disk surface and the bits recorded there are usually rendered unreadable. The good news is, the drive has sophisticated error correction hardware that usually allows the lost data to be automatically recovered. In performing that recovery operation, the hardware assesses the severity of the error. When the amount of error "damage" exceeds a given "threshold" (defined by the HDD designers and built in to the Firmware), the drive will "replace" the block with a spare, moving the logical location of that block to a different physical location on the media, in order to preserve your data. Portable drives (OneTouch is Maxtor's version, but this applies equally to all) are particularly suceptible to both mechanical and particulate induced errors because they're portable. They get moved around more than a typical desktop drive, and they tend to take some bumps in the process. These kinds of bad blocks, like those from mechanical vibration or shock, are pretty much par for the course. All drives eventually grow some bad blocks, portable or not, it's the nature of the beast. If you're concerned, check the drive again in a week. If it's showing more replaced blocks, you may have a real problem. If you're not still growing new "defects", replacing your drive is unecessary.
  9. Not true. To a fair degree, the thermal properties of the stuff used to make HDDs is pretty much the same for everyone. But from one drive to the next, the thermal properties of the primary constituents, Aluminum and stainless steel, will vary as a function of how they're alloyed, how thick they are, the shape they take, and how they're constructed. Most 7200RPM and slower drives have slab-sided base castings. Many 10K and 15K RPM drives have finned surfaces (which improves dissipation). Some drives have single-layer stainless steel top covers. Others have two layer covers with a sandwitched damper materail (which insulates) between the layers. Some drives have large PCBAs which cover (and therefore, insulate) a significant percentage of the HDD base casting, others have smaller PCBAs. Some drives have acoustical damper material between the PCBA and basecasting (which insulates). Even the packaging (BGA is quite different from LCC) used for the ASICs effects dissipation of the components. It also matters how the heat-dissipating components inside (spindle motor, voice coil motor, and Preamp) are mounted to the external components (the thermal convection path) and how air flows around these components inside the HDD. Dissipation can and will be different from design to design. Assuming environmental factors stay constant, each design will attain it's own operating temperature as a function how it dissipates the heat it generates. Now, that doesn't change the fact that a drive that consumes more power will generate more heat. You cannot change the laws of physics.
  10. MaxtorSCSI

    HDD coolers - harmfull?

    The drive only cares about airflow. If you're depending on convection cooling, mounting the drive vertically might help it dissipate a bit better than horizontal, but probably not enough to save the drive from an early demise. Convection alone is rarely sufficient for drive cooling. But if you've got adaquate airflow across the drive, orientation is a don't care.
  11. MaxtorSCSI

    hard disk magnets

    I agree with your final sentiment, but I don't with the first. While it's true that the coercivity (how hard it is to magnetize) of the media is pretty strong, the strength of the recorded signal is pretty weak. Luckily, magnetic field strength falls off with the square of distance, so from an inch away even a strong permanent magnet doesn't present a lot of field, but you can indeed erase data with a permanent magnet just the same. You don't need to touch or even get particularly close. The recording head generates a very weak field, but it's flying at a distance of about a few nanometers. A permanent magnet will do damage at 10s of mm's distance, no problem. The motors in an HDD are designed to contain as much of their magnetic fields as possible to reduce how much field they can bleed in to the drive and, more importantly, in to adjacent drives in the same enclosure. There's actually a specification for "B-field" susceptibility to ensure that HDDs don't self erase each other...
  12. The temperature quoted in Maxtor specs is ambient air temp, not drive case temperature. The reliability demonstration testing done to rate the drive's reliability is done in a 45ºC ambient environment. The drives typically see a 10º-15ºC rise in case temperature over ambient (this is the temperature returned by the SMART thermal sensor) and will report 55º-60ºC operating temperatures. The drive will issue SMART thermal warnings at 66ºC. I suspect Fujitsu is quoting the drive case temperature and not ambient. Your 50ºC case temperature is not a problem for these drives. I'd be interested in hearing what IOPs you get out of the Maxtor drives compared to the Fujitsus. I'd like to think you're getting more work for the added energy dissipation, though it might simply be that the Fujitsu is doing a better job of dissipating for whatever reason...
  13. MaxtorSCSI

    About hard disk G-shock

    The stop time is a function of the surface you drop the drive on to. In practice, surfaces like tiled or concrete floors, or a laminated workbench are very hard. Decelleration times will be much shorter than 10ms (an order of magnitude or more). Manufacturers rate their drives for both a G-load and duration, for example, a non-operating shock spec might be 250G@5ms & 60G@2ms. Bumping the desk where your PC sits is a relatively long duration impulse. 100s of milliseconds. The drive is very tolerant of these kinds of shocks and there is litle risk either to soft data errors (from an off track write) or permanent mechanical damage (like from a dynamic head slap). In contrast to that, a 9.81m drop to a hard surface will unquestionably destroy an HDD. A 1m drop to a hard surface will destroy an HDD. A 6" drop is about on the threshold of what a drive can survive (in fact, we to a test called a "tilt drop" that stands the HDD on it's narrow end and allows it to topple over. The drive is designed to survive this kind of drop). Note however that "survive" is a relative term. You might outright break the drive with a hard drop, or you might only do partial damage to motor bearings and the head/media interface. These more subtle types of damage may not be immediately evident, but long term drive reliability will have been compromised. The best comment on this was made by "TwoJ"; treat your HDD like it's an Egg. If the bump you're giving the drive would cause an egg shell to crack, it's probably doing damage to the drive. If not, you don't have to worry about it.
  14. I'm not sure this tells us what we might otherwise be inclined to think it does. Each drive design is going to dissipate the power it consumes differently, and it's that dissipation that determines how hot the drive ultimately runs. Put another way, the power the HDD consumes dictates how much of energy goes in, but it's the rate at which that energy comes out that determines how quickly the HDD heats up and how hot it gets. There are many factors that dictate the rate of dissipation, including the design of the HDD itself, the efficiency of elements like the Motors and ASICs, how the HDD is mounted, what the ambient temperature is, how much airflow is presented to the operating drive, and of course the workload. But it's important to understand that the drive that consumes the most power may not in fact be the drive that runs the hottest. When we design HDDs, we use Infrared photography to determine what gets hot (and how hot it gets), and how well airflow cools these things, in order to be sure that the drive won't self-heat itself in to oblivion *if* operating according to the manufacturer's specifications. For desktop and server applications, the drive's power rating is really designed more to meet legacy-box power supply constraints than thermal constraints (though older boxes with weaker supplies tend to be the same ones that have poor ventilation). The HDD could consume much more power than it does, and get better performance as a result, but the drives would crowbar power supplies in decade-old systems (that still get their fair share of upgrades). For portable applications, power is dictated by constraints defined by the battery and related power system. That being said, power dissipation has recently started to be more important in some specific markets related to more traditional desktop applications. Consumer electonics like PVRs and set-top boxes are designed to operate in "non-traditional" environments like bedrooms, in spite of the fact that they're really pretty much desktop computers in disguise. Manufacturers want their boxes to be as quiet as possible, and in some cases omit fans altogether. The drive has to be designed to minimize power consumption while maximizing dissipation in order to work reliably in these environments. Luckily, the workloads tend to be predominantly sequential, which minimizes seek power dissipation. Desktop and Server drives are often rated for a specific minimum operating airflow (such as "100 LFM", or 100 linear feet per minute airflow). When operated in an environment that meets the spec, drive temperatures will "stabilize" at some (fairly constant) temperature offset above ambient. For example, when operated in the specified airflow, an Atlas 15K II will run about 10º-15ºC above the temperature of the ambient air. When operated in still air, the drive will run 30º-40ºC or more hotter than the air temp. If you put the drive in an enclosed box without airflow, it'll heat up until it gets hot enough that something fails and it stops working. High temperatures can cause problems long before they cause outright failures. Cooler is generally better. But the only way to meaningfully measure thermal performance is in the specific enclosure of interest.
  15. The answer depends on the design of the RAID controller. Most controllers do two things when they construct a RAID. They put identifying data on the HDDs, and they record the configuration in an internal EEPROM or FLASH. Usually, you need both these pieces of information to mount the array. Provided you don't cause the state of the drive and EEPROM data to change (by for instance, making changes in the SATA controller BIOS setup while the RAID drives are disconnected), you should be all set. Even if you do make changes, some controllers (many Adaptecs do this) will look for the RAID signature on the devices on the bus even if there's no RAID configuration written to the EEPROM. Provided you don't have "other" devices on the bus to confuse the controller, it may be able to "find" the array even if the EEPROM configuration data has been erased. You need to check technical support for your controller. Look for FAQs on things like "moving the array to a new computer" for the kind of information that'll answer this question for your particular configuration.