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Barracuda 7200.7 - audible offline scan again?

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Hi!

Just got my drive, with firmware 3.06 and it had some strange things...

- SMART is OK, seek error rate starts from 60 and raises slowly as usual, but now I have a worst of 56... is that a problem?

- I am very very sad to say that these drives have an idle whine. It's not so disturbing, but it's still slightly audible with closed case. This is the same with my 160Gb SATA drive (ST3160023AS). My Barracuda IV and V had absolutely no idle noise so I don't understand this. :blink:

- And finally the most exciting: the drive starts constant seeking every few minutes, every session last for about 1 min and 10 secs. If I access the drive the seeking noise stops, but it resumes almost immediately after being idle again. Power on hours is only 47 hours, can I expect this annoying seek to disappear?

Any of you guys having these problems?

Thanks

ps.: despite of that I still like Seagate, valuable performance and best reliability on the market... (but I will buy a Raptor for my boot drive when the new version comes out :P )

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Hi!

Just got my drive, with firmware 3.06 and it had some strange things...

- I am very very sad to say that these drives have an idle whine. It's not so disturbing, but it's still slightly audible with closed case. This is the same with my 160Gb SATA drive (ST3160023AS).  My Barracuda IV and V had absolutely no idle noise so I don't understand this.  :blink:

- And finally the most exciting: the drive starts constant seeking every few minutes, every session last for about 1 min and 10 secs. If I access the drive the seeking noise stops, but it resumes almost immediately after being idle again. Power on hours is only 47 hours, can I expect this annoying seek to disappear?

Any of you guys having these problems?

Thanks

Hi!

I installed my first Seagate disk yesterday and after reading your post in this board i can say that it could be the english translation of what i had written in an italian board after testing the hd. ;) I noticed the same thing you're describing in your post..

Looking for informations about that very audible idle scan, i found out that it should be a sort of "hd saver" that moves the hd heads to prevent them to stay too long in the same place, avoiding the formation of heat on the disk surface. So this is to improve reliability, but in my opinion it's a too excessive measure because you can't let your drive idle that it starts making so much noise that it seems to be in the middle of a defragmentation :huh:

There's a workaround for this: you have to avoid the hd to stay too long in idle. Maybe installing the os on it will be enough, however you can also put on one of its partitions a log that is updated often, and that's exaclty what i did with the motherboard monitor log that is written to disk every 30 seconds.

Unluckily, in my opinion there's a second problem that you haven't noticed or maybe that just doesn't bother you. I'm talking of the lack of Automatic Acoustic Management (AAM) support, that leads to a very audible noise of the drive heads in seeking. It seems that Seagate, due to copyright problems, has disabled the automatic acoustic management control in their newest hard drives and that these new models are factory set to performance mode rather than silent mode. I have been looking for informations on this too, but this time i haven't found any workaround. At the moment there seems to be no "known" way to control the acoustic management of the drive and Seagate says through their support service that aam is no longer supported.

In the end i'm wondering how two important things like these have gone unnoticed in the drive review, where it is said that the drive in idle is very silent. That's indeed true, but the problem is that the hd simply won't stay idle, but it will keep moving its heads as a sort of "hd-saver". Maybe the idle noise test has been made with the data cable unplugged, because it seems to me, even if i'm not 100% sure, that if only power is attached the disk-saver is disabled and the idle is really idle.

Greetz from Italy and sorry if i haven't been always clear with my english :P !!

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I wonder if copyright problems are, in fact, the reason seagate didn't allow AAM changes on these drives. The AAM interface is open source, just like the rest of the ATA interface standards... it's how you implement AAM that may get you into trouble.

If the idea behind AAM(the intelectual property of the concept) is patented then I would think only 1 HDD maker would be using AAM (the one with the patent). If what is patented is the implementation then I think it fairly odd that seagate would have a problem considering they were the 1st drive manufacturer that I am aware of to offer AAM.

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I wonder if copyright problems are, in fact, the reason seagate didn't allow AAM changes on these drives. The AAM interface is open source, just like the rest of the ATA interface standards... it's how you implement AAM that may get you into trouble.

If the idea behind AAM(the intelectual property of the concept) is patented then I would think only 1 HDD maker would be using AAM (the one with the patent).  If what is patented is the implementation then I think it fairly odd that seagate would have a problem considering they were the 1st drive manufacturer that I am aware of to offer AAM.

Most (if not all) the HDD makers have cross-licensing agreements between themselves. Unless a specific patent is not included in the agreement (rare), I do not see why Seagate "cannot" use AAM. I have seen on some occasions, though, where a HDD firm does not want to continue paying royalties for usage of a patent. That may be the case here.

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yes, that is what I'm guessing is the most liekly case.. not wnating to pay royalties on every drive produced... however, I would think that seagate would make it such that their low end drives dont support AAM, while their higher end ones would. And that the cost of the royalties would be factored into the total cost of the drive.

This seems especially odd to me because segate had an ace up their sleeve. By this I am of course referring to their stronghold reputation of having the industry's quietest disk drives. Now their drives are both slower and noisier than the competition.

From my standpoint here is what I see for the average consumer.

I want a quiet drive: I should buy maxtor DM+9 or an IBM.

I want a performance drive: I should buy maxtor, IBM, or WD w/ 8MB cache.

I want a cheap drive: If buying OEM I should buy maxtor or IBM. If retail I can get a good rebate on these maxtor and WD disks.

I want a reliable drive: All the drives carry roughly the same warranty and are made with roughly the same reliability.

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From what I gather the Seagate 7200.7 are made from LOWER quality components compared to the Baracuda 4 and 5. You see the missing metal back protection plate as one thing.

Another thing is that B4 and 5 uses Fluid dynamic bearings and 7200.7 just use standard ballbearings from what I gather from their site. And that is most likely be the case of the idle whine.

Also from my expenerience, WD JB series also has a high pitch but quiet whine during idle. But loud enough for me to hear.

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Barracuda 7200.7 with ball bearings IS THAT SURE???

Interesting that my Sata version does not produce this hd saver or what the hell...

It's a real shame that there is not a single HDD on the market without some "cons" :(

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I want a reliable drive: All the drives carry roughly the same warranty and are made with roughly the same reliability.

Unfortunately that is not true. Maxtor drives for example, quiet and fast, but not reliable... lots of sudden death, maybe electronics problems... no chance of data saving! At least Seagate is reliable, that's why I use them... Now, ONLY that's why :(

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From what I gather the Seagate 7200.7 are made from LOWER quality components compared to the Baracuda 4 and 5.  You see the missing metal back protection plate as one thing.

Another thing is that B4 and 5 uses Fluid dynamic bearings and 7200.7 just use standard ballbearings from what I gather from their site.  And that is most likely be the case of the idle whine.

Also from my expenerience,  WD JB series also has a high pitch but quiet whine during idle.  But loud enough for me to hear.

From what I gather to Seagate Datasheet (PDF one), all 7200.7 drives are sixth generation FDB motors, with Softonic motors and other acoustic features.

Best Regards.

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i believe all of seagate's disks are FDB except for maybe their 10K SCSI and their U series of ATA disk drives (wherever you might find those things).

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Nicely corrected me there.

I always thought Seagate 7200.7 went back to ball bearing as their website removed all reference to FDB in comparison to the B4/5 pages. But then it is now hidden in the pdf :)

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Anyways, it still has some idle whine :( Why?

My Barracuda's seek error rate raised from 60 to 62 within 2 days... Will it stop seeking when it reaches 100, maybe?

I also heard one thing in another topic: Seagate STIR (Seek To Increase Reliability). Is that what we're talking about?

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Interesting that my Sata version does not produce this hd saver or what the hell...

You called it "offline scan", i renamed it "hd saver", then you probably found the exact name: "STIR" seek to improve reliabilty, but it's always the same thing.

I think that the idea could be good if improves reliability, but in my opinion seagate has implemented it in an excessive way, because each seeking session really lasts too long and without aam it's too much audible.

Btw, can you tell me which program you're using to read the error rate? I'll have a look and I'll tell you mine.

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From what I gather the Seagate 7200.7 are made from LOWER quality components compared to the Baracuda 4 and 5.  You see the missing metal back protection plate as one thing.

Another thing is that B4 and 5 uses Fluid dynamic bearings and 7200.7 just use standard ballbearings from what I gather from their site.  And that is most likely be the case of the idle whine.

Also from my expenerience,  WD JB series also has a high pitch but quiet whine during idle.  But loud enough for me to hear.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure you were wrong about the ball bearing part - but - I cant help but agree about the 7200.7 series seemly being a little more cheap and nasty than the cuda V's. I know that it's only an "impression", but that was the impression that I got when I had the two drives side by side.

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Interesting that my Sata version does not produce this hd saver or what the hell...

You called it "offline scan", i renamed it "hd saver", then you probably found the exact name: "STIR" seek to improve reliabilty, but it's always the same thing.

I think that the idea could be good if improves reliability, but in my opinion seagate has implemented it in an excessive way, because each seeking session really lasts too long and without aam it's too much audible.

Btw, can you tell me which program you're using to read the error rate? I'll have a look and I'll tell you mine.

Every HD performs offline scan (which means continuous background defect scan with auto sector reallocation) since the earli 98-99s. Every HD made it without producing any audible sound (maybe because moving heads slower, or something like that). Except for that is the first series of Barracuda IVs (very interesing sound!) and now tha PATA version of 7200.7's? The first was corrected with a firmware update or a little exe had to be started from clean boot, I still hope for something like that.

I am intending to contact Seagate support about this issue, I'll notify you on any news.

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Weird. I have 4 of the 7200.7s spinning right next to me and they're pretty quiet, no whine and I can barely hear them seeking. Someone mentioned here a few months ago that the drives do a surface scan when brand new just once during idle periods, looking for sectors that have gone bad since manufacture. I never noticed it though.

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Weird. I have 4 of the 7200.7s spinning right next to me and they're pretty quiet, no whine and I can barely hear them seeking. Someone mentioned here a few months ago that the drives do a surface scan when brand new just once during idle periods, looking for sectors that have gone bad since manufacture. I never noticed it though.

Yes, I've heard about a scan lasting for the first month or so... We shall see.

Exactly what types of 7200.7 do you own? My SATA 160Gb doesn't do this seek thing too, at least it's not audible.

Open your case and put your ears near them - you will hear the idle whine.

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"Exactly what types of 7200.7 do you own? My SATA 160Gb doesn't do this seek thing too, at least it's not audible."

160 GB SATA, Model ST3160023AS

"Open your case and put your ears near them - you will hear the idle whine."

Ok I put my ears right near the open case and all I can hear is some older ball bearing type drives that are in boxes on the other side of the room. Either my perception of drive noise is substantially different from yours, or you got a bum drive.

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"Exactly what types of 7200.7 do you own? My SATA 160Gb doesn't do this seek thing too, at least it's not audible."

160 GB SATA, Model ST3160023AS

"Open your case and put your ears near them - you will hear the idle whine."

Ok I put my ears right near the open case and all I can hear is some older ball bearing type drives that are in boxes on the other side of the room. Either my perception of drive noise is substantially different from yours, or you got a bum drive.

lol...

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I want a reliable drive: All the drives carry roughly the same warranty and are made with roughly the same reliability.

Unfortunately that is not true. Maxtor drives for example, quiet and fast, but not reliable... lots of sudden death, maybe electronics problems... no chance of data saving! At least Seagate is reliable, that's why I use them... Now, ONLY that's why :(

Well, I don't know about that...

I have FIVE Maxtor DiamondMax Plus drives in my home server (Lian-LI PC-70 Case), and none of them have given me the slightest trouble.

The oldest is over 3 years old, the newest is over a year.

1 - 30GB.

2 - 40GB.

1 - 60GB.

1 - 80GB (D740X).

The server is on 24/7 and has been running for several years.

My main desktop has a Western Digital 80GB JB drive, and it's about a year old. It's been fine too. It is up most of the time, but not 24/7.

With all that said, I do plan on retiring all the server drives to less-important chores this year, and replacing them with 2 or 3 250GB+ drives. Which one's I'm not sure yet.

TL

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First of all: the Seagate 7200.7 has Fluid Bearings.

I have one of these, 120GB.

I have several Barracudas, all of them with Fluid bearings, and, yes, some of them engage into some king of "maintenance activity" from time to time. I can hear a sort of "grinding", not very loud, but noticeable.

Otherwise the drives are very silent when idling.

In my FDB Samsungs, I can't hear any "maintenance grinding".

About acoustic management, some time ago, I downloaded a utility for the Barracuda ata IV, "smscan.exe", that sets silent seeks. It is a DOS program.

I have never used it, though.

I have encountered that the Barracudas induce a high pitched noise in my Fortron power supply, most audible when spinning up. The Samsungs don't induce this noise.

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It seems the "copyright issues" that are causing Seagate to disable acoustic management are resulting from a lawsuit from Convolve. Details below:

http://www.convolve.com/pr2000-7-12a.html

I'm hoping that other drive manufacturers haven't implemented their acoustic management based on Convolve's proprietary technology. If so, legal actions may result in a giant leap backward for noise reduction in the PC and consumer electronics industry.

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I haven't used a 7200.7 yet, but I remember the 'Cuda 4 had a similar problem when it came out; it made what some people described as a circular-saw noise during idle time.

The noise you're hearing is definitely not caused by the STIR feature which moves the heads very slightly about every 15 seconds. This should be almost inaudible.

The most likely culprit here is the SMART offline scan which is impossible to disable. You can interrupt it like breakdown suggested, though.

AFAIK, the 'Cuda 4 also did a more intense scan during the first power-on hours to scan for possible manufacturing or shipping related defects. This is what the SMSCAN utility disables.

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