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ST3160023A S.M.A.R.T. values plummeted

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Chaintech 7AJA2

I bought ST3160023A hard disk a week ago. My vendor says that drive can not be replaced since it's operational and doesn't have any bad sectors.

BUT...

'Raw Read Error Rate' and 'Seek Error Rate' S.M.A.R.T. attribute values in 'Active SMART 2.41' plummeted from '100' to '60' immediately after installation. I read on this forum that this is normal for SEAGATE, but I also read that it isn't. So, What is it?

I need to back up a project - really ultra important data - and it seems that the drive I choose to safe-guard my precious data needs a back up itself.

*This is what SEAGATE Technical Support said about it:

"Seagate hard drives have a self test, which most SMART software does not

anticipate. Therefore the SMART values are not accurate since the Self

Test is seen as a failed read or write. If you wish to test the drive for

accuracy, you can use our Seatools software. this software can be

downloaded from the following webpage: http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/index.html"

%#@!!! In my first sentence to Technical Support I stated that SeaTools didn't work. It started with Caldera DR DOS and just got stuck on A:>. I didn't write it down, but it's something like that.

On a previous question about the clicking noise when hard drive is slowly rotated their answer was: "Some drives will make noises if shaken it is normal."

Note the 'SOME DRIVES'. Of course that's normal when the whole batch is faulty. Hard disks are supposed to be tight - precisely engineered pieces of equipment, aren't they?

Does anyone here have a real-life expirience with this drive (ST3160023A)? How much is it reliable with this kind of S.M.A.R.T. values?

Is there some older version of SeaTools that actually works?

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It seems to me that what their tech support guys are telling you is fairly straight. In my expereience Seagate drives do have some smart values, particularly 'Raw Read Error Rate' and 'Seek Error Rate', that appear very bad even when the drive is in good health.

It has also been my experience that many drives "rattle' slightly when turned upside down or rotated slowly. I thinks it's either the park-latching mechanism or possibly the small paper air filter that causes this. I remember the first time I notice this was on an old 3.2GB Quantum fireball (new at the time) and I thought I'd bought a lemon. As it turned out that drive operated flawlessly for about 5 years.

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My 3.2 GB Quantum Fireball ST has the rattle also. It has been running since new and is still operational. That's 8 years old? It a long time for a "faulty drive". ^__^

Other rattling drives I have are Hitachi 7K400 and IBM Travelstar 12GN. 7K400 has an "anti-rebound actuator lock" according to the specs. Maybe it's something similar to the actuator lock that has been used in laptop drives for many years. (It's VERY common of laptop drives to rattle.)

My 7K250 doesn't by the way rattle at all, so could it be that at least not all drives using load/unload technology rattle... Maybe 7K250 (older than 7K400) doesn't have a mechanical actuator lock but only a magnetic one.

Rest of my drives are CSS (contact start-stop) (including that ST previously mentioned) without unloading mechanism and (with the exception of that ST) they do not have audible rattle when turned upside down. That doesn't mean rattling mean the drive is faulty.

Sorry for the off-topic Ultra-Special Blah Blah*.

*a quote from Fruits Basket (or Furuba)

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My 3.2 GB Quantum Fireball ST has the rattle also.

Ha, that's the exact same model that I had when first noticed that some hard drives rattle. I was turning it upside down to read the serial number when I noticed it. At first I wanted to try and return the drive but I wasn't sure how I'd go since it was functioning perfectly. Since then I've noticed various other drives do the same thing.

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Seagate drives do not show 100% health even when they are new... usually 50% to 60% only. This seems to be Seagate's own "design" somewhat.. See http://www.almico.com/sfarticle.php?id=2

Why is my brand new drive showing poor fitness values?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As shown in the paragraph above, SpeedFan tries to build two synthetic indicators, but this is based on heuristic and on some basic assumptions. Most manufacturers do not use values lower than 100 when any attribute needs no attention, but some other ones (most notably Seagate) chose to set values for some attributes to values lower than 100 even if the drive should be considered 100% healthy. This is something the manufacturer can do as the specs allow this. The specifications for S.M.A.R.T. require and state that any failing attribute is given a value lower than or, at least, equal to its associated threshold. Anything else should be considered working flawlessly.

What say you? :rolleyes:

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SEATOOLS still doesn't work. Could it be because BIOS shows my 160GB HDD to be 136GB? Have to say that HITACHI Drive Fitness Test works on same MoBo with HDS722516VLAT80 (160GB drive).

Well, more and more proof that Seagate DOES show lower SMART values from the start. Can't help not to think that they're making negative self-advertisment by showing values less than '100' on brand new drives; doesn't make sense from a commercial standpoint. Did anyone saw a SEAGATE HDD with '100' values?

I certainly can't do anything about SMART; most of my concern now is that I can't check the drive with SeaTools.

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%#@!!! In my first sentence to Technical Support I stated that SeaTools didn't work. It started with Caldera DR DOS and just got stuck on A:>. I didn't write it down, but it's something like that.

Maybe you could just start seatools from the command prompt then. I sounds like the batch file just aborted for some reason, type "dir" from that "A:\" command promt and see if you can see the executible file.

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SEATOOLS still doesn't work. Could it be because BIOS shows my 160GB HDD to be 136GB?
This is a BIG concern as the BIOS detects your drive as 136GB. This could be due to missing 48-bit LBA in the BIOS itself. The capacity detection limit of BIOS without 48-bit LBA support is 137GB.. which is pretty close to the 136GB you have mentioned. Updating BIOS may be a priority to avoid the 137GB limit "wrap-around" (which can cause data corruption)... Please note that for proper 48-bit LBA support, the following is required..

1. BIOS with 48-bit LBA support

2. Windows XP SP1 minimum

3. Any HDD bigger than 137GB

If updated to SP1 or SP2 from non-service pack versions, then you have to manually enable 48-bit LBA in the registry. See: How to enable 48-bit Logical Block Addressing support for ATAPI disk drives in Windows XP http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...Ben-us%3B303013

Have to say that HITACHI Drive Fitness Test works on same MoBo with HDS722516VLAT80 (160GB drive).
Does the BIOS detect this HDD as 160GB or 136GB (or 137GB)? Just wonderin... :blink:
Well, more and more proof that Seagate DOES show lower SMART values from the start. Can't help not to think that they're making negative self-advertisment by showing values less than '100' on brand new drives; doesn't make sense from a commercial standpoint. Did anyone saw a SEAGATE HDD with '100' values?
Well there must be some reason Seagate does this.. Maybe an earlier than usual warning technique by halving the health values? For example: when health reduced by halve again.. it would reached 25% which is near critical level ??.... hmmm.. mystery..mystery... You are not the only one pondering on this issue.. :unsure:
I certainly can't do anything about SMART; most of my concern now is that I can't check the drive with SeaTools.

What IDE controller or motherboard chipset are you using? (e.g. VIA, Intel , SiS, etc.. and SATA or PATA) :huh:

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'Raw Read Error Rate' and 'Seek Error Rate' S.M.A.R.T. attribute values in 'Active SMART 2.41' plummeted from '100' to '60' immediately after installation. I read on this forum that this is normal

This has been brought up here before. I don't remember exactly who it was, and don't know if he was correct, but someone said that Seagate's "Raw Read Error Rate" attribute measures error rate *before* error correction, while most drives measure error rate *after* error correction. Therefore, other drives from other brands always give "100" in RRER (even though there are read errors), while Seagate drives will give 40-50-60 under normal conditions. It's probably the same case with Seek Error Rate.

Every Seagate drive I've owned has shown similar RRER and SER values, and I've had no problem, so I don't think you should panic just yet :)

Finally, remember S.M.A.R.T values are vendor-specific, which means that your drive is perfectly in compliance with the standard to give only 40 i RRER even though NO read errors occur ( as long as the given value is above the threshold, which, for many Seagate drives, is 6 ). You simply can't tell what the value "40" means. The only thing you should "listen" to is whether the drive reports itself to be OK or NOT OK. If the drive reports itself to be NOT OK, then you should worry, and only then will the S.M.A.R.T values be of interest. See this page for more information.

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Maybe you could just start seatools from the command prompt then. I sounds like the batch file just aborted for some reason, type "dir" from that "A:\" command promt and see if you can see the executible file.

I did that first time I tried to run SeaTools, but I didn't mention it because I didn't want to make an 'INFORMATION OVERLOAD' of the initial post. For some executible files it said something like 'File name not recognized' (if I remember straight), and others weren't starting SeaTools - like splash.exe which showed Seagate logo. After enetering one executable it said something like 'Thanks for using SeaTools'.

Does the BIOS detect this HDD as 160GB or 136GB (or 137GB)? Just wonderin...

Windows XP had SP1 integrated and SP2 was first thing I installed after installing XP. Windows sees SEAGATE as 149.05GB and HITACHI as 153.38GB; one more '+' for Hitachi there.

When in BIOS though, capacity of a HITACHI is also shown as 136GB. I have the latest BIOS update and I don't think that Chaintech will ever release another one for this MoBo (7AJA2).

What IDE controller or motherboard chipset are you using? (e.g. VIA, Intel , SiS, etc.. and SATA or PATA)

UDMA-100 & VIA Apollo KT133A

Well there must be some reason Seagate does this.. Maybe an earlier than usual warning technique by halving the health values? For example: when health reduced by halve again.. it would reached 25% which is near critical level ??.... hmmm.. mystery..mystery... You are not the only one pondering on this issue..

They say it's because of this:

Seagate hard drives have a self test, which most SMART software does not

anticipate. Therefore the SMART values are not accurate since the Self

Test is seen as a failed read or write.

Finally, remember S.M.A.R.T values are vendor-specific, which means that your drive is perfectly in compliance with the standard to give only 40 i RRER even though NO read errors occur ( as long as the given value is above the threshold, which, for many Seagate drives, is 6 ). You simply can't tell what the value "40" means. The only thing you should "listen" to is whether the drive reports itself to be OK or NOT OK. If the drive reports itself to be NOT OK, then you should worry, and only then will the S.M.A.R.T values be of interest.

Yes, it's 'OK' and looking in percentages SEAGATE allow more room for some values to drop than HITACHI does; for example Raw Read Error Rate threshold is '60' on Hitachi while Seagate's threshold is '6'. Not the case with Spin Up Retry Count though.

Every Seagate drive I've owned has shown similar RRER and SER values, and I've had no problem, so I don't think you should panic just yet

Well, it's more audible than Hitachi and it seems to be slower (maybe because of internal error correctioning going on). Not to mention that the drive is equal to half of month's salary where I am.

Anyway I copied files from Hitachi (primary master) to Seagate (secondary master); transfer was 21MB/s, and it's a little low in my opinion. I think I'll maybe use battle-hardened Hitachi for back up and give this Seagate rookie a hell of a ride. Let's see how tough it is. Anyway, vendor said that it can be replaced only when it's dead.

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If there is a real SMART error on a Seagate you will know it. I had a 'Cuda IV that tripped a SMART error due to a loose power plug. I know there was no actual problem with the drive but every semi-modern board I had would warn me to replace the disk every freakin time I booted the computer, despite SMART monitoring having ALWAYS been disabled in the BIOS. There was no Seagate utility that would reset it, and the disk was OEM with no more warranty. I finally had to leave it in an old Socket 7 board that didn't know what SMART was :rolleyes:

Had the same problem with a WD JB but the WDC utility cleared the code. Jeers to Seagate for not providing the same functionality, and to those damned Molex engineers too.

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Windows XP had SP1 integrated and SP2 was first thing I installed after installing XP. Windows sees SEAGATE as 149.05GB and HITACHI as 153.38GB; one more '+' for Hitachi there.

When in BIOS though, capacity of a HITACHI is also shown as 136GB. I have the latest BIOS update and I don't think that Chaintech will ever release another one for this MoBo (7AJA2).

From your description... Please BEWARE that your BIOS does not have any 48-bit LBA support. This means you may encounter data corruption once data have been filled past the 137GB limit. Refer to the Microsoft link in my previous post.. all 3 conditions must be fulfilled to use HDDs larger than 137GB.. :ph34r:
UDMA-100 & VIA Apollo KT133A
Wll it figures.. (that's why I asked about the chipset..) Sometimes SeaTools have problems with non-Intel chipset IDE controllers. :unsure:

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From your description... Please BEWARE that your BIOS does not have any 48-bit LBA support. This means you may encounter data corruption once data have been filled past the 137GB limit. Refer to the Microsoft link in my previous post.. all 3 conditions must be fulfilled to use HDDs larger than 137GB..

Sometimes SeaTools have problems with non-Intel chipset IDE controllers.  :unsure:

Well, Windows does see HDD's full size, but if I understood you correctly, I may not be able to use its full capacity because of the BIOS. I flew my eyes over Microsoft page that you provided the link for. As I see it, they are explaining how to enable 48-bit Logical Block Addressing for ATAPI disk drives in Windows XP. My Windows sees more than 137GB and atapi.sys file version is 5.1.2600.2180. I will read it all though and see If I missed the point.
Had the same problem with a WD JB but the WDC utility cleared the code.
HITACHI Drive Fitness Test and Feature Tool work in spite of my old hardware. I guess I'll annoy Seagate's support few more times.

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I learned that SP2 in Windows XP trumps BIOS and that all of the disk should be usable. I'll fill it to the rim though - in experimental purposes.

But regarding diagnostic tools... I came across this http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic7602.html where is said that HITACHI Drive Fitness Test works with HDDs of all manufacturers. Did anyone here tried this? I'm really, really, REALLY cautious about this.

Could some fatal mechanical error occur by launching software of another manufacturer?

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Here is my story. I have two of those exact model # drives in two systems. One has SMART attributes that are low and the other has them all them normal. However, both have been running like a swiss army knife for a year now. :huh:

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I contacted SEAGATE support regarding SeaTools and their tech guy replied:

Hello,

Try adding a jumper to pins 1 and 2 on the drive see if it will run

for you then.

Now, I can't add a jumper, since I only have one on pins 7 & 8, which is 'MASTER' settings. Maybe I could use a jumper from another drive, but adding it on pins 1 & 2 will limit drive's capacity to 32GB. What will happen with data and will SeaTools perform testing on whole drive, or just that 32GB?

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Personally, i'd just spend the $20 on a promise u100tx2 controller or something similar with 48bit LBA and not worry about it again.

-Chris

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Personally, i'd just spend the $20 on a promise u100tx2 controller or something similar with 48bit LBA and not worry about it again.

-Chris

215153[/snapback]

Maybe that would work, but there aren't any 3rd party IDE controllers available in East Europe, and even if they were, pouring scarce money in 2001 system would be inappropriate.

Will already formated drive and data on it suffer if I set it to 32GB max. capacity - as suggested by SEAGATE Support?

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Will already formated drive and data on it suffer if I set it to 32GB max. capacity - as suggested by SEAGATE Support?

215157[/snapback]

Personally I'd just accept that if the drive is functioning ok and the smart values are not significantly different to what everyone else is getting from that or similar model Seagates then the drive is ok. If you still really want to run Seatools over it then perhaps you have a friend or colleague with a slightly new motherboard who would let you run the test in their tower.

BTW, how are those SMART values currently shaping up, have they stabilized already? I've had some Seagate where the SMART values for "Raw Error Error Rate" and "Seek Error Rate" have actually dropped to the high 40's after just a few days (48 or 49). That one really had me alarmed! Surprisingly the smart values on that one actually came back up a little after I did a full surface scan (back to about 54 or 55) where afterwards they remained pretty stable. That was the worst one I've had, more typically I find those SMART fields typically stabilize at about 60 to 65 on most of the Seagates I've tested. Actually I think the highest Smart value (after it's stabilized) that I've ever got in those field is about 70 (with recent Seagates). Oh well I know it sucks to see such low values but it's just how they're reported and doesn't seem to be correlated with high failure rates so just accept it.

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Yes because the bios will retranslate it.
I bet that SEAGATE's technical support guy forgot to mention that on purpose.
BTW, how are those SMART values currently shaping up, have they stabilized already?
Like on a see-saw - few points up, few points down. 'Seek Error Rate' is locked on '60', 'Raw Read Error Rate' is between '64' and '68'. I'll see what latest version of Active SMART says. I'll maybe even ask Ariolic support whether their software "anticipate" Seagate's self test, since this is Seagate's explanation for low values; although LED ZEPPELIN said:
I have two of those exact model # drives in two systems. One has SMART attributes that are low and the other has them all them normal. However, both have been running like a swiss army knife for a year now.

I'll try to find surface scan software, preferably some with more detailed report than Windows ScanDisk. Then I'll use the drive, even though it's slower than HDS722516VLAT80. Maybe its buffer isn't functioning. Blasted SeaTools. If I get more daring and even more stupid, I'll maybe try to use HITACHI DFT on it. After few months I'll follow-up on this thread.

Thanks for your time and replies guys.

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Well, I use ST3160023A as off-line back up now. It was much slower than HDS722516VLAT80 (one more month of warranty for this one, so I'm pushing it hard).

When I say 'much slower', I mean that same tasks, on same OS, with same programs, were 20 - 50% slower on Seagate. Could it be because I placed fixed size swap file at the end of the drive, instead of the first 50 GBs, as I did with Hitachi?

Regarding Seagate's claims that SMART software values are not accurate since the Self

Test is seen as a failed read or write, Ariolic Software, Ltd. gave me this reply:

Yes, it is possible. But since this information is vendor-specific

we can't tell you if it's true for sure. However, we recommend

you to continue monitoring the drive in question to be sure your

data is safe.

I did use HITACH DFT on Seagate's drive, and everything was OK. Although, DFT manual says that not all tests can be done on every HDD.

I also did a ScanDisk on Windows XP boot up, and there were 0 files in bad sectors. Does thas mean that there are no bad sectors, or that there are, but they're just empty?

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Scandisk only detects unreliable sectors that are not remapped by the drive. Drives traditionally have spare sectors that are transparently remapped by the manufacturer's drive utility to replace bad sectors--this is hidden from Windows. The utility will fail self-test and tell you to RMA the drive if all the spare sectors have been reallocated and there are still bad sectors.

Remapping decreases performance because the disk has to seek all the way to where the spare sectors are. You can see this as big dips on a STR benchmark graph.

That said, the 7200.7 is a lot slower disk than the 7k250.

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