philipms

Seagate 500GB SATA2 firmware upgrade helps RAID5 dramatically

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My SATA2 x 4 HDs in RAID5 formation showed HDTach benchmarks that were jagged beyond belief. The performance should have been much higher than the 60MBs/sec I was seeing..

HDTachMTN2-1-th.jpg

HDTachMTN2-1-th.jpg

I contacted Seagate with my results. They emailed me a firmware upgrade for my ST3500641AS-RK 500GB SATA Harddrives with S/N beginning with 3PM-----. These drives came with a 12/20/2005 3AAE firmware as labeled on the drive itself. Updating harddrives firmware is not something that the end user would normally do, and hence they emailed me the upgrade (as it's not on their website) to 3AAH date 2/17/2006.

To upgrade the firmware I unhooked all my IDE & SATA drives from the mobo and controller cards. I hooked up one SATA drive at a time to the mobo onboard SATA controller and booted simply to DOS with a floppy disk and ran the .BAT file they emailed me that I unzipped to a disk. I repeated this for all 8 of my drives, hooked everything back up and rebooted to WinXP.

The great news is twofold 1) upon hooking up all my drives, I didn't have to reformat or reRAID anything.. all my data was still there on line. and 2) the benchmark results improved dramatically from 60/MBs to 160/MBs

Simply awesome!

here they are..

HDTachMTN1afterFIRMWAREupgrade-1-th.jpg

HDTachMTN2afterFIRMWAREupgrade-1-th.jpg

Once again, these are 4 Seagate 500GB SATA2 drives in hardware RAID 5 formation with a Highpoint RocketRAID 2240 controller card. The card supports 16 drives on 4 infiniband channels, and these results show the benchmarks for two of the infiniband channels (4x1 500GB) each with RAID5 setups.

http://www.seagate.com/contact/index.html

1-800-SEAGATE (1-800-732-4283)

hope this info helps someone else,

best,

Philip

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Just for reference there is another upgrade coming out this Friday(4/14) that should improve performance once agian.

You didn't here it from me though.

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Hi guys,

Should the average user be looking to upgrade the firmware on their hard drive?? Is it likely to improve performance when used in a standalone fashion? And if so, do any of the manufacturers make the firmware available via the net?

drvik

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Should the average user be looking to upgrade the firmware on their hard drive?? Is it likely to improve performance when used in a standalone fashion? And if so, do any of the manufacturers make the firmware available via the net?

No, firmware updates for ATA/SATA drives are normally not allowed. They are even prohibited to do by desktop drive customers. So the companies release (and just send out personally) the updates only in cases when the situation is somehow in S.O.S. condition.

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BTW, I emailed Seagate tech support a week and a half ago, and they sent me the 3.AAH firmware. It boosted my RAID5 hdtach performance by about 50%. Thanks for the thread!

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Yes thanks from me too. We bought several of the Seagate 500GB SATA drives (ST3500641AS) to use in two separate Infrant NAS RAID5 arrays. I'm going to contact Seagate to get the latest firmware (whatever is the 4/14 version after 3.AAH I guess?).

Just to confirm, is there just one common firmware for all the drives with the same part number, or are there different firmwares for different serial numbers? I'm just curious why philipms mentioned the drive SN?

Of the 4 drives in the NAS RAID5 array with me now, two were bought much earlier, and two were bought recently with a later firmware date out of the box.

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No, firmware updates for ATA/SATA drives are normally not allowed. They are even prohibited to do by desktop drive customers. So the companies release (and just send out personally) the updates only in cases when the situation is somehow in S.O.S. condition.

I had Maxtor MaxLine III's( 7V300F0's) made in Jan 2006 dropping out randomly off a 3ware 9550SX.. called up maxtor, talked to them for a bit, soon as they heard 3ware they sent out the firmware.. it's been up 3 days or so without a problem.. took me somewhere around an hour to update the firmware on 17 drives though...

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Just to confirm, is there just one common firmware for all the drives with the same part number, or are there different firmwares for different serial numbers? I'm just curious why philipms mentioned the drive SN?

That I do not know. Seagate support (discsupport@seagate.com) had me list off the firmware and serial numbers of each drive I needed to upgrade, so I suspect there are differences in the packages they send out.

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I had Maxtor MaxLine III's( 7V300F0's) made in Jan 2006 dropping out randomly off a 3ware 9550SX.. called up maxtor, talked to them for a bit, soon as they heard 3ware they sent out the firmware.. it's been up 3 days or so without a problem.. took me somewhere around an hour to update the firmware on 17 drives though...

If I may ask, what firmware version is this?

They released "VA111630" a while back to supposedly address nForce4 issues. However, I still have these drives drop out of Silicon Image controllers every so often...

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I had Maxtor MaxLine III's( 7V300F0's) made in Jan 2006 dropping out randomly off a 3ware 9550SX.. called up maxtor, talked to them for a bit, soon as they heard 3ware they sent out the firmware.. it's been up 3 days or so without a problem.. took me somewhere around an hour to update the firmware on 17 drives though...

If I may ask, what firmware version is this?

They released "VA111630" a while back to supposedly address nForce4 issues. However, I still have these drives drop out of Silicon Image controllers every so often...

VA111670

I have 15 of these in the one machine, and two in another machine.. it's been almost two weeks with no issues, whereas before i'd get a dropped drive every day or two.

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I had Maxtor MaxLine III's( 7V300F0's) made in Jan 2006 dropping out randomly off a 3ware 9550SX.. called up maxtor, talked to them for a bit, soon as they heard 3ware they sent out the firmware.. it's been up 3 days or so without a problem.. took me somewhere around an hour to update the firmware on 17 drives though...

Hi all,

I'm experiencing exactly the same problem as you described here.

I have a 3ware/amcc 9550sx-8lp controller with eight 300GB Maxline III harddisks (7V300F0). They were equiped with firmware VA111630 and produced near the end of Jan 2006. The system is a Supermicro SC833T-R760 chassis (with 760W PSU), and I'm running Linux, 64-bit, but I don't think this is a OS related problem.

The system works fine, but randomly with intervals of many days of normal operation q drive drops out of the array. It is always a different drive, and always a different slot. Rebooting the machine does not help. The drive remains completely dead or inaccessible. I have to cold boot the machine, or I have to hot-remove and reinsert the drive. Then it starts working again completely normally.

I complained about this to AMCC and Maxtor, and they sent me firmware VA111670. The problem did not go away, although I have the impression that the frequency of occurance has been reduced somewhat.

I have tried all sorts of things, like reducing the speed from 3.0Gbps to 1.5Gbps, all to no avail. The longest period of continuous trouble free operation was 17 days in a row. The shortest 22 hours. On average statistically each drive fails every 56 days of operation (/8 drives = 1 case every week on average).

The "defective" drives afterwards do not appear to have any sector defects that might cause these timeouts.

I'm putting my story here in the hope that there are other "me too"'s. Maxtor claims to have only received one report about this, namely mine. I have told them that I am not the only one, but for "only two" customers they are refusing to escalate this problem with a high priority. In the meantime I have been experiencing this problem for 8 weeks now. "Complete customer satisfaction". I'm not satisfied at all at this moment.

I know that AMCC/3ware, the RAID card manufacturer, is currently in the process of attempting to reproduce this problem themselves with the Maxtor hard drives. I'm waiting for their feedback.

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I have a 3ware/amcc 9550sx-8lp controller with eight 300GB Maxline III harddisks (7V300F0). They were equiped with firmware VA111630 and produced near the end of Jan 2006. The system is a Supermicro SC833T-R760 chassis (with 760W PSU), and I'm running Linux, 64-bit, but I don't think this is a OS related problem.

9550SX-16ML, 15 300GB Maxline III. Came with the same firmware and date. Case is a Supermicro 932T-R760.. same as yours basically. Running Debian AMD64, dual Opteron 265's.

(Just filling in the details in case for some reason there's a pattern here. Supermicro said they haven't seen any problems with their hot swap chassis, and in fact was the one that told me to contact Maxtor about firmware)

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I have a 3ware/amcc 9550sx-8lp controller with eight 300GB Maxline III harddisks (7V300F0). They were equiped with firmware VA111630 and produced near the end of Jan 2006. The system is a Supermicro SC833T-R760 chassis (with 760W PSU), and I'm running Linux, 64-bit, but I don't think this is a OS related problem.

9550SX-16ML, 15 300GB Maxline III. Came with the same firmware and date. Case is a Supermicro 932T-R760.. same as yours basically. Running Debian AMD64, dual Opteron 265's.

(Just filling in the details in case for some reason there's a pattern here. Supermicro said they haven't seen any problems with their hot swap chassis, and in fact was the one that told me to contact Maxtor about firmware)

I have 3ware 9500S-4LP with Maxtor 6V300F0 fw VA111630 - the drives drop on a regular basis. I've used both SuSE 9.1, and 10.0 and two different firmware on the 3ware cards, but the drives will eventually drop.

Hoping there is a firmware fix or we'll be replacing the drives in the next few days.

-Blaine

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I have 3ware 9500S-4LP with Maxtor 6V300F0 fw VA111630 - the drives drop on a regular basis. I've used both SuSE 9.1, and 10.0 and two different firmware on the 3ware cards, but the drives will eventually drop.

Hoping there is a firmware fix or we'll be replacing the drives in the next few days.

-Blaine

To add my name to the list of people experiencing the same issues and who have contacted Maxtor -

7x Maxtor 6V300F0 fw VA111630 (RAID-5, 1 Spare)

1x 3Ware 9500S-8

Fedora Core 5 (various kernel iterations up to current)

Upgrading to the supplied Maxtor Firmware VA111670 today.

Richard

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10xMaxtor MaxLine III 300GB SATA2 (3 was DOA) fw. upgraded to VA111670

1xSupermicro AOC-SAT2-MV8 8-port SATA2 controller

1xSupermicro AOC-SATA-MV8 8-port SATA1 controller

Dual 240 Opteron, Tyan S2882, Debian Linux AMD64 & i386

Drive(s) dropping from array and not responding then. Must shutdown computer to wake up the failed disk.

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A customer of mine is having dropping drives in an Areca 1210 controller, Asus A8N-SLI Premium motherboard, 3 drives Maxtor 6V300F0 with VA111630 firmware.

I myself experienced lots of problems with a single 6V250F0 in my Asus A8N-VM CSM motherboard (nForce4-ish chipset), which seem to have gone away since I put the new VA111670 firmware in it. So I have that firmware file and I was thinking of updating my customer's drives in order to solve the problems there.

Do you guys know if the firmware file is the same for the 6V250F0 and 6V300F0 drives? I've asked Maxtor but it took weeks to go through the issues with the 250GB drive and I expect some more weeks for this new case. Is someone so kind to help me compare the two files?

Regards,

CM

Edited by comomolo

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A customer of mine is having dropping drives in an Areca 1210 controller, Asus A8N-SLI Premium motherboard, 3 drives Maxtor 6V300F0 with VA111630 firmware.

I myself experienced lots of problems with a single 6V250F0 in my Asus A8N-VM CSM motherboard (nForce4-ish chipset), which seem to have gone away since I put the new VA111670 firmware in it. So I have that firmware file and I was thinking of updating my customer's drives in order to solve the problems there.

Do you guys know if the firmware file is the same for the 6V250F0 and 6V300F0 drives? I've asked Maxtor but it took weeks to go through the issues with the 250GB drive and I expect some more weeks for this new case. Is someone so kind to help me compare the two files?

How frequently are those drives dropping and are the drives directly connected to the RAID controller or is there a backplane (hot swap chassis or drive cage) in between?

Compwzrd's experience is different from mine for now, but my dropping drive problem was not solved by upgrading to VA111670.

6V250F0 and 6V300F0 use the same firmware, but you should contact Maxtor in any case, or you'll void the warranty by performing an unauthorized firmware update. Maxtor's e-mail support s*cks (at least my experience). Their phone support is much better.

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Compwzrd's experience is different from mine for now, but my dropping drive problem was not solved by upgrading to VA111670.
Mine isn't solved fully by the VA111670 either, still having drop out rates, just not anywhere near as frequent.

Going to bitch at Maxtor after the holiday tomorrow, and see what they say.

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[...]

I'm putting my story here in the hope that there are other "me too"'s. Maxtor claims to have only received one report about this, namely mine. I have told them that I am not the only one, but for "only two" customers they are refusing to escalate this problem with a high priority. In the meantime I have been experiencing this problem for 8 weeks now. "Complete customer satisfaction". I'm not satisfied at all at this moment.

I know that AMCC/3ware, the RAID card manufacturer, is currently in the process of attempting to reproduce this problem themselves with the Maxtor hard drives. I'm waiting for their feedback.

Same issue, I've upgraded the 3ware 9550SX's firmware to the latest available, but upon reboot it will show a degraded arrayand start rebuilding, or an array in init state.

With the factory installed firmware it would intermittently not see a drive upon reboot.

Patrick.

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Same issue, I've upgraded the 3ware 9550SX's firmware to the latest available, but upon reboot it will show a degraded arrayand start rebuilding, or an array in init state.

With the factory installed firmware it would intermittently not see a drive upon reboot.

Patrick.

Hmm, this experience sounds quite like ours.

Summary: bought a pair of servers about 18 months ago, near-identical setup (subtly different mobo revs, 3ware card h/w and f/w revs), each has a 3ware 9500S-12 with 12 Maxtor Diamondmax 10 300GB SATA units (6B300S0).

Early bad things included loss of single/multiple drives at power-up (and even at warm-boot sometimes I think), as many as 8 of the 12 once(!). Both systems have exhibited pretty similar problems.

Since then we've swapped out the 3ware cards for newer ones, upgraded the firmware, reseated the controller end of the cables (drive end is impossible to get to without dismantling, dodgy design). No recent drive loss events on power-up but we power them up only about every 6 months anyway so lousy stats.

Continuing bad symptoms: random loss of drives. Every month or two, a drive will just drop out of the array. This must have happened about 10 times now, and on ONE occasion only, the drive was actually faulty (the Maxtor PowerMax tool said it was bust). All the other times, the drives have been fine, without even an event in their SMART logs (no errors, reallocations, anything).

Sometimes the controller said it kicked them out because of a time-out, sometimes because of an ECC error.

Just asked Maxtor today (their EMEA section) after reading this thread, they said "no known problems except with NForce4".

I had been suspecting bad cabling or PSU issues, but now I'm not so sure it's not the drives failing to play nicely with the controller. (We previously asked 3ware, but they didn't recognise the symptoms (!) and the drives we're using are on the HCL anyway.)

Not sure what to do next... Suggestions welcomed :-)

thanks

Neil

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I'm putting my story here in the hope that there are other "me too"'s.

General question to anyone who replies to this request: can you please be very specific, and include as many details as possible regarding the issue you are experiencing. It is possible that there is more than one problem, and it is not a good idea to have an attempt at solved two problems at the same time.

e.g. It is nice that you are using the latest firmware on the 3ware controller, but is this version 3.0.5, 3.0.4 or 3.0.2? And that version was on the card when it was shipped also depends upon when it was shipped. My 3ware cards originally contained 3.0.1 and I never had Maxtor drive recognition problems at boottime. I'm running 3.0.4 BTW at this moment without problems whatsoever, except this d*mned Maxtor dropping drive thing.

It is also very important to mention what firmware you are experiencing these issues with, and whether the drives are connected directly to the SATA(-RAID) controller or if there perhaps is a backplane in between (like in a hot-swap chassis or drive cage).

Maxtor keeps on repeating to customers that there is no problem, but I now for a fact that the EMEA and USA tech support dept. is well aware of this problem, and that there is at least some work done to solve this. But I am waiting as many of us are. Don't hesitate to push your local Seagate support dept. to provide a fix.

Edited by VikH

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The story so far for me is we got a bunch of 6V300F0 drives and:

1) Early on we had drives showing up as missing when we rebooted, maybe occasionally when running. We could re-insert the drive and problem would go away.

2) Things seemed stable for a few weeks then we started getting "device error" reports.

3) Drives are now dying left right and centre. Fortunately I was worried early on so I didn't put any data on the drives.

4) I have tested 3 of the 7 recently dead drives in powermax or whatever it is called and they all failed the short test immediately.

Note that we are using these in 1.5Gb mode... that may cause additional issues that those of you running in 3Gb mode won't notice. We have some running in 3Gb mode that haven't had any problems (i.e. dying) at all.

Config again:

SuperMicro 5013C-MT, 3ware 9500S-4LP fw 2.08.00.006, driver 2.26.04.007, SuSE 10.0, drive fw VA111630

-Blaine

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I have problems too, asus a8n-sli (nforce4) and maxtor 6v300f0...after a call to maxtor they send a firmware (va111670), I flashed the drive and after 1 month the windows xp don´t boot.

I tryed everything from drivers of nvidia asus etc etc...then I put a drive seagate PATA (st380021a) on Primary channel of PARALEL CONTROLER and voilá everything works perfectly with maxtor......I disconnected the PATA drive 10 times and on each the maxtor refuses to boot windows xp.....the drive PATA don´t have nothing on.

Now Windows XP have the Nforce4 drivers on Sata and Pata controlers.

I have problems too, asus a8n-sli (nforce4) and maxtor 6v300f0...after a call to maxtor they send a firmware (va111670), I flashed the drive and after 1 month the windows xp don´t boot.

I tryed everything from drivers of nvidia asus etc etc...then I put a drive seagate PATA (st380021a) on Primary channel of PARALEL CONTROLER and voilá everything works perfectly with maxtor......I disconnected the PATA drive 10 times and on each the maxtor refuses to boot windows xp.....the drive PATA don´t have nothing on.

Now Windows XP have the Nforce4 drivers on Sata and Pata controlers.

and everything is working fine.....estrange no?

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