TSullivan

Seagate 4TB Barracuda XT First Thoughts Review Discussion

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4TB hard drives are the next step up from the 3TB top capacity that the market has been used to for the last year or so. The problem is, 4TB drives haven't quite officially hit the market yet and there's the hard drive shortage problem, so the timing of 4TB drives coming to market is a bit uncertain to say the least. Seagate generally releases hard drive capacity bumps in their branded products first, before releasing the bare drive. That's the process they went through when the 3TB Barracuda XT came to market and that's the same thing they're doing with the 4TB Barracuda XT. We recently reviewed the 4TB Go Flex Desk and couldn't resist cracking the case open to get access to the 4TB Barracuda XT hard drive inside.

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Brian, curious to know - now that the 1TB platters are in production, floods permitting, are we likely to see 5TB drives any time soon? Or are manufacturers more likely to divert these platters towards cheaper 3TB and 4TB drives?

Edited by varun

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I just don't see any way these guys try to hype up a new drive like a 5TB that could see big demand. They have to service their core first, OEM computing space (Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc) and enterprise. The enterprise can certainly benefit from 5TB, but I just don't see it...heck, they're not even producing 4x1TB yet, though Hitachi and Seagate both appear to have the technology...or very close to it.

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I just connected one of these to my PC and ran Paragon Alignment Tool (PAT) 3.0 on it. It said it was not aligned.

I then delete the partition, set drive type to GPT, created a new partition in Win 7 x64, and PAT still said it was not aligned.

So I let PAT align the 2nd parition.

The 1st partition it list as 128MB Service Partition.

1. Did you verify the drive was aligned properly prior to running the performance test?

2. What is the 128MB service partition that PAT reports? I see this on a 3TB WD HD as well as this 4TB Seagate.

Thanks,

Jon

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When we benchmark drives using IOMeter, there are no partitions in place. It is benchmarking the drive in a raw state.

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Question for the authors:

Can you identify the USB3-to-SATA2 bridge device found

inside the GoFlex enclosure? The reason I ask is that

I just found a severe firmware bug in the JMicron JMS539

device used by Western Digital in their MyBook products

that results in complete failure under heavy write

activity under Linux.

I'm interested in buying a trio of the 4TB GoFlex

drives for a rotating backup mirror, but will

go a different way if the JMS539 was used for the

USB3 bridge. These two links cover the details

on how the bug is reproduced.

http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.usb.general/54588

http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-901708.html?sid=f8c150de78538d7f155366ea35f8a784

Thanks

P.S. Some searching in Seagate's KB shows they have

a preference for "Oxford" bridge controllers.

A Google and an educated guess suggests the device

is one of the ones found on this page:

http://www.plxtech.com/products/consumer/das

Edited by Binnacle

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It's possible that 'lsusb -v' will reveal the information.

However the bigger OEMs such as Seagate and Western Digital

tend to replace the microcontroller firmware device strings

in the vanilla firmwares released by silicon manufacturers

even though they almost never modify the code. Only way

I figured out that the WD MyBook uses a JMS539 is that

someone else with exactly the same problem had a

Mukii TIP-330U3-BK where the OEM didn't waste effort

tweaking the identifiers.

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I will probably be the one to tear into that drive adapter to find out. Hopefully it doesn't require too much pain and suffering to crack it open ;)

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If it's going to be a lot of trouble perhaps skip it.

Seagate support responded to a pre-sale ticket I

opened, and while not identifying the controller

precisely, stated that it is not a JMicron chip.

Based on that PLX page it's probably either a

OXU3111 or OXU3010. Pretty neat controllers: both

support hardware AES-256 encryption and UAS. Too

bad one probably has to use the proprietary

Seagate software to make use of encryption and

that UAS drivers don't really seem to be available

in supported OS releases as of yet. UAS should

improve performance since the slow CPU on the

controller doesn't have to do much more than

arrange DMA forwarding of untranslated packets

from the USB3 port to the SATA2 port and vice-

versa.

I posted the question here on the suspicion that

the drive that was disassembled for the review

test was still in pieces and a quick look at the

bridge controller with a magnifying glass was all

it would take. If it was reassembled please don't

sweat it unless you're as curious as I am.

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Oh its not a big problem, the more fragile section was the hard drive case. We haven't actually split open the USB3 adapter section yet so that would all be new. I will report back this weekend since now you have piqued my interest as well ;)

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Learned something interesting today. WD stated that they

do not use the JMicron USB3/SATA2 bridge, but didn't

specify what's in the MyBook. (I think I've finally

goaded them into taking the issue seriously).

Googling turned up a likely suspect: the Initio INIC-3607.

This device is not documented online, though I found

clues to its existence on the web sites of Japanese

parts distributors.

Nevertheless I'm not discouraged in my theory. Both

the JMicron JMS539 and the Initio INIC-3607 utilize

8051 CPUs. In the JMicron case it's documented

and in the Initio case I'm extrapolating from the

fact that all their other controllers are based on

the 8051.

http://www.initio.com.tw/Html/Products.asp

So now I believe that a bug or behavioral artifact

is present in some piece of 8051 code used by

both devices. Either the USB3 bridge is crashing,

or it's doing something that causes the WD drive

microcontroller to crash. So far only WD drives

are present in the failure scenario.

Presumably the ASMedia AS2105 that works has a

different CPU, though I could not track it down.

The Oxford OXU31x1 bridges appear to have ARM

brains.

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Excellent. Just purchased a Rosewill/NewEgg

USB3 drive dock that work perfectly and it sports

an ASMedia chip. Makes the 4TB Seagate a worry

free pick for Linux.

Thank you!

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I grabbed a couple of these and pulled the drives out. I found the seek times on both of them are frustratingly slow. ~20msec - significantly worse than the Hitachi 7k3000 and old Barracuda XT 3tb drives I was going to use them to replace. The drives have high sequential throughput, but poor access times - in line with the seagate green drives which are 5,900 RPM. Being seagates, I do not seem to be able to modify the AAM settings.

Has this been the experience of you guys as well?

I am going to do some more real world testing but...

Mine have CC42 firmware.

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I'm interested in taking out the 4tb drive from the Go Flex enclosure, and would really appreciate a guide on how to do that without scratching or breaking the enclosure (I would like to put a smaller drive in there, if possible). Is a guide available, or can someone in this thread who's removed the drive give a step-by-step? Thanks.

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The easiest and safest way would be using a tool such as this:

http://eshop.macsale...ology/TOOLIPOD/

That will let you slide around the perimeter, popping all of the plastic clips without marring the glossy black surface. Step one is popping off the serial number sticker, step two is sliding in one of those tools to the case half edge and sliding it all around carefully.

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Update on that WDC MyBook problem for anyone that

might Google to this thread.

The Linux USB3 kernel developers requested that

I try the latest kernel incorporating many recent

fixes. It solved that problem so avoiding

MyBooks is not necessary if you're willing to

run a vanilla kernel.org kernel, version 3.1.1

or higher.

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Is this Barracuda related to their new 4TB external drive I have been reading about? I was reading about it at http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/external/external-hard-drive/desktop-hard-drive/?intcmp=bac-en-us-home-hero4-goflex-desk-4tb

In some articles like http://www.anandtech.com/show/4758/seagates-goflex-desk-4tb-external-hdd-review they say this went for $250 when it debued in September but not it is $300 I'm guessing due to Thailand. In spite of the increased cost, the advertised 64MB buffer seems to be cut to 32MB buffer unless they misreported or something. It also comes preloaded with software some of us might not want (like Mac conversion) which I think should be optional so we could save on the price.

Are some people perhaps opening the externals if they are cheaper than internals to install them?

Are there advantages to having a drive installed internally (besides saving space I guess if there is space inside the case) versus having it external other than saving a USB port and power plug? Is it faster than a USB cable connection?

I am afraid to install more drives even though there is a space for one because my computer seems to be overheating because the fan runs a lot even when I'm not doing much.

Based on SG's page, the new 4tb model seems to lack a 2.0 interface which confuses me because I thought they were backwards compatible.

Some of their 0.5 and 1.5 models (I think Expansion?) also have 2.0 interface but no 3.0 interface. Not sure how that works.

Edited by Tyciol

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Right, we took this drive out of the external enclosure.

I'm not sure I'd recommend doing that - but if you need the capacity there aren't a ton of options.

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Is the drive 7200rpm? And is it SATA II or SATA III? I have another questions. Why does the goflex system not have an eSATA interface option? Since the drive is too big to rely on bus power anyway, it seems that eSATA would be the fastest interface. I know at one time that they ofered the peSATA interfave dor the 2.5" goflex drives, but they dont even offer that anymore.

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7200 RPM - Yes

SATA III

eSATA - very good question, I would have never guessed I'd be using a Thunderbolt adaptor first. But USB 3.0 is fast enough if you have it, we saw essentially the same speeds natively as with USB 3.0.

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