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*** SEAGATE 5TB EXTERNALS - MYSTERY SOLVED ***

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Update: 8/9/15: So happy with the Seagate 5T drive I had, I bought another one that i found locally on a good sale. The shell had a blue bottom - and it was much easier to extract the drive than the prior generation. The drive model was the same as what I had. It made it through the preread and zeroing phases with no problem, and was 80% through the post read. But next time I checked back on it the drive had been dropped from the server. It was /dev/sdc, and that device no longer existed. Long series of errors in the syslog with no clue what happend. I rebooted, and checked and the drive was not precleared. So set it up to postread just the very last few % and watched it. The postread finished, but then it entered a series of I/Os to the very very beginning of the drive to install the partition and preclear signature, the drive hung for a while and then dropped. Rebooted the server with the drive in another slot. Smart report was fine. Same thing. I noticed that the firmware revision was different - I think it ended with a "6" but forgot to write it down. Anyway, I returned it as a defective drive. Can't say why this happened. Maybe a bad drive that just happened to have a problem at or near sector 0, or maybe Seagate playing games. Either way, I've switched to Toshiba.

 

Update 7/25/15: Since originally writing this review - I have learned that this drive is an SMR drive meaning that it has overlapping tracks that require very special writing. This can result in slow performance under certain circumstances. To alleviate performance issues, the drive features a persistent cache - a non SMR portion where writes are made and later, when cache is full or drive idle, the drive copies from the cache to the SMR area.

 

I believe that I was trying to do I/O while the drive was dumping persistent cache which created some very strange performance characteristics observed and detailed in this thread. Maybe there is special logic in the USB bios to prevent this type of thing, but when attached to a normal SATA controller, the odd slowdowns were interpreted as related to a purposefully restricted BIOS making the drive perform poorly when connected to a SATA port. This theory was developed based on research I found on the internet from other users' experiences and seemed to fit the facts.

 

I now believe this is not the case, and that the experiences users were having should actually have been attributed to the SMR technology in the drive. (Seagate never disclosed these to be SMR drives). After reading about 8T SMR drives I decided to test it again (previously it had been reverted to be used as portable USB 3 drives and used very infrequently). Once I removed it from the USB enclosure and inserted it in the server, I let it sit for over a week, so absolutely any persistent cache activity would complete. I then precleared the drive, let it sit a week, copied a bunch of data to it, and performed a parity check. The drive is performing quite admirably. My plan is to fill these drives with sequentially written data (minimal if any fragmentation) and use the PMR drive space freed by copying data to this drive for everyday reads and writes. (Although I let the drive wait about a week, a day would likely have been more than enough).

 

Sorry for misleading anyone with my writeup, which was intended to help others avoid problems with the drive.

 

ORIGINAL WRITEUP:

I recently bought a 5TB Seagate Expansion drive (STBV5000100), precleared it in the USB case, extracted the drive, and added it to my server. I saw a few oddities in which it would not correctly report its spindown status, but was able to fix that. Yesterday I tried to start migrating some data to the disk and that's when the real problems started. The disk locked up while trying to copy data to it. And afterwards, trying to run a preclear preread test on it, the performance of the drive was all over the place (from 8 MB/sec to 120 MB/sec - back and forth and in between). I tried different controllers, different servers, and all methods to get the drive working, but nothing worked. I was able to get about 20G of data copied at one time, but then it locked up again and on reboot all of the data was gone.

 

I reassembled the USB enclosure and hooked it up to a USB3 port on my desktop. It works fine (even quite well) in that configuration.

 

If anyone is using one of these drives successfully as an internal please reply with your experiences. Maybe I just have a bad one but it just doesn't feel that way to me.

 

It appears (see below) that Seagate may have intentionally crippled the firmware on the drive to not work properly as an internal drive. I have advocated that this would be a good choice based on price per TB, but highly recommend that unless you need a 5T USB drive that you pass on this one. If true, it is extremely disappointing to see Seagate act in this way.

 

I did not have all the problems mentioned in the review - I did get it to recognize as AHCI - but as stated above it is not working properly and I suspect the firmware. This is not the only problematic review, but certainly sounds like a knowledgeable user as compared to others which sounded like newbie's to me that just didn't know what to do.

 

I have quoted the review (from Timmothy W.) in case it were to get removed from Newegg:

This review is from: Seagate Expansion 5TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive STBV5000100

 

Pros: Price

 

Cons: Constant "scratching" head park noises

Fast for burst transfers

Crippled firmware

Does not work internally

Runs extremely hot after transferring just a few GB

Aggressive power-saving, spin-down, and head parking cause system to hang while waiting for spin-up every few minutes.

 

Other Thoughts: Because of the terrible overall performance and consistency of data transfers in the external enclosure, I decided to pull the drive out and use it internally.

 

Obviously, as others have stated, that does not work. This drive has a crippled CC41 firmware that has an APM value of 64 (250 or higher is ideal for performance) causing constant head parking and spindown, both wearing out the drive. Since it has a 1 year warranty, I think this, in addition to the non-existent cooling of the enclosure, is obviously intentional on Seagate's part.

 

The firmware is also apparently crippled to not run AHCI in an again obvious attempt to prevent people from getting the "cheaper" external USB drives that carry a weak warranty, in order to push them toward more expensive internal retail drives.

 

Seagate, you're bean counters just lost you a lifetime customer.

 

It isn't as if there isn't other competitors that DON'T do this to chose from. I pulled a 4TB drive out of a Hitachi enclosure and had no problems. This drive is a 200 door stop. I wouldn't trust my data on it if it was free.

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Interesting. Thanks for the heads-up. I hope you'll be able to return it.

 

Manufacturers (all of them, not just Seagate) have being trying to prevent "pulling out" from external enclosures for many years. First they started making single-use enclosure cases. Then they replaced separate USB electronics with schematics built-in into the drive itself, so that "external" drive does not even have standard SATA connectors. Now this - crippled firmware, this is one really dirty trick if its true.

 

Marketing policies are like martian language to me...

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Thanks for sharing this!

 

Seagate is once more ruining their reputation.

 

- shorten warranty periods for consumer drives --> negative

- deliver drives with useless APM settings (ST1000DM003) --> negative

- poor drive quality (personal opinion) --> negative

- now this bull*$&% --> negative

- more to come...

 

Unfortunately they're one of the very few players left in this business.

 

 

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bjp999 I think you probably just made seagate lose a lot of money and the community here save it.

 

Personally I think this is forum news worthy as one person not seeing it and buying one is one too many.

 

Do we have perms to add it to news?

 

 

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Once the google robot has been here,

this "news" will lead many people to the unRAID forums!  ;)

 

Nice marketing trick Seagate!

 

 

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Interesting.  I have been using my two (parity and data) for a couple of months now and they work great.  I just make sure I have good cooling.

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What kind of RAID controller were you using?  soft or hardware based?  I have eSATA enclosures that have built-in hardware RAID and haven't had any problems with these drives being in it.

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I've had a couple Seagate 5TBs that I pulled out of enclosures and used in my array for the last few months as well with no issues.  One is my parity and one is a data drive.  Like i said, no issues so far.

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These drives are currently on offer for £109.99 on amazon UK. I'm immune to the general Seagate bashing as I know it's completely false, but with regard to this thread it seems there are fairly specific accusations about this particular product, and from what I can see it's all coming from one guy who's post is on various internet sites, and quoted (as above) but I cannot see where it originated from.

So the statements are:

 

1: The firmware is "crippled"

2: The drive will not run in AHCI mode

3: It runs hot

4: It parks "too aggressively"  [too often]

5: It does not work internally

 

5 is simply not true. Many people have this drive working inside NAS appliances and so on.

 

2, 3 and 4, I can't comment as don't own the drive. I suspect 2 is a symptom of the originator not being able to get it running as an internal?

 

1 is a little generic and not very specific. I think this is speculation. Seagate would not intentionally cripple a drive for it to fail just outside of warranty period. For them to intentionally add things into the firmware to stop the drive being used as an internal.... well.... it does work as an internal so....  ?

 

My suggestion to the OP (of this thread here on unraid forums I mean) is that you simply have a bad drive if the performance appears to be eratic and sometimes slow?

 

Anyone else care to comment? The £109.99 price is rumoured to stop at midnight tonight according to HUKD website.

 

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These drives are currently on offer for £109.99 on amazon UK. I'm immune to the general Seagate bashing as I know it's completely false, but with regard to this thread it seems there are fairly specific accusations about this particular product, and from what I can see it's all coming from one guy who's post is on various internet sites, and quoted (as above) but I cannot see where it originated from.

So the statements are:

 

1: The firmware is "crippled"

2: The drive will not run in AHCI mode

3: It runs hot

4: It parks "too aggressively"  [too often]

5: It does not work internally

 

5 is simply not true. Many people have this drive working inside NAS appliances and so on.

 

2, 3 and 4, I can't comment as don't own the drive. I suspect 2 is a symptom of the originator not being able to get it running as an internal?

 

1 is a little generic and not very specific. I think this is speculation. Seagate would not intentionally cripple a drive for it to fail just outside of warranty period. For them to intentionally add things into the firmware to stop the drive being used as an internal.... well.... it does work as an internal so....  ?

 

My suggestion to the OP (of this thread here on unraid forums I mean) is that you simply have a bad drive if the performance appears to be eratic and sometimes slow?

 

Anyone else care to comment? The £109.99 price is rumoured to stop at midnight tonight according to HUKD website.

 

In the USA, Amazon is very good on returns.  I would buy as many as you need.  Test one quickly and see if you have problems.  If it works, repeat for the others.  Otherwise, sent them back ASAP via RMA method.  (I have always gotten Amazon to even pay for shipping by checking the proper reason for return option-- make it look like it was Amazon fault as much as possible!  I have always had the feeling that this RMA process is totally automated.  You can always call if you don't get free return shipping.)

 

Disclosure:  I am an Amazon Prime member and order a fair amount of things from them.  So I might get a bit better treatment than someone who only buys a couple of times a year.

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I registered here just to reply and say this thread is full of nonsense. Telling everyone to avoid a Seagate disk because of a few people's issues is just ridiculous.

 

For reference, I have 9 (nine) of these 5TB Disks, bought in the USA in Seagate Backup Plus units. I had 4 of these running externally for a while (4-5 months) - connected to a Mac mini 2012 running SoftRAID 4 - two sets of RAID 1 over USB 3.0. No issues. (since upgraded to Thunderbolt enclosure)

 

I have 2 running now for about a month, connected to an Asus Sabertooth Z87 motherboard. No issues - 180MB/s read/write or thereabouts.

 

I have 2 running a simple RAID 1 over Thunderbolt connected to my Mac mini 2012.

 

I also now my original 4 of them in an OCZ Thunderbay 4 enclosure - running RAID 5 over Thunderbolt connected to my Mac mini 2012.

 

And then I have a spare 5TB just in case I have a failure.

 

Again, NO issues with any of these drives. The only thing I had to was run the Mac HDAPM tool to prevent the head-parking issue that OS X is infamous for, but I had no performance issues prior to running the tool, and only did so because I didn't like the noise the head-parking sound made when running media in a quiet movie room. I did the same thing with my older 2TB Western Digital drives, too, so this is not unique to the Seagates.

 

So again, to the OP, your experience is certainly not everyone's, and telling EVERYONE to avoid Seagate 5TB Externals is just madness.

 

PS I have several friends with ~15 5TB Seagate drives between them, and neither of them has any issues, either.

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Hrm, who to trust, a longstanding contributing member of the forums and an actual moderator or a one time poster who as far as we know could be working at Seagate and trying to do damage control.  ::)

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I think even Seagate would agree to avoid using their external drives in an array.

 

The initial post is about a specific use case outside the manufacturers recommendation for the specific drive and firmware. I have hundreds of "Seagate 5TB drives" and no problems, but none of them fit the situation described in the initial post.

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Hrm, who to trust, a longstanding contributing member of the forums and an actual moderator or a one time poster who as far as we know could be working at Seagate and trying to do damage control.  ::)

 

Feel free to check me out on Macrumors forums (same username). You can see my posts on what enclosure to buy, my experiences with the Seagates, and my long-standing contributions to the community there etc.

 

FYI, I'm about to buy a second enclosure and another 4x 5 Seagate disks.

 

I must REALLY work for Seagate, though.

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i have 2 of these, one runs at 120 mb/s and the other has always run at 20 mb/s (in warranty and trying to get an exchange). someone on another site wrote a review and had the same experience, 1 of 2 just defective out of the box -- not apparently dead or dying, just going at <20% the advertised speed since day one. maybe it's just a fluke but i've not experienced the same reliability that others claim. backblaze has done an analysis showing seagate drives failing at a markedly higher rate than wd or hgst. i've had 2 smaller seagate externals working fine for 5+ years now so maybe it's just the newer drives have poorer quality control.

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i have 2 of these, one runs at 120 mb/s and the other has always run at 20 mb/s (in warranty and trying to get an exchange). someone on another site wrote a review and had the same experience, 1 of 2 just defective out of the box -- not apparently dead or dying, just going at <20% the advertised speed since day one. maybe it's just a fluke but i've not experienced the same reliability that others claim. backblaze has done an analysis showing seagate drives failing at a markedly higher rate than wd or hgst. i've had 2 smaller seagate externals working fine for 5+ years now so maybe it's just the newer drives have poorer quality control.

 

You should check the details of those two drives, model/firmware.

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Just received 4x 5TB Seagate Expansion disks to put into my second Thunderbolt 4-disk array. These disks (ST5000DM000) came with CC44 firmware. No idea what the changes are from CC41, but they're working just fine, much like my CC41 disks are. Approximately 500MB/s read/write in OS X in RAID 5 configuration. That said, the head-parking makes a TERRIBLE noise and is far too often, but again - easily fixed in OS X with the HDAPM launch daemon.

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Based on Amazon reviews, the 5 TB may have controller compatibility issues. One user reports that he got super slow speeds (10-30 MB) on an ASMedia SATA controller, but on an Intel controller with the same drive his speeds were very fast (440 MB or so). So it's possible that the conflicting reports have to do with which controller the drives were connected to. It's also possible that this issue varies based on firmware version.

 

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I recently bought a 5TB Seagate Expansion drive (STBV5000100), precleared it in the USB case, extracted the drive, and added it to my server. I saw a few oddities in which it would not correctly report its spindown status, but was able to fix that. Yesterday I tried to start migrating some data to the disk and that's when the real problems started. The disk locked up while trying to copy data to it. And afterwards, trying to run a preclear preread test on it, the performance of the drive was all over the place (from 8 MB/sec to 120 MB/sec - back and forth and in between). I tried different controllers, different servers, and all methods to get the drive working, but nothing worked. I was able to get about 20G of data copied at one time, but then it locked up again and on reboot all of the data was gone.

 

 

I signed up just to answer this question because there was been much confusion. Seagate started using shingled recording to put more data per platter. They do it even on their 3 TB drives where they use the 800GB platters but fit 1TB of data on it. These drives are extremely dangerous for personal use. A power failure will wipe out files you never touched. It would be impossible to find out which files got corrupted unless you had MD5 checking on for every file and did a file verification often. As a backup device this is junk.

 

The various speed problems are because of where the data is stored. For a new drive it is fast but as it fills up and writes over old data the speed drops drastically. Although it is still slower than the regular drive, this slowdown goes to slower than a USB2 pen drive. I suppose seagate was able to con a lot of people who knew nothing to buy these garbage. They better be careful in how they use the drive because data loss is guaranteed on these drives.

 

When seagate puts out number of drives sold, it is sold to places like google or facebook which have millions of these drives used as wrote once and read many devices. They also have power failures and fault tolerances. it just is not usable for a user even for backup purposes due to the weakness it displays. File corruption dos not stay with one file but spreads across many other files with no indication of which files are corrupted. So these drives can never be used in a desktop like environment with frequent updates of files, email databases or even drive fat tables.

 

not only that but I bet the failure rates on these drives would be huge. backblaze gives a number above 40% of drives failed in under 2 years and I would think the 5TB using similar technology would also fail like this.

 

Seagate has also limited usability of these drives taking away things like NCQ and other features so people wont use them in NAS or desktop environments. I would say pay the 20% extra and get drives like hitachi or toshiba etc which have 1% failure rates..  Since data is important and it is a huge pain to recover it. Data centeres with redundancy can use them since cost is important to them and they can recover from bad drives.

 

I was thinking of ordering one of these 5TB drives so thanks for letting me know it is the same as the 3TB drive. I moved it into my write once storage system. It is not very good for just reading either as windows has this bad habit of updating the drive even if you only read stuff off it. I am hoping it lasts a bit as I dont use it and just keep it for old files on the shelves. Guess I better pay the $30 extra for a better drive.

 

 

 

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I signed up just to answer this question because there was been much confusion. Seagate started using shingled recording to put more data per platter. They do it even on their 3 TB drives where they use the 800GB platters but fit 1TB of data on it. These drives are extremely dangerous for personal use. A power failure will wipe out files you never touched. It would be impossible to find out which files got corrupted unless you had MD5 checking on for every file and did a file verification often. As a backup device this is junk.

 

The various speed problems are because of where the data is stored. For a new drive it is fast but as it fills up and writes over old data the speed drops drastically. Although it is still slower than the regular drive, this slowdown goes to slower than a USB2 pen drive. I suppose seagate was able to con a lot of people who knew nothing to buy these garbage. They better be careful in how they use the drive because data loss is guaranteed on these drives.

 

When seagate puts out number of drives sold, it is sold to places like google or facebook which have millions of these drives used as wrote once and read many devices. They also have power failures and fault tolerances. it just is not usable for a user even for backup purposes due to the weakness it displays. File corruption dos not stay with one file but spreads across many other files with no indication of which files are corrupted. So these drives can never be used in a desktop like environment with frequent updates of files, email databases or even drive fat tables.

 

not only that but I bet the failure rates on these drives would be huge. backblaze gives a number above 40% of drives failed in under 2 years and I would think the 5TB using similar technology would also fail like this.

 

Seagate has also limited usability of these drives taking away things like NCQ and other features so people wont use them in NAS or desktop environments. I would say pay the 20% extra and get drives like hitachi or toshiba etc which have 1% failure rates..  Since data is important and it is a huge pain to recover it. Data centeres with redundancy can use them since cost is important to them and they can recover from bad drives.

 

I was thinking of ordering one of these 5TB drives so thanks for letting me know it is the same as the 3TB drive. I moved it into my write once storage system. It is not very good for just reading either as windows has this bad habit of updating the drive even if you only read stuff off it. I am hoping it lasts a bit as I dont use it and just keep it for old files on the shelves. Guess I better pay the $30 extra for a better drive.

Welcome aboard!

 

I am not convinced that the 5T drive in this external chassis is an SMR. I was seeing very different performance on sequential READS between using the drive with USB3 and SATA / AHCI. Still not clear why. Others have shucked these drives and didn't have this issue.

 

But your comments are definitely relevant to discussions that are occurring about the 8TB SMR drives..What you say about corruption of static files and dramatic reductions in performance as files become fragmented with use ate spot on.

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