Seagate drives – never again

I have a 500GB 2.5″ drive that has been exhibiting an extraordinary high reallocation event count. I have been keeping an eye on it for some time now.

This is an extract from Wikipedia.

A field study at Google covering over 100,000 drives during a nine-month period found correlations between certain SMART information and actual failure rates. In the 60 days following the first uncorrectable error on a drive (SMART attribute 0xC6 or 198) detected as a result of an offline scan, the drive was, on average, 39 times more likely to fail than a similar drive for which no such error occurred. First errors in reallocations, offline reallocations (SMART attributes 0xC4 and 0x05 or 196 and 5) and probational counts (SMART attribute 0xC5 or 197) were also strongly correlated to higher probabilities of failure. Conversely, little correlation was found for increased temperature and no correlation for usage level. However, the research showed that a large proportion (56%) of the failed drives failed without recording any count in the “four strong S.M.A.R.T. warnings” identified as scan errors, reallocation count, offline reallocation and probational count. Further, 36% of drives failed without recording any S.M.A.R.T. error at all, except the temperature, meaning that S.M.A.R.T. data alone was of limited usefulness in anticipating failures.[3]

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.

My drive has not “failed” yet but S.M.A.R.T. has consistently reported the following.

Seagate Momentus SMART error - Reallocation Event Count

S.M.A.R.T. clearly says that these are indicators of mechanical problems that are showing signs that the drive could be failing. So as a responsible computer user who wants to safeguard his data, all the data are safely backed up. As the drive is still within its warranty period, I initiated an RMA return with Seagate and sent the drive back for a replacement. I attached a copy of the S.M.A.R.T. output and indicated that the drive could begin to fail and would like Seagate to take preemptive action by replacing the drive with a new one for me (or at least a drive that does not have potential hardware issues).

The drive costs about $60 bucks new and I could have just go out and buy another drive. It is not a big deal really…but I thought Seagate will look after its customers. I was wrong.

So I sent the drive back to Seagate Australia (cost me about $13) and Seagate resent a “new” drive all the way from Singapore but with a sticker that  says it is a “Recertified Product”.  Fine I say.

Seagate Recertified Product

When I plug the drive into the system and have a test, I discovered this drive is no better than my original drive. The reallocation event count is still higher than what I was expecting. So I just spent $13 to get another drive that is just as problematic as the first.

Seagate Momentus SMART error - Reallocation Event Count 2

Surely Seagate is not expecting an end user to trust this “recertified” hard drive for safe storage of important data from this point onwards? I seriously question the ethics of Seagate.

Granted this is only a cheap 2.5″ drive….but will I buy anymore drives from Seagate? Not a chance.

For others who have no issues whatsoever with Seagate, I can only say…good luck and all the power to you.