Terror Bytes!

I’ve actually just been considering buying a 4Tb hard drive. Its crazy how data has grown. I remember my first hard drive was a 44Mb IDE that plugged into an external enclosure on top of my Acorn A3000. I never even half filled that – I’ve got USB sticks that are 16Gb now and they’re considered pretty small!

I still remember going mad and buying half a dozen 80Gb drives between myself and a mate when they were on special offer at Fry’s, that must have been under 10 years ago.

When did an unimaginably large hard drive turn from 44Mb into 80Gb and then into 4Tb (4096Gb or 4,194,304Mb) ?!

Another One Bytes The Dust

My 2Tb Western Digital Caviar Green is dying – 1305 unfixable sectors! Off to RMA land for that, when it comes back its being relogated to “backup in the cupboard” drive.

I’ve spent the last 12 hours or so trying to back up the 1.2Tb of data to other drives – luckily I still have an unused 1Tb WDC Caviar Black in the cupboard (the last RMA!) and some free space on my 1.5Tb WDC Green.

I’m replacing it with two Hitachi XL2000 external drives which I’m going to remove from their USB2 enclosure and mount the drives internally – as under the hood they are apparently Deskstar 7K2000 drives, which are 7200rpm SATA disks with 32Mb cache, and they’re not stupid 4k AFD drives like WDC’s offerings. It will invalidate the 2-year warranty, but HDD warranties are pretty pointless as you only get the same old shitty drives back again, its not like a refund.

I ended up getting one from Tesco for £57 using the £10 off £50 code TDX-KLH4, and then another one using the £10 off £75 code TDX-MNGK and buying a pack of 100 CD-R’s to make up the difference. So 4Tb of storage and some CD’s for £127 for in-store pickup is not too shabby.

I’ve also ordered a 96Gb Kingston V+100 SSD drive for the fileserver to replace its ancient 250Gb WDC Caviar Blue, for £80, plus a new PSU with a 135mm fan, and a SATA dock. Blimey the accountant will be pleased at all the expenses and VAT receipts!

Hard disks fixed….?

I just installed my new Intel X25-M, its an 80Gb 2nd-generation SSD drive, and it goes like shit off a shovel – way over twice as fast as my [also new] WD Caviar Black 1Tb, averaging around 280MB/sec for reads.

I found the WDC drive had the same problem as the two 500Gb WDC drives, namely these errors in dmesg, leading to inode corruption:

ata2: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x4090000 action 0xe frozen
ata2: irq_stat 0x00400040, connection status changed
ata2: SError: { PHYRdyChg 10B8B DevExch }
ata2: hard resetting link
ata2: SATA link up 3.0 Gbps (SStatus 123 SControl 300)
ata2.00: configured for UDMA/133
ata2: EH complete

The problem apparently is due to a broken implementation of NCQ by Western Digital, it results in the drive being turned off every now and then, especially under heavy load (like having 500Gb of backups rsync’ed to them!)

The fix, that is hopefully going to work for me (seems OK for the past hour or so) is to disable NCQ just for that drive, not the entire controller, in /etc/rc.local

echo 1 > /sys/block/sdb/device/queue_depth

Unfortunately, by the time I found the fix I already had two bad sectors (current pending sector count). Hopefully they will be dealt with by the drive/SMART, I reformatted/partitioned, so it won’t mean a third RMA perhaps.

Stangely enough the 1.5Tb/640Gb WDC Greens in my fileserver and Dad’s PC don’t seem to have any problems – but they run Ubuntu not Fedora, so maybe they are blacklisted in the kernel driver, or the BIOSes don’t support NCQ – in fact I think they are both running the SATA controller in “IDE” mode as I recall.

Next up I have to figure out why my other PC has been switching on and off at random. I expect its heat issues I (need to disable overclocking) and/or a flaky PSU (which I’m about to replace).

Update: Disabling NCQ doesn’t seem to have fixed the issue so I’ve re-enabled it. I’ve reworked my PSU cabling so that only the SSD and HDD are on one cable and all the fans and the DVD+RW are on the other cable, as it could be a power issue. I’ve also swapped the SATA connector to the third port on the motherboard in case that’s the problem. Anyway I don’t seem to be seeing the issue at the moment, and oddly enough the bad sectors in SMART have disappeared too!

Update 2: Spoke too soon, I’ve got 4 unrecoverable sectors now.

These errors in dmesg, are in fact a kernel USB bug, nothing to do with disk inodes:

name_count maxed, losing inode data: dev=00:05, inode=8572

# find /sys/ -inum 8572

Oh and I just received a Paypal refund for the two previous disks!

Fscking Hard Disks! (2)

The WD Caviar Black drive that I bought to replace the dead WDC Blue has died itself now – SMART reported 9 sectors it couldn’t reallocate before the thing just died completely. Oh I love backups!

So now I’m sending two drives back to the ebay seller for refund, as WDC’s RMA procedure was too complicated across two continents.

The problem now is what drive to buy – I think Western Digital suck these days, Samsung I’ll never touch again, so that leaves Seagate or possibly SSD, but the “economy” SSD drives from OCZ/Kingston are 65ukp for 32Gb, but at least with no moving parts or heat issues there can’t be much to go wrong with them I guess, plus read speeds are faster than HDD.

In the meantime I’m working off of my fileserver – installed Nessus, gSTM, gnote, knockd, GnuPG2 and Thunderbird and everything is mostly ok, I had VirtualBox, Firefox and Flash working before of course, no Skype though. All the versions are a bit old on Ubuntu though, but with my main box out of action I’m loathe to try a 9.10 to 10.04 upgrade on the fileserver! I could use my old Pentium4 which is running Fedora13 but its not encrypted and is 32-Bit.

I upgraded my F12 laptop to F13 and now it won’t work if its plugged into the docking station, even killing cpuspeed and Compiz doesn’t fix it. So I think I’ll just stick to WinXP.

Fscking Hard Disks!

So my old WD2500AAKS boot drive died on my main PC the other week, not bad as its about 5 years old.

I ordered a replacement WD5000AAKS – basically a Western Digital Caviar Blue 500Gb, the same drive but twice the size.

I didn’t bother to fit the new drive until today as I thought I might as well install the new Fedora 13. It turns out the drive is a duffer too – and before you say its a bad controller/cable, I swapped both of them too, and the two drives have different issues.

So I’ve now ordered a WD Caviar Black 500Gb drive, which will be faster than the Blue’s, and hopefully a bit more reliable – it does have a 5 year warranty from the manufacturer, and only cost an extra tenner or so.

Next I have to deal with how to ship the duff drive back to the ebayer from France, postage for which could be half the price of the drive I’m returning, which they say they’ll pay……

So as I won’t be getting Fedora 13 installed on my Core-i5 I thought I’d try upgrading my old Pentium4 that’s currently running F11. So I used these instructions to do it using yum – basically install a new /etc/release file, do “yum clean all && yum -y upgrade” and wait for 2Gb of RPM’s to download. I’ll see in the morning if I have a bootable box!

Oh and did you know that SATA3 drives are shipping – 6Gbps with 64Mb cache. Can’t see its worth it, better off waiting for SSD’s to come down in price a bit.