HDD with Reallocated Sector Count problem

carlmart

Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2006
Messages
616
Yesterday I could pick a reallocated sector count problem on one of my HDDs, and fortunately copy all its content to another HDD.

The unit was a Seagate SkyHawk, model ST4000VX07, and unfortunately it was replaced by a similar unit.

This was my most intensely used HDD, as it is where I store all the videos I download daily, move around, edit and else.

It's also filled up to 78% of its capacity, which of course was transferred to the new HDD.

I think I must rethink the way I manage files within that HDD, and quite likely split them in smaller HDDs or at least manage things different.

It's not all the files I mess with daily, so maybe I should separate those that I do, and disconnect or power down those that I do not. How to do that I would thank suggestions for.

One thing I wonder is if there's anything I can do to still use that HDD that was replaced. Can or should I reformat it in some way that blocks what's bad and uses what is fine? Or the HDD is doomed and should be dismissed?


 

Barometer

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 25, 2012
Messages
150
I believe a high or rising Reallocated Sector Count is indicative of a failing HHD.

Get your data off of it asap.

I personally have had nothing but trouble from Seagate drives for so long that I stopped using them. I use WD exclusively now for HHD.
There are TONS of NEW 1TB WD HDD's on ebay that go for around $30 US.

They are pulled from New systems and I have 4 or 5 of them and ALL checked out perfect with SMART analysis.

Personally, I would dispose of the Seagate drive after extracting all the data. Or you can open it and use it as a conversational paper weight.
 

carlmart

Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2006
Messages
616
OK. I did copy the data to another HDD, unfortunately same Seagate model, which is the only one I could find here in Brazil.

Now I wish to operate things in a different way, and I would appreciate your suggestions.

As I said, 2/3 of the HDD space remains mostly untouched, meanwhile I use the other 1/3 all the time, downloading files, deleting and editing them. So I was thinking of doing all that on a separate HDD.

What do you think if that drive is an SSD? I already have a Samsung 2TB 860, which I was going to use on my laptop.

Why not use that SSD to take care of all the active things I mentioned above, and leave the 4TB Seagate alone, operating much less than it is now? Would that be a good idea and preserve the HDD more?

Aren't the SSDs more reliable and with a much longer life expectancy?
 

drescherjm

[H]ardForum Junkie
Joined
Nov 19, 2008
Messages
14,644
I believe a high or rising Reallocated Sector Count is indicative of a failing HHD.
If it is a stable number that does not rise over time its likely not a worry. If you see a few more sectors each day / week this is a bad sign.

I have a few drives at work that had sectors marked bad in an overheating situation (AC broke making the room temperature over 120F). These drives are still in use 4+ years after the incident and the # of bad sectors has not changed at all.
 

carlmart

Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2006
Messages
616
Please do comment about the question of using an SSD to constantly download, edit, delete, and download again series and films.

I think that is what stressed that HDD and others like it in the past. I think HDDs do not like it, mechanically speaking, and end up failing.

But I wonder what is bad and shouldn't be done with an SSD.
 
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Dec 1, 2004
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Firstly, as other have said, get your data off the drive if you care about it. The moment you have a suspicious feeling about a drive, I would simply never trust it again.

As for SSDs...

SSD endurance is ridiculously high, even for consumer level SSDs. It should basically be a non-factor in the vast majority of situations.

Let's look at the 4TB Samsung 860 EVO. I'm using the 4TB unit because it is a capacity match for your Skyhawk, but the ratios match the entire EVO line. The EVO line is *not* a high-endurance line, it's Samsung's second lowest-end drives.

The 4TB EVO has a rated endurance of 2400TBW and a 5 year warranty. That means, according to Samsung the unit is warrantied until it's 5 years old OR you write 2400 TB of data to the drive. Anecdotal evidence from a few sources indicates the actual endurance of the drive is likely far beyond that point, but at 2400 TB of data written the drive has exceeded its design specifications.

2400 TB is a *lot*; that equates to writing the entire drive from blank to full capacity 600 times. In reality it won't be quite that efficient, because overwriting data in TLC NAND can involve re-writing some existing data, but easily 500+ complete drive writes before you reach 2400 TB of total writes. Assuming a five year lifetime, that would mean you could write ~1.3 TB of data to the drive every single day for 5 years and you'd hit the 2400 TB 'cap' after five years. Reads don't count; NAND endurance is affected by drive write activity only, reads don't degrade the flash.

With all that said, SSDs are still more expensive in cost than their spinning disk cousins. If you're going to archive data on a drive and not spin it up often, and you have a lot of data then I would use spinning disks. But for day to day use like editing, you are doing yourself a disservice by not using a SSD.
 

carlmart

Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2006
Messages
616
Thanks for the suggestion and the explanation.

I got the data off the HDD the moment I knew about the potential risk, even before I wrote about it here. It's all already safe on a new, or "supposedly new" Seagate I already had bought for another purpose.

The "supposedly new" comment is because you can't really trust the computer stuff, particularly HDDs, that they sell you here in Brazil to be really new and not refurbished.

I am assembling an external server for my system, and the first 10TB I already have I bought it in Amazon, not here. I still have to buy two more 10TB drives, and I will buy them in the US too. At least that way I may expect to be buying new drives, for real.

4TB SSDs are awfully expensive yet, so what I'm considering is using a 2TB one to handle what I call the "dynamic stuff", the files that are constantly changing, the drive that is constantly working, mostly downloading stuff.

After downloading is completed I can move it to the HDD, as it will stay there until I play it. In that way the HDD should be working less and theoretically wearing less. Please tell me if you think such procedure might extend the life of the HDD.

Would managing the HDD power or not spinning potentially preserve the HDD? Or turning on and off would shorten it? Or would just having less writing and reading preserve that part of the HDD mechanism be a factor for a longer life?
 
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I don 't know if there is an in-depth study, but my personal experience - which has a sample size of let's estimate ~1000 drives - is that most drives die during a power up event. The ones that have clean power rarely die when online and spinning.
 
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carlmart

Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2006
Messages
616
OK. Let's try to get to an agreement about the HDD that will hold the media, and just play it when requested:

1) Keep them spinning all the time is fine. Powering them down may cause shorter life.

2) Eventual reading, when required will not be harmful, and should cause little or no harm to the disc.

3) The SSD will take care of downloading, editing and other intensive tasks, and will suffer almost nothing.

As you can see, my major concern is with the HDDs life span, and how to extend it.
 
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As far as I can tell, hard drive lifespan is measured in luck. Some shitty drives on ratty power last 10+ years, some multi-thousand dollar enterprise drive on datacenter-conditioned power last two weeks.

The best solution is simple: If you care about the data, have more than one copy.

Buy two hard drives of the same size and performance characteristics from different vendors. Set up a nightly backup from one drive to the other. If one fails, you've got a copy.

Alternatively, buy one hard drive but sign up for something like Backblaze and send all your data offsite.

Ideally, do both.

The absolute best way to deal with computer equipment is just to assume it's all going to fail eventually, and plan accordingly. The only important decision is whether your data is worth the cost of having a backup. If you look at my signature, you'll see my server has 30 TB of disk space. Well, not listed on my signature is that attached to my gaming PC are three 8TB external hard drives, and every night all of the 'important stuff' from that 30TB array is copied and distributed across the three 8TB drives on the gaming PC. That way if anything happens to the 30TB array on the server, I have a backup. The most important data, which is only ~500GB of the total capacity, is also backed up offsite via Backblaze.
 
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