In the wake of freezing issues with Seagate's 1.5TB drives comes yet another problem with the Barracuda 7200.11 series. Failure rates of the 1TB drives in particular are abnormally high, but Seagate has not acknowledged the problem.
Now 11 pages long, the "official" problem discussion thread on the Seagate support forums is full of users reporting problems with the ST31000340AS, the 1TB Barracuda 7200.11 drive.
One user built a 6TB RAID array three months ago. In two months, one of the drives failed. A second drive failed about a month later, and a third eight days after that. Another user had four out of five of their drives fail within 12 days of purchase. Reports of failures can also be found on other forums as well. Some data recovery and RMA centers have reported failure rates of approximately 30 to 40 percent, but Seagate has not released any official information.
The issue lies with faulty microcode in firmware version SD15, found on drives manufactured in Thailand. Generally, the drive will operate normally until the time of failure and at some point will lock up and prevent detection by the BIOS, rendering it completely unusable.
While Seagate has not publicly acknowledged the problem as of yet, they have reportedly updated the firmware on all newly manufactured drives, however the firmware cannot be update on drives that have already failed because the BIOS does not even detect them. This means that owners of affected drives require data recovery services to save their critical data.
No recall on unsold drives with the affected firmware has been issued.
Update: Seagate has acknowledged the problem and is providing firmware updates through customer support. Additionally, if your hard drive has already failed, Seagate will provide free data recovery services, since the data is not actually affected.
For more information, visit this page.