With the capacity of hard drives breaking the 1-Terabyte barrier and prices being generally low, people are flocking to upgrade their storage. Ranging from home consumers, enthusiasts, system builders, and small to medium businesses, everyone can always make use of more space – but what if that space isn’t performing so well?
According to an eight-page (and growing) discussion on Seagate’s own support forum, users from all walks of computing are expressing concern over the latest Barracuda 1.5TB 7200.11 hard drive – claiming random, unexplained freezing.
The originator of the thread, a person that names himself ‘Nick’, said his Ubuntu v8.04 (Hardy Heron) started exhibiting strange and random freezes after he upgraded his mirrored RAID setup with two of the new Seagate drives. Quoting Nick on his explanation of the issue:
“Each time it freezes, the kernel log indicates an error ‘ata frozen’, ‘resetting’ and the command looks to be a flush-cache-to-disk command.”
Generally a kernel error of ‘ata frozen’ implies that data has been sent to the on-board disk controller and it refuses the incoming request / data since it is already busy doing something else and must clear its command queue or cache before proceeding. A lot of other forum users have been expressing concern about similar issues with the same drive model – but the common aspect of across all the issues is that the drive freezes when the user is streaming data in some way or another. Some users have worked around the problem by disabling write caching, although ending up with generally slow to very bad performance.
We also find that the apparent problem does not just affect RAID configurations, users with SATA controllers that do not have a RAID feature at all have claimed the ‘freezing’ issues as well. A lot of users claimed they have contacted Seagate technical support and have gotten either no response or no solution. One forum user alleges that he/she was told by Seagate support: “Unfortunately, we do not support Linux.” And, “Again, these drives are not meant to be used in a RAID environment so we are not going to be working towards a solution for this environment.”
The funny thing about that response is that Seagate’s web page for the Barracuda 1.5TB 7200.11 drive claims a RAID environment as ‘best-fit’ for this drive. The product page for this drive can be found here. Look in the ‘Best-Fit Applications’ section to see what we are talking about.
On the flip-side however, one user is claiming that a Seagate support individual has told him, “This is an issue we are currently working on. I know it’s a hassle for now, but we’re working on it as quickly as we can. As soon as we have information available we’ll let you know.” – which was over a week ago now. Complaints regarding the issue have also cropped up on other forums, such as MacRumors Forums, Slashdot, and even Newegg. It appears there is definitely something going on, but exactly what has yet to be known – Seagate has been unavailable for comment regarding this issue for more insight.
FYI – Toms had reviewed this drive back on October 2 of this year, and we did not find any issue similar to alleged problems.