New pc build with i7 3770K

Started Apr 21, 2013 | Discussions thread
Jim Cockfield
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Re: WD green drives stink
In reply to theswede, May 5, 2013

theswede wrote:

It's usually not as much of an issue in most Windows configs.  But, it's a huge issue with most Linux distributions, and I've also seen some Windows users report the same issues.

I use Green drives exclusively for Linux servers, both my own and those I build for friends and family. There is no issue at all with the parking. The disks stay parked for hours, even days, normally, and the wear (and power use and heat) is minimal. Just as they're supposed to be.

Have you even taken a look at SMART data from your drives?

If not, I'd suggest doing that.   smartctl can do that for you.   It's included in the smartmontools package you can install in most linux distros.  I'm using distros based on Debian Wheezy (6.0).  But, you'll see the same issues in most other distros, too.

With distros that don't have sudo configured, just open a terminal and do it this way after installing smartmontools (entering your root password when prompted), assuming the drive you're checking is /dev/sda. If not, substitute the correct device name for the drive you want to check.

su

smartctl -a /dev/sda

If you're using an ubuntu based distro or another distro using sudo versus su to issue commands as root, do it this way instead:

sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda

Or, just install GSmartcontrol for a GUI front end (as it can make it easier to do that kind of thing, look at logs without issuing separate commands for that purpose, etc.).

It's a *very* well documented issue (excessive load cycle counts with WD Green Drives with Linux).   Just "google" for "load cycle count green" (without the quotes) and you'll find many, many forum threads about the issue with them (over a million page hits right this minute when I just used that search).

The desktop WD Green drives are rated for 300,000 load cycles, and you can easily exceed that in around a year.   The laptop WD Blue Drives are usually rated for 600,000 load cycle counts (not as big of a deal, since they're designed for more frequent head parking, but don't be surprised if a drive you've used for a couple of years as already exceeded the rated maximum).

Note that Western Digital does have a utility you can use to disable that behavior called wdidle3

http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=609&sid=113

Just search for "wdidle3", and again, you'll find loads of page hits about it.   Make sure others have found it works with your specific drive model, and there have been reports of issues with some drives (and anytime you try to update parameters in a drive's firmware, you're taking a risk), since it was originally designed for use with some of their Enterprise (versus consumer) Green Models

But, the WD Green Drives are notorious for having issues, even without the load cycle count issue.

In addition to the issues I've seen with all of them I've bought so far, I just worked with someone over the past few days that has a problem with a WD drive.

It's got sector read errors using both Windows and ddrescue from Linux to try and copy it, even though the SMART data shows no sectors pending reallocation or sectors that have been reallocated. At least the SMART data shows a high raw read error count though.

Even after zero filling the drive (using dd with linux, and booting in a disk with the WD Data Lifeguard utilities on it and zero filling and running diagnostics), it still says it's health is good and it didn't bother to reallocate any of those problem sectors after zero fills, and it won't even complete a short self test without read failures.

IOW, their firmware is really screwed up from my perspective.

BTW, this user had only used Windows with it (Win 7), so the extra wear and tear on the mechanism caused by an excessive load cycle count was not even the problem with that particular drive.

IMO, the WD Green (or some of the laptop blue models for that matter) are just a POS (and I don't mean Point of Sale).    But, suit yourself if you want to risk your data by using them.

I've seen enough problems with them (not only my drives but drives others are using, too), that I'm not going to buy any more of them.

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JimC
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