Testing refurbished 500GB Seagate Hard Drives

Storage/HDD by SidneyWong @ 2007-07-05

I find my hard drive getting smaller by the day; some of you might have the same feeling. With photos and videos being created daily from my growing family, it is time to look for larger hard drive. Hard drives are becoming a good bargain lately, as low as 24-cent per gigabyte. We will take a look at this 500GB from Seagate.

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Conclusive Thoughts

Conclusive Thoughts:

One thing to keep in mind is that hard drive companies advertise their size with the idea of 1Mb = 1000Kb, same as 1Gb = 1000Mb, instead of the technically correct: 1Gb = 1024Mb. Hence a hard drive rated by them at 500Gb can only hold ~488Gb when we convert it to the actual size. When formatting to a file system you’ll see a further size reduction, hence when we formatted the RAID 0 stripe with 2x500Gb the actual size in Windows was not 1000Gb but 931Gb. For more information about actual HD space check this article.

Madshrimps (c)

HDD will fail as a matter of time; it is the level of data importance we perceive individually. Having a backup is the best route; it requires the discipline and careful selected easy to use software. Drive Image was my favorite until I discovered Acronis when I switched to Vista 6 months ago. With large capacity HDDs affordable pricing and low cost external enclosure, it makes keeping a backup copy of your valuable data offsite doable for many home users. So, keep those photos and video clip coming or bring them to your distant relatives and friends.

While this article does not focus on hard drive technology, it is the need for increasing capacity and where the capacity goes.... to my songs, video clips and photos. And, yes, there is another channel of sales and distribution of HDDs; thanks to the expanding DIY market, factory certified repair HDDs at reduced price is available. I am confident that this market will remain strong as demand warrants its existence. The Seagate drives tested today are priced at $99.5/piece, which is quite a bargain, as you can have a redundant 500Gb storage solution when combined with a RAID 1 config, a feature present on most new motherboards.

Madshrimps (c)

With the abundance of gigabytes available at cheap prices the hard drive market is quite stagnant the last several years, while Processors and Video Cards evolve to multi core power beasts, the hard drives remain mechanically limited to a maximum transfer rate, hence slowing down the PC and becoming the bottleneck in most systems. With a ~15ms delay between the system requesting a file and the hard drive finding it there is room for improvement; SCSI drives at 15.000rpm are one remedy proved popular for companies; but for home users it’s not practical in the noise/costs sense. The new alternative are Solid State Drives which feature no moving parts and have access times close to 0ms, unfortunately the first generation of these new storage drives come with lower capacity (<100Gb), high price and maximum transfer rate not much better than normal hard drives (if at all). But there is hope and maybe we’ll see fast, affordable and large SSD appear the coming years, to replace the aging hard drives, and without moving parts, hopefully close to zero RMA and failures.

Madshimps (c)

I thank Michael from Geeks Computer Parts for making this review possible.

Madshrimps (c)
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Comment from Sidney @ 2007/11/21
One of drives failed (SMART) today; right before I have to take a out of town trip. I have not had a HDD failure in 4 years. It is still under Seagate warranty. Will process RMA next week.
Comment from jmke @ 2007/11/21
you think it has anything to do with their refurbished nature?
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/11/22
I doubted, my previous refurbished (replacement) drives never have problem over 5 years. I did come across my mind for a few seconds.

That's why USB HDD comes in handy for backup.
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/12/03
RMA returned on Nov 21, replacement arrived today.
Comment from jmke @ 2007/12/04
a good 2 weeks still, I have 320gb Seagate HDD which failed on me, will have to send in back for RMA too
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/12/04
In my case, they did not have the same drive in stock. Otherwise, there is a charge for $19 and they ship you a replacement immediately without receiving the defective drive first. If the "defective" drive is not sent or received by Seagate within 30 days, a charge will be made to your credit card. It seems a normal practice for WD also.
Comment from Kougar @ 2007/12/04
Originally Posted by jmke View Post
a good 2 weeks still, I have 320gb Seagate HDD which failed on me, will have to send in back for RMA too
How old was it, and what happened to it? I have quite a few of those drives...
Comment from jmke @ 2007/12/04
about 1 year old, when copying data to the drive, the copy operation would hang and the drive would disappear from device manager.

Tried format 010101 with Seagate tools (what we call low level format) and scanned the disk, no errors were found on the platters but SMART keeps giving errors on the quick test, stating that operating temp went over 70°C, but the HDD has never reached 40+°C I'm sure of it, dedicated cooling and all for each HDD in my previous file server case.
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/12/04
Hard-drive is a relationship; everyone needs it. It does not matter how well you care for it, no one knows when she/it walks out on you. When it does, you always have a feeling of betrayal. The first time is always the worst; she/it takes all your secret not knowing if she would fall into the wrong hands. You would learn how to protect your secret as time goes on in your next "relationship". When you hair turns grey, relationship has an entirely different meaning; you tend to not rely on it entirely and always have a backup.
Comment from Kougar @ 2007/12/04
Yes, but I would like to know what to look for, can at least hypothesize since I have the same drives some will most likely develop the same issues before "walking out" on me.

Unfortunately I had a Western Digital drive do that exact thing to me, minus the SMART warnings.
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/12/04
Speedfan to check S.M.A.R.T status; unfortunately there is not much of a warning at times. In three occasions, the drives were working fine the day before, on the following day during boot up a BIOS message prompts "your HDD is leaving you, back up the disk". (not the exact words mind you ".

At one time, the BIOS won't recognize the HDD at all. When she decides to leave you she doesn't give you the normal two weeks notice. Sometimes she will "b***h" for awhile, a signal that she has had enough of you. 1 WD, 2 IBM (hitachi now) and 1 Seagate, surprisingly I have 4 or 5 4.3 GB still in good condition after +5 years of use.
Comment from Kougar @ 2007/12/04
As long as she doesn't win the inevitable custody battle over all my stuff, I'll be happy.
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/12/04
Hence, backup "plan". including hiding some of your assets such as offshore banks and property investment etc.
Comment from jmke @ 2007/12/05
if you get bad sectors and really want the data back, you can try the freezer trick
Comment from maher @ 2007/12/16
today one seagate comes to me, it is better than WD or hitachi whose I had in my computer, it is very quiet and it's faster than other HDD, but if you buying new seagate took at last number who needs to be on 250gb
310AS (disc with 8mb cache)
4100AS (disc with 16mb cache)
On 320gb and 400gb:
and on 750gb 640AS