Reply
Advisor
bernhard
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎03-23-2010
Accepted Solution

Green Caviar: High Load Cycle Cout after short operation time

[ Edited ]

I bought a WD Green Caviar for my new computer. I choose the green  line because of its low noise level.  But I am no longer sure that it was a good choice. Yes, the drive is really silent and it is fast enough for me. But I had two strange system crashes during the last 3 weeks ( with my old computer I had no system crash in 7 years!)  where the kernel reported I/O errors  during disk operations - after a reboot everything was fine again. I did a file system check and SMART self test  with no errors found. There are similar reports in this forum which make me belief that the Green Caviar is responsible for these crashes.

 

But today I discovered something else that worries me. I had a look at the SMART data and I discovered a very high Load Cycle Count for this 1,5 month of operation. Here is the output of smartctl:

 

ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       132
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       514
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       131
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   189   189   000    Old_age   Always       -       35870

 

As you can see the drive has already gone through  6% of  the permitted load cycles. The drive in my old computer had only ~1360 load cycles  in three years .

 

Somebody told me these numbers are meaningless, but I am not so sure. What do you think?

 

 

 

 

Advisor
bernhard
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎03-23-2010
0

Re: Green Caviar: High Load Cycle Cout after short operation time

I found out that it is a known problem - there are numerous reports around. The Green Caviar puts its heads into parking position after 8 seconds idle time. Now when the OS periodically performs a disk operation the heads will be permantly parked and un-parked on an low loaded system which causes the load cycle count to explode, So it is more a desktop than a server problem.  There are romours that the Green Caviar is advertised as desktop product ...

 

I wounder what will happen when I return the drive to WD for replacement in a few month when it will surely have failed!

 

Green Caviar sucks!

Advisor
WD15EARS
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎03-20-2010
0

Re: Green Caviar: High Load Cycle Cout after short operation time

8 seconds? that's crazy! can't you change that?

Honored Contributor
fzabkar
Posts: 1,754
Registered: ‎02-06-2010
0

Re: Green Caviar: High Load Cycle Cout after short operation time

Can you change the drive's internal APM (Advanced Power Management) setting?

The ATA commands, including APM, are documented in the following document.

Working Draft AT Attachment 8 - ATA/ATAPI Command Set (ATA8-ACS):
http://www.t13.org/Documents/UploadedDocuments/docs2008/D1699r6a-ATA8-ACS.pdf

You may be able to use a utility such as hdparm, HDAT2, or HDDScan to set the APM levels for your drive:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hdparm
http://hdparm-win32.dyndns.org/hdparm/
http://www.hdat2.com/
http://hddscan.com/

Advisor
bernhard
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎03-23-2010
0

Re: Green Caviar: High Load Cycle Cout after short operation time

hdparm -B doesn't work  - you get an error message.

hdparm -i tells you that the drive doesn't support APM (AdvancedPM=no).

There are reports that WD is aware of the problem but doesn't officially admit the problem.  When you contact WD support they will send you a DOS tool called wdidle3 which allows you to change the timer settings. I guess they use vendor specific commands. I contacted them yesterday  - no response yet.  I found a copy on the Internet but I won't use software from insecure sources.

 

Today I did a test:  I set up a cron job that logged the load cycle count every 30 minutes. On my idle computer (I was at work) I got frightning results. Now here is an excerpt:

 

 

2010-03-25 10:00:01 37605
2010-03-25 10:30:02 37665
2010-03-25 11:00:01 37725
2010-03-25 11:30:01 37785
2010-03-25 12:00:01 37845
2010-03-25 12:30:01 37905

As you can see an increase of 60  every 30 minutes. That's because the kernel flushes dirty buffer pages every 30 seconds. If it goes on like this the drive will reach its life time limit within a few month.

 

 

Honored Contributor
fzabkar
Posts: 1,754
Registered: ‎02-06-2010
0

Re: Green Caviar: High Load Cycle Cout after short operation time

See this thread:
http://community.wdc.com/t5/Other-Internal-Drives/WD3200BEVT-clicking-and-high-LCC-count/td-p/13410

BTW, you can upload any suspicious file to VirusTotal:
http://www.virustotal.com/en/indexx.html

Your file will be scanned by ~40 different antivirus software.

Here is the scan report for my copy of wdidle3:
http://www.virustotal.com/analisis/e7356b74ba81fe67227d5f7e823d751e8d45ea6865e2b94cc6ddbcf61345ed4f-...

Note that wdidle3.exe has been compressed with UPX:
http://upx.sourceforge.net/

Before submitting it to VirusTotal, I unpacked it.
Advisor
WD15EARS
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎03-20-2010
0

Re: Green Caviar: High Load Cycle Cout after short operation time

 fzabkar's posting didn't make me happier. "So.... it seems the idle time cant be set above 12 seconds on these drives...."

 

Today I bought one and I have one week to return it..

Advisor
bernhard
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎03-23-2010
0

Re: Green Caviar: High Load Cycle Count after short operation time

 


WD15EARS wrote:

Today I bought one and I have one week to return it..


I would return it and get a non-green one. This IntelliPark feature is total rubbish. It may save a few mW but its risks data loss and it noticeable slows down the drive. The Green Caviar drives are really bad designed products. Why haven't they implemented some smart algorithm that monitors how the OS accesses the drive and adjusts the idle time to a sane value? I am sure parking and unparking the heads every few seconds effectively increases the power consumption and destroys the the drive.
Advisor
WD15EARS
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎03-20-2010
0

Re: Green Caviar: High Load Cycle Count after short operation time

[ Edited ]

did you read this (are you a Linux-user): http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=5357 ? please tell me if it's helpfull.

 

I do'nt know how often the head is parking because I can't access the SMART-status (The drive is temporary external by a SATA to USB hub) Fysically the drive feels superb, sometimes I hear the heads, but it is no more than twice a minute. I have some days to decide on holding the drive.

Frequent Advisor
psusi
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎03-25-2010
0

Re: Green Caviar: High Load Cycle Count after short operation time

What if you make a background job to intentionally touch the disk every 6 seconds to prevent it from parking?  Or you can enable laptop mode to get the kernel to stop constantly flushing buffers it does not have to.  This is how you get a disk to stay spun down when you put it to sleep.  I'd say enable laptop mode and when you're going away, manually tell the drive to sleep with hdparm -y.  That way it spins down and stays spun down, with no load/unload cycles while you aren't around.

 

Forums | Ideas | News and Announcements | Register | Sign in | Help | Forum Guidelines
Copyright © 2001 - 2014 Western Digital Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. | Trademarks | Privacy | Community Terms of Service | Site Terms of Use | Copyright | Contact WD