192 hrs for extended test on 1TB WD1001FALS drive - simple smart test won't trigger RMA

Our WD Caviar Black 1TB WD1001FALS00E3A0 booted up very, very slowly.  The transfer rate for the drive was as low as 400 kB/sec and as high as 4-8 MB/sec according to Windows 7 (while frantically trying to copy 100 GB of data off the thing).  I have removed and reinstalled the AHCI drivers, installed intel’s storage driver (P67-based Asus motherboard), and HD Tune Pro is telling me that it’s operating in full UDMA mode.

The simple check for WD Lifeguard said all passed but using HD Tune Pro showed some warnings for

05 - reallocated sector count value of 1

C4 - reallocated event count value of 1

C5 - current pending sector count value of 18

It didn’t seem like a major drive failure but that C5 value hasn’t really gone away and the drive still performs incredibly slowly, even after days of hoping the drive would clear those C5 sectors.

Am I just very early in the failure of the drive (and doing a week of extended tests with WD Lifeguard will show that or push it over the edge) or can I get an RMA issued now ?  Has anyone seen this before on an SATA drive running in AHCI mode ?

how are you using the drive - primary or secondary?  did you format it in windows 7?  have you tried changing cables, ports.  Since it’s a 1 tb, how old is your pc?  is it possible that you have an outdated bios causing an incompatibility or drive size limitation?

Hi Wayne, thanks for responding.  Although I’m not sure you’ll be happy with the answers to your questions.

It’s a SATA drive and was on the 1st 3.0 SATA port as identified by the silkscreen on the motherboard.  Formatted the drive during install of the Win 7 64 bit OS and that computer had been running fine for months before it suddenly slowed down.  I swapped the SATA cable out with two other cables from different sources and the problem didn’t go away.  It’s an Asus P8P67-M motherboard and I may be one bios version behind, I’ll check, but we’re not talking about an ancient system here.

I swapped the WD drive with an older 200 gig SATA drive (same port, same cable) and the speeds picked right back up when it booted off the loaner 200gig drive with a debian install on it.

I suspect the C5 count is the real issue, but, for some reason, the WD LifeGuard tool either doesn’t care about my low C5 values (queue of data blocks to remap) or take into account the really slow transfer rate when it’s diagnosing RMA issues.   If it thinks it needs to be remapping the data that would probably drop the apparent transfer rate.  My next step is to actually let it work on the 160-190hr scan or write zeros until the thing collects enough smart errors to RMA or starts acting right.