Caviar Blue 1TB WD10EALS: can't set AAM high performance mode


#1

Hello!

A few days ago I bought 2 new/identical Caviar Blue desktop drives WD Caviar Blue 1TB model WD10EALS-00Z8A0 (on the same day/in the same shop): they both got identical markings (besided serial numbers which differ by some 3xxx) - firmware revision is the same (05.01D05), they were manufactured on the same day in the same factory (in Thailand).

I got a problem with 1 of them (the one with slightly higher serial number): it came with average access time of ~17ms (the other is typical ~13ms), and no matter what I do/try I’m “stuck” with this value. I tried several Windows tools which set AAM value (HD Tune, HDDScan, CrystalDiskInfo etc), and in all of them AAM default value is 254 (high performance mode). With this value I have access time of ~17ms, while on the other “identical” drive it’s ~13ms with AAA=254. If I set AAM to 128 (quiet mode) on that “bad” drive, access time is still ~17ms, so it doesn’t change with different AAM value on that drive (on 2nd drive it’s ok: 13ms with AAM=254 and ~17ms with AAM=128).

I’m pissed off that I’m not able to to get lower/normal (13ms) access time in 1 of 2 bought drives. Because of this, 1 of the drives is permanently “stuck” in this low noise (~17ms) access time, which is undesirable of course (can’t optimally use it as system drive with such long access time, RAID considerations etc).

Question: can this drive (the one stuck on 17ms, no matter what AAM value is set) be considered defective/not fully functional/whatever, and can I RMA it right away (successfully), in order to replace it for a new one which works with AAM ok, and on which I can achieve 13ms access time in HP mode? Which another tool to use to try to read and set AAM values on this drive (drive’s behavior suggests it’s permanently in AAM=128 mode, even though various tools show it’s default value is/should be 254 - besides changing AAM values makes no difference - still got that **bleep** 17ms).

In my opinion/guess it might be some bug in drive’s firmware OR it was ~deliberately~ setup in the factory to ignore AAM values other than quiet (128). Too bad there’s no info about that fact on the drive anywhere - so it’s a total lottery :(. Strange thing is the other driver has the ~same~ firmware revision, and got manufactured on the same day in the same place, but it behaves differently (AAM works correctly there, and I can get ~13ms).

So what to do/try next, I’m disappointed with WD, and would like to RMA the drive, and will the replacement one (if I get one) work ok with AAM? Why WD does such things in the 1st place (AAM and access time lottery) in mainstream desktop drive series (I wonder if they do the same “trick” with blacks - ~17ms access time on Caviar black would be a shame, as it is on blue)?

So, (try to) RMA it or not, and what can I expect?

Thanks for any help and suggestions!


#2

Could you upload screenshots of your HD Tune results to a file sharing service?


#3

ok (from Everest but HD Tune is practically the same - plus Everest has nice chart).

Here’s both drives are in High Performance mode (AAM=254) - just set in HD Tune.

1st one has average access time ~13.5, the other (“bad” one): almost 17, as seen on the pic

http://www.imgplace.com/viewimg101/3167/25wdcomp2.jpg

===

And here’s 1st drive (good one) in Low Noise mode (AAM=128) - still a bit faster than 2nd one (bad) in HP (AAM=254) mode!!!

http://www.imgplace.com/viewimg227/5563/15wdcomp3.jpg

please tell me I can RMA this - this is unbelievable.


#4

Thanks for that.

I’m not used to seeing Everest benchmarks, but HD Tune’s graph will show read retries. I was thinking that if the “problem” drive was retrying excessively, then this would show up as reduced access time, at least on HD Tune’s graphs. Furthermore, you would see a spread of data points about 8ms (= one rotation) above the main line of best fit.


#5

ok, so which tests from HD Tune  to post (from which tab)?

btw do these WD drives (Caviar Blue) any vibration sensors (which can cause low access time)?


#6

Here are screenshots of HD Tune’s benchmarks:
http://www.hdtune.com/testresults.html

Here is a screenshot of a problematic drive:
http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/1309/day1unformated.png

This thread may be of interest to you:
http://forums.seagate.com/t5/Desktop-ATA-and-Serial-ATA/ST31000528AS-7200-12-1TB/m-p/42506

I believe all drives have shock/vibration sensors. These are usually mounted at 45 degrees to enable them to detect vibrations in both horizontal axes.

Here are datasheets for typical ceramic shock sensors:
http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/58860.pdf
http://www1.futureelectronics.com/doc/MURATA/PKGS-00LD-R.pdf

These articles should help you identify the various components:

HDD from inside Main parts:
http://hddscan.com/doc/HDD_from_inside.html

WD Pc easy Faultdiagnostic troubleshooting must try it …
http://forum.hddguru.com/easy-faultdiagnostic-troubleshooting-must-try-t12319.html


#7

jaca1 wrote:

I’m pissed off that I’m not able to to get lower/normal (13ms) access time in 1 of 2 bought drives. Because of this, 1 of the drives is permanently “stuck” in this low noise (~17ms) access time, which is undesirable of course (can’t optimally use it as system drive with such long access time, RAID considerations etc ).

I would also like to bring up that, if your concern is for RAID use, the Caviar Blue is not a RAID drive, and you will probably have problems with it dropping out of the Array.