SMART test questions (seek rate error) with a new 4TB WD Black

Hi, I have a question:

I started out trying to research why my new 4TB Black with less than 380 POH was slowing down and then eventually stopped copying files altogether around this time yesterday. I bought the drive from Amazon on November 16th, did a short+conveyance test, ran badblocks, did another short+conveyance+long tests, and everything came out fine.

Yesterday at this time, I was transferring files and had gotten through about 260GB out of 1.4TB and then the drive slowed down (stopped copying files) and ultimately would not respond. I continued to observe for a few minutes and then decided to shut down.

When I was attempting to shut down, I got an error: “ata5 softreset failed (device not ready) error”; after a period of about 30-45 seconds of non-response, I decided to hold my system’s power button down. I waited for a few minutes, reset the SATA/power cables, restarted my computer and everything went fine (successful POST and login).

I started up smartctl and found this:

Seek Error Rate of 23. I found a post which describes this: “The normalised value of Seagate’s Seek Error Rate is logarithmic. A value of 60 indicates that the drive has recorded 1 seek error in 1 million seeks, 70 indicates 1 error in 10 million, and 80 is 1 in 100 million. A value of 30 is 1 error in 1000, and 40 is 1 in 10,000.” - (again, my drive is a WD Black but to my knowledge it is functionally the same for this SMART attribute).

Then I found another comment elsewhere on the internet: “The drive cache is filling up. Small files will show amazing performance but large files will fill the cache and cause it to queue the commands and slow down. Try benchmarking the drive. Also is the drives capacity full? If the drive is full and fragmented the head will have to bounce around a lot to fined free sectors”

So I guess my question is, and as weird as this may sound: is it possible to cause an overflow of the disk cache/buffer? What is the root cause of this issue?

I spent about 7.5 hours earlier today running a long test and smartctl no longer shows errors:

So what’s the deal here? Was it just a fluke in trying to copy a large amount of files?

What is WD’s opinion on this (or any technically inclined forum members)? I’d rather just replace the drive to be on the safe side. I’m going to create a support case / RMA it but I’m really interested in finding out why this happened.


I recommend you get the drive replaced.