: "Does anyone know what Spin_Up_Time stands for? Seems like most if not all of us have a high number in this parameter."
: "In other words, it's perfectly normal to have a value of a couple of thousand, as it represents the drive's boot-up time -- only, it should not fluctuate too much over time."
Time from power on until either operational rpm reached, or until rpm reached and heads loaded on media. Manufacturer specific. Might be milliseconds... or some other unit, not necessarily something used elsewhere.
If you power down a HDD and power up it before the platters have stopped, usually you'll get a very low raw data for spin-up time when polled before next power cycle replaces the previous.
Nothing to worry about as long as the values (not raw data) are high (usually around 100).
: "There's also the fact that head "parking" has several stages involved. There are soft parks, hard parks, and stages inbetween. My guess is that the rated values on WD's website are for hard parks (the kind that happens when the drive is turned off), while Intellipark does a soft park - just moving it away from the disk."
: "If this is the case, then WD should come up, say "your drives are fine, we just goofed up and track soft parks in hard park category in SMART data"."
"Load/unload count" is the attribute that keeps climbing rapidly and that is the soft
type of unload. IF it was the "hard" type of unload, what would "Power-off retract count" be then?
I don't think that what Nick said is feasible either. 300000 is most likely the number of soft parks, hard parks being lower. Luckily, it's the minimum amount of parks that could cause trouble, not the average number of parks before failure. With relatively high likelyhood, they will run without problems way past million cycles.
It was not that long ago when IBM/Hitachi drives (the first drives to implement load/unload technology to desktop sized drives) were rated for only 50000 soft
unloads (where as contact start/stop drives were rated for the same 50000 start/stops even though start/stop is supposedly be more harmful than soft unloads). And Fujitsu laptop MHW20xxAT series is rated for 600000 times and 20000 times for "emergency retract".
In my opinion there is no_fucking_way that WD would be rated for 300000 emergency retracts. (That would place soft retracts around 10 million cycles if the relationship between soft and hard cycle counts wouls be the same.) But also, manufacturers may be more conservative in rating unload based HDDs than old-style contact-start/stop drives. Unload technology is newer and it's long-term reliability is less known (but in theory it should increase reliability).
: "In my case I am sitting on " 1 Currently unreadable (pending) sectors". Now as best as I can interpret from Google this sector should relocate itself when I try and read it, but despite running the short & long SMART self tests, and a full OS check (fsck) I cant shift the thing."
Have you tried the "SMART offline data collection routine"? It's a bit different offline scan... it's even more autonomously handled by the HDD itself. Other SMART offline scans require the software to be left running or the scan will terminate. Also, running other tests in HDDScan causes high CPU load where as "SMART offline data collection routine" runs even if HDDScan is closed and there's not change in CPU util. It just works silently in the background. Just start it and check back into it the next day. It'll take AT LEAST as long as "SMART extended selftest in offline mode" to complete and you will not be notified when it's done. It may even end in endless loop and start from beginning when complete...
If WD's IntelliPark can be configured via APM feature (the same feature that controls power saving aggressiveness of Hitachi drives), then using HDDScan
in Windows is a good way to do it.
There's no reason to boot to DOS diskette and hazzle with DOS drivers for disk controller.
Newest of my three WDs doesn't increase it's unload count rapidly (around 60 cycles per hour if I don't shut down SpeedFan), which may be as simple as different default APM setting. The question is: if I change the value, will it be volatile. With Hitachis, it's permanent, and with Hitachis even spindown counter is permanent... but with some other drives, spindown counter is erased when power cycled. I wonder how it's with WD & APM... I might try it... but I need to take out the suspecting drive to listen to it unload and see if it makes a difference. My newest WD doesn't increase the count but I cannot be sure if it unloads (as my system has too many HDDs to make clicks at pseudo-random intervals).
If only WD published APM values and corresponding time-out values for head unload and platter spindown like Hitachi has done with their APM implementation. It certainly wouldn't hurt them to release such information. And if they want to change the aggressiveness of power saving, just set a different default value for APM.
EDIT: I just listened to the newest GP. If I leave the drive idle for ~10 seconds or longer, then poll SMART values, it will click, meaning it unloaded. But unload count doesn't increase! So the newer GreenPowers don't show the real number of soft unloads, probably due to general panic caused by later revision being too honest with it.
I like honesty but too bad being honest doesn't pay off like it should. People RMA drives for SMART being too honest even if it's just
RAW data error rate (very low values on Seagates)
Hardware ECC (Samsungs, probably Seagates as well)
Unload cycle count (rapidly increasing on GreenPowers)
Bad sectors (reallocatable)
Ignorance is bliss. Not knowing there's a few bad sectors that have been reallocated but not caused bluescreen, data corruption or even SMART value change, doesn't give you much harm.
But knowing that some manufacturers may hide the bad sectors and report "0" as long as spare sectors exist, isn't ignorance... you may be unaware of certainty of bad sectors but you also can't live in peace because you'll be suspecting good drives as bad as well. True ignorance would be ignorance of the possibility that SMART values may not be real.
And apparently HDDScan reports that these two WDs I have don't support APM feature. I can't write to the register with HDDScan as it's "unsupported". Maybe some utility can force write in it, and cause a change.
Ironically it reports that Samsung Spinpoint F1 does. And it is a CSS based drive so there is no possibility to have extra power saving modes.