Worried about my Seagate 7200.7

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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BarCodeBlack
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Worried about my Seagate 7200.7

Post by BarCodeBlack » Sun Nov 02, 2003 4:46 pm

Before I send an email to Seagate technical support, I thought I'd drop one off here first, as the advise from you guys is always sound and prompt.

I purchased two Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 80gig drives a few months ago, but didn’t get around to putting them to use until last week. As I needed a little extra storage on my main machine, I installed one as a secondary drive, and transferred files and folders to it.

Agreed, this drive is considerably more quieter than the Western Digital Caviar 80gig drive that it replaced, but since then, I have noticed a strange intermittent buzzing sound accompanied by ticking that occurs every 30 seconds or so while the drive is idle.

Anyone have any previous experience of this, or am I looking to RMA these drives?
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BarCodeBlack
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Post by BarCodeBlack » Sun Nov 02, 2003 11:42 pm

</cough> Bump! <cough>

:-)
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MikeK
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Post by MikeK » Mon Nov 03, 2003 12:24 am

ok, is this buzzing and ticking the seek noise? I hope you can tell if it's seeking or not. It does kind of sound like a (quiet :)) buzz on my 7200.7 and WindowsXP does some drive use when you aren't using it.

dukla2000
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Post by dukla2000 » Mon Nov 03, 2003 1:50 am

If you can (running Win, not Linux) try disabling Autoscan - see this thread. Those symptoms seem to me to be completely Autoscan aligned, except if you search these forums it seems nobody has achieved success by disabling Autoscan, all the success has been RMA :(
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luminous
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Post by luminous » Tue Nov 04, 2003 2:00 pm

I have exactly the same problem with my Seagate 7200.7

Man I am sick of HDD's atm. I have got 3 120Gb drives now, all recommended by one group or another (only the Seagate by SPCR) and all of them have given me grief.

The Western Digital had to be RMA'ed before it shook apart my machine. The replacement (a refurbished model) is kinda ok and is now in another machine. Mind you, it cannot be used in Master mode as it simply refuses to be detected by the BIOS - it can only be run in cable select...I sense another RMA here.

The IBM Deskstar, see my other posts.

That leaves the Seagate. Sorry for my rambling, but initially my Seagate 7200.7 was great, but it has also developed a buzzing noise too.

The sound that it produces is almost identical to the noise that the drive exhibits when you defrag it. I know that its not Windows related becuase the drive still makes the same noises even if i just boot to BIOS, or DOS.

The noise only happens when the drive has been idle for a couple of minutes. The buzzing lasts 30 secs or so the first time, and then it repeats, each time the buzzing / ticking lasting longer and longer.

If I come back into the room after 2 hours...its still there buzzing away...sigh.

I have contacted Seagate technical support, and they have asked me to run some diagnostic software on the drive. I have not had time to do this yet, so I will post the outcome of my findings at some point soon....

Jan Kivar
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Post by Jan Kivar » Tue Nov 04, 2003 2:09 pm

IIRC someone stated that the "noise" would stop after a certain period of time. It has something to do with the online scan, which checks the drive for bad sectors once it has been powered on for the first time. Of course, it takes a lot of time to do so because it's interrupted erery now and then.

IIRC...

I'd like to know what Seagate support has to say about this.

Cheers,

Jan
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Denman76
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I just spoke with Seagate tech support.

Post by Denman76 » Tue Nov 04, 2003 4:58 pm

My 80 GB 7200.7 has the exact same buzzing symptoms from the hard disk. When it is idle, there is an electro-mechanical "buzz" and a low sound "clicking" that can start at any time and last for 30 to 90 seconds. If the drive is accessed during this time, the buzz will immediately stop. I currently have the Seagate connected as a slave, but when I connected it as a primary master drive without the OS, the buzzing still occurred. My retail model# ST380013A with frimware#3.06 was purchased in October 2003. Seagate is sending a replacement but the engineering department had no answers to this problem. The Seagate diagnostics comes up clean and I do not have any other operational problems with this drive running under WIN XP PRO. The hard disk defrag and maintenance is up to date. The Seagate engineer mentioned a "non-supported" program called Seagate SMSCAN.exe, found on the SPCR website, that can turn off the Seagate "offline scan program" on some Barracuda drives. I have not tested this. Another forum tip is to use Dtemp tool to disable the "autoscan" function on hard disks.

The Seagate Sales department re-confirmed that AM-Acoustic Management is not available on this family of products because of a pending patent dispute with the developers of AM. This is a shame because if my replacement drive does not solve this problem, I will have to purchase the new Samsung Spin Point P80's with 3-year warranty and full Acoustic and SMART capabilities built-in. The ata versions are available now and the sata's will be shortly. Independent reviews have indicated that the Spin Points may be just as silent as the Seagates. If not, I will try Maxtor, as I have had good results in the past. Also the user friendly Hitachi Feature Tool can be used on the Maxtors to control the AM settings very easily.

When my replacement Seagate 80 arrives I will post my results shortly.

starsky
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Post by starsky » Tue Nov 04, 2003 6:37 pm

Are you running windows XP ? Disable the indexing service. Disabling this actually meant my drives would sleep when not in use. So much quieter, and cooler.
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Post by Gnerma » Tue Nov 04, 2003 9:38 pm

Well what does SMART have to say? Try this freeware utility and see if it finds any red flags. If it does not.. too bad about the sound :(

I personally can't even dream about quiet HDD operation with my multi platter Maxtor and WD drives :lol:

luminous
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Post by luminous » Wed Nov 05, 2003 10:58 am

If I boot my machine into its BIOS or MS-DOS (note, not DOS mode), the problem still occurs. Therefore, disabling Windows indexing will not help me, but thanks for the post, cos windows indexing has caused me some problems in the past.

luminous
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Post by luminous » Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:03 am

I downloaded the SMART utility and ran it. There are no red flags - oh well ....we live, and we learn....or maybe I just live :)

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Post by pingu666 » Fri Nov 07, 2003 7:01 am

its to move the read heads around, so it doesnt heat up a certain part of disk. it extends the disks life:)
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luminous
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Post by luminous » Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:17 am

extending its life (yeah, thats what they said to me), but I think its very debatable that they feel they need to do this. None of my old HDD's have broken, so I am waggling my poor design finger at them.

Not to mention the fact that they forgot to include all the factors for increased life when they decided to do this - ie me when I throw the damn thing through a window :wink:
Last edited by luminous on Tue Nov 11, 2003 2:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Likif
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Post by Likif » Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:50 pm

queer, I have the exact same problem with my new Cuda IV. I put it on foam and the sound disappeared. I haven't noticed this at all with my other Cuda IV.
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Denman76
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Opinions of my Replacement Seagate 80GB 7200.7 pata drive.

Post by Denman76 » Mon Nov 10, 2003 6:11 pm

I received my replacement Seagate 80GB 7200.7 PATA drive yesterday and installed it as slave drive. After “initializing” the drive through WIN XP Pro disk management, I used PM7 to partition and format the drive. The drive already arrives with a low level format so this is just a quick format. I set up 3 partitions and copied over my picture and backup image files to various folders. When using the drive, it still “buzzes”, but more faintly and more infrequently than the original drive, as explained in my previous post. Since my gear setup is near silent, I can still here the buzz sound, as it rises above the manageable sound of my Maxtor 40GB DiamondMax boot drive. Although I can buy a Seagate 120 GB 7200.7 this week at CompUSA for $59 after MIR, I have chosen to wait for the next Seagate production model and hope that this noise problem is resolved. In the meantime I will purchase a different brand drive, probably a Samsung or Maxtor.

In conclusion, I want to mention that Seagate Technology has an excellent, no nonsense RMA service and technical support operation. That being said, I really think there is a noise design flaw with this drive that is unearthed in a truly quiet rig such as mine, and that of other members of this forum

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Post by cybercomp » Mon Nov 10, 2003 8:55 pm

I bought two seagate 120GB 7200.7 ATA drives a few months ago (master & slave in the same machine) & they both have made the same constant annoying buzzing sound since day one. I thought this was a Windows issue but its the same in Linux also. I sent an email about this to Seagate tech support & their reply was that all hard drives can make many different noises, yet operate perfectly for their lifetime. This buzzing sound is so annoying that I made a cardboard enclosure box for them lined with inner carpet padding & a fan in front, which almost eliminated this noise.

I removed these drives from my main machine last week & I use them in external enclosures for backup. They have been replaced by a Maxtor 120Gb & I'm about to buy the same size Samsung or Hitachi. In my opinion these drives have very little whine but I wouldn't call them quiet. They are also slow in realtime use & run 7-10 degrees warmer than my current 120GB Maxtor drive. I built a machine for my neighbor recently with a 120GB Samsung (2MB cache version), and both the Samsung & my current Maxtor seem faster. The Samsung is definately the quieter of the 3.

pulsar
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Post by pulsar » Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:21 am

well, add me to the buzz complainers list. I can't bear it anymore. I'm running tasks on the background to not let the disk enter the idle mode :x

It seems that a 7200.7 compatible smscan.exe can be the solution. Is there anybody else who "accidentally" used the current one on the disk?

BarCodeBlack
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Post by BarCodeBlack » Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:45 am

Pulsar, in an attempt to cease the annoying buzzing from my Barracuda 7200.7 drive I downloaded and ran the smscan.exe from a bootable floppy. Unfortunately the application is configured to only automatically recognise the Barracuda IV's and disable the 'autoscan' feature.

Once initiated from the command line, the application discovered my primary drive, a Barracuda IV and disabled the autoscan, as expected, it then displayed a failure with my secondary drive, a Barracuda 7200.7 and then exited stating something along the line of "This isn't a Barracuda IV, so piss off". Agreed, I was a little apprehensive as I rebooted the machine, but no harm seems to have occurred and the system has run fine, if still a little buzzy.

This is a shame, as I think we all concur the autoscan feature could well be the culprit, yet Seagate are refusing to acknowledge this.
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Denman76
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Post by Denman76 » Wed Nov 12, 2003 2:27 pm

Yes BarCodeBlack, the Seagate engineer "suggested" I might try the smscan program, but he wasn't sure if it would work and he said that Seagate did not support it. It did not work on my 7200.7 drive.

It is about time for Seagate to find a solution to this problem, or they should stop endorsing the "Quietness" of this 7200.7 Barracuda Series. If this problem is related to their patent dispute regarding AAM, they should resolve it. I can’t believe that one of the largest hard disk manufacturers in the world cannot resolve this suit or develop/purchase another acoustic management methodology. Even the small Samsung Hard Disk division supplies full AM on their most current drives.

I would hope that some of the independent testing forums would review this drive and voice their opinion in this matter. I think more 7200.7 Barracuda owners have the buzzing sound but just don’t realize it, due to other ambient fan noise from their case.

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Post by luminous » Wed Nov 12, 2003 2:46 pm

I am quite seriously thinking about returning my drive as soon as a nice Samsung becomes available from where I got my Seagate. I feel that the claims that were made when I purchased the drive were misleading.

I may have to lookup the relevant bits of law in the Sales of Goods act, but you are covered if the goods fail to deliver what was promised at the time of purchase.
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noise

Post by gksam » Wed Nov 12, 2003 2:54 pm

I noticed that these sounds went away with me after having the drive powered on for 24-48 hours. (I have noticed it on two ocassions). (I have 7 CUDA IV 80 gigs on various computers which I purchased at various times). The autoscan utility that seagate made did not seem to do anything for my newer drives -- but it did for my older drives (i.e. the ones I purchased right when the CUDA IV was available).

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Post by Bryce Mason » Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:27 pm

Add me to the list of "buzzers."

I am so relieved to see others have this bizzare buzzing problem with their 7200.7 type hard disks. I have 2 80GB drives in an Raid 0, and after a minute of idle the infamous buzz starts up.

I noticed that the buzzed goes away on any disk access when I was playing EverQuest. Now when I play I just leave the logging feature on so that it accesses the disk every few seconds.

Has anyone made any progress on this problem? Any news from Seagate?

Thanks,

Bryce

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Post by chylld » Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:59 pm

ditto, my 2 7200.7's buzz too. can only occasionally hear it with the side panel off though, since with the side panel off they're surrounded on 4 sides by acoustic foam and are thus inaudible :)

tias
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Post by tias » Wed Mar 10, 2004 10:32 pm

I suffer from this problem as well with my 80GB 7200.7. Strangely my 160GB 7200.7 never makes a buzz. My rig is very quiet so its very disturbing with this buzzing once in a while, it occurs even more often when the system is cooler (atleast I think so..).

From what I have understood, there is nothing to do about this. Firmware hack? Seagate will never help out about it so I dont even bother sending e-mails. I love the drive except from this, but it really is driving me crazy!!

I don't know if RMA is a good idea, seems like the new drive will have the same issue, and sending the drive from Sweden will probably end up in a long wait.

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Post by Bryce Mason » Wed Mar 10, 2004 11:36 pm

Its not a bad drive. Some folks at sourceforge firmly believe it is the S.M.A.R.T. monitoring in this drive. Mine buzz every minute on the minute when there is no activity. It is consistent. It is doing some sort of self test or something.

There is a linux command to stop the smart monitoring, but they said it didn't work. You can read about it here:

http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/foru ... m_id=12495

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Post by tonalt » Fri Mar 19, 2004 8:11 am

Add me to the list.

I had 160GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA. Now I have 160GB Samsung SP80 SATA. Write/read -noise is lower, but idle noise is higher. I can hear idle noise only from short distance like 20cm, so it doesn't bother me while I'm sleeping (bed is ~3m from computer). I'm pretty glad with my new SP80, and I use Zalman ZM-2HC1 with it.
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Post by Bar81 » Fri Mar 19, 2004 8:30 am

It's a maintenance noise and it's totally normal although extremely annoying.
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aston
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Post by aston » Fri Mar 19, 2004 10:42 am

It's happening with my Cuda IV 40GB drive as well. Honestly, I didn't think much of it... it worried me a bit, but I forgot about it right away. :) Maybe cuz it almost never happens.

The noise is disconcerting, but if it extends the life of the drive, then I'm all for it.
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