Experience, Information Technology, Thank You Sir May I Have Another

That Annoying Seagate Clunking

Seagate backup plus hub in standard position.

If you own a Seagate Backup Plus Hub you know what I’m talking about. That continuous and annoying clicking clunking sound while idle. This is really annoying. If you have the drive running on a nice solid desk shell the sound becomes amplified enough to keep you awake at night from two rooms away. There have been many a post on this subject. Seagate appears to be hiring Keller MBAs who cut costs without any regard for quality. I’ve often wondered why this external 6TB was so much cheaper than others. Once I plugged it in I understood. If I hadn’t needed it for a project I would have walked it right back to Staples. Now I try not to leave it plugged in much. It will have a much better chance of reaching its 5 year MTB (Mean Time Between failure) if it is powered off for at least 4 of those years.

Seagate has habitually made noisy drives as far back as I can remember. When I started in IT during the early 1980s and they came out with the 20 MEG MFM half height it had a cricket chirp while writing. The chirp was almost pleasing. It only occurred during I/O operations so if you had a program running which would take a long time you didn’t have to sit there watching or have any kind of completion alarm. When the cricket stopped chirping it was done. Computer cases of the era used to have drive indicator lights which were not up to modern LED standards. This lights would burn out but the chirping cricket told you all was well. In a way it was quaint and comforting.

Today’s noisy drives are simply inexcusable. The current urban theory is this noise is caused by excessive head parking. You will find many utilities which on a timed interval will copy/write a small file to the drive then delete it. All of this is designed to stop automatic head parking. I have seen stories from some people with internal Seagate drives causing the problem by using a higher SATA cable rating on a drive. Using a SATA II cable on a SATA I drive is rumored to cause this issue. As a rule I don’t buy Seagate internal drives. I’ve had really good luck with Western Digital spinning drives and Samsung SSDs so I’m sticking with them until they screw me. I used to have really good luck with Hitachi hard drives but they are no longer in the drive business.

Seagate backup plus hub feet

Don’t take issue with my fingering MBAs cutting costs without regard for quality. I never hear a fan in the enclosure and I bet that is because there isn’t one. They put the little rubber feet on the bottom with air holes and vented the top. Let’s forget for a moment just how short the rubber feet are and the fact they provide a very tiny air gap between the bottom of the enclosure and your desk. God forbid you have this on some kind of soft desktop blotter. This is the worst position to run the drive in. Sitting like that on a very hard (commercial grade) desk shell it transfers every head park through the shell, into the echo chamber below.

I had forgotten about this annoyance after having been home for a couple of months, but I had need of the drive again. At some point I will be constructing a 4-6TB database on an internal drive and I wanted another big drive to write some log files to. This was the biggest external drive I currently had. Using it for the database drive would probably kill it given the projected I/O rates. Fine for logging though.

Honestly, the MBAs and product designers duped all of us into running this drive in the worst possible position. Of course you are going to put the rubber feet on the desk! Boy is that ever a bad idea!

Seagate backup plus hub flat

After I set mine flat, it got quiet. Maybe the heads, which once parked for idle shouldn’t unpark themselves just for exercise are still excessively parking, but I don’t hear it. Perhaps it will die a heat death before the age of 5? I don’t care. At least I’m not being clicked and clunked to the point of insanity!