Friday, June 26, 2015

Something unexpected happened with the Toshiba DT01ACA300 drive

Cover DT01ACA300

I had two 3TB drives in my PC before migrating the system to the Silverstone SG13. The SG13 only has room for only one of them so I removed the Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB drive because it is the slower of the two. I originally planned to buy an enclosure for it and transform it into a portable hard drive. However I couldn't find a decent one that doesn't scorch the drive inside so I decided to sell it and buy an off the shelf external drive. (Note: I have a SATA to USB converter cable but it is not an elegant solution.)

I exhibited it on Rakuten Auctions and last Tuesday someone bid for it. Now I have to send the drive to him before next Tuesday and I started searching for portable drives. I did find some reasonably priced drives but unfortunately none of them came with the 240V support that I would require when I go back to Sri Lanka.

For a second it felt as if proceeding to sell this drive was a mistake. I can of course refrain from sending him the drive but I would receive negative points and would cripple my chances of selling something in the future. So I am going to send it after all. That’s not going to change.

Ideally, I don’t want any HDDs in my PC. I plan to equip it will only SSDs in the future but that would take many years. Technically though, I can do it right now too, because if I remove the Toshiba DT01ACA300 drive, which is currently installed inside the case (yes, that’s the faster of the two), the only remaining drive would be the Samsung 850 Evo 500GB SSD. Of course it would probably take decades for SSDs to catch up with HDDs in terms of capacity and price, so I cannot throw away the HDDs yet.

HDD installed in the SG13

The Toshiba DT01ACA300 installed in the Silverstone SG13 case

The plan is to make a NAS (yes, a DIY NAS) and store all the “data” on it. But I do not want to build one in Japan, because that would be another PC that I have to ship back to Sri Lanka. I can buy an off-the-shelf NAS unit from Synology, Netgear or QNAP but for the high price and the lack of flexibility, I will pass.

The NAS the is the ultimate goal, but I prefer not to mix different makes and models of drives. Since the Western Digital drive is going out, I decided to get another Toshiba DT01ACA300 drive as the backup. I would keep the existing one in the case until I have to ship the PC and use the SATA to USB cable to connect it and backup the data weekly. I checked the availability and they were readily available at a reasonable price.

Before buying the new drive, I wanted to check the health figures of the Toshiba drive from HDTune Pro (trial). I launched it and I got shocked by what was unveiled in front of me.

Toshiba DT01ACA300 HDTube Health Warning

HDTune’s Health report for the Toshiba DT01ACA300 drive

Warnings??? What are those? Reallocations as in sectors? I wanted to do a Error Scan just to be safe and its results did not make me comfortable at all.

Toshiba DT01ACA300 HDTube Error Scan

HDTune’s Error Scan report for the Toshiba DT01ACA300 drive

It appears that the drive has errors. Errors aside, I get a clicking noise some times and it had been like that for the entire 2.5 years I had been using this drive. Since it hasn’t failed even once, I thought it was characteristic to this drive.

That means, I cannot buy another Toshiba DT01ACA300 drive. For all I know, the existing drive might fail anytime and I will be left – again – with just one drive. Technically, these drives are not that suited for storage. I probably should have kept the Western Digital drive and sold this one instead.

This is the first time I have had a hard drive develop bad sectors in the last 15 years!!!

This is an urgent matter now. Now I need to buy two drives instead of one. And that too, as soon as possible, because I do not want to lose the data on that drive. Although the Western Digital drive currently has a backup of everything, I have to send it before next Tuesday. Today is Thursday.

There is one shop that I have more than JPY 20,000 worth of points. The shop is Nojima. I received those points when I bought the Nexus 5 phones at the beginning of the year. Luckily for me, they were selling hard drives. They had the Western Digital Greens and Reds. While the Reds are the better drives especially if you RAID them (I do not plan to RAID them btw, even in the NAS), they were about 20% more expensive. That’s significant when I am buying two drives. So I decided to go with the Greens. Not 3TB drives, because that would seem silly because I am already selling one. I decided to go with 4TB ones (WD40EZRX). Two of them. Of course I had to pay extra for them, but to my relief, they had those drives for cheapest.

Nojima Orders

Ordering of the Western Digital WD40EZRX hard drives from Nojima

Hopefully they will ship the drives quickly. I have a lot of work to do in the weekend.

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