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WD20EARS or WTFEARS?


revengineer
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Hi guys,

I have another story to share that kept me busy off and on over the past weeks. I am a big fan of the WD20EADS and WD20EARS drives. I have bought about ten of them and they have treated me well; so far only one of them gave up after a year of 24/7 operation in my WHS v1.

 

These EARS drives have made press here and there because of the incompatibility of Advanced format (AF) drives with Windows Server 2003 based systems. However, putting the jumper on pins 7-8 and giving them a full NTFS format, I never had an issue with them, until now...

 

A few weeks ago, Newegg had WD20EARS on sale for $69 and this is as cheap as I have seen them. So I thought having one on the shelf won't hurt and placed the order.

 

The drive arrived and I decided to give it a thorough test before shelving it for hard times. So plugged the drive into a Sata port of the Gigabyte motherboard in my WHS 2011 test box, initialized, partitioned, and formatted. At 24% it stopped with the error message that the drive could not be formatted. Ugh... I said and plugged the drive via a usb adapter in my Windows 7 x64 desktop machine. Same problem here although the percent formatted was different.

 

Hm, I thought and then downloaded WD's Data Lifeguard Tools, which reported too many bad sectors. This was a clear case of RMA to me and Newegg was good with the exchange and sent me a new drive. Problem solved I thought, but not so fast...

 

Plugged new drive in and started over. For what happened next you can just reread the above paragraphs although the percentage formatted differed again. Now I thought WTF???

 

It was hard to imagine that both drives were really bad so I decided to do one more test. I first zeroed the drive and then plugged it in a Windows XP VM with jumper on pins 7-8 in place. The disk then initialized, partitioned, AND formatted just fine.

 

So the $64k question is what am I doing wrong with these drives??? One of the main reasons for building a WHS 2011 was the long-term compatibility with new hard drives. Drive makers are often candid as to whether or not their high capacity drives are AF or not. I did not want to rely on the pin 7-8 method being offered by WD forever. But now I have a brand new Server 2008 based system and I still cannot format the WD20EARS drives with 4k sectors. And my Windows 7 can't do it either. Both of them are 64-bit systems if that matters or not. My BIOS is set to AHCI on both machines, which should be good.

 

I googled this topic and found many hits. Early on there were problems with drivers and for Intel RST v9.6 are required. I have v 10.6 and all my other drivers are up to date as well. So what gives?

 

If anyone has any clue as to what I am doing wrong, please enlighten me. I am running out of options to try.

 

I noticed on the WD web site the instructions to format is to use quick format. i used the full format thinking that this is what needs to be done once with a new drive. Am I wrong?

 

Looking forward to seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

 

rev

Edited by revengineer
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Hi guys,

I have another story to share that kept me busy off and on over the past weeks. I am a big fan of the WD20EADS and WD20EARS drives. I have bought about ten of them and they have treated me well; so far only one of them gave up after a year of 24/7 operation in my WHS v1.

 

These EARS drives have made press here and there because of the incompatibility of Advanced format (AF) drives with Windows Server 2003 based systems. However, putting the jumper on pins 7-8 and giving them a full NTFS format, I never had an issue with them, until now...

 

A few weeks ago, Newegg had WD20EARS on sale for $69 and this is as cheap as I have seen them. So I thought having one on the shelf won't hurt and placed the order.

 

The drive arrived and I decided to give it a thorough test before shelving it for hard times. So plugged the drive into a Sata port of the Gigabyte motherboard in my WHS 2011 test box, initialized, partitioned, and formatted. At 24% it stopped with the error message that the drive could not be formatted. Ugh... I said and plugged the drive via a usb adapter in my Windows 7 x64 desktop machine. Same problem here although the percent formatted was different.

 

Hm, I thought and then downloaded WD's Data Lifeguard Tools, which reported too many bad sectors. This was a clear case of RMA to me and Newegg was good with the exchange and sent me a new drive. Problem solved I thought, but not so fast...

 

Plugged new drive in and started over. For what happened next you can just reread the above paragraphs although the percentage formatted differed again. Now I thought WTF???

 

It was hard to imagine that both drives were really bad so I decided to do one more test. I first zeroed the drive and then plugged it in a Windows XP VM with jumper on pins 7-8 in place. The disk then initialized, partitioned, AND formatted just fine.

 

So the $64k question is what am I doing wrong with these drives??? One of the main reasons for building a WHS 2011 was the long-term compatibility with new hard drives. Drive makers are often candid as to whether or not their high capacity drives are AF or not. I did not want to rely on the pin 7-8 method being offered by WD forever. But now I have a brand new Server 2008 based system and I still cannot format the WD20EARS drives with 4k sectors. And my Windows 7 can't do it either. Both of them are 64-bit systems if that matters or not. My BIOS is set to AHCI on both machines, which should be good.

 

I googled this topic and found many hits. Early on there were problems with drivers and for Intel RST v9.6 are required. I have v 10.6 and all my other drivers are up to date as well. So what gives?

 

If anyone has any clue as to what I am doing wrong, please enlighten me. I am running out of options to try.

 

I noticed on the WD web site the instructions to format is to use quick format. i used the full format thinking that this is what needs to be done once with a new drive. Am I wrong?

 

Looking forward to seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

 

rev

 

 

Out of the box there is no issue whatsoever with the EARS drives and WHS-2011. I have three on the native sata controllers and the 8 of them on my raid controller. I did have numerous issues with those silly Intel drivers and do not use the rapid storage drivers in any of my systems for that reason. Need to better understand your setup to help. What setting did you use when you formatted the drive? Are you using raid? If so, with the MB controllers? If not, have you tried it without installing the Intel drivers?

 

You do not need to use the full format on any drive, quick format works fine.

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Out of the box there is no issue whatsoever with the EARS drives and WHS-2011. I have three on the native sata controllers and the 8 of them on my raid controller. I did have numerous issues with those silly Intel drivers and do not use the rapid storage drivers in any of my systems for that reason. Need to better understand your setup to help. What setting did you use when you formatted the drive? Are you using raid? If so, with the MB controllers? If not, have you tried it without installing the Intel drivers?

 

You do not need to use the full format on any drive, quick format works fine.

 

pcdoc,

I connected the drive to an onboard sata port on my Gigabyte GA-H67MA-USB3-B3 motherboard. The BIOS is set to AHCI, not RAID, mode. While I have the Intel RST driver installed, I do not use any of the RAID features with any of the test drives. So it's a very simple and straight forward setup. I initialized the disk as MBR (tried GPT as well with same results). I partitioned as a single simple volume. I formatted using the default settings EXCEPT that I unchecked the quick-format box thinking that I needed a full format. Maybe that is where my thinking mistake was. Have you ever tried a full format?

 

At some point in the testing I tried to just use quick format, and I got a healthy NTFS partition. I did fail however copying large amounts of data afterward. This could be because of the previously gone bad full format, but I am not sure.

 

rev

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When you clicked on format was it set a 4096 byte allocation unit size (sector size)? If not, it needs to be for that drive with the jumpers removed.

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When you clicked on format was it set a 4096 byte allocation unit size (sector size)? If not, it needs to be for that drive with the jumpers removed.

 

I know for sure that it was not set to 512. That would have raised a red flag to me. Now I am not sure whether it was set to 4096 or whether it read "default allocation size" or similar. In this case, what would the default be?

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Hi guys,

I am a big fan of the WD20EADS and WD20EARS drives. I have bought about ten of them and they have treated me well; so far only one of them gave up after a year of 24/7 operation in my WHS v1.

Interesting. I am no longer such a fan of the WD Greens, in fact I don't buy them at all anymore. I've found that they need to reallocate sectors quite a bit more often than my WD RE2 drives, that are acutally se\veral years older than the greens. I do hope you RMA's that failed drive; 24/7 operation of not, I would not consider 1 year of service acceptable. Just my 2 cents.

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Interesting. I am no longer such a fan of the WD Greens, in fact I don't buy them at all anymore. I've found that they need to reallocate sectors quite a bit more often than my WD RE2 drives, that are acutally se\veral years older than the greens. I do hope you RMA's that failed drive; 24/7 operation of not, I would not consider 1 year of service acceptable. Just my 2 cents.

 

I have been using WD Green drives for a while and of the last fifteen drives I only had an issue with one where it had such a poor transfer spped it may as well have failed....was able to get the data off though so I am please enough to continue to use the Green drives

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I know for sure that it was not set to 512. That would have raised a red flag to me. Now I am not sure whether it was set to 4096 or whether it read "default allocation size" or similar. In this case, what would the default be?

 

Sounds like you should try a new drive. Definitely not characteristic of WD drives. I have had only two fail and they where from the same batch and where returned. They had a huge number of errors. The other 30+ that I own plus the last hundred or so that I bought in the last couple of years have been great. It does sound like you have an issue with this drive. I would try and replace it and if the new one does the same thing you can immediately return it.

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