Question Seagate Barracuda 2TB drive (SMR) showing weird behaviour

Sep 26, 2020
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Just got this drive. Brand new from a retailer in Romania, shipped in an anti-static bag. I install the drive, then when I boot up the system, I hear some very faint clicking, which quickly goes away when I initialize the drive in Windows Disk Management. I give it a single partition, set its file system to NTFS, and set up Steam to download all of my games to it.

Steam starts downloading, which is when I notice that it's not doing a lot of a progress. Task manager shows that the drive is pinned at 100% and Steam seems to be downloading in "spurts". Between these spurts, Steam shows 0 network activity and slow drive activity, while task manager shows ridiculous average response times (200ms-1920ms), and 60MB/s read. I don't understand what is happening.

I managed to fix this temporarily by stopping and then resuming the download, but the "spurt" downloading came back after it finished an item. Is my HDD defective? I checked in Seatools, it passed all tests, and I also checked in HDD sentinel, which showed 100% health. CrystalDiskMark results are as expected (200MB/s everywhere except in random read/write as this is an SMR drive).

Please help. Thank you.
 
Just got this drive. Brand new from a retailer in Romania, shipped in an anti-static bag. I install the drive, then when I boot up the system, I hear some very faint clicking, which quickly goes away when I initialize the drive in Windows Disk Management. I give it a single partition, set its file system to NTFS, and set up Steam to download all of my games to it.

Steam starts downloading, which is when I notice that it's not doing a lot of a progress. Task manager shows that the drive is pinned at 100% and Steam seems to be downloading in "spurts". Between these spurts, Steam shows 0 network activity and slow drive activity, while task manager shows ridiculous average response times (200ms-1920ms), and 60MB/s read. I don't understand what is happening.

I managed to fix this temporarily by stopping and then resuming the download, but the "spurt" downloading came back after it finished an item. Is my HDD defective? I checked in Seatools, it passed all tests, and I also checked in HDD sentinel, which showed 100% health. CrystalDiskMark results are as expected (200MB/s everywhere except in random read/write as this is an SMR drive).

Please help. Thank you.
When cache buffer is full, drive will slow down until it's cleared/data replaced, quite symptomatic for slow drives.
 
Sep 26, 2020
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I did a crystaldiskmark on this, with a 1GB file. That more than filled the buffer/cache and it still wrote/read at 200MB/s+. The cache shouldn't be a bottleneck for sequential data like game files.
 

USAFRet

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Being Christmas may also have something to do with it.
Millions of other people are also downloading their xmas stuff from Steam, and Steam has only so much bandwidth.


Performance via Steam is a poor tool to use for drive checking.
 
Sep 26, 2020
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You can scan the surface with a tool such as Victoria for Windows. It will identify any "slow" sectors.

https://hdd.by/victoria/
I checked with HD Sentinel and there were no problematic or weak sectors located. Sorry, I don't really trust this Victoria software... It's made for Windows XP and it has a badly translated interface. Thanks for your recommendation though
 
I'm running Victoria on Win 10. The English is good enough for me. It's a far more versatile tool than most. In fact the Russians arguably make the best HDD tools.

As for "problematic or weak sectors", HD Sentinel is just telling you that the SMART report shows no reallocated or pending sectors. That takes all of 3 seconds. Instead you need to perform a full surface scan. That takes hours.
 
Sep 26, 2020
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I'm running Victoria on Win 10. The English is good enough for me. It's a far more versatile tool than most. In fact the Russians arguably make the best HDD tools.

As for "problematic or weak sectors", HD Sentinel is just telling you that the SMART report shows no reallocated or pending sectors. That takes all of 3 seconds. Instead you need to perform a full surface scan. That takes hours.
I performed a quick surface scan (I first had Steam downloading in the background, so it reported 4 warnings for slow blocks) but after I turned Steam's downloading off and redid a quick scan it reported no errors.

This is all that it showed in the scan which didn't have Steam downloading. So, I should do a full scan, right? But what's better about full scans?
 
I would expect that a quick scan would test small areas spread out across the drive whereas a full scan would test every sector. But ICBW.

The other benefit is that a surface map can tell you if a particular head is weak. In such cases you would see a repeating stripe throughout the map.
 
Sep 26, 2020
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The three warnings are because I started a game from the drive while it was being scanned. But the graph is still concerning.
 
Sep 26, 2020
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Does data being on the drive impact performance? Because it seems like theres 1.1TB of weird behaviour, and my Steam library is 1.1TB as well.
 

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