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Thread: HDD Firmware problem?




  1. #1
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    Unhappy HDD Firmware problem?

    Is there a way to update firmware on HDDs? I have a Raid10 array that is slower than it should be - one drive has a different model number and firmware - I am thinking it's the problem. Testing prior to loading the OS on the array with 4 identical 640GB drives it was very fast - I substituted 4 250GB drives for the 4 640s because I wanted to use them as a separate array for storage only (more space) and didn't need that much room for the OS array. The 4 250s are the same manufacturer and family of drives just a different firmware as one was bought later than the first 3. Tests before had 190mbps on HD Tach with the 640's and 90mbps with the 250's - so quite a bit of difference!
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  2. #2
    Lsdmeasap's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDD Firmware problem?

    I use 3x250 for RAID 0 and have much better scores (200+) then 90MB/s and one of mine is also different firmware.

    When you did your reinstall did you be sure to enable Write Cache on the array in Device Manager and Write Back Cache in the Intel Matrix program? If you did not, maybe you did before and that is why the large difference? I would expect the 250's to be faster as they have less platters, of course Cache size between them would matter as well though. Do you use a good defragger? I use PerfectDisk myself

    To answer your question though, Yes. There is a few ways to get Firmware, you can contact the Manufacturer and ask for it and tell them why. Or you can get it via google. If you need help finding the firmware you want, I need to know what drive exactly and the firmware you want and maybe I can help you find it

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    Default Re: HDD Firmware problem?

    Yep, the Cache is on for the RAID card and in windows - both boxes are checked in windows. The RAID card has 256Mb of ram plus the drives each have 16mb for the 250's and 32mbs each for the 640s - on long sequential reads and writes the cache should be consumed though - like at the tail end of ATTO benchmarking or HD Tach and both show write and reads taper off. In ATTO I can peak at several read / write record sizes over 1000mbps on the 640s, only 800mbps on the 250s. Using Direct IO the peak on the 250s is around 120, and the 640s is around 250 mbps.

    I put the OS on the RAID card because it has a Battery back up and I don't have a UPS on the computer. The drives are over a year apart in vintage - so it may be more than firmware different. I noticed when individually formatting prior to creating the array the odd one out took a bit little bit longer to format than the other 3 too. Here's the drive information - Seagate drives:

    3 of these ST3250620AS firmware 3.AAJ
    1 of these ST3250410AS firmware 3.AAA

    The single drive is the one I would like to get to match the other 3 of course.

    The 640's are WD Caviar Blacks.
    GA-EP45-DQ6, Q6700 @ 3.33ghz, 8GB G.Skill DDR2 PC 8800, Thermalright 120 Ultra Extreme, Gigabyte Poseyden case, Geforce 7300GS, WD 1TB Caviar Black, SG 250 Barracuda, Raid 5 with 3 SG 250 Barracudas on ICH10R, Raid0 with 2 WD 640 Caviar Black on 3Ware 9650SE 4LPML, LG Bluray DVD R/RW, Corsair HX620W

  4. #4
    Lsdmeasap's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDD Firmware problem?

    ST3250410AS is the newer and better drive, from the Seagate 250GB Series, for speed/noise performance. I am surprised to see you found it took longer to format. I have not seen any direct versus tests of those two drives, but here is some general info and testing that includes both >>
    X-bit labs - Print version

    I would not suggest you even try to flash in the other drive firmware as you may kill the drive. They are not built the same at all, the 410AS is single platter design with two heads, and the 620AS is two platter with three heads. So the firmware would not work, that I would expect, nor would I try. You will just have to buy another 620AS.... or 3x410AS?

    You may have better results taking th 410 out of the mix and running like you had before with only 3 620AS drives. I use 3x 410AS, would you like some HD Tach test results from me incase you think about buying three more of those, they are around $50 now? Tests would be done with the Intel ICH10R controller though.

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    Default Re: HDD Firmware problem?

    Interesting that the single platter with 2 heads was faster than the double platter with 4 heads, I would have thought the opposite - however maybe it's that way because of where the Defrag partion ended up on the drives - spanning 2 platters perhaps?

    Anyway, I found someone with a 620AS willing to swap for a 410as (family member, just paying shipping for the swap) so I will at least have the identical drives and hopefully speed up the Array.

    I would be interested in the HD Tach numbers you get on the ICH10R - I had the 3 620AS'ss set up on mine as a RAID5 and was getting about 120mbps on HD Tach. I attached the results from the same board with RAID10 using the 4 WD640gb Caviar Blacks for comparison - cache was turned on in windows.
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    Lsdmeasap's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDD Firmware problem?

    Nice to see you will at least get all matching drives then!

    As you can see, system was in use of course, I need to defrag my drive for sure. I just did not before testing because I wanted to provide you a image before 3 hours from now

    ST3250410AS x 3 (Minus about 100GB) ICH10R RAID 0 64K Stripe (Cache Enabled in Device Manager and Matrix)

    Red is long test, Blue is short



    It is of course a little better and more uniform when the system is not in use (I have 4 apps open and 14 tabs in firefox + The usual antivurs and mail apps open as well) and defragged. I have not done a defrag since last Monday, and I use my disks heavily so that is why the sporadic results

    Anyhow, at least should give you a idea of ICH10 performance anyway
    Last edited by Lsdmeasap; 04-14-2009 at 05:06 PM.

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    Default Re: HDD Firmware problem?

    Nice looking graph, RAID0 with 3 drives is very nice! I just don't have the nerve to put all my eggs in a RAID0 array - do you regularly ghost the array? If so, have you tried to complete a restore to an array on the ICH10R from and ghost image and did it work for you?
    GA-EP45-DQ6, Q6700 @ 3.33ghz, 8GB G.Skill DDR2 PC 8800, Thermalright 120 Ultra Extreme, Gigabyte Poseyden case, Geforce 7300GS, WD 1TB Caviar Black, SG 250 Barracuda, Raid 5 with 3 SG 250 Barracudas on ICH10R, Raid0 with 2 WD 640 Caviar Black on 3Ware 9650SE 4LPML, LG Bluray DVD R/RW, Corsair HX620W

  8. #8

    Default Re: HDD Firmware problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by srode1 View Post
    Is there a way to update firmware on HDDs?
    Around year-shift there was the buzz of recent Seagate models having bad firmware, and gradually the affected models have received updates. They distribute updates as a CD-image that boots FreeDOS and starts the HDD flash application.

    But your generation(s) of drives are not affected by that bug, and generally HDD firmware updates do not seem to be very openly available.

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