Hard Drive T.E.C. Date

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Hard Drive T.E.C. Date

Postposted on Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:39 pm

Hey guys, I'm using a utility called ActiveSMART, a utility for monitoring hard drive health through -- you guessed it -- S.M.A.R.T. (that was so awkward to type). A day or two ago I noticed that ActiveSMART is spitting out some sort of T.E.C. date, which supposedly means Threshold Exceeded Condition, and is more or less a 'deadline' for your hard drive. Here's the screenshot:

Image

Now, there's a ton of information out there particularly from software companies that peddle SMART monitoring apps or companies that offer data recovery services, but I'd just like to ask the opinion and experience of TR gerbils here. Has this sort of thing happened to you and what was your experience? Did the drive fail at all? Did it fail sooner or later? I've had this Hitachi 1TB drive since May 2011. It's been working like a charm all those years and I've been confident that it'll be a workhorse for a few more years, not a few more months. Speaking of workhorse, this drive is used inside my home computer and it's used like 2-10 hours a day, some days it's never even turned on.

So, based on ActiveSMART the Spin-Up Time is getting wonky. Is that a sign that the motor is starting to die?

Edit - About 3 weeks ago I installed a Samsung EVO 840 on the same power line as the Hitachi drive. Could it be that doing this reduced the current feeding into the Hitachi resulting in a slower spin up time?
Last edited by ronch on Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hard Drive T.E.C. Date

Postposted on Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:48 pm

I think it's more to be taken as sign of possible impending bearing failure.
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Re: Hard Drive T.E.C. Date

Postposted on Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:01 pm

Though the thing is, the way most but not all SMART values are normalized to 100, and some slide up while others slide down can make interpretation of them really confusing.

And both the SSD and the HDD together still shouldn't stress that power connection out much, unless your power supply is really terrible!
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Re: Hard Drive T.E.C. Date

Postposted on Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:06 pm

Sorry for repeatedly posting - you fortunately have a Hitachi drive, and an "older" one at that, which means it will be completely supported by the excellent Hitachi Drive Fitness Test. I would run THAT and see what it says about your drive. (There is a newer WinDFT but I have no experience with it myself)
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Re: Hard Drive T.E.C. Date

Postposted on Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:15 pm

Hello TwistedKestrel, thanks for your input. I just downloaded and am currently running HGST's WinDFT. It's also my first time using it. I have the Hitachi DFT version that runs off a bootable CD but I think running in DOS mode results in the CPU running at full throttle (perhaps Cool & Quiet needs a driver within Windows or a supporting OS to work) so I obviously would like to try the new WinDFT. I hope it won't take too long. Will post back results.
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Re: Hard Drive T.E.C. Date

Postposted on Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:31 am

I don't see how they can predict a failure date based on spin up times. That makes no sense.
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Re: Hard Drive T.E.C. Date

Postposted on Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:04 am

just brew it! wrote:I don't see how they can predict a failure date based on spin up times. That makes no sense.


It's not the failure date that's predictive, it's just the possibility of failure. The date is just when the threshold for that parameter was exceeded (though the "worst" value shown is nowhere near the threshold?)
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Re: Hard Drive T.E.C. Date

Postposted on Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:11 am

After three hours:

Image

And also:

just brew it! wrote:I don't see how they can predict a failure date based on spin up times. That makes no sense.


I have to agree with JBI. Or at least I hope he's right.
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Re: Hard Drive T.E.C. Date

Postposted on Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:23 am

Normally the TEC date is the date when the threshhold value was exceeded. The normalized value is always supposed to decrease towards zero. The last time I read the specs, I could have sworn that the TEC value was set when the threshold was actually exceeded as so I would never expect it to be in the future. As far as spin up time goes, if it starts to take longer and longer to spin the drive up it means the bearing resistance is growing and the power consumption of the drive motor is going up too. Eventuallys the bearing resistance will become large enought that the motor cannot spin it at the needed speed, or in the case of a drive powering up, cannot actually overcome the standing resistance at all and start it spinning.

I wouldn't have any problems continuing to use it, but I would also make sure copies of important stuff exist elsewhere, but thats a good idea regardless of the supposed health of any drive.

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Re: Hard Drive T.E.C. Date

Postposted on Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:41 am

TwistedKestrel wrote:
just brew it! wrote:I don't see how they can predict a failure date based on spin up times. That makes no sense.

It's not the failure date that's predictive, it's just the possibility of failure. The date is just when the threshold for that parameter was exceeded (though the "worst" value shown is nowhere near the threshold?)

The reported date is 3 months in the future.

I could maybe see making a prediction like this based on a statistical analysis of (say) seek errors. But spin up/down events are sporadic and infrequent enough that I don't think you've got a big enough data set to draw any useful conclusions.
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Re: Hard Drive T.E.C. Date

Postposted on Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:05 pm

just brew it! wrote:
TwistedKestrel wrote:
just brew it! wrote:I don't see how they can predict a failure date based on spin up times. That makes no sense.

It's not the failure date that's predictive, it's just the possibility of failure. The date is just when the threshold for that parameter was exceeded (though the "worst" value shown is nowhere near the threshold?)

The reported date is 3 months in the future.

I could maybe see making a prediction like this based on a statistical analysis of (say) seek errors. But spin up/down events are sporadic and infrequent enough that I don't think you've got a big enough data set to draw any useful conclusions.


"Active SMART" could be reading the date wrong, or cutting off the month (e.g. expecting to display YYYY/MM when it's actually showing YYYY/DD)... not everyone pulls SMART data correctly
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Re: Hard Drive T.E.C. Date

Postposted on Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:06 pm

TwistedKestrel wrote:"Active SMART" could be reading the date wrong, or cutting off the month (e.g. expecting to display YYYY/MM when it's actually showing YYYY/DD)... not everyone pulls SMART data correctly

Well, if that's the case, the drive may be starting to fail. I guess the best we can say at this point is, "something might not be right".
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Re: Hard Drive T.E.C. Date

Postposted on Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:11 pm

just brew it! wrote:I could maybe see making a prediction like this based on a statistical analysis of (say) seek errors. But spin up/down events are sporadic and infrequent enough that I don't think you've got a big enough data set to draw any useful conclusions.

That's exactly how enterprise drives work (based on a wide range of data).
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