1.5TB Barracuda freezes: Seagate speaks out

Last week, we stumbled upon multiple user reports of intermittent hangs with Seagate's 1.5TB Barracuda 7200.11 hard drive. According to folks on the Seagate support forums, the drives randomly freeze for around 30 seconds at a time in Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows Vista. Freezes allegedly occur in tasks like streaming video or transferring files at low speeds, and they happen regardless of drive configuration or Serial ATA controller type.

We shot off an e-mail to Seagate last week to inquire about these problems. We've now received a response from company spokesman Mike Hall, who's written the following:

Seagate is investigating an issue where a small number of Barracuda 7200.11 (1.5TB SATA) hard drives randomly pause or hang for up to several seconds during certain write operations. This does not result in data loss nor does it impact the reliability of the drive but is an inconvenience to the user that we are working to resolve with an upgradeable firmware.

We are therefore asking customers if they feel they are experiencing this issue to give our technical support department a call with any questions.

Affected part number: 9JU138-300, 336 with firmware revisions SD15, SD17, or SD18.

Support contact information:

Technical Support in the USA: 1.800.SEAGATE (1.800.732.4283)
Technical Support in Canada: 1.405.324.4700

Other regions please go to our support web page: http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/

For the record, many users who posted in the Seagate support forums say they've received unhelpful responses from the company's support staffers, including some saying the 1.5TB 'cuda doesn't support Linux or RAID setups. (Desktop RAID is still among the list of "best-fit applications" on the official product page.) One user posted about a similar response as early as last Saturday.

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