What's Happening With S.M.A.R.T. Drives? - PC Repairs & Upgrades - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 06-11-2014, 07:55 AM   #1
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What's happening with S.M.A.R.T. drives?

Have S.M.A.R.T. drives gone the way of the dinosaur?

I went to OfficeMax to buy external drives a week ago and came home with two USB3 Toshiba Canvio 2TB drives. I returned them for these reasons:

[1] The "nice" 3-year warranty allowed the vendor to give me my money back instead of repairing/replacing the drive(s).
[2] On a Windows XP system, a drive went to sleep and there was no way to control the sleep-time-out.
[3] It was not a S.M.A.R.T. drive, so my SpinRite software could not fully test the drive.
[4] A call to Toshiba tech support yielded the comment that the Canvio drive was not compatible with PCs (clearly false info) and he did not know about SMART drives.
[5] There were more than a few reports online about abrupt Canvio failures within the warranty period -- with nothing recoverable.

The 2nd time around I came home with a Seagate GoFlex and a Western Digital "My Passport for Mac". Both were USB3, 2TB but no SMARTs

I have played with more than a dozen drives (all SMARTs), but not for a year of so. What happening with S.M.A.R.T. drives? And technicians with backup?



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Old 06-11-2014, 11:31 AM   #2
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Many systems/software only work with SMART on internal drives, not through the USB interface.


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Old 06-27-2014, 11:28 PM   #3
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SMART rives have definitely not gone the way of the dinosaur. I did find a snippet on wikipedia about SpinRite and Smart though:

"S.M.A.R.T. on SATA drives
While SATA drives are supported, SATA controllers that include a processor and diagnostic software can limit SpinRite's ability to obtain and display S.M.A.R.T. data ("thin controller" SATA controllers do not have this limitation). This data monitor does not affect SpinRite's recovery and diagnostics ability; S.M.A.R.T. data when available helps long-term disk maintenance and failure prediction.[13] GRC said in 2006 that this issue would be resolved in version 6.1, anticipated to be a free-of-charge upgrade for SpinRite 6.0 users.[13] As of April 2014 version 6.0 was the current version.[14][15]"
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Old 07-07-2014, 08:26 AM   #4
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What is your obsession with S.M.A.R.T.? In my experience (11 years of computer repair) its been pretty much worthless. I've had a hand full of drives with a bad smart status which were bad. On the other hand I've replaced literally thousands of drives which S.M.A.R.T. didnt detect ****.

I really wouldnt worry about a drive reporting smart status. You probably have a better shot at winning the lottery than S.M.A.R.T. actually detecting a bad hard drive.
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Old 09-06-2014, 11:59 PM   #5
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It sounds like you're putting an awful lot of importance on the drives themselves rather than thinking about what's best for your data. True, some manufacturers are held in higher regard than others, but when it comes down to it -- a hard drive is a hard drive.

I agree with Bob regarding SMART. I can count the number of times I have discovered a failing drive via SMART on one hand. It's not even a feature I think about when purchasing a new drive. Generally, you can tell if a drive is failing by the way that it behaves.. and a failed drive shouldn't be a big deal, if you're doing it right.

If your data is only on the external drive, that's not a backup. Don't even pay mind to "will this drive's data be recoverable," as I guarantee you that paying up-front for redundancy will be cheaper than paying eventually for a recovery.

Here's my setup, for reference.

1. 256GB SSD - O/S and game installations, that's about it.
2. 2 1TB hard drives in RAID1 for storage of media, files, and anything important.
3. I have a separate system in my basement that operates my cameras and also mirrors the contents of my RAID1 configuration.

I don't use any cloud service or off-site backups as I feel I would rather lose my data than trust it to an external host.. but this setup would be highly unlikely to result in total data loss outside of some catastrophic event, in which case my computers and the data on them will be the least of my worries.
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