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How reliable is SMART data?

post #1 of 4
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I've bought and returned some used drives over the years, specifically because I've seen the SMART data indicate they've either operated past their max safe temperature, or they show non-zero values for G Sensor Errors. Some of these drives were from friends, whose run desktop systems which are as well maintained airflow-wise as my own. Is there some question as to the reliability of SMART data - particularly on WD and Samsung 3.5" drives?
     
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post #2 of 4
It is reliable in the fact it will tell you about any abnormal conditions the drive may have, but its not the catch-all test to figure out the health of the drive. Ive had an old western digital 250GB drive pass all smart tests and self tests yet not be able to write much faster than 60kb/sec due to write head failure. I have a Seagate 160GB laptop drive that reads 65535 failed sectors, and yet a deep read tests shows only a dozen have actually failed. Coincidentally, the 65535 value is the maximum number for a 16 bit number, 65536 requires 17 bits which i believe is outside the firmware's capability to work with.

In short, the numbers are good enough, but every now and then you might find that they dont pick up on the drive's actual health. For the drives showing a non-0 G value, keep an eye on them. Temperature wise, as long as they only spiked to that temp and didnt sustain it for hours on end they should be OK; try keeping them around 35-40C for the rest of their operational lifespan as that is the HDD longevity sweet spot. Too cool or too hot and the drives will fail prematurely, the former from mechanical stresses and the latter from degradation of the platter's magnetic coating (AFAIK it doesnt like high temps)
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post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks Cyrious. Interestingly in these cases SMART showed an overall status of 100% for these drives. What's the best current scanning software to figure out the real state of a drive?
     
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post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyptony View Post

I've bought and returned some used drives over the years, specifically because I've seen the SMART data indicate they've either operated past their max safe temperature, or they show non-zero values for G Sensor Errors. Some of these drives were from friends, whose run desktop systems which are as well maintained airflow-wise as my own. Is there some question as to the reliability of SMART data - particularly on WD and Samsung 3.5" drives?
SMART data is very reliable.

But keep in mind it's just a log of what happened. I've seen drives with 500 G-Sense errors... that just means the owner keeps bumping it or moving it while it's in use. I don't return drives when I see that - I educate the owner to be gentler on their hardware.

"Safe Max Temperature"? No higher than 55C for daily use. If you cook a drive at 60C, you'll be lucky if it lasts half as long as it would've a bit cooler. (Which may still be several years.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyptony View Post

Thanks Cyrious. Interestingly in these cases SMART showed an overall status of 100% for these drives. What's the best current scanning software to figure out the real state of a drive?
Pretty much all SMART interpreting software fails at the interpretation part. I don't know how they can create health percentages from those values. They try to do the same thing for SSDs... I've had two fail now at 97 and 99% health. The percentages are bogus - just read the SMART values and post a screenshot if you need help interpreting it.


I use Defraggler and HDTune for looking up a drive's SMART values.
     
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Hitachi 2TB - HDS723020BLA64 Crucial M500 960GB - CT960M500SSD1 WD 4TB Black - WD4001FAEX WD 4TB Black - WD4001FAEX 
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Seagate 2TB - ST2000DM001 WD 640GB Black - WD6401AALS Seagate 6TB - ST6000DM001 Micron M500 - MTFDDAK480MAV 
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Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Samsung 2343BWX 23" (2048x1152) BenQ GW2765HT 27" IPS LCD Monitor (2560x1440) Genius Keyboard KB-G235 PA 
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