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i just realized that some of my HDD's have a huge Load_Cycle_Count when reading out their S.M.A.R.T data. Some are short before failing and i am asking myself why this is the case and if there is anything i can do to prevent them from dying.

alex@ga-P55A-UD5:~$ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sdb
smartctl 6.5 2016-01-24 r4214 [x86_64-linux-4.4.0-142-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-16, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Western Digital Caviar Green (AF)
Device Model:     WDC WD10EARS-00Y5B1
[...]
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   090   090   000    Old_age   Always       -       10281
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   062   062   000    Old_age   Always       -       28456
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   001   001   000    Old_age   Always       -       611460
alex@ga-P55A-UD5:~$ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sdc
smartctl 6.5 2016-01-24 r4214 [x86_64-linux-4.4.0-142-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-16, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Western Digital Caviar Green
Device Model:     WDC WD6400AADS-00M2B0
[...]
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   093   093   000    Old_age   Always       -       7615
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   057   057   000    Old_age   Always       -       31743
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   053   053   000    Old_age   Always       -       442121
alex@silent-ssd:~$ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sdd
smartctl 6.5 2016-01-24 r4214 [x86_64-linux-4.4.0-142-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-16, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Western Digital Green
Device Model:     WDC WD20EARX-00PASB0
[...]
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x002f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   098   098   000    Old_age   Always       -       2477
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   085   085   000    Old_age   Always       -       11176
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   181   181   000    Old_age   Always       -       59646

1

WD Green disks are designed to park the heads relatively quickly after the disk becomes idle. As a result you'll get a high load count.

An old article, but still pretty accurate, https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Western-Digital-Green-vs-Red-Hard-Drives-602/ writes

A load/unload cycle is when the disk spins up its platter to get ready for operation. Typically this happens when you turn on a system, resume from standby, or when the drive has been idle long enough for the OS to power down the drive. [..] the 300,000 cycles the Green drives are rated for is really quite a lot already. Even if you turn on/off your system or let it idle long enough to power down the drive 20 times a day, 365 days a year, a Green drive should still last for over 40 years.

Also

Head parking delay 8 seconds

In your case, your two disks have been powered on for 31743 hours and 11176 hours, respectively (approximately 3 years 6 months and 1 year 3 months, at 24x7). For that period of time the number of unload/load cycles really isn't unreasonable.

If you are running 24x7, mind, you should be using WD Reds instead of Greens.

  • yes it might be true that the number should be higher after such a long period of time but compared to all the smart values this Load_Cycle_Count value is the worst i have and might be the cause why i have to replace my disks sooner than later. As you can recheck here the rest of the values are quite fine: pastebin.com/P47S9CfZ – AlexOnLinux Mar 4 at 11:13
  • Given their age those two disks look pretty good to me. No data errors reported. – roaima Mar 4 at 11:47
  • Line 102 of that pastebin: Value 001 Worst 001 Thresh 000 - from my knowledge this is means it is almost dead. The other two hard drives are in a better shape, indeed. – AlexOnLinux Mar 4 at 12:20
1

My findings so far:

The Cause

  • Regarding to Western Digital and various websites 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 the high number in S.M.A.R.T Attribute 193 Load_Cycle_Count is related to a technique introduced by WesternDigital named Intellipark.
  • Intellipark is implemented in some of their hard drive models, especially in their green series.
  • It is designed to reduce power consumption if the drive is not beeing used.
  • In some usecases, especially when combined with a Linux operating system, this intellipark-feature tends to shorten hdd's live.

Solutions

  • Western Digital explains it's not their features fault, it's the bad configured operating system and they give some advices on how to properly configure linux.
  • Western Digital also released a DOS tool to modify the intellipark-feature on some devices.
  • For the Linux platform Christophe Bothamy released idle3-tools to modify that intellipark-feature - big thank you from my site.
  • as mentioned in the comments below, hdparm -J does either modify the wd idle3 timer.

What I've done

Now I downloaded idle3ctl and turned off intellipark completely. Hopefully this will help to prevent the disks from failing quick. But anyway at least one disk is almost dead, regarding to S.M.A.R.T.

To disable the intellipark-feature i followed the idle3-tools instructions.

First I read out the idle3 timer value of this intellipark feature: sudo ./idle3ctl -g /dev/sdx

Than i disabled the timer sudo ./idle3ctl -d /dev/sdx

A power off/on cycle is necessary to take effect sudo hdparm -Y /dev/sdx

After that i rechecked the idle3 time and did the same after a reboot:

alex@silent-ssd:~/idle3tools/idle3-tools-0.9.1$ sudo ./idle3ctl -g /dev/sdd
Idle3 timer is disabled
  • 1
    See also hdparm’s -J option and the discussion in the manpage. – Stephen Kitt Mar 4 at 10:53

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