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We've been experiencing a rather odd volume of Seagate Barracuda [7200.9 (80GB)] HDD failures that resulted in brown spots on the PCB (hence "burning").

These units come from machines running RAID1 and the HDD's also tend to heat up to the point where you can't hold the HDD with a bare human hand.

I'm trying to determine the source of this.

Is it Seagate's fault? The RAID controller? (even though the i/o is not overly intense for long durations) Something else?

What would cause a drive to burn itself out like that?

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

I'd involve Seagate. If possible, contact your regional office Sales Team and mention the problem; they will naturally want it escalated to support but taking this route should add weight to your enquiry.

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I'm in the process of it. But was also wondering if by chance others have already gone through such an experience. Thanks. – Sebastian Dwornik Jul 12 '11 at 2:51

What kind of RAID enclosure? Are all fans working properly? Any obstruction in the chassis?

It would sound like lack of cooling in the enclosure.

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All fans are working. It is a fairly tight enclosure, so airflow is moderate, but not high. – Sebastian Dwornik Jul 11 '11 at 20:47

If this is a Dell system (or any other I guess) with an Intel RAID controller, see if there are any firmware updates for the RAID controller. I've seen behavior like this before (barring the burnt spots; have you verified those against a known good / new drive?).

Something else to check: See if simply telling the RAID controller that the failed drive is 'normal' results in the disk re-synchronizing, or more errors (more errors means bad disk, re-syncing means maybe not).

Note: I don't recommend ignoring a reported failure in a RAID1 array in general. In the cases I've seen this was virtually encouraged by the documentation.

Regarding the heat; I've seen high heat (painful to hold, but not to touch) on drives before... Unless SMART reports the temp as out-of-spec or the drive as failed, I wouldn't decide based on that evidence alone.

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You can download Seagate Tools from their website to check the hard drive temperature. If the hard drive overheats it will cause a S.M.A.R.T error which means the problem lies with the hard drive. Any other S.M.A.R.T temperature check utility will also work.

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