Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 Firmware Cache Problems?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by stabsteer, Apr 27, 2008.

  1. stabsteer macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    Has anyone else had the firmware issues with their hard drives not reading the 32mb cache?

    Seems to be with firmware AD4 drives (of course that's what OWC just sent me...)

    I haven't even opened and installed the 1TB drives yet for fear that I may need to return them.

    Is there any way to test your drive to see if you are getting full 32mb cache vs. 16?

    I've checked many computer forums and this seems easy to do and then update firmware on your PC but I haven't seen how to test on Mac.

    Any info is appreciated!
  2. GotPro macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2007
    I wish I had a good answer for you. This is one reason many of us were hesitant to recommend the Seagate drives...

    I can tell you... even with my Hitachi... it still required a PC with SATA ports to make sure firmware / acoustic settings were optimal.

    I'm unfortunately betting you'll still need this to verify your Seagate drives and upgrade the firmware if need be.

  3. jazz1 macrumors 65816


    Aug 19, 2002
    Mid-West USA
  4. nemloc macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2008
    AD4 is the factory corrected firmware. I'm using both AD4 & SD15 and both get recognized as 32mb cache and seem to perform the same way. I have not done heavy perf bechmarks though.
  5. Tbarr macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2008
    Please tell me what software you're using that recognizes the 32MB cache.
  6. stabsteer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    Just checked my drives and the firmware says 'AD04', not SD04 I was off. I think these AD04 are the messed up ones.

    Anyone have any other info or know how to make these work on a MAC?

  7. stabsteer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    Does anyone know how to test your HD to see what the cache is running at on a Mac?

    Thanks for any advice!
  8. knome macrumors 6502


    Sep 7, 2006
    xbench. Not to mention there is a multiple page thread on this very issue 6 posts down the page.
  9. Tbarr macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2008
    Well, xBench will not say a thing about the HDs cache. It specifically says UNCACHED XXX. AFAIK there is nothing on the Mac that will determine your HDs cache. And the only thing I know of on the PC is SiSoftware Sandra. If you look in that multipage thread, you'll see I left there asking the exact same question, 'cause SiSoftware Sandra will not see the cache on my updated SD04 ST31000340AS Seagate drive even thought it sees the smaller caches on my other 6 connected Seagate drives.

    I'm still waiting for nemloc to tell me what he's using. Seagate couldn't recommend any software, PC or Mac that would determine the cache and left me by saying 'if you think it's broken, send it back." That's a direct quote. Very encouraging.

    stabsteer, look at the link given by jazz1. Pay close attention to were it mentions "firmware versions SD04 or SD14". I had SD04, now I have AD14, and SiSoftware Sandra still doesn't see the cache, although the drive appears to work normally.
  10. tugger macrumors regular


    Apr 14, 2005
    See this Seagate Knowledgebase article which explains why this is an issue for drives with 32MB cache.
  11. Tbarr macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2008
    Thanks for the link! Why didn't that Seagate 'Upper Level' guy explain that?
    So, I guess that makes it official. We are just supposed to 'Trust Them'.
    Where have I heard that before?
  12. stabsteer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    Hey Tbarr -thanks for all the info!

    I have 3 SD04 Seagate 1TB drives I bought from OWC ( I haven't opened them because of everything I've been reading. What would you suggest I do with them?

    Keep them and update the firmware-and how do you do this?

    Or should I just return them back to OWC?

    Thanks for all your help!
  13. Tbarr macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2008
    It depends on whether or not you want to trust them. Beware, it's not just Seagate. None of the drives that have 32MB caches can be tested to see if they actually do have that cache. In fact, according to Seagate, "It is important to understand that any value or information retrieved by the Identify Device command is simple data provided by the manufacturer. In other words, when it says an 8MB buffer it is only reading data provided by the drive designer. It is not an auto detection of the actual memory chip. When a drive reports 0MB it is not an auto detection of size, it is only reading the data stored in word 21."

    So, it really doesn't matter....

    What does matter, according to Seagate, is that the Drive's ID number is correctly Identified by the OS. That's the whole deal with the Firmware fiasco. It doesn't matter that the Firmware is listed as SD04, as long as the three numbers listed HERE are correctly displayed in the Device Manager or System Profiler. If they are correct, then forget about it, it's not worth it to try and update the Firmware.

    I think the last person that talked to Seagate said that Seagate was removing the Update anyway... something about people having a hard time with it... Probably, they couldn't get it to install. It was a PITA for me, and most people would probably have stopped before they could get it to install if they had the same trouble.

    It's up to you... My ST31000340AS works great, both before and after the Firmware change.
  14. knome macrumors 6502


    Sep 7, 2006
    But you will notice the considerable slow down. At least there should be a slow down.
  15. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    Go online. THey will tell by the serial if it needs to be flashed. If so, needs to be done on a PC. If it has the problem it uses 0 for cache, not 16....
  16. Tbarr macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2008
    Detecting Buffer or Cache Size in ATA Hard Disk Drives
    Interesting that this article was last modified the night/early morning after I grilled several Seagate Techs about why my 1TB disk was not displaying a cache...
  17. stabsteer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    I downloaded 'xbench' and ran the test. How could I tell what speed the drive's 'cache' is running at? There are all these read and write numbers that I can;t decipher.

    Thanks for any info!

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