News Archive for Friday Nov. 21, 2008 (later added items first)
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Initial Feedback/Tips on Seagate 1.5TB drives w/SD1A Firmware Update
(Update/FYI: Also see the Jan 2009 page on Seagate Hard Drive infant failures (2008 production).
And as a FYI, on Dec. 29th, 2008 a G5 tower owner (Marc) sent a drive database report on his later build Seagate 1.5TB drive that had firmware CC1H. No periodic I/O stoppages seen he said. There may be even later firmware versions now.)
(original posts from Nov. 21st, 2008 follow)
Here's some mails on the updated firmware (SD1A) for Seagate 1.5TB drives mentioned earlier today. (If you update your 1.5TB Seagate drive to SD1A firmware, let me know the details. If you can, do some performance tests before the update and after.) BTW - I wrote both SD1A users below to ask if they've seen any performance loss from the update and included links to (free) Kona2 benchmark instead of using Xbench - although any results are welcome including real-world tests (duplicate large file/folder times/effective rates or other apps tests). (FYI - Native Command Queuing still reported as enabled after update.) (Update: Firmware SD1A doesn't really affect performance per a Jan. 15th, 2009 Look at Seagate's 1.5TB Barracuda (SD1A) firmware update w/performance tests of SD1A firmware update vs original firmware version.)

" Well I have a status update regarding the 1.5TB drive timing out:
I went to the Seagate support forums where people were talking about a firmware update. With that in mind I created a support ticket detailing my problem. After not having heard from them in several hours (I'm not patient), I decided to call them and ask if I could get the firmware update. The support person escalated my trouble ticket and within an hour or so I got an email with a URL and certificate number directing me to a download area where I could get the software update. I would recommend people call their tech support and provide their Serial Number, Firmware version and Product/Part numbers. Tech support may be closed now (late Friday night), but are open on Saturdays.

To make a long story short, I updated all 4 of my drives to firmware version SD1A. I then re-enabled Journaling and all seems to be fine so far. No problems with the striped RAID or the Time Machine backup drive. No more 30 second long disk pauses either. I watched a 2 hour long AVI file with no hiccups which previously stopped multiple times with long pauses.

As a caution, the download page says:

    Upgrade file for Seagate ST31500341AS SD1A
    Use for 9JU138 -300 and -336 part numbers only (firmware SD15- SD19). DO NOT use on any other part number or firmware.

The firmware upgrade involves burning an ISO CD and then booting it on your (Intel-based) Mac (hold Option key while rebooting). The CD has a copy of FreeDOS and the firmware updater. Tech support mentioned that I should only have one drive installed at a time while doing the update. When the update finished, you press any key to "continue" which powers down your machine. The drive needs to be power cycled for the firmware to be installed. After each power down, I inserted a different drive and rebooted into the firmware updater. I just pulled all drives out a few inches and pushed in the drive I wanted to update. It took about 2 minutes per drive to perform the firmware update.

There is no generic direct download link. The download link is built based on your certificate number. I suppose I could give it out, but it looks like it violates the terms of the download license agreement.
-Alex K. "

I wondered about that, which is why I didn't post the number in Joachim's earlier mail on the update. (I updated Alex's Oct. 31st drive db report with the above comments on SD1A.)
And another reader that had mentioned problems in a Nov. 3rd drive db report sent notes on SD1A:

" Mike, As an update I received the new firmware revision SD1A via email after a tech support call. I had to burn the .iso image to CD-R and boot from it with all drives removed other than the one to be flashed.
One caveat for me on an early 2008 Mac Pro was that I had to move the drive from bay 2 to bay 1. I was getting "-InitDiskError reading partition table drive 01 sector 0" until I moved it.

Journaling is enabled now and so far, all is well with no data data loss. I've been playing iTunes for about an hour so far and no flushing errors...yet!
Best Regards, Brian "

And as a FYI - a reply from a G5 tower owner using this drive (w/original firmware SD17) that had not seen any issues previously (per his late Oct. Drive DB report), saying the suggestion on multiple partitions (none greater than 1TB) may be the reason why:

" I wrote to you earlier (Oct. 28th, 2008 drive database report) about my positive experience so far with the Seagate 1.5TB drive (using onboard SATA in G5 tower). I saw a note today regarding these drives that mentioned partitioning such that there was no partition greater than 1TB may be a work around. I just wanted to let you know that I have it partitioned into 3 parts, all less than 1TB (largest 700GB) so this may be the reason I haven't seen any problems thus far.
-David"

I've added David's comments to his previous drive db report.

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Firmware update for Seagate 1.5TB Hard Drives
(Update - see later post above for initial feedback on the new (as of mid-Nov. 2008) firmware version - SD1A. Some later shipped 1.5TB drive owners reported fimrware CC1H.)
One of the readers that posted here earlier about problems with his 1.5TB Seagate (ST31500341AS) drive sent a note today he's going to try applying a new firmware update from Seagate to hopefully fix the problem. (Although several other owners with the common periodic I/O stoppages issue had disabled journaling as a workaround, he didn't want to do that.) He has a G5 tower (no way to run bootcamp/windows) so he's having to take his drives to a friend with a PC for the update:

" Hi Mike, looks like Seagate is finally updating their drives.
(Quote from Seagate support - "There is a firmware update available that should solve the issue you are seeing...")
I'll drive to a friend with a PC to get the firmware updated on the drives and keep you posted on the result.
Cheers, Joachim "

I asked him to report back as soon as possible and include the new firmware revision. (Later reports mentioned SD1A - see later post above.) His mail included a long string of replies from Seagate including a link to a support/certificates page where you enter a code (string) to access/download the update. (BTW - I had someone else suggest partitioning the drive so that no volume was over 1TB as a workaround also - a G5 tower owner with this drive that reported last month he was one of the few that had not seen any problems (journaling enabled) later replied he had partitioned the drive into 3 volumes (largest was 700GB). Regardless hopefully this firmware update solves the problem.) FYI - I've been told this update does not fix the problems this drive has with some Oxford bridge board based external drives.

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iPhone 2.2 Software Update released (and iPod Touch 2.2)
It appeared in iTunes here at appx 1AM Eastern time Friday. (I updated a 1st gen iPhone before posting this.) Here's the info on the iPhone 2.2 update. (Links to related Apple docs on new features and security fixes I've found are below.)

iPhone 2.2 Software Update
This update contains many bug fixes and improvements including the following:
  • Enhancements to Maps
    - Google Street View
    - public transit and walking directions
    - display addresses of dropped pins
    - share location via email
  • Enhancements to Mail
    - resolved isolated issues with scheduled fetching of email
    - improved formatting of wide HTML email
  • Improved stability and performance of Safari
  • Podcasts are now available for download in iTunes application (over Wi-Fi and cellular network)
  • Decrease in call set-up failures and call drops
  • Improved sound quality of visual voicemail messages
  • Pressing the Home button from any Home screen takes you to the first Home screen
  • Preference to turn on/off auto-correction in Keyboard Settings

    For feature discriptions and complete instructions, see the user guide for your iPhone at: http://support.apple.com/manuals/iphone
  • (For iPod touch owners, see Apple's page on the v2.2 update for iPod touch.) Here are links to new/updated Apple docs related to the v2.2 update:

    There's also updated iPhone docs on Understanding the "Restore Needed" message and Backing Up, updating, and restoring your iPhone and iPod touch software. (FYI - Apple now has a web page on the iPhone 2.2 update.)

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    Updated Apple Support/How-To/Troubleshooting Docs
    (Doesn't include some iPhone v2.2 related docs - see post above for those)

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    Apple Pro Apps Update 2008-04 (updates to FCP, Compressor, Color and Shake)
    I don't have any Apple "Pro" Apps installed but got this mail on the update from a reader that does:

    "I'm surprised it hasn't been reported yet, but Software Update just notified me of a 143MB Pro Applications Update 2008-04. It includes Final Cut Pro 6.0.5, Compressor 3.0.5, Color 1.0.3, and Shake 4.1.1

    For details see the Pro Apps 2008-004 Update Release notes.
    -Darryl Y."

    Apple's Final Cut Studio 2 updates page (form w/Serial Number reqd) now has this update also.
    I thought there might be an update as Thursday I spotted an Apple support doc mentioning Shake 4.1.1. (Shake: May show version 4.1 after update to 4.1.1 on Mac OS X)

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    Other News/Reviews, Software Updates

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    Recent Articles and Reviews
    Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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