Seagate RMA Experience 2015

I’ve been using a Seagate STCA4000100 USB3.0 4TB external drive for a few years now. I noticed the transfer speed slowed down to about USB2.0 speed. I plugged it in to different computers, ports, and even bought another cable. It didn’t solve the issue. I ended up contacting Seagate support via email. After a few exchanges in messages, they want me to RMA it and get it replaced. They informed me that the model no longer exist so they’ll be replacing it with the newer version. So I wanted to document my experience with Seagate’s RMA so I can share with others.

2015-02-04

I created a new RMA request found at http://www.seagate.com/support/warranty-and-replacements/. You will need to provide the serial number. This will be checked against their system to see if the product is still under warranty. My warranty doesn’t expire until May 2015.

You will have to chose from three different shipping method.

  1. Standard RMA: You will need to ship the item first and pay shipping to them. They will ship back a replacement at their cost.
  2. Ground Advanced Replacement (US & Canada only): They will ship you the replacement first at their cost. Once you receive it, place the broken drive and ship it back using the same box – so don’t tear it open. Shipping cost will be your responsibility. You will need to provide a valid credit card. A $1 temporary authorization will be placed to ensure the return of the broken hard drive. If not returned in a timely manner, they will charge $200 fee for an asset recovery fee. It’s recommended that you include tracking with your shipping.
  3. Premium Advanced Replacement (US & Canada only): For $9.95, it’s the same as option 2 but faster. The cost to ship back is also included.

You can find more information at http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/202271en?language=en_US#8. I chose to go with option 2.

2015-02-05

I received an email notification that the label has been created.

I tried to use Seagate Seatools to format the contents of the hard drive, but it only has diagnostic tools. I believe the DOS version has the formatting tools but I didn’t want to go through the hassle. I ended up using my Macbook Pro’s Disk Utility to format the drive. I used the Zero Out Data option – only 1 pass. That format took close to 48 hours. I much prefer to do the 3 pass but I’m sure that would’ve taken several days, probably close to a week. I’m not sure if it’s because it was done on a laptop (late 2011 model with Sandy Bridge i7) or it was on USB2.0 speeds. Although it is 4TB and to write out bit by bit will take a long time.

zero out data

It took close to 48 hours to complete.

2015-02-06

The replacement drive arrived. It came from East Rancho Dominguez, CA. I guess that’s why it arrived so quickly since it’s headed in the same state, so your time of delivery may vary.

safe shipping

Seagate’s packaging with lots of foam.

The drive is packaged well. The inside is fully foamed, even the cables. It came with the AC adapter and USB3.0 cables. The drive is recertified and the model is SRD00F2. It looks like a newer version of what I have – but it’s recertified. I’m assuming this Amazon product is what I got http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Expansion-Desktop-External-STBV4000100/dp/B00BFFQN3M.

I plugged it in to a USB3.0 and transferred some files to check the speed. This is what transferring in USB3.0 should be like.

usb3 speed

USB3.0 transfer speed

I will be sending off the old drive and updating this post once the next steps happen. So far the experience has been good and no surprises.

OCZ Vertex Plus SSD Fixed

I posted problems with my OCZ SSD a few months ago here. I have gotten my drive back and it’s fixed. It didn’t take long for the RMA process, I just took a long time posting about the results. The whole RMA process took about a week. First I submitted a support ticket. I communicated with OCZ for a few days. Then they granted me an RMA number. I did have to pay for the shipping to send the drive back to them but it was only a few $. Here’s what they told me they did…

We have received the drive from you. It has been extensively tested for data integrity in our equipment. We were unable to find any problems with the drive. It was tested on an Asus P8P67 motherboard using Windows 7 64 bit with an i7 2600. The way we test the drive is by filling up the entire drive with data. The data is then read back to ensure that we get the same thing we wrote to the drive. This process is repeated multiple times with the drive being entirely filled up and read back many times. This testing ensures that the drive is storing data accurately and that the drive can withstand sustained maximum IOPS over a long period of time. During testing a very large amount of data is written to the drive. Any failing or marginal drives are quickly made apparent during this testing process. After this has been done many times the drive is then reflashed to ensure it has the latest firmware, and it is also reset to wipe all of the “dirty” NAND to restore full performance back to the drive. All testing is done prior to updating the firmware. The firmware has since been updated to the current version and the drive has been reset. The drive will be prepared to be shipped back to you. If we have not heard from you within a week from today the drive will be shipped back to you.

I asked…

did you use it as a storage drive or did you install windows on it? i'm able to use it as a storage drive but not install any OS on it.

Their response…

The way a storage device, such as an SSD works is that at the simplest level it just stores data, and then reads the data back when accessed. It doesn't matter if it is being used as a boot drive or as a storage device, its still doing the same fundamental process. In the case of a boot drive that errors out the operating system will crash. If it is being tested as a secondary drive and it errors out, the process will fail though the entire computer will not crash. Some of the drives we test do indeed fail this testing and they are marked as bad. Your drive didn't encounter any issues during the testing. Nearly 1tb of data was written to and then read from the drive as part of the testing.

So it looks like it was just a “dirty” drive. I know I’ve formatted it plenty of times but I guess not good enough? But it never worked even when I first got it and tried it. Anyways, it’s fixed now and I’m happy.

The process was painless with them. I now have it running on my HTPC with an MSI E350 motherboard. It works great and fast for its capabilities. Fortunately, this SSD drive was not meant for my more important machines so I had time to spare with troubleshooting and RMA. I wouldn’t buy an OCZ drive if it was going on an important machine. So far I’ve had good luck and experience with Kingston and Samsung SSD drives. If I come across another good deal on an OCZ SSD drive I wouldn’t hesitate to get it. I just won’t use it on my main machines.

Here’s a pic I took when I opened up their package. It was neatly packed and they even gave me a 3.5” adapter. Thanks OCZ.

IMAG0629