Seagate May Sue Rival SSD Makers

The next battle in the war on SSDs may have just begun. Apparently Seagate are convinced that SSD makers such as Samsung and Intel are violating some of Seagate’s (and Western Digital’s) patents. The wizardry which relates to the way a storage device communicates with a computer is at stake, even though Seagate themselves don’t appear too taken with an SSD based future. CEO Bill Watkins is quoted as saying, “realistically, I just don’t see the flash notebook sell.” I would have to agree with that at the moment. Cost per GB, reliability and speed are among the many drawbacks currently facing solid state drives when compared to traditional hard disk drives. Once these issues are resolved then the need for regular backups will become all the more important in my eyes at least. There are currently many ways in which we can resurrect a failing hard drive but next to no ways to recover a failed SSD.

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Seagate Momentus Drive Failures [Updated]

Just recently we have had an influx of unrecoverable Seagate Momentus 2.5″ hard drives. These drives are used in most of the Apple portables from the Macbooks to Macbook Pros and also in laptops from other manufacturers. Ranging from 60-120GB they seem to suffer from some sort of media defect. Most of the problems we see with these drives are head crashes, where the read/write mechanism contacts the disc surface, removing some of the magnetic coating. This damage is not always visible on the top surface of the disc so can be difficult to confirm. If we do see damage then we would not usually attempt any rework, due to the almost instant contamination of the new component. After many failed recovery attempts and much money wasted on replacement mechanisms we decided that we should just inform our customers of the problem before they send us the drive as we have only had one single successful recovery from these drives. I have listed some affected model numbers below for information purposes only. Please be aware that we have no information about how widespread this problem may be. We do only see defective drives in our line of business!

  • ST98823AS
  • ST9100823A
  • ST9408114A
  • ST9120821AS
  • ST94011A
  • ST96812AS
  • ST94813A

Update 21-9-2010:
We are still receiving a trickle of these drives in for diagnosis. Unfortunately they are still unrecoverable. There must be loads of people still using these, without any idea of the potential failure that awaits them.