Health Check Failure of Western Digital 5TB SMR Drives

Health Check Failure of Western Digital 5TB SMR Drives

I purchased a Western Digital Elements 5 TB External USB 3.0 Drive for the purpose of backing up confidential data. Synthetic benchmarks such as CrystalDiskInfo and similar tests conducted by AnandTech indicated that the drives should provide performance that meets or exceeds the earlier generation of 4 TB drives by Western Digital.

However, real-world performance numbers are significantly different from the benchmark tests.

In the real-world, after transferring about 34 GB in 2 hours, at speeds that look like Class-4 USB Pen Drives from the year 2000, the drive locked up and further attempts to write files failed.

Querying drive health via Crystal Disk Info has gotten me worried as the drive is failing to report health-status and the temperature has risen to nearly 57 degrees even though my computer has not read or written a single byte to this drive in over 5 hours.

I have written to Western Digital to check if they can provide a Refund / Replacement and will update this article on the process and it’s success / failure.


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