Consumer Fraud

Seagate Technology, Western Digital and Toshiba Hard Drives Secretly Contain SMR Technology

Recently it was discovered that Seagate Technology, Western Digital and Toshiba included Shingled Magnetic Recording (“SMR”) technology into various models of their hard disk drives without disclosing this fact to consumers.  Many consumers relied on the statements of the Seagate, Western Digital and Toshiba data sheets and user manuals that did not disclose the use of SMR, an inferior technology to CMR (Conventional Magnetic Recording).

The SMR hard drives are generally considered to be inferior and are often incompatible with many customers’ Network Attached Storage (“NAS”) systems. SMR writes or stores data in a different method where the lines of data overlap, like shingles. This is causing the hard disk drives to perform slower than expected and slowing down customers’ networks.

Here is a list of some of the Seagate drives using SMR without it being identified:Barracude 4tb HDD

  • Barracuda 2TB – 7,200rpm – SATA 6gig –  ST2000DM008
  • Barracuda 4TB – 5,400rpm – SATA 6gig – ST4000DM004
  • Barracuda 8TB – 5,400rpm – SATA 6gig – ST8000DM004
  • Desktop HDD 5TB – 5,900rpm – SATA 6gig – ST5000DM000
  • Exos 8TB – 5900rpm – SATA 6gig – ST8000AS0003
  • Archive v2 6TB – 5,900rpm – SATA 6gig – ST6000AS0002
  • Archive v2 8TB – 5,900rpm – SATA 6gig – ST8000AS0002

The Western Digital Drives with SMR are:

  • WD Red 2TB – 5,400rpm – SATA 6GB/s – WD20EFAX
  • WD Red 4TB – 5,400rpm – SATA 6GB/s – WD40EFAX
  • WD Red 6TB – 5,400rpm – SATA 6GB/s – WD60EFAX
  • WD Red 8TB – 5,400rpm – SATA 6GB/s – WD80EFAX
  • WD Blue 2TB – 3.5” – WD20EZAZ
  • WD Blue 6TB – 3.5” – WD60EZAZ
  • WD Blue 1TB – 2.5” – WD10SPZX
  • WD Blue 2TB – 2.5” – WD20SPZX
  • WD Black 1TB – 2.5” – WD10SPSX

Some of the Toshiba drives use SMR as well, including:

  • P300 4TB (HDWD240UZSVA)
  • P300 6TB (HDWD260UZSVA)

What is most infuriating is that Seagate representatives have acknowledged that these hard drives contain SMR. Despite this admission, none of the information provided to consumers discloses that the drives use SMR.  Customers must contact the companies in order to find this out, even after they purchased the drives.

Customers have been complaining about the poor performance of the drives in their system. One customer explains: “WD and Seagate are _both_ shipping drive-managed SMR (DM-SMR) drives which don’t report themselves as SMR when questioned via conventional means. What’s worse, they’re shipping DM-SMR drives as “RAID” and “NAS” drives This is causing MAJOR problems – such as the latest iteration of WD REDs (WDx0EFAX replacing WDx0EFRX) being unable to be used for rebuilding RAID[56] or ZFS RAIDZ sets: They rebuild for a while (1-2 hours), then throw errors and get kicked out of the set.”

As various tech blogs have reported, the companies did not disclose the use of SMR. The only way for customers to find out that these drives are inappropriate for their systems would be to call the companies and ask whether, despite statements to the contrary, the drives use SMR.  But customers had no reason to ask because the information the companies published about the drives do not disclose the use of SMR.

Many customers’ networks are not designed to use drives with SMR, which uses a slower write function and causes issues with their NAS or RAID networks.

If you have experienced issues with any of your Seagate or Western Digital hard disk drives it may be a result of the companies not disclosing that their drives use SMR, which is not compatible or appropriate for certain networks.  To fix this problem you may have to purchase all new drives for your system.

If you have purchased a Seagate, Western Digital or Toshiba hard drive not knowing it used SMR, it may be time to consult an attorney regarding your legal options.  The attorneys at Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel are experienced in handling consumer class action lawsuits and are currently investigating a potential class action against Seagate, Western Digital and Toshiba for their failure to disclose the true technical nature of these hard drives.

If you are interested in discussing this issue in more detail, you can contact CCMS to discuss your options and whether it is appropriate to join a class action against the companies.


June 4, 2020