External USB drive questions

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Calum
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Post by Calum » Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:23 am

well, i suspect i won't be getting a drive with anything like that capacity for a good while yet, by which time i am sure the issue will have been addressed and resolved! :D

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Post by Void Main » Wed Feb 21, 2007 12:50 pm

I have actually been keeping my eye open for 1 or more 500GB+ drives if the price is right. Of course I have been looking for EIDE drives. Is it something with the USB interface that is incompatible or are all drives of that size an issue regardless of interface? My USB/Firewire enclosure is just an EIDE to USB.

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Post by Ice9 » Wed Feb 21, 2007 1:18 pm

Void Main wrote:
Is it something with the USB interface that is incompatible or are all drives of that size an issue regardless of interface?
Don't know that yet.
I've been talking to the sales rep/pre-sales who handles our account and apparently the capacities which suffer from this "design flaw" are the bigger ones ranging from 400GB to 500GB.
After a bit he turned me over to his tech support though and they're looking into it since they also have the 160GB passport drive (2.5") which they couldn't get to work under Suse 10.0, the 120GB one does work.
Their best guess at this time is that the usb interface they use on these drives is not compatible with linux at this time.
Tomorrow I should get all the techical specs, I could post here what I get if you're interested ...
I offered to get them in touch with Greg from the linux driver project, sent him a mail about this since I've been in touch with him anyway, we'll see what he/thel say(s) about it

All of this kinda shocked me because I never even suspected that there could be external usb storage which would refuse to work under linux, I was in fact looking at WD's MyBook Pro in the ranges of 400GB but when I asked if they could send me one to test I got no reply :D

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Post by Void Main » Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:01 pm

I'm certainly interested in following the issue as it may effect me in the near future especially if it's an issue with more than just USB.

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Post by Ice9 » Thu Feb 22, 2007 1:50 pm

Code: Select all

Product	Model	Interface	Chip Vendor	Part #	Firmware version	Interfaces	Name
Galaxy 	1U	   SATA	     Oxford 	    921	    1.01              USB	       MyBook Essential Edition
Galaxy 	1U	   PATA	     Prolific	   2507	   1.08              USB	       MyBook Essential Edition
Galaxy 	1U CR	PATA	     Prolific	   2507	   1.08              USB	       MyBook Essential Edition
Galaxy 	1U CR	SATA	     Initio	     1605      1.06	           USB 	      MyBook Essential Edition
Galaxy 	1C+	  SATA	     Oxford 	    924	    1.07              USB/1394a	 MyBook Premium  Edition
Galaxy 	1T	   SATA	     Oxford 	    924       1.07              USB/1394a/1394b	MyBook Pro  Edition
Galaxy 	2T	   SATA	     Galaxy 	    924	    1.04              USB/1394a/1394b	MyBook Pro II Edition
Galaxy 	1SU	  SATA	     Oxford 	    931	    0.12	           USB/ESATA    MyBook Premium ES Edition
This is all that the tech support was willing to give; along with the comment that they ran some additional tests on the 160GB 2.5" drive and the MyBook 400GB and that they both ran fine under Suse 10.0.

I would have to try and match the partnrs with actual drive models but I'm not sure I wanna do that seeing how important linux support is for these guys.
(I had to talk to our sales rep again to get the tech guys to even answer me on the usb interface questions)
Then again WD is a US company and I'm talking to the French branch so I guess there's not much development done over here in Europe and the guy is more or less powerless on the whole issue.

Unless you tell me the contrary this info doesn't even seem worth giving to the kernel guys, can't see what they would do with this, especially since WD claim that it works (despite the fact that everyone and his sister on LQ claim otherwise)

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Post by Void Main » Thu Feb 22, 2007 3:46 pm

The references on LQ that I saw were dealing with some fairly old kernels. What's the latest kernel version you saw claiming to have trouble? So all you have seen are a few people on LQ claiming to have trouble but nobody on the kernel lists seem to be aware of it or have confirmed it? I see they list SATA and USB so I assume these are SATA drives in a USB connected housing. Have these people tried connecting the drive directly up to the motherboard via the SATA connection to see if it's the drive or the USB that is at issue? I suspect if there really is an issue it would be with the USB chipset in the in the drive housing (well, the kernel driver for that chipset). But if you are saying it's just a problem with one particular make (WD) of large drive then maybe it's the drive itself. I certainly would like to see if it works directly attached to a SATA port. Not being an expert in any of this it's all just speculation on my part.

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Post by Tux » Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:18 pm

Given the chipset model can you find any updated firmwares?
I know with earlier chips some manufacturers employed a bit of a bodge of 48bit LBA and this may be causing issues with the linux driver subsystem. Just a thought.

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Post by Ice9 » Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:49 am

The references on LQ that I saw were dealing with some fairly old kernels. What's the latest kernel version you saw claiming to have trouble?
Well, you read the same post as I did, it mentions 2.6.12, a couple of FC3 and 4 users and a debian testing user who posted in january 2007 so if I had to guess about his kernel it would probably be around 2.6.16 or 17.
So all you have seen are a few people on LQ claiming to have trouble but nobody on the kernel lists seem to be aware of it or have confirmed it?
This is not at all how it went.
I received a promotional e-mail from WD listing feedback from users. Among this feedback I saw one linking back to the LQ thread, saying he had trouble with his 500GB drive.
I own a couple of internal and external drives - most of them WD - with capacities ranging from 80GB to 320GB and never had problems so I started asking questions to my sales rep, who eventually got me talking to the tech support guy.
It was his input that they had issues with the 2.5" 160GB drive and with the 400GB drive under Suse 10.0 - I didn't get that from a forum.

In his opinion it was most likely a problem with the USB interface used in these models and at that point I asked if I could get some specific stuff about the components they used for the USB interface.
I see they list SATA and USB so I assume these are SATA drives in a USB connected housing. Have these people tried connecting the drive directly up to the motherboard via the SATA connection to see if it's the drive or the USB that is at issue?
Which people are you talking about? the guys from WD tech service or the end-users?
But if you are saying it's just a problem with one particular make (WD) of large drive then maybe it's the drive itself.
I'm not saying that at all, this was the first time I ever heard about having problems like this in linux and since I deal with them directly for my work I contacted them about the issue, and since we were having a similar conversation with Calum I thought I'd let you in since the very start of the discussion.

The latest info I got from WD tech support is that they ran some tests again and were able to get both "problematic" drives (the 2.5" 160GB and the 3.5" 400GB) mounted and functioning under Suse 10.0

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Post by Void Main » Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:22 pm

Ice9 wrote:
The references on LQ that I saw were dealing with some fairly old kernels. What's the latest kernel version you saw claiming to have trouble?
Well, you read the same post as I did, it mentions 2.6.12, a couple of FC3 and 4 users and a debian testing user who posted in january 2007 so if I had to guess about his kernel it would probably be around 2.6.16 or 17.
When we are talking the timeframe of how long 500GB+ drives have been out I would consider a 2.6.12 kernel, FC3 and FC4 to be fairly old. FC3 came with like 2.6.9 and FC4 came with 2.6.11. I am running FC6 with 2.6.19. I didn't see anything in the thread that indicated they had updated their kernel is all I am saying. Just trying to gather some facts is all.
So all you have seen are a few people on LQ claiming to have trouble but nobody on the kernel lists seem to be aware of it or have confirmed it?
This is not at all how it went.
I received a promotional e-mail from WD listing feedback from users. Among this feedback I saw one linking back to the LQ thread, saying he had trouble with his 500GB drive.
I own a couple of internal and external drives - most of them WD - with capacities ranging from 80GB to 320GB and never had problems so I started asking questions to my sales rep, who eventually got me talking to the tech support guy.
It was his input that they had issues with the 2.5" 160GB drive and with the 400GB drive under Suse 10.0 - I didn't get that from a forum.

In his opinion it was most likely a problem with the USB interface used in these models and at that point I asked if I could get some specific stuff about the components they used for the USB interface.
That's what I am trying to figure out, is it the USB interface or the drive itself.
I see they list SATA and USB so I assume these are SATA drives in a USB connected housing. Have these people tried connecting the drive directly up to the motherboard via the SATA connection to see if it's the drive or the USB that is at issue?
Which people are you talking about? the guys from WD tech service or the end-users?
Either one. I am just trying to figure out if this is a USB issue or a drive issue as I stated. Do you know if anyone who has had the trouble you mention has taken the drive out of the case and tried to plug it directly into a SATA port? That would pretty much tell if it's a USB or a drive issue.
But if you are saying it's just a problem with one particular make (WD) of large drive then maybe it's the drive itself.
I'm not saying that at all, this was the first time I ever heard about having problems like this in linux and since I deal with them directly for my work I contacted them about the issue, and since we were having a similar conversation with Calum I thought I'd let you in since the very start of the discussion.

The latest info I got from WD tech support is that they ran some tests again and were able to get both "problematic" drives (the 2.5" 160GB and the 3.5" 400GB) mounted and functioning under Suse 10.0
Sorry if I misunderstood something. Sometimes I don't have a lot of time to read over something when I respond and I get things way wrong. You want to hear something *really* funny? The guy who started that LQ thread that you linked to (cojo) is actually someone I know and used to work with. I had lunch with him last week and he actually called me on the phone regarding this issue way back when he was having it. He probably posted on the LQ forum before calling me and if I recall correctly it actually had nothing to do with kernel version or the USB. There was some sort of conflict with another USB device if I recall correctly. I will send him an email and see what he did to fix his issue and report back.

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Post by Ice9 » Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:34 am

The world is a small place isn't it? :D
If he got it sorted out and the guys from WD have succesfully mounted the drives they first had troubel with this would clear this issue ...

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Post by Void Main » Sat Feb 24, 2007 3:39 pm

I asked cojo if he got the problem he described in that thread resolved and this was his response:
Yes and no. I believe it is the kernel problem. I resolved my problem by upgrading the server to Fedore 5. But, I still can't get it to work with Core 3 & 4.
So I asked him if he tried updating the kernel in his FC3 and FC4 boxes to a recent version. Still waiting on a reply. At any rate his drives appear to work on FC5 (and I presume FC6).

EDIT: No, cojo did not try upgrading the kernel on the FC3 or FC4 box. He upgraded his FC4 box to FC5 and his problem went away so he no longer had an issue. It was probably the newer kernel that fixed the problem but it's possible that it was something else too since it was a full upgrade.

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