[Bug 59695] Re: High frequency of load/unload cycles on some hard disks may shorten lifetime

Igor Nikolic i.nikolic at tudelft.nl
Fri Apr 11 18:58:30 UTC 2008

As a reply to wandlerer, an attempt to get some more information .

I have the WD GP 500 gb as well. Device Model:     WDC WD5000AACS-00ZUB0

Monitoring the HD over 13 minutes recorded a Load_Cycle_Count increase by 28.  All
 mount points are mounted with noatime,nodiratime in the fstab.

So, a little over 2 times per minute. Assuming the 600000 cycles mentioned in this thread, this gives it a lifetime of around 193 days of continuous uptime.  However, WD advertises the head parking behavior as a feature : http://www.wdc.com/en/products/greenpower/technology.asp?language=en  . So I wonder how bad is this really is.
In other words, does the 600,000 cycles figure really hold for these drives ? 
Plus, should we expect a (really cheap) low power desktop drive to actually  work after almost 200 days of continuous use ? Considering that my machine is only on for a few hours per day max, it will be way past warranty before the thing fails.

So, in order to shed some light on the situation, I figured, I will send
WD a email via their "Ask WD  a question " page (

Here it is :
Subject : Rapid increase in  Load_Cycle_Count
Dear WD,

This thread on the Ubuntu Launchpad bug tracking system :

talks of hard drives getting parked / unparked very often (several times
per minute) and suggest that this would damage the drives too early. The
idea is that there is a maximum of around 600000 load cycles before the
drives fail. This is caused by an aggressive power saving regime of most
linux distributions. I can confirm that under normal desktop operations
the drive parks up tot 2 times a minute.

Since the GP series is advertised as having the parking feature to save
energy, I wonder what is a "normal" frequency of HD head parking under
desktop use, and what would be the maximum of load cycles these drives
can reasonably expect. Am I going to wreck my HD too early by trying to
save power, or did your designers take this into consideration?

Eagerly awaiting your response

Igor Nikolic 
p.s. The text of this email was posted on the above mentioned forum, in order to help others with similar questions. Your reply will be posted there too.

So, lets see what they have to say on this issue. I wont be holding by
breath though....


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