3

I just bought a SSD to replace the HDD in my laptop (Dell Inspiron 15 3521). So I migrated the windows partition, root partition of Ubuntu, and make a bcache caching partition for /home which stays on the HDD. The HDD is now in a HDD caddy inside the DVD drive place.

So the problem is my HDD (?) start sometimes to make ticking noise (but not a clicking one), like a watch but a little louder, every second or half a second, repeatedly and continuously.

Not only this is annoying, but I fear for the health of the HDD.

It is particularly strange given that with my new setup the access to the HDD is limited. What still on HDD is /var partition and a swap but I have 8G of RAM. and the backing bcache /home partition.

I thought it could be the head of HDD parking repeatedly. But a simple script found on the net shows no change in Load_Cycle_Count value from smartctl -a /dev/sdb output

The worrying value that keep increasing is Raw_Read_Error_Rate but it is said to be meaningless for Seagate HDD (here ST500LT012)

Even when I switch to console and stop lightdm, that sound continue.

But if I run a short self-test with gsmartcontrol, that sounds suddenly stops. The short self-test passed without error. I run badblocks on /home backing bcache partition and no errors were found.

I don't know what cause that sound. It does not seem to be a process hammering the HDD. I run only chromium and a terminal

Output of smartctl -a:

$ smartctl -a /dev/sdb
smartctl 6.2 2013-07-26 r3841 [x86_64-linux-3.16.0-31-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-13, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Device Model:     ST500LT012-1DG142
Serial Number:    XXXXXXXX
LU WWN Device Id: 5 000c50 xxxxxxxxxx
Firmware Version: 0001SDM1
User Capacity:    500 107 862 016 bytes [500 GB]
Sector Sizes:     512 bytes logical, 4096 bytes physical
Rotation Rate:    5400 rpm
Device is:        Not in smartctl database [for details use: -P showall]
ATA Version is:   ATA8-ACS T13/1699-D revision 4
SATA Version is:  SATA 3.0, 6.0 Gb/s (current: 3.0 Gb/s)
Local Time is:    Sat Mar 21 01:12:10 2015 CET
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x82) Offline data collection activity
                    was completed without error.
                    Auto Offline Data Collection: Enabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0) The previous self-test routine completed
                    without error or no self-test has ever 
                    been run.
Total time to complete Offline 
data collection:        (    0) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:            (0x7b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
                    Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
                    Suspend Offline collection upon new
                    command.
                    Offline surface scan supported.
                    Self-test supported.
                    Conveyance Self-test supported.
                    Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003) Saves SMART data before entering
                    power-saving mode.
                    Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01) Error logging supported.
                    General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine 
recommended polling time:    (   1) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:    ( 103) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time:    (   2) minutes.
SCT capabilities:          (0x1035) SCT Status supported.
                    SCT Feature Control supported.
                    SCT Data Table supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 10
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   119   099   006    Pre-fail  Always       -       226511072
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   100   099   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   099   099   020    Old_age   Always       -       1883
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   036    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   076   060   030    Pre-fail  Always       -       47056689
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   098   098   000    Old_age   Always       -       2357 (113 43 0)
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   097    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   099   099   020    Old_age   Always       -       1582
184 End-to-End_Error        0x0032   100   100   099    Old_age   Always       -       0
187 Reported_Uncorrect      0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
188 Command_Timeout         0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
189 High_Fly_Writes         0x003a   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022   079   048   045    Old_age   Always       -       21 (Min/Max 19/21)
191 G-Sense_Error_Rate      0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       100
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       46
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   099   099   000    Old_age   Always       -       3935
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   021   052   000    Old_age   Always       -       21 (0 11 0 0 0)
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   100   100   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
240 Head_Flying_Hours       0x0000   098   098   000    Old_age   Offline      -       156817845913887
241 Total_LBAs_Written      0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       6713158176
242 Total_LBAs_Read         0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       8448037256
254 Free_Fall_Sensor        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
No Errors Logged

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2354         -
# 2  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2342         -
# 3  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2339         -
# 4  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2334         -
# 5  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2333         -
# 6  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2307         -
# 7  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2306         -
# 8  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2295         -
# 9  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2295         -
#10  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2291         -
#11  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2283         -
#12  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      1198         -
#13  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%       937         -
#14  Short offline       Completed without error       00%       935         -
#15  Short offline       Completed without error       00%       356         -
#16  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%       122         -
#17  Short offline       Completed without error       00%       120         -
#18  Short offline       Completed without error       00%        14         -
#19  Short offline       Completed without error       00%         0         -

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
 SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.
6
  • maybe the SATA power supply is not sufficent – JohnKiller Mar 13 '15 at 18:53
  • that's an idea to look at. But when on load with a badblocks command or reading some big file there is no error in the log. So why when it is supposed to be almost iddle does it makes that sound ? – solsTiCe Mar 13 '15 at 19:02
  • 1
    You think it is not the head parking problem but you can quickly test if it is this problem or not by entering in a terminal: sudo hdparm -B 254 /dev/sda and if it stops making noises then it is for sure head parking otherwise it's something different. – wie5Ooma Mar 13 '15 at 19:25
  • the value is already 254 when I run hdparm -B /dev/sdb. May be try 255 ? – solsTiCe Mar 13 '15 at 21:18
  • 1
    Please post the output of smartctl --all /dev/sdb – Fabby Mar 19 '15 at 21:54
1

I'm having the same issue. Is (was?) bcache in writeback mode?

In writeback mode, bcache keeps a buffer of so-called dirty data on the cache. By default, this is 10% of the cache size. It does this to collect sequential data to write to the backing device, since HDDs are good at sequential IO (see koverstreet's post from May 15, 2012 3:43 UTC at this link).

For me, the clicking sound stops when I disable this buffer as so:

sudo -i
echo 0 > /sys/block/bcache0/bcache/writeback_percent

I've asked a question about why this happens on superuser here. If there's no response, I'll file a bug report!

3
  • might be a bad block making the clicking sound. – boomt14 Jul 20 '16 at 22:14
  • I have found out it seems to happen when the bcache is configured in writeback mode. Once I configured in writethrough mode and the cache has been emptied, the ticking sound is gone ! – solsTiCe Sep 23 '16 at 15:08
  • It seems the ticking sound is "less loud" than before. – solsTiCe Sep 23 '16 at 15:18

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