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Seagate Date Code From Serial Number

The good news is that Seagate no longer uses the cryptic date codes and prints a full date of manufacture on their drive labels, just like everyone else. The bad news is that there are countless millions of Seagate drives made before 2016 or so out there, and most of those drives only have the hard to decipher date code.

seagate date code from serial number

The four- or five-digit date code consists of a two-digit year, one- or two-digit week number (starting with 1), and one-digit day of the week (again starting with 1). If the week number is less than 10, the leading zero may be left out; that seems to have been the case on older drives, but later Seagate apparently switched to consistent five-digit codes.

Note that some IBM/Lenovo OEM drives have two labels, the standard Seagate one and an additional IBM/Lenovo sticker. The Seagate date code as well as the human readable date are usually both on the Seagate label, i.e. printed by Seagate, and presumably printed by someone who knows exactly how to decode the date codes. These drives can be used as a sort of Rosetta Stone.

Using the above rule, I threw together a simple Python script to convert a Seagate date code to a calendar date. The results perfectly match more than a dozen different Seagate-made IBM and Lenovo OEM drives produced between 2002 and 2016.

It is known that the older lot number format appears on drives made at least as far back as 1989, some still under the Imprimis brand. It is currently unknown whether those lot number dates referred to the same start of financial year.

Seagate style date codes have been seen on drives manufactured as late as 2016. Some drives made in 2016 and most if not all drives manufactured since 2017 no longer use the date code and instead show a human readable date in DDMMMYYYY format (where MMM is a three-letter English month abbreviation).

On the other end, 2016 appears to be the year when Seagate switched from date codes to a simple date of manufacture (DOM) on drive labels. Are there any newer drives with a date code, or older drives without one?

Many hard disks have this information directly on the label; however, older Seagate disks use a 4 or 5 digit numeric code (called a Date Code) which relates to the date of manufacture. The label below shows a Seagate Barracuda hard disk with a Date Code of 13395.

To make it easier for you to decipher Seagate Date Codes, we have added decoding to our timestamp tool DCode. With the Time Decoding tab selected, change the Value Input Format to Text. In the Value text box, enter the Seagate Date Code value. We have selected the Date Output Pattern to match just the date, without the time pattern. As we can see from the image below, our hard disk with the Date Code 13395 was manufactured on 3rd April 2013 (fiscal year 2013, week 39, day 5).

The internal disk rate varies from 632-891 Mbits/sec. That's approximately 60-80 MBytes/sec inside the disk. While the internal 8 MByte cache may be able to push data faster, after 8 MBytes, the rotational speed and internal controller overhead will not allow continuous transfers faster than about 50 MBytes/sec. I've measured serial read speeds for internal disks from K370's, n4000's, rp8420's and rp3440's (raw disk, no interlace) using dd and none of the internal disks get much above 70 MBytes/sec, averaging about 35-50 MBytes/sec.

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