I'd turned off the LED light display on my MBWE so was surprised to see that it was flashing a couple of days ago. When I looked this up I found that this indicated a system event had occurred and when I looked in the logs saw it was reporting a SMART failure. Another quick google pointed me to the smartctl program which I ran and found it is reporting
=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: FAILED!
Drive failure expected in less than 24 hours. SAVE ALL DATA.
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME FLAG VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE UPDATED WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct 0x0033 078 078 140 Pre-fail Always FAILING_NOW 970
Anyone else encountered this.
Drive is only ~6 months old so well within warranty so looks like its time to contact WDC support unless anyone has any other info on this. I think there is a problem since the drive does appear to be responding very slowly (n.b. I only use this for automated backups using rsnapshot that runs on the MBWE so unless I actively look at the drive I'm not aware at how its responding!)