"Crackling/Buzzing" Noise From SATA HDD

By jimokee
Jul 2, 2005
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Hi

    I'm new to this stuff - building a PC for the first time - and struggling as I go along - so any and all help would be hugely welcome.

    I have a Maxtor DiamondMax 10 300Gb HDD installed in this PC I'm trying to build - but I get this "buzzing"/"crackling" sound every time the system accesses the disk. It doesn't seem to matter which SATA connection I connect it to (I've tried all 8), or which SATA cable I use (I've used 3 different ones), or which power cable I plug into it (I've used both the cables that come with my Tagan PSU) - it continues to make this "noise" - and this is the second SATA drive I've had for this machine (the first one behaved in the same manner).

    I've never had a SATA drive before - so this could be normal behaviour for a SATA drive - but it doesn't sound normal - and, as the system has a tendency to crash during disk access, I tend to think that it ain't normal!!

    Having "chopped and changed" all the components (drive, cables, etc) to no avail, I tend to think that the problem may lie with the mobo rather than the HDD.

    Has anybody come across this kind of thing before? Or is anybody able to throw any light on this subject? Is there a jumper I haven't set right? Or is it a BIOS problem that will disappear with an upgrade? Is the mobo simply "faulty" and needs to be replaced (my personal "prime suspect")? Or might it be something else entirely?

    I haven't "tweaked" any BIOS settings - so they're all set at "default"

    Many thanks for any and all help, advice, sympathy, etc

    Jimokee
    -------
    Specs
    -----------------------------------------------
    Lanparty nf4 SLI-DR motherboard
    Phoenix-Award BIOS v6.00PG
    Tagan TG480-U22 power supply
    AMD Athlon FX-55
    ThermalRight XP-120 Heatsink with Vantec SF12025L Stealth 120mm fan
    2 x 512mb OCZ EL DDR PC-5000 Dual Channel Platinum DFI nF4 Special
    2 x Point of View nVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB DDR3 PCI-Express
    SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS 7.1
    Sony 3.5 in 1.44Mb Floppy Disk Drive
    2 x LG GSA-4163B DVD-RAM Drive
    Maxtor DiamondMax 10 7200rpm 300Gb NCQ HDD
    Viewsonic VP201B 20" LCD Monitor
  2. IronDuke

    IronDuke Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,267

    Go to Maxtor and dowwnload & run PowerMax.

    It sounds as though it is duff.

    The PSU looks as though it is pretty much on the edge.
  3. jimokee

    jimokee Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks Iron Duke

    I've done as you suggested (Powermax v4.21).

    The drive passes all parts of the "Installation Confirmation" tests except the "SMART Threshold Check", which it fails.

    I tried the tests with both SMART "enabled" and "disabled" in the BIOS - same result both times.

    The drive passes all parts of the "Basic Quick Test" and the "Advanced Test".

    Before trying any of the other tests (which can take an age to complete), I tried to find out what it meant to "fail" the "SMART threshold check but I can't find anything that makes any sense to me (least of all anything on Maxtor's site!!)

    Can anybody throw any light on what this "failure" actually means?

    Thanks again for all your assistance - it's greatly appreciated.
  4. IronDuke

    IronDuke Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,267

    I'm not sure what it actually means, but they give you this test program and so if it fails it is substandard. I'd throw it back. I don't like the sound of the noise and if you are getting a fail on anything it will only worsen, not improve.
  5. Justin

    Justin Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,595

    You should return that drive ASAP. If it is failing SMART tests most likely there is a physical problem with the disc that may eventually result in the disc going completely bad. Print out the reports Powermax gives you and get an RMA via maxtor for the drive, or from the people you purchased it from.
  6. Arkainium

    Arkainium Newcomer, in training

    I have the same hard drive, only in the 250GB variety. I'm using an Albatron 865PE PRO II motherboard.

    Anyway, although I don't hear the clicking you describe - not sure if I hear anything at all as my system is rather noisy with a bunch of 80mm fans - I do get some nasty crashes during heavy disk access. So, I ran the Powermax diagnostic program, and like you, it fails on the SMART Threshold Check. It passes the other tests with no problems though.

    I don't think it's the hard drive considering it passed the other tests. I'm thinking maybe there's something wrong wrong with the motherboard's SATA controller - maybe some kind of incompatability.

    Anyway, if you replace your drive, please test again and let us know the results.
  7. IronDuke

    IronDuke Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,267

    Arkainium - Just wondering why you ran the tests.
  8. Arkainium

    Arkainium Newcomer, in training

    Though I don't know for sure if that's the problem. I run GNU/Linux and once in a while the computer just locks up. When I check my logs, I get hard drive diagnostic messages like 'blah blah blah timeout' and 'buffer i/o error' etc. I ran a full check on my filesystems and no bad sectors have been found. Everything else seems to be running normal aside from that so I'm really clueless.
  9. IronDuke

    IronDuke Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,267

    The idea behind S.M.A.R.T. is that you catch the drive before it fails taking your data (which you were going to back up) with it. If it fails any of the tests to my mind it is on its way out. Your choice.
  10. Arkainium

    Arkainium Newcomer, in training

    You're absolutely right.

    It's just such a pain in the *** to send it back and wait for a new one. But I better just suck it up and do it now than wait for it to catch me when I least expect it.
  11. IronDuke

    IronDuke Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,267

    Small pain now as apposed to a major headache then. ;)
  12. jimokee

    jimokee Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks for all the advice guys - greatly appreciated.

    I've now run all the Powermax tests and, like Arkanium, the only failure I get is with the "SMART threshold" (might it be something to do with NCQ I wonder? .... just a thought!) - the drive passes everything else without a problem.

    Anyway, I've decided to "play safe" and return both the mobo and the HDD (it's taken me a week to get the RMA numbers from the suppliers!)

    I'll let you know how things progress once I've got the replacement items up and running.

    Take care.
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.


Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...


Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.