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SATA drive crashing on me. Any Ideas?

By delerium
Dec 16, 2005
  1. Ok, here's what I got so far. I have two 74gb raptors set up on a fasttrack raid controller. At first I had them set up in a raid 0, which for some reason would fail on me every once in a while, but when I rebooted a couple times it would come back. Since then, I've wiped the drives and set them up as individual drives. In fasttrack the only way I could do this was to set them both to seperate arrays of raid 0 with only one drive. I know that doesn't sound right since raid 0 requires 2 drives, but thats exactly how it listed it. Now I got the OS reinstalled, and since then I keep having problems with one drive. My guess is the drive is faulty. When I reinstalled the OS, I only used one drive, the working one. But the other one was connected but unpartitioned. My problem now is, if I physically remove the drive, Windows won't boot. It lists something about the boot drive missing or something, but the boot drive is there. it shows up as healthy in the raid post even. When I reconnect the unpartitioned drive, it works fine. Any suggestions? I'd like to send this drive back, and have them send me a new one, but I can't without fixing this problem or reinstalling again.
     
  2. PUTALE

    PUTALE TS Rookie Posts: 126

    the problem lies where windows put the bootloader. What you should do is install windows on the drive where you want to put windows to and disconnect all other HDs. this way, your HD will be in default "C" and it will contains the bootloader. YOu can tehn connect the other HD and then format it and use it as a storage.
     
  3. peterdiva

    peterdiva TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,088

    Windows might still be seeing it as a raid setup.Try removing the second drive in the raid setup.You should have 2 arrays listed,so removing one shouldn't affect the other.
     
  4. delerium

    delerium TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ok, I tried removing the raid and that didn't work... Here's my arrangement. I have my PATA drive (60 gig) set up as the primary. It lists as C: and it contains the boot.ini for my system. Past that, I have two SATA raptor drives previously listed. The healthy one is disk 1 (might list as disk 0), and the unhealthy one is disk 2 (might list as disk 1). Both are set up in the raid controller. Drive 2 is unformatted, and unpartitioned. Drive 1 contains my xp install. This is the contents of boot.ini

    Code:
    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(2)partition(1)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(2)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional x64 Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
    
    so, I'm looking at that, and thinking.... it's listing rdisk(2) in there, could that possibly be the total number of drives it's looking for, and thus causing an error? Would setting that down to 1 then removing the drive fix my problem?
     
  5. delerium

    delerium TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ok, aside from that, I kinda got off track... I'd prefer to diagnose this drive to see why it's crapping out on me. I'm using a digitaldoc5+ to monitor my system. My system is encased in a lian li v1000, with a 120mm fan blowing on the hard drives, so I dont' think it's a heat issue. Power listing for the 5v range never dips below 5v, and more than often sits at around 5.12v so I don't think it's not getting enough power... I've tried two different molexes hooked to the hard drive. If it's a loose connection then I must be really unlucky with two different molexes. What the drive will do is, while I'm using the computer, it acts like the hard drive just shuts off. It doesn't stop spinning that I can tell. (I don't hear the hard drive spinning back up) It just freezes for a good 5-10 seconds. It does this at random times. Often causing a BSOD if it's in a critical process when the hard drive is being accessed. What could be at fault here? could it be my raid controller? I'm running xp x64 edition, so my choice of drivers is somewhat limited. I'm using an Asus A8V Deluxe motherboard as well. Two raid controllers, via and promise. I'm using the promise array controller (fasttrack). Is there any way to flash the onboard raid controller's bios? or am I going in the wrong direction here? I'm starting to pull out my hair here because I don't exactly know which part I should blame, the raid controller, the hard drive, the molex, etc...

    Also I should note, that I've never flashed any part of the computer yet. My bios is factory in every part of the motherboard. (I didn't think this would effect my issue until now)
     
  6. PUTALE

    PUTALE TS Rookie Posts: 126

    i would suggest you take the hd to another system and test 1 at a time (go to WD and you can download a program which can do a hd scanning to see if there's any bad sector on hte HD).
     
  7. delerium

    delerium TS Rookie Topic Starter

    no bad sectors. I did all the WD tests I could. The drive "appears" healthy according to that... It's an intermittant problem, therefore it's hard to diagnose by just plopping it in another system (which I don't have one that has SATA support) without leaving it in there for a week. Not to mention I can't take it out of my system and still boot up due to the previous problem.
     
  8. DragonMaster

    DragonMaster TS Rookie Posts: 327

    What is your SATA controller? I had lots of corruption problems with my Adaptec 1205SA(SiI 3112A controller) until I upgraded the BIOS. It was even going faster after that.
     
  9. delerium

    delerium TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm using the Promise 20378 array controller on board. I also went into my motherboard's website forums, and apparently there has been some issues with the standard SATA cables that came with the mobo being defective or cracked inside, which could describe my problem as well. I'll go out tomorrow and buy new SATA cables and see if that helps since they are a cheap thing to test with.
     
  10. DragonMaster

    DragonMaster TS Rookie Posts: 327

    Possible. I have the impression that SATA started working good in 2004 only.

    Try upgrading your BIOS and drivers. Also, there are often two BIOSes for each controllers. One NON-RAID and a RAID one. I can make my 1205SA in a 1210SA(twice the price I think)just by flashing the other BIOS.
     
  11. delerium

    delerium TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Unfortunately since my raid controller is on-board, it must be flashed with a bios that asus provides. And seeing as how ASUS doesn't feel the need to update the raid controller bios, I'm out of luck there. About all I can do is flash a new version of the MB bios, but after reading all the notes about the bios changes, all they have really changed between versions is added more CPU's to the list that it will support. Nothing is listed about RAID controllers or RAID support. I alternately read in the forums about alot of people having trouble with the new bios ASUS released, so I'd like to skip that step if possible.
     
  12. delerium

    delerium TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ok, I've reinstalled back to my original XP Pro. System seems stable now. I've partitioned my drives out, put the OS on a 10 gig partition, the swap file on it's own partition on an IDE hard drive. The OS is on my "good" SATA hard drive now, and I'm using the "bad" SATA for storage. The system seems a bit more stable now, but I'm beginning to suspect I might be having power issues. For some reason, the SATA's keep wanting to "pause" during operation. Usually no more than a second or two, but both drives seem to do it, so I'm suspecting that it's not the drives, but something else. Since I'm using two raptor drives which eat up alot of power, an IDE drive, a water cooling pump, and 3 120mm fans, I'm beginning to suspect that I might be pulling too much power off my +12v connection. I have a monitor on it, and it NEVER hits 12v. It stays around 11.90, sometimes dips down to 11.80. Are those acceptable values for +12v?

    Also, are there any "Stress tests" that are out there that will read and write to a hard drive and detect or confirm these pauses?
     
  13. DragonMaster

    DragonMaster TS Rookie Posts: 327

    Yup, for WD drives it's Data Lifeguard Diagnostics

    Go here,
    http://support.wdc.com/download/
    select your drive and software, download and test!

    How many watts is your PSU?
     
  14. delerium

    delerium TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I've used that tool, and all it seems to do is check the data, not the access rates or any glitches in that. I'll try it again though. The PS is rated at 520w. I bought a pretty expensive one, so I'm hoping that it's 520w sustained and not peak.
     
  15. DragonMaster

    DragonMaster TS Rookie Posts: 327

    Oh, while checking the data it does check the disk. I used Maxtor's utility a week ago and while low-level formatting a clicking drive, it told me that it was failing.

    And a 520w PSU is IMO plain enough. Have you tried uinpluggin some equipment to see if voltage raises?

    What brand/model is it?
     
  16. delerium

    delerium TS Rookie Topic Starter

    well, I've unplugged the DVD drive, still the same problems. It's a Vantec. Model number VAN-520A. I also have a spare Ultra-X connect sitting around, but I would have to modify my case to get it to fit. (there's a bar that blocks the unusually long connectors that get plugged into the PS)
     
  17. delerium

    delerium TS Rookie Topic Starter

    After talking to a friend of mine, he said that he's had problems like mine stemming from on-board raid controllers... His suggestion was to get a raid controller card, a spare SATA, ghost the data across to the new HD, then swap the raptors over to the new card and ghost it back, doing away with the on-board raid... I might try that in the next week and see if it works. Thanks for all your help so far. Any suggestions on some good (excellent?) raid controller cards out there? I was thinking promise, but he mentioned adaptec was good also.
     
  18. DragonMaster

    DragonMaster TS Rookie Posts: 327

    Yes, I have the Adaptec 1205SA and it works really good now that I upgraded the onboard BIOS. It's just 50$ and I think that if you flash the RAID BIOS instead, you have a cheap Adaptec 1210SA. Note that it's not SATA 2 tho.

    Before upgrading the BIOS, the card had the same problems as yours. If you find a way to convince Asus to put the latest BIOS of your SATA controller if it already isn't into the mobo BIOS, you might be able to solve your problems.

    I can't find a way to make Adaptec change their BIOS and drivers on their site to the -working- ones but I can upgrade it with what Silicon Image has. (BIOS, drivers, BIOS OEM utilities)
     
  19. PUTALE

    PUTALE TS Rookie Posts: 126

    i think your mobo has 2 raid controller, have you try using the other raid controller?

    from asus's site:
    "Dual RAID
    The VIA K8T800Pro chipset incorporated two Serial ATA connectors with RAID 0(striping), RAID 1(mirroring), and JBOD(spanning) functions while the Promise 20378 controller provides another two Serial ATA and two UltraATA133 connectors for RAID 0(striping), RAID 1(mirroring), RAID 0+1, and multiple RAID functions. The motherboard is the ideal solution to enhance hard disk performance and security."
     
  20. delerium

    delerium TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I haven't tried the other raid controller, no... But from the research I've done, VIA is in even worse shape than the promise controller... I'd rather not use it.
     
  21. DragonMaster

    DragonMaster TS Rookie Posts: 327

    IMO it's better to try than not. Maybe you'll have luck with this one.
     
  22. delerium

    delerium TS Rookie Topic Starter

    well, i haven't yet got the hard drive because of cash reasons, but I did manage to run the disk diagnostics while I was having the issues... I watched it go, and it would pause about every 2 seconds, lock up for a good 3-5 seconds, then start going again. it did this through the entire test. When it finished, it said the test passed and there was nothing wrong with the drive. I'm leaning more and more towards raid controller. Dragonmaster, I see your point, but to change raid controllers, I have to start over from scratch, unless I want to try and back up 50+ gigs of information onto dvd's. Whenever you change raid controllers, the new raid controller won't recognize a drive created on a different raid controller. If I'm going to go through all the trouble, I'll go ahead and do it right and get an external raid controller card.
     
  23. DragonMaster

    DragonMaster TS Rookie Posts: 327

    A 2 seconds pause? Happened to me with a failing Maxtor a few weeks ago. I had to low-level format for it to detect the problem. Anyways, this drive was clicking like hell but I don't think that yours do because you didn't talk about strange sounds.

    I see... changing controllers is a problem. Even in non-RAID it is because NT-based Windows are not booting if you change controller. You have to re-install it to make things work.

    Anyways, you'll have to backup your files a day or an other because your controller is having problems.

    Also, have you contacted Asus about the problem? They might update the BIOS because, amazingly, an other user here have been able to make them upgrade a mobo's BIOS. He had 4GB of RAM on his motherboard but WinXP would only detect 2. It was a motherboard problem finally.
     
  24. delerium

    delerium TS Rookie Topic Starter

    nah. it would have to be two failing drives, which would be pretty remote having two raptors fail at the same time. I'll contact ASUS, we'll see what happens.
     
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