Tag Archives: harddisk

Harddisk woes

I was busy programming a few days ago when the machine froze for a few seconds, followed by an error message from the Intel Matrix RAID controller than one of the harddisks in my RAID1 (mirrored) pair had failed. Damn. This is the second time this has happened on this machine in the 2.5 years I have had it. I don’t seem to have much luck with harddisks. It might not be coincidence that it happened on one of the hottest days of the year. I removed the defective disk and put in an identical spare I had bought for such an eventually and rebuilt the RAID1 pair from the surviving harddisk. I felt quite pleased with myself.

A  couple of days later the same error message appeared. The new disk had apparently failed. Double damn. I rebooted a couple of times. No joy. It seems unlikely that an unused disk would fail within 48 hours, perhaps it is the RAID controller? I updated to the latest Intel Matrix RAID driver and swapped the two disks around. It still wouldn’t recognize the newly added harddisk, so it seems the new disk really is defective. I swapped the working disk with the harddisk that had failed a couple of days ago. The ‘failed’ harddisk booted OK! Something strange going on here.

I could probably send the failed disk back to Seagate, but I am simply not prepared to risk my sensitive data to save myself £50. I tried to order another identical harddisk but, inevitably, the identical model isn’t available 2.5 years later. The disks are:

SEAGATE BARRACUDA 7200.10 ST3500630AS 500GB 7200RPM 16MB SATA-300 3.5"

Apparently the .10 is the generation number (thanks to Dennis on the ASP forums for that).

I am currently running the machine on the one good harddisk, being very conscientious about my backups. I am undecided what to do next.

  1. Order a 7200.12 disk and see what happens when I plug it in.
  2. Replace the RAID controller. I believe the Intel Matrix RAID controller is firmware on a chip on the motherboard, so replacing it doesn’t sound like much fun. And it isn’t clear that it is the cause of the problem.
  3. Buy a new PC. This one is only 2.5 years old and it means stumping up a load of cash and all the hassle of moving everything over. I would rather wait until Windows 7 is released before I buy consider buying a new machine (I am thinking about getting someone like overclockers.co.uk to build me a lean, mean, 64-bit, compiling machine).

Option 1 sounds like the easiest and cheapest options. Any other ideas? Is it safe to pair a 7200.10 and a 7200.12 of the same size for RAID1?