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Thread: Testing drives...




  1. #1
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    Default Testing drives...

    Have posted on the All Other Hardware forum a problem I'm having with bringing my system to life. My thread is "Reluctant Starter". In the interest of propriety, I won't repeat here. My theory is that I may have a bad drive on my Gigabyte controller RAID1 that is used for booting. Such that after warming up, it comes to life (errors decrease?) and the boot proceeds.

    So, of course, if you have any theories, love to hear them, but this was an issue before assembling my new rig a couple weeks ago. Common to both systems are all my disk drives and the Corsair memory. Short runs of Memtest have been successful. Like 30 min runs...I know...I know...try 4 hours or more. Or run it FIRST thing in the morning. I don't know.

    My stated purpose here on the Gigabyte forum is how can I test those two RAID1 drives? Specifically how can I disconnect them? to isolate one for testing. This presumes I've backed up my system to my RAID5 on the Matrix controller. Do I just turn off the machine and disconnect one of the drives, boot and test (Western Digital has some testing software to run). Or is there a bit more elegant solution. Or add a step and turn off the Gigabyte RAID in BIOS? Or I've missed the boat entirely.

    Help, as always, is most appreciated.

    You don't think there is an issue overclocking to 3.0GHz with my Corsair PC2-5400PRO memory? I still believe, keeping senility at bay, that my problem began before any tinkering and also occurred on my old system. The ONLY thing at this point I can think of is a bad drive. The software I'm looking at for testing is Data Lifeguard Diagnostics from WD. BTW, the Mushkin memory will be here this evening.


  2. #2
    Lsdmeasap's Avatar
    Lsdmeasap is offline GIGABYTE Guru
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    Default Re: Testing drives...

    Yes, as you know.... Please test your memory with Memtest86+ for at least 5 full runs, overnight is best or while you are at work so it can run for several hours. Please be sure you are using the latest version as well 2.11 >>
    Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool

    Have you used the Intel Matirx software to check and repair the volume? If not, please do so >>

    I am not sure about WD Disk tools, I know Seagate's will check for errors with both connected in raid and tell you which has errors, but that is within the system. I am not sure how you should go about testing them together, or separate with WD bootable tools. I don't want to offer any advice there as wrong info will corrupt your array as you know.

    Have you asked this question of the WD Support tech team, if not I would go ahead and shoot them a email to see what advice they have to offer >>
    Ask a Question

    Have you ran WD Lifeguard Dignostics for windows, you can run it within windows and check things just to see what it says >>
    WD Support > Downloads > SATA Hard Drives > WD Caviar Black

    I can say, DO NOT Turn off RAID in the BIOS because if you do once windows or any programs starts it WILL write to the disk and corrupt the array.

    Why are you using the Gigabyte Controller to Boot from anyway? If you can, I do advise you backup your Data and reinstall onto the Intel Controller as it is Much faster and would be the optimal choice to boot from.

    Have you ran windows chkdsk with the /r switch to check for bad sectors? This Will/May take several hours, so do it when you do not need to use the system.

    Here is how to do that >>>

    1. In windows hit the windows key + R (Run command) and type in CMD and hit enter.

    2. In the CMD Window type the following, and yes there are spaces and they are necessary >>

    Code:
    chkdsk /x /r
    3. Accept the disk is locked question and you want to scan on next reboot, chkdsk will be ran on next reboot.

    4. Reboot and let the scan run


    Since you do have a backup, right? Then it would not really matter much as you can restore within a few minutes anyway. You could test anyway you have mentioned really as long as you know the data will be lost. Set the BIOS to NON RAID and connect only one disk, then run the bootable WD Diagnostics on each disk one at a time.

    If it all passes then simply set the BIOS back to RAID and restore your files. If it does all pass, then you know you either have a memory issue, driver issue, or a software issue and further thoughts and testing would need to be done. What is the issue in full, just slow booting? If so, move to using the Intel Controller (I would advise this anyway for sure)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Testing drives...

    Wow LSD, so much to digest and all good. Answers not in any order. Have the Gigabyte set up as a RAID1 for my several OPSYS's. Then on the matrix controller have one as a RAID 0 for my flight simulator and one as a RAID5 for all my music, pictures, etc. I never use flight sim and listen to music at the same time...thing about walking and chewing gum. So that is why the Gigabyte RAID as I heard that the Matrix was so good such that RAID0 over 4 drives would be super, unless I don't understand how RAID 0 is implemented over 4 drives under Matrix control, misunderstanding quite likely.

    As to memory...that got replaced today with the Mushkin Ascent PC2-8500 2x2GB. Very nice. After this delayed start is sorted out, want to start on overclocking. Ran into a bit of a scare and want to discuss later. Used numbers from your answers to another post, userid shabburrr, to assist in a 3.2GHz OC for the Q6600 on the EP45-UD3R. Everything was fine until I turned on Prime95. Within 5 to 10 seconds I was at 73 deg C. It was there only long enough to find the trackball...afraid of mice...and shut Prime95 down. The temps came down quickly. An issue to add to this mix. I live in the midst of the Sonoran Desert and the ambient inside temperature will be 80 deg F throughout the horribly hot summer. 80 deg is good for a well over $200 a month electric bill with just me and my dog. Bringing the house down to 72 is electric for bankruptcy. It is already 84 outside average and 78 inside so I'm hoping the word will not come down as water cool or scrap overclocking. Another thing to consider is why each of the 4 programs that have been suggested by you and others give different temperatures. By far, Everest gives the lowest reading and the rest are close. Have noted that one processor, core 0, runs up to 11 deg C hotter than the coolest core. I've heard that is not unusual. Wondering to what degree that is not unusual? I remounted the CPU cooler and made no changes in temperature at all. In fact, tried vertical and horizontal...no difference.

    I do have the WD diagnostic software you mentioned and tried to run it today. It hung the system so rebooted and will now contact WD. I need to look at alternative ways to set up my HDD's. Just trying to make use of "free" raid.

    My brain is random access...yes, there is a physiological issue, so please bear with me. I'm wondering if I unhooked one of the opsys raid drives, if the WD tests would work on that drive and still have the other as backup in case I trash the drive, i.e. cause it to need reformatting. Then switch, hook up the second and unhook the first. If/when testing is complete hook them both back up and let raid sort itself out. Seems like I've pulled that off before. If not, no harm as I've installed windows...well let's say I've memorized the 800 number to re-activate windows. All my add-on software is stored off on the RAID5 just for this sort of thing. Just reread your post and am prepared to unhook the drives and turn RAID off.

    But first tonight, I'll turn off the system and try in the morning with the new memory. If it comes right up, there still may be a HDD issue, but it may not be as critical at the moment unless you consider failure an issue .

    I've run the chkdsk before but just entered my mind this afternoon. I'll start it up when the system boots in the morning. I did run a S.M.A.R.T. report via SpeedFan and the drives that it could sort out were fine. Not sure which those were as I'm not right on how the system looks at disks through the RAID looking glass.

    Installed the Mushkin and went back to a default system running FSB at 266 and a memory factor of 4.00A. Is this ok for just running the new memory? Running most every setting at AUTO. Exception is, Drive Strength Profile at 1066 and DRAM voltage at 2.0V. Any harm there until overclocking begins? I really want to pursue the overclocking. One of the first questions I have, is that after you set the FSB and multipliers, how do you determine what to adjust and in what order to remove, to the extent possible, this from art to science. Back in the day, I used to tune mainframe databases and it was part by gut instinct, but my boss never took kindly to that with the fear I would leave and take my "secrets" with me. My secret was common sense, sometimes a precious commodity in the corporate world. Last word...the Extreme Memory Profile looks awfully interesting/inviting as it has appeared for the first time with the Mushkin. Wondering as we start overclocking if there is a time and place for that feature?

    Well enough for tonight. Thanks again for the help and my plate is full for testing. If you have thoughts on HDD allocation, love to hear them. How you run your system might be most telling. I have two requirements. Fast speed for 30GB of flight simulator and a lot set aside for RAID5 for backups and multimedia. Have heard that RAID0 is overrated. Your experience? Move the flight sim to the Gigabyte controller in RAID0 and use the matrix for RAID 0+1 for opsys and RAID 5 for everything else. Again thanks for the help.

    All right, one last point...with all my screwing around running at 3GHz and 3.2GHz, never once did the system balk...for whatever that's worth.


  4. #4
    Lsdmeasap's Avatar
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    Default Re: Testing drives...

    Sorry this reply may be a little short

    Yeap, Quads get Very hot. Did you maybe use to much paste? Less is more. Are you maybe using more voltage then you need to Vtt or Vcore?

    That cooler you should be able to go to 3.4-3.6 without breaking 75, but then again my experiences are based in a 68-70C environment. You are fine 70-75 at full load, I mean it isn't going to break or anything, but that is about the upper of the suggested safe range. Which you should not be at with a 3.2 overclock

    The temp apps, well I am not sure which you are comparing. RealTemp must be calibrated, coretemp and everest should be the same or pretty close. Let me know which you are using and if you are using the latest versions and I can better say why you see differences. Some may also be using a different TjMax so you may need to adjust that as well. Core temp differences are normal for sure, and can range very widely at idle. I would not worry about that until you can fully check out the full load temps. If they are still 10+ different then your CPU IHS May just be concave so one gets less contact with the heatsink.

    Or it could just be all part of Intel's Silly design process. See here for a short answer by UncleWeb's (Author of RealTemp) about this >>
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/...41&postcount=4

    Ya, you can remove a RAID1 and trash one disk and then put the other disk back and rebuild it from Disk 1. So I think no matter what happens you can rebuild from the disk you do not test on. What I would do is test one disk, then put the RAID1 back on and see if it requires a rebuild or not. If it does not then go ahead and test the other disk, if it does then you know what to expect on the next disk. Before testing the next disk be sure to let the rebuild and verify process finish so you have 2 copies again. And of course always have a backup in case

    The chkdsk I instructed above is different then the normal chkdsk or a chkdsk /f. So if you did not run the one I mentioned then you may have not ran the test I suggested. It scans for a corrects bad sectors, the others do not. It will take some time for sure, so be ready and willing

    I am not sure how to explain overclocking to you really, I just know how to best advise settings and things to try next. It all comes like second nature to me. Have you read any guides? The P35 guide here sticked at the top of this section is a great learning tool for overclocking methods. It is not for P45 boards, but it will help you learn some basics of how to go about things and why. If you have not read it, take some time and read it before you get started

    Not sure how I would do the disk setup without being there to look at all your OS and partitions, how things load from what, and just have overall better sight of what you use what for.

    What I can tell you though is not matter what the Intel Controller is faster for sure, be that RAID1 or RAID5, ect. If it was me, without full knowledge of your setup though, I would still be using Intel for My OS and all my other storage ect on the leftover Intel ports and then onto the Gigabyte ports as needed.

    You have to keep in mind that no matter where your DATA Loads from, it also has to pass thru the Intel controller if you are using DATA from both like it sounds as if you are now. Meaning if you had your OS and your Flight program on the same array (Intel) then it would be faster then having to "Talk" to two arrays across two controllers and thru the CPU/Ram in the middle of all that.

    A good Defragging program is of course a must!! I use PerfectDisk and it moves Boot and OS Critical files closest to the edge of the disk for fastest acesss. If you do not use a similar program you may want to look into that as well.

    I use 3 drives in RAID 0 on the Intel controller, soon to be 4, here is a bench I took the other day for someone >>>



    Details (Stripe Size, Disk Model, Ect) here >>>

    http://forums.tweaktown.com/f69/hdd-...83/#post291129
    Last edited by Lsdmeasap; 04-14-2009 at 05:24 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Testing drives...

    Breakfast hasn't digested just yet so this makes a huge breakfast. The system still didn't boot correctly this morning.

    On the thermal paste issue, my goal has been however wrongly, to get it so I cannot see the surface. Not so much a layer as enough to make it so I can't see the original surface. If I had the moxie, I'd lap both the CPU and the cooler. The cooler especially might benefit as there are some real peaks and valleys due to its design. BTW use Arctic Silver 5 paste. Sounds like it is now old school but until I run out, it will do. I remounted the cooler this morning and did my darnedest to make sure the cooler was evenly attached. Think I picked up a degree. I'll take it.

    Did not realize the Gigabyte controller also went through the Intel SB. Yikes. New plan is after testing out the drives, to put them maybe as RAID1 as my master backup or just forget about the raid. Move the opsys to the RAID0 with my flight sim and keep the RAID 5 for multi-media. You have given me food for thought.

    Yes, I have used your chkdsk as you outlined some 6 months ago...time to do it again tonight, then work on the WD diagnostics tomorrow. Wish I had an external drive box to go eSATA for backups. I love this MB, 6 Sata connectors just for the Intel SB and I'm only using 4.

    As to Intel designs, my recollection is that they strapped 2 Core 2 Duos together until the new I7. Wasn't a "true" quad design as the AMD. Just that thought would tend to the uneven readings. Two of the cores run about 5 deg C hotter than the other two. Correlation? Probably?

    Have read the post on the P35. It has all the numbers but I'm still shakey what should be looked at first, second, etc. and more importantly why? How do I know this or that is the issue I should look at. Just go down the list to every value and try to go lower until it breaks? I understand how this is second nature to you. I want the same for myself and it will happen over time. Have decided that if I can get a nicely running system at 3.4GHz, I'll have a nice overclock. Perhaps I can be talked higher but that is a ways off. Just don't want to fry anything. A fixed income does not allow for replacing fried parts. Speaking about fried. I freaked on the 73 deg C temperature due to the Intel spec sheet which states 71. FYI I do have the G0 model. Using CPUID Hardware monitor and Prime95, large FFT's got idle temps of 44,35,35,38...under load 67,60,59,66 only a 15 min run. Any particular test of the 3 I see the preferred test? Other minutia from CPU-Z, Core Speed 3200.4 MHz; multiplier 8; bus speed 400.1MHz; rated FSB speed 1600.2; core voltage 1.328V.

    I did go back to your numbers this morning for the 3.2GHz overclock. My change is CPU multiplier of 8, FSB of 400 and memory multiplier of 2.66D. Seems very happy.

    It is pure joy to turn ALL the levers full on with flight simulator. It is so different from my AMD Athlon 3200+.

    OK, work to do and will report back. Also read more of the instructional posts. Many I've read, now to re-read knowing more than I did last time. Maybe tomorrow I'll have time to post all my numbers for your comment. Probably best way to learn.

    Thanks ever so much for your help!


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