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inconsistent results when testing hard drives!

Last response: in Storage
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October 14, 2006 10:50:20 AM

need some help on this one.

tend to use powermax hard drive testing software to test machines when they come in for repair. problem is that i am getting contradictory results when the machines have asrock motherboards. powermax invariably fails most maxtor hard drives on these systems but if i then test the drive on another mobo the drive invariably passes.

also some drives pass the test but it takes so long to test them that they are clearly worn/faulty.

also do not trust powermax when it tells me that it has repaired drives as 2 machines came back within the month after this message and a clean install xp. is it safe to reuse these hard drives are not?

are there better ways of testing hard drives than using the manufacturers diagnostic software.?

tried microscope 2000/quick test professional but they both failed to detect problems with several drives that had already failed the manufacturers diagnostic software.

so what is the best and most reliable way to test potentially faulty hard drives?

any advice most appreciated

cheers
darrellw
October 14, 2006 9:33:13 PM

The tests are only as reliable as the system you run them in.


I connect the drives to my own PC via an SATA enclosure and run Western Digital Diagnostics and or Sea Tools from Windows.

Results between the two are always consistent.

Running the DOS utilities gives you more details and further repair options, but the test results are still the same.

If repeating the tests in the original system yields a different result then the problem almost certainly with another component.

Only once did I have a drive test good in one system and bad in another and it was the drives fault. It simply couldn't operate in ATA 66 mode due to a defect in its electronics.

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You can buy adapters to turn internal SATA ports into external SATA..

IDE to SATA enclosures are easy to come buy.

I prefer to use regular SATA connections externally rather than eSATA style so I don't need an adapter at all for bare SATA drives.

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A bytecc BT-3000 IDE/Notebook/SATA adapter is another option. The test run via USB yield the same results in my experience. And with a 6ft extension cord testing a drive without removing it is easy.

But you lose access to all SMART information.


Better to move the system next to your PC and connect via SATA if you don't want remove the drive.


USB 2.0 will let you recover from a defective hard drive which would otherwise prevent startup or cause random restarts if connected via IDE or SATA.


The 4 pin molex power brick is also very handy to have when connecting bare SATA drives.

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If you went eSATA you can use 6ft eSATA cables, but only if you have real eSATA ports.

If you mechanically convert a regular SATA to eSATA you don't get the stronger signal mandated by eSATA standards.

When I get a motherboard with an eSATA port I will probably cannibalize an IDE to eSATA adapter and use a 6ft cable to test hard drives without removing them.

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Finally you can just open up your PC and connect the drive internally, but I only restart my system every other week.

SATA via an enclosure more convenient and is never a problem.
!