Crash Due to HDD Failure

I recently installed a new 320gb Seagate hard drive (adding to my 80gb WD) into my system but I was having frequent crashes. I downloaded Hard Disk Sentinel to check the diagnostics and I found nothing wrong with it. The temperatures hovered around 35 degrees and it said that there were no read/write errors. Nonetheless, I still experienced frequent crashes. I decided that the drive was bad so I RMAed it and got a 320gb WD drive instead. I'm experiencing the exact same problems as before. The problem doesn't seem to be temperature based, but it seems that I see fewer crashes when I turn the fans up or when the room is cooler. The other 80gb drive has been in this case for years and years and I haven't had a single crash with it.

Specs are as follows:

AMD Athlon X2 4600
Asrock Dual SATA II mobo (The one with AGP and PCI-E)
ATI Radeon X800XT AGP
480watt Thermaltake Silent Purepower PSU
80gb Western Digital IDE
320gb Western Digital SATA

Needless to say I'm really pissed off. This has been going on for weeks now and I've yet to find the problem. One thing I noticed is that the drive won't fail if the system is simply idling. The drive must be being used in order for it to fail. Is it possible that the problem could be on the motherboard end? I've tried all three SATA ports on my mobo and the same thing keeps happening...any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

EDIT: I just noticed that the drive shows up as a SCSI drive in device manager...not really sure why.
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  1. Why did you decide drive is faulty :?: Did you run Seatools on it? Have you checked Event Viewer? Have you run a memory test? What is CPU temp? Possible PSU fault if extra drive raising load. Try a new Data cable.

  2. My system was working fine until I installed this new drive. I've used 3 different SATA cables and the problem hasn't been resolved. I checked out a PSU calculator that told me I needed 300some watts to run my pc (my PSU is 480 watts). There are no errors in event viewer. I haven't run a memory test. The CPU is admittedly a bit hot at around 50 degrees (never had any cpu related crashes before tho). The only variable that changes that determines whether my pc is stable or not is whether or not the new hard drive is plugged in. I did run Seatools on the drive when I had it and it caused the system to crash.

    How can I check how large a load the PSU can realistically take? Would plugging in USB devices put a higher load on it?
  3. Update: I ran memtest86 and the memory is fine. Someone please help!
  4. I doubt the problem is the power supply, but you never know.

    When you say the computer "crashes", what exactly happens? Freeze, requiring hard reset? Instant reboot, and the next thing you see is the BIOS POST? Blue screen error?

    Have you checked the Windows event log? Are any errors present there?

    Since you've narrowed it down to drive behavior, tried two different drives from two different manufacturers, and changed the cable, the next likely culprit is the motherboard.

    One further thing you might try is forcing the drive speed down to 150MB/sec instead of 300MB/sec. If it fixes the issue, good, but there may still be something wrong with your motherboard.
  5. Well sometimes it freezes on me and sometimes it just plain reboots on me.

    The drive is SATA II capable and I've tried both I and II. So if I'm not mistaken then that means that I've tried both 150MB/sec and 300MB/sec already because SATA I is 150MB/sec and SATA II is 300MB/sec.
  6. Quote:
    Have you checked the Windows event log? Are any errors present there?

    Right-click My Computer, click Manage. Click Event Log, and look in the application and system logs.

    If there was a blue screen error that rebooted the computer too fast for you to see it, you'll find a log of the error in here. If there's no errors in the log at all related to the hard drive problem or the resets, then we're dealing with a pure hardware issue at the motherboard level.
  7. Yea, no errors in the event log...I mentioned that a bit earlier. So is there anything I can do besides contact my mobo manufacturer?
  8. Ya, at this point I'm thinking there's a problem with the motherboard.

    Last ditch possibilities:

    - BIOS update.
    - Reset CMOS (take out motherboard battery, use jumper to reset).
    - Make sure motherboard is properly grounded to the case through the metal standoffs. (I know it sounds weird, but I saw a built system one time where each hole in the motherboard that's supposed to rest on one of the brass hex standoffs actually had electrical tape on them, insulating the motherboard from the standoffs and preventing proper grounding).
    - Make sure processor fan is properly mounted with proper heat sink grease.
    - Make sure all case intake/exhaust fans are running and blowing in the correct direction (intakes are usually on front and side of case, exhausts on the back).
    - Make sure any passive heat sinks on the northbridge and southbridge chips are secure.
    - Make sure power supply fan is working.
    - Check power supply with a power supply checker or voltmeter, make sure all voltages are in proper range.
    - Disconnect other components in the system temporarily to narrow the problem down to as little hardware as possible. There's an outside chance there's some electrical problem or ground loop of some kind between components (one component is broken or shorting out, for instance).
    - Make sure case is properly grounded with proper 3-prong plug, make sure the outlet you're plugged into is grounded also (no 2-prong to 3-prong adapters). Use an electrical outlet tester if necessary to be sure.
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