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Sil3114 Raid 5 Orphaned and Lost

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September 27, 2008 4:55:23 AM

This is my first post!

I have a Foxconn 955x7aa motherboard which has a Silicon Image Sil3114 Raid controller onboard. For the past 3 years, I have had a legacy Raid 5 configuration consisting of 4 400GB drives for 1.2 TB of redundant storage. A few months ago, my original MOBO got replaced. Recently, I have put everything back together in a new case. At first, it seemed as if one of the drives was not being recognized. I replaced it and rebuilt the array using the windows utility. Everything was good until today. It appeared as if another drive had failed just one day later and the drive was orphaned. Out of frustration, I deleted the array and tried making it again. I can make an array in the boot menu of the controller, but in windows, it either says a channel is empty, or that one of the drives is orphaned.

While I think two hard disk failures in two consecutive days is unlikely, the reason I took the computer apart was for a new case. I had 6 Hard Disks, a 2600XT OC, a TV Tuner, and 2 optical drives crammed into a small mid tower case. The metal sides of the things that hold the hard disks would become very hot, you could burn your hand! Could extreme heat like this stress the hard disks and cause them to fail when in a new properly ventilated case?

I also tried low level formats on all of the individual disks. The one that was originally replaced completed successfully and so did one of the original disks from 2 years ago. The other two drives proceed in the format at very slow speeds. (less than 1% in an hour). Is this a sign of a bad drive? There are no grinding noises from the disks so I dont think that they have crashed.

Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

THANK YOU!
September 27, 2008 5:25:31 AM

YES HEAT KILLS!! Heat can kill a hard drive, but it also depends on the overall quality of the drive as to how long it will last and how much punishment it can take. My 27GB WD Expert use to get crazy hot since it was right about my WD 200GB SE and the case didn't have good ventelation. It caused some errors so I had to factory format both drives and I eventually just had the 200GB drive, put the Expert in another computer, and added better fans. Anyway, in lesser drives I've seen them die completely simply because they were too hot. With a setup like that you really should have a case where fans blow air over your drives.
September 27, 2008 5:44:05 AM

Heat. To reiterate Megaman - get some air flowing around your drives. Orphaning a drive of airflow or sufficient room to dissipate heat is a crime. Speedfan should show you temperatures of any modern drives. I've seen temperature ratings of a drive between 50C and 60C, google your drive for more accurate data.

12x120 GB IBM 7200 RPM drives in a raid5 activated in 2002. bought a case of 24 because we got a discount. The only drives that died were ones in the removable trays with fans that failed. All drives with fans that were replaced in time, have not died. Have only replaced 3 drives - in 6 years because of heat.
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September 27, 2008 2:43:54 PM

Thanks for the quick replies. I doesn't surprise me that heat is what killed these drives. Heat is no longer a problem now though. I moved everything into one of those big thermaltake Armor series cases. It has large spaces between the drives and fans covering all of the drives to keep things cool.

What does surprise me is that I had one dead drive from the start. I replaced it and Silicon Image 3114 repaired the array with no data loss. One day later, I turn on the computer and I have two drives that are failing. Now, one of the drives from the original build is still functional along with the one I replaced two days ago. I'm just trying to rule out that my Silicon Image 3114 controller isn't eating perfectly good drives.

So current status is 2/4 drives operational, the other two hang up on a low level format. I have 1 400GB drive left in its box. These are all out of warranty BTW. I guess I could salvage a drive out of a 500GB external but 100GB would be wasted, unusable space.

This is a brand new factory replaced motherboard so I don't think the controller is damaged.

I left a low level format going on one of my failing drives over night. When woke up, it was still at 0%. :( 
Is it at all possible that the raid controller /not heat could damage the hard disks to the point that a low level format would freeze up at 0%?

September 28, 2008 5:05:42 AM

straight up gotta ask- were you a little rough with the drives? problematic cabling/power perhaps something not seated properly. A power supply could be taking devices with it as it goes belly up if that hasn't been tested or replaced. Check there first. Low level format should never need to be run on a modern drive. it either works, or it doesnt.
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