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Is SATA flawed?

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April 17, 2010 6:51:33 PM

While building my latest PC iteration, I used the 2 Seagate 300GB SATA HDDs from my previous build and added a pair of Seagate 1TB SATA drives.
I intended to try setting up a RAID system.
I had several hundred GB of data on the 2 - 300GB drives.
I began dragging and dropping this data to the new drives so that I could set the RAID up on the old drives in order to get the OS installed.
I had a hair-pulling experience with partition tables breaking on the drives the data was being transferred to.
The only way I could find to regain access to these drives was to format them which, naturally, deleted the data.
Data recovery was a bit messy and much of the data was corrupt.
In the end I lost most of the data I was trying to save.
But, I did finally get the RAID setup and am very pleased with its operation through the last year or so.
I assumed it was an incompatibility caused by mixing RAID and non-RAID drives.

Running low on storage space again, I've added a pair of Seagate BlackArmor external 1TB eSATA/USB drives for off-PC archival storage.
Between the internal drives and DVD burners, all 6 of my SATA ports are being used.
I have 1 eSATA port available. I assumed I could simply swap-out the drives as needed.
I did not install the backup software that came with the drives because I want to be able to access individual files on the drives as needed.

Again, I get an extremely frustrating experience with partition table breakage when "dragging and dropping", "copying and pasting" and "sending to ..." the external drive while it is connected to the eSATA port.
I tried installing the backup software.
It works nicely for me on eSATA, if I wanted an encrypted backup file.
Many people are having problems getting the software to function properly on eSATA.
Even though the drives are supposed to be eSATA and USB functional Seagate is trying to "herd" people over to using these drives on USB.
Finally, in desperation, I tried connecting the drive through a USB port.
The transfers are running at about 1/4th to 1/3rd the speed of eSATA, but the partition table breakage problem seems to be gone.

I'm now beginning thinking this is an inherent flaw with SATA and eSATA.

I can find nothing about this anywhere.
Am I the only person on the face of the Earth this is happening to?
Does anyone know what's going on?

More about : sata flawed

a b G Storage
April 17, 2010 8:15:21 PM

Very interesting. No, I have not had this happen. May I ask which operating system you are using? It sounds like something that the OS would cause.
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l
April 18, 2010 2:49:36 AM

Hi elel,
The first time around, while setting up the new PC, I was working from WinXP Pro x86.
In the present episode I'm running Win7 Ultimate x64 dual booted with WinXP Pro x86.
I'm not using WinXP much anymore.
Since the first episode I have overclocked to 3.0 GHz.
The RAID setup is completed as I wanted it.
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My PC:
Salvaged from my old PC:
PSU - Antec Neo HE 500
HDDs - 2X Seagate Baracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS - 320GB SATA
Case - Antec P160
Video - Radeon X1650 Pro

New Parts:
MoBo - ASUS P6T Deluxe V2
CPU - i7 920
GPU Cooler - Accelero S2 Passive GPU cooler
RAM - Crucial 3X 2MB
HDDs - 2X Seagate Baracuda 7200.12 ST31000333AS - 1TB SATA
DVD - 2X LG - GH22NS50 - SATA
Monitor - Samsung SyncMaster 245BW
" alt="" class="imgLz frmImg " />

Since added:
External HDDs - 2X Seagate BlackArmor WS110 1TB eSATA/USB - Presently connected by USB

This all took place on the new PC.
I had never tried to move this quantity of files to another drive at one time before.
m
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l
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April 18, 2010 3:20:31 AM

I'm using both SATA and eSATA and I never had a problem, so this lead me to suspect your computer, not the whole SATA thing.

Corrupted data often happen when memory is not stable. test it for error. try the same operation with 1 memory module, then add the other if test are successfull.

You should also check for HDD overheating, or motherboard overheating. which cause instability in chipset.

I've been moving large HDD content from one to another very often, as I often change HDD and I never had any problem.
m
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l
April 23, 2010 2:31:27 AM

pat said:
I'm using both SATA and eSATA and I never had a problem, so this lead me to suspect your computer, not the whole SATA thing.

Corrupted data often happen when memory is not stable. test it for error. try the same operation with 1 memory module, then add the other if test are successfull.

You should also check for HDD overheating, or motherboard overheating. which cause instability in chipset.

I've been moving large HDD content from one to another very often, as I often change HDD and I never had any problem.


Thx pat,
Sorry it's taken so long to get back to this. But, I got sidetracked for a bit.
OK, Memory and mobo check out fine.

The drives, when a long seek test is done, heat up to 136°F & up, and seek times get erratic after ~3/4hr, one drive more so than the other.
As I've said before, many people seem to be having problems with these external drives.
Per HardDrive Sentinel these have Baracuda 7200.12 - ST31000528AS drives in them.
These should be good functional drives.
They are in enclosures that are not ventilated.
That may be the root of their problem.

It seems that quite a few people are having problems with the eSATA controller on the mobo also.
Many are squawking on the ASUS forum about it, then finally giving up and going over to a SATA or eSATA card.

As I've also said before, I have used all my SATA ports on the ICH10R controller.
I'm thinking of adding a 2 port SATA card and connecting the 2 DVD burners to that, then pulling the drives from their enclosures and adding them to the ICH10R controller as internal drives.
And finally, I'm thinking of setting them up as a RAID1 drive that I would use as if it were an external drive.

Problems with this:
No more warranty, naturally
All my HDD slots are full [but, I do have 2 unused DVD/CD drive slots open]

Shades of Rube Goldberg.
What have I gotten myself into?

I'm open to any thoughts , advice, suggestions, or ...???


m
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l
April 30, 2010 8:08:37 PM

I have removed the drives from their enclosures.
I ordered some HDD rails and have installed the drives in the 2 open CD/DVD slots.
[What a pain]
I have disconnected the 2 SATA DVD burners from the ICH10R controller and connected these 2 drives in their place.
I now have 6 drives setup as 4 RAID Volumes.

I am waiting for a 2 port SATA/RAID card that has been shipped to connect the CD/DVD burners to.
I will install a fan dedicated to providing airflow over these 2 HDDs.

I am holding my file transfers down to ~25GB or less at one time, tediously slow considering the amount to be moved.
So far, all seems to be OK.

Question 1:
Sure would like to be able to monitor S.M.A.R.T. on these drives while making the transfers, but don't see any way to do it while setup as RAID arrays.
Might there be?

Question 2:
Is there a way to bulk check the transferred files to ascertain that they duplicate the original files and are not corrupt?


EDIT:
Change of plan - had to leave the CD/DVD burners on the ICH10R and install the new HDDs to the PCIE SATA/RAID card.
It was easier to get everything up and running.
I'm off for the rest of the weekend.

I'll look into MD5 hashing after I get back home on Sunday.
Thx

m
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l
a b G Storage
April 30, 2010 10:07:56 PM

As far as bulk checking the files, md5 hashing them might be the way to go. Search for this and you will find many tutorials on how to do it (very simple, actually) because it is the main method used to check the integrity of downloaded linux distros.
m
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l
May 10, 2010 6:03:18 PM

Got sidetracked for a bit, but finally got back to working on this problem.

1. pulled the 2 - Baracuda 7200.12 - ST31000528AS HDDs from their enclosures and installed them as internal drives.
2. Placed a fan to blow air over them keeping them cool to the touch.
3. I have done 2 "copy and paste" operations of 450GB+ each to the drives.
They are both almost full and everything looks to be good.

Thanks for your input.
m
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l
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