Hard drives keep failing

I started having problems with my Western Digital WD5000AAKS, such as it struggling to spin up (I could hear it) and the XP install getting corrupted, so I got it replaced under warranty with a WD6400AAKS.

A few times I'd managed to get the WD5000 working again after running WD Data Lifeguard's Extended Test and after doing that again, I managed to Ghost the data across to the new drive and also restored the XP partition from a good True Image backup but the new drive failed to boot, with errors about missing files and BSOD before even getting to the XP boot screen. I also connected the drive to another PC and tried to install XP from scratch, but that failed to format during Text Mode, with an error about a corrupt/damaged drive. Eventually I managed to use Data Lifeguard to get it to a point where I could wipe it with DBAN to return it.

I then got another replacement WD6400, which worked fine for a day or two, before again failing to boot after hibernating. I got a black screen for a long while and eventually the white line that appears when resuming from hibernation appeared, but without any of the usual text and it just stayed like that for ages.

I ran Data Lifeguard's Extended Test (DOS) which failed about 3/4 of the way in saying there were "Too Many Errors". I then connected it to my other PC, which caused XP to become sluggish and unresponsive and trying to access the partitions either failed with a "Partition is not formatted" error or on the XP partition eventually showed the files after chugging for a while. I then ran the Extended Test again from Windows on this other PC and that got to sector 639481855 of 1250263728 before failing, saying "Too Many Errors: Code 0025".

It says the SMART data is OK, but I notice three attributes have got 1 in the Warranty Column. Does that indicate anything useful?


I'm starting to wonder if there's a PSU/motherboard problem that's killing the drives as it seems unlikely that I'd receive two duff replacement hard drives (each manufactured in a different country, so not even from the same batch). After the second WD6400 failed, I connected a 2.5" Samsung 500JI which I'd made a backup of my XP install on and that worked fine. I also had an old 10GB IDE drive running for a few days recently and that didn't have any problems during that time, although I guess both of those might require less power than a WD6400.

I've got a rather unusual PSU setup, as I'm using an mCubed EF28 DC-DC board powered by a Dell DA-2 brick. The P4 and graphics card power connectors are wired direct to the DA-2, so bypassing the EF28, which is only powering the motherboard (and via that two fans) and the hard drive.

The rest of the system is:
GA-8I848-PM motherboard, P4 2.8Ghz Northwood (Minja heatsink, Stock fan 3.6v), 1.5GB DDR 133Mhz, Nexus 120mm intake fan (5v), 2600XT graphics card
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  1. oof

    i wouldn't use a dell power supply to power my toaster.....
  2. uh_no said:

    i wouldn't use a dell power supply to power my toaster.....

    There's quite a few people at SPCR using the DA-2 brick to power their systems, so I doubt that's the problem.
  3. I will replace the psu with a normal one, but I'm not sure if that can be the problem as surely if the +5v and +12v (which is what the HD uses) were spiking or whatever, that would damage the motherboard as well wouldn't it?

    I'm kinda nervous about just replacing the PSU if the motherboard's somehow screwing up the drives, as I could end up knackering another one. If I can't get the 2nd WD6400 working again (currently running SpinRite on it), I'll have to buy a new drive and I don't want to damage that as well.
  4. Have you looked in Bios health to see if PSU voltages are listed and that they are OK.

    Next I would down load the iso for Memtest86 and create a Bootable CD (on a 2nd computer) and boot to CD (can leave HDD disconnected. Run for several hours minimum.

    Altenate to memtest is the UBD which has several utilities including Memtest On it.
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