RAID HD failure or early cougar point SATA failure?

Just built my new media center SandyBridge 2600k machine with Asus P8H67-M EVO. Unfortunately, already using the SATA3 ports 1&2 for SSD & BD. I installed 4x 2TB WD WD20EARS drives on SATA2 ports 3-6 in RAID5 setup. (already using all of the SATA ports so don't have options to only use the SATA3 ports - planning on RMA the MB once become available through Asus.)

However, I was using the Intel RST software to initialize the RAID volume and IntelRST already reporting a failed disk just after initialization - never even got to or tried to do anything through DiskManagement or anything beyond RST initialization. How can I tell if it is the drive or the chipset/SATA port that failed? Also, it took a couple days for IntelRST to initialize the RAID volume - which seemed excessive even though it was 8TB of drives creating a 6TB volume.

I can't really believe that either the drive or the chipset could have failed so quickly since they are both <1wk old. I'm not overclocking, overvoltage, and pretty much haven't done anything yet on the machine to even stress it. Or could it just be a bad initialization through the IntelRST software?

Looking for input on debugging if it is the drive or the SATA port or ??. Since I never used the RAID volume I don't have any data to loose. I'm not sure with the hardware RAID controller if I can I move the disks around in the RAID volume and see if the failure sticks with the disk or the SATA port. Or is there some HD utility or something I can run on the single disk standalone.

Also, I bought all 4 oem WD drives at the same time through newegg. All drives are WD20EARS but 3 have the -00MVWB0 model extension and 1 has -00S8B1 model number extension. Intel RST also reported different firmware versions between the 3 vs 1 disk. Thought it was strange that the drives weren't all the same. The failed drive is one of the 3, not the odd duck out so it didn't seem like this should have any impact on the RAID volume or my disk failure.
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  1. It's a complicated issue, but I always recommend trying the simple tests first. Do you have another machine in which you can test the drives? Other drives with which you can test the mobo? At least try these drives as un-RAID in the same mobo.

    The basic idea is to isolate parts and see where the problem stays.

    Welcome to the Forums.
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