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Puzzling Stability Issue...Caused by Bad HD's?

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May 4, 2011 8:32:06 PM

Hey Guys,

I apologize in advance for my perhaps amateurish questions and wall of text. I don't have a lot of experience with computers. I recently built my first work/gaming rig and most of the time it seems stable and runs fine. I have had problems running Starcraft 2, i.e. I will exit out of the game and there will be an error report from Blizzard as well as a message saying some Starcraft 2 files are corrupt. I have used the repair tool for the game a few times before when prompted, and the past couple times the tool said the game had been repaired successfully.

I have run several stress tests to try to rule out my hardware/OC settings (IBT max 20 runs, Prime95 small ffts 12+ hours, memtest86+ 7+ hours). My system has passed all of these stress tests, leading me to believe the problem is not with the RAM, CPU, or associated temperatures and voltages. I believe the problem lies with my HDs. A few weeks after building my comp, one of my HDs (I have 2 Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5", in RAID 1) starting clicking regularly, and after googling, it seems like there are a lot of people now having problems with this HD (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...). I know that the stress tests I have run do very little reading/writing to HDs, and I have also been told that games do very little reading/writing to HDs. Given the problems I have been having, this makes sense, because I don't get errors with SC2 every time I play, just sometimes. This makes me think some of the game files have been saved in bad sectors on one of the HDs.

I ran a chkdsk /r and have had slightly fewer problems now than I did before. I looked at the report from the chkdsk and it seems like everything is fine, but I am not entirely sure how to interpret a chkdsk report so I am not positive. Long story short, it seems like one of my HDs will fail soon, and I would like to know how best to:

(1) figure out if the problems I have been having with SC2 are due to a failing HD
(2) figure out which HD has been clicking and having problems
(3) set up a new storage system with 2, more reliable HDs (any recommendations? WD seems to make reliable HDs) in a RAID 0 configuration, with daily backups to the one Seagate I have that hasn't been clicking or having any problems.

Once I get my new drives, what would be the best way to transfer my data over to the new RAID? Do I need to delete the old RAID, reformat the one Seagate that actually works that I want to use as a backup, then change the format for the new HDs so that I can RAID them, then create the RAID and reinstall the OS (win7), and then finally somehow add the old Seagate as a backup?

Here's my hardware:
Lian-Li Armorsuit PCP50
Intel Core i5-760
Corsair Enthusiast Series 650W PSU
Asus P7P55D-E Pro
Cooler Master Hyper 212+
Corsair XMS3 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3-1600 (PC3 12800)
GeForce GTX 460 (2x, in SLI)
Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.0Gb/s (2x, in RAID 1)

Please let me know if you need any more information!

Thank you very much in advance for any pointers/suggestions/recommendations!
May 6, 2011 6:17:45 AM

(1) Sounds like you are right about the failing drive messing up your game
(2) Can you run a smart test on it through a programs such as speedfan? Does your bios display smart info? Can you physically feel the clicking if you touch the drives or unscrew the drives and hold them in your hand?
(3) I think a broken raid 1 should run with 1 of the drives disconnected so you can transfer backups. You are having a raid 1 fail and want to switch to raid 0??
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May 6, 2011 6:06:41 PM

ridinon0$ said:
(1) Sounds like you are right about the failing drive messing up your game
(2) Can you run a smart test on it through a programs such as speedfan? Does your bios display smart info? Can you physically feel the clicking if you touch the drives or unscrew the drives and hold them in your hand?
(3) I think a broken raid 1 should run with 1 of the drives disconnected so you can transfer backups. You are having a raid 1 fail and want to switch to raid 0??


Hey ridinon0$ thanks for the reply!

(2) I have run the short SeaTools Diagnostic, and that test found no errors. I haven't yet run the long diagnostic; I will run it this weekend when I have time. Based on what I’ve read online, it seems like some of the diagnostic tests won’t work due to RAID. I will also remove the drives from the hard drive bay, boot up the computer, and try to identify which of the two is clicking. I think once I identify which drive has been clicking, I will go ahead and try to RMA that drive, even if SeaTools doesn't find any errors. Where in the BIOS would SMART info be displayed, and what should I be looking for?

(3) So if one of my drives does fail soon, I will still be able to create a backup using the other? I’m thinking about getting two new drives that are more reliable than these Seagates, and I was thinking about putting them in RAID 0 for faster read/write times, and then backing them up to the Seagate that does work. Does this seem like a good idea?
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a c 375 G Storage
May 6, 2011 6:15:05 PM

In RAID 1, if one drive fails the system will continue to run on the remaining drive. Once the bad drive is replaced, the raid controller should sync the drives back up.

If you need to transfer to a new drive or raid, you can image the drive/raid then restore the image to the new drive/raid.
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May 10, 2011 7:16:04 PM

Hey guys,

Over the weekend I removed both of the drives from the hard drive bay and set them on the counter. I booted up the computer, and listened for unusual noises coming from the drives. Interestingly, both of the drives made the same amount of noise. I loaded Starcraft 2 and played for half an hour without any problems. Then, I put both drives back into the case, and reattached all the data and power cables. I booted the computer up, and it was very slow to boot. As the OS was loading, I got a "Memory Management" BSOD. I manually restarted the computer and was able to load windows normally. Intel Matrix Storage Manager then popped up and started a automatic scan to find and repair errors. It found close to 30 verification errors that were then repaired. Since SM finished finding and fixing errors, I haven't had any problems at all. I played a couple hours of Starcraft 2 last night with no problems.

From doing this, I suppose I can conclude that both drives are either:

(1) fine and just noisy, and Starcraft 2 is causing the problems, or
(2) failing, and Starcraft 2 is not causing the problems, or
(3) failing, and Starcraft 2 is contributing to the problems

It is also possible that the source of the problems is neither the hard drives nor the game. What troubleshooting steps would you guys recommend taking from here?

Thank you very much for your help.
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a c 375 G Storage
May 10, 2011 7:39:08 PM

If you only attached one drive at a time when you took them out or if you plugged the drives in the wrong ports when putting them back, the RAID controller would act to sync the drives back up. Anyhow, glad it seems to be working fine now.
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May 12, 2011 12:40:06 AM

Thanks for your answers guys! Keeping my fingers crossed that my machine will continue working without problems.
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May 12, 2011 11:58:03 PM

Best answer selected by ballalint.
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