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Re-building homebuilt PC due to catastrophic failure

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November 22, 2010 12:15:08 AM

Ok, I'm sure someone here can get me on track on what I need to do to prevent this catastrophic failure from happening again so i'm welcome to any and all opinions. Just not the negative ones.

What I have now:

XFX 680I LT SLI socket 775 Motherboard
Intel Quadcore Kentsfield 2.4Ghz Q6600 CPU
2 Corsair TWINX 2048MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz E.P.P.
4 500GB WD Caviar Blue Se 7200 RPM SATA 3.0 GB's/Sec16 MB cache HDD's - 1 with OS on it just died
2 ZOTAC GeForce 8800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Cards
1 x Hauppauge Dual TV Recorder Tuner Card with Media Center Remote Control WinTV-PVR-500MCE 253 PCI Interface
1 x LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model LH-20A1L-06 LightScribe Support
1 x SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S203B - OEM
1 x Microsoft Windows XP Media Center 2005 SP2B for System Builders - OEM
Ultra Aluminus Black Mid Tower with 700w XVS PSU
1 x ZALMAN MFC2 Muti Fan Controller with Zalman CPU Fan With 70mm Fan & 2 120MM Case Fans.

Ok, so here's the scoop. Recently my main hard drive with my OS on it failed. Not sure why as I have never had a WD HDD fail on me before but it's got the click-click-click of death right now. Haven't backed up since June. AAARRRGGGHHHH!

The MOBO above does have a RAID controller on it but I have heard on-board RAID controllers are very unreliable so I never set it up.

I am trying to prevent data loss again and don't want any more down time so here's what I was thinking about to re-build my system.

Scenario 1: RAID1 Config on MOBO controller with 2x 2TB HDD's and a program to do automatic backups for me.

Scenario 2: RAID1 Config on seperate card with 2x 2TB HDD's and a program to do automatic backups for me.

I don't have a tone of money to spend here but I can tackle what I need to if it's worth the $.

If I should go with the seperate RAID card, what's the one I should get.

I also want to know what is the best backup software for everything. I want it to backup for me automatically and I don't ever want to go through re-installing everything again.

I was also wondering if this could be a heat issue. Should I upgrade my system to a liquid cooling system with the fans still in place? If so what cooing system would be recommended? I would want it to cool at least my PSU and HDD's.

While I know this is a lot to ask but I trust no other site to ask questions on as I have gotten the best help from here in the past so please respond as soon as possible.
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
November 22, 2010 2:09:01 AM

if you set up RAID 1 you have an exact copy ,created in real time, of your drive


and you want to back that up as well?

then IMO use an external drive , and only plug it in when you have to to protect from power spikes
November 22, 2010 2:47:12 AM

That really didn't answer my questions as I have several, but, thanks for the imput.

Can you add anything else, like whether to use on-board raid and what backup software to use?
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 22, 2010 2:59:50 AM

First, - a simple question. Can you put the windows installation disk in and get to the repair part? If so you should go into that and try the chkdisk. It sounds like the disk has some bad sectors and this can usually repair it. If not permanently, then at least long enough to get your unbacked up data from it.
What is on your other HDD's? Are they full of data? Can you create a partition on one of them and install an OS in that partition? Just the operating system, then you could run chkdisk from there. I'm asking because I've had it save peoples hard drives on several occasions when theirs were doing the same thing, well, making the same noise anyway. If you have a friend with a computer that can attach your drive as an extra then he/you can run chkdisk that way - that's how I've done it in the past.
I don't think it's a heat problem. Do you have the case fans in a push/pull configuration? One in front and one in back? Looks like plenty of room in that case and the fan in front blows right on the HDD's so you should be good there. Is there also a fan installed on the side window? It looks like room for one but I think you only mentioned the two case and the Zalman. Are you overclocking anything? You didn't mention it but I thought I'd ask just in case.
If you don't trust the mobo raid controller buy a card. Sorry I won't suggest one cause I don't know much about them but I'm sure someone will. So I would go with Scenario 2 but If your running in RAID 1 you shouldn't need backup software since the RAID 1 IS a backup - exact duplicate of your running hard drive.
Your other choice for a back up is to buy a 500GB external portable hard drive, (size is up to you but your current HDD is 500 so I just went with that), they usually come with backup software installed. Plug it in, run the backup everyday. That should save you from losing anything if this were to happen again.
The only other thing I can think of is your PSU. Have you done a power draw test to see if the 700Watts is enough. HERE is a link to see if what you have is enough.
November 22, 2010 3:20:06 AM

According to that website 650 is enough (that's with 5 hard drives not 4) so that should be okay cause' I have 700watt psu.

I haven't tried chkdsk but there is a lot of info on the other drives and I don't have another PC to use right now except my lappy.

I Thought about using an external drive on lappy to try to do a file transfer but I need an exact image off of the drive and I think lappy is too slow. I am just going to try to throw the old drive in the freezer and see what I can get off of it that way after I get the PC back up and running. If I can get an exact copy of it off then I'll jsut have to worry about getting it into the Raid array after that.

Does restoring from a back up re-install programs and such as they were? Never had to do one before.

I'm not overclocking anything and the fans I listed are all that's there. I have not tried the side fan YET, but, I will.

The only reason I still want a backup of drives is for errors and security. If I get a virus on one drive in Raid1 then it's on the other drive as well.

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a b B Homebuilt system
November 22, 2010 3:55:26 AM
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Well - uh, you are on the close side with that PSU so you might want to start looking for an upgrade - beside the point right now though
I would try the install disk repair function first if you have the os disk. If not and you have a few days you can buy a used drive from ebay and do as I suggested - install an operating system on that and run chkdisk. HERE'S a man. referb for only $40 and it's 500 GB's. The reason I keep suggesting this is because in the past it has saved people a lot of money and their information. And I would like to see you save yours if I can. Another thing you can try is if your lappy is crappy and it has the same type of connectors as your computer you can put that in there and wipe and reinstall or create a partition on that one and do it. I don't know what you have on it but I figured I mention it.
As far as I know you are correct about the virus being on the raid copy also but if you do daily backups with a different drive thru software you will be doing the same thing. When you access the drives back and fourth it will travel from one to the other and back. If your data is that important to you, (as everyone's usually is) then I would recommend a good firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware. Best one I've found and use is Zonealarm Security Suite 2010. It has all three wrapped in one and works great for me. Like I said, I use it and I've never had any problems with 'em.

As for the temps and fans, if you download and run OCCT (that you can get here for free), it will give you current temps on your cpu and the video cards. Just to give you an idea of the temps in your case this will be a good indicator.
November 22, 2010 4:11:06 AM

Unfortutely, when I tried to access the disk before I just got an error stating "Error Loading OS" so I don't think the chkdsk will work but I will definately try as soon as I can.

Let me make sure I understand what you're saying, buy another drive (brand new only $54.99) and install an OS on it and then try to hook up the old drive as a storage device and chkdsk it that way?

How will that stop the clicking thing? You're thinking it could just be an error on the disk?

When I did try the repair function of the OS disk I just got a stop error (stop: 0x0000007b) before I could even get to that point. Very soon after I boot to the disk it gives me this problem.

Any other suggestions there?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 22, 2010 12:52:23 PM

Quote:
Let me make sure I understand what you're saying, buy another drive (brand new only $54.99) and install an OS on it and then try to hook up the old drive
as a storage device and chkdsk it that way?
Yes, You can get a used one for about $20 on ebay. The new one you mentioned will be fine of course, but if you're going to spend that kind of money make sure you can use it as a replacement in case the fix I'm suggestion doesn't work. You shouldn't have the same trouble with it being a spare drive because it doesn't have to be accessed for anything. Fixing drive errors that way has been known to stop the clicking. I have done it several times myself. One I did that with several years ago and it's still working fine. There is no guarantee it will work, (which is why I cheaped out on a used one), just a way that has solved that problem in the past for me. There is also the possibility that even after you repair the drive you may not be able to use it without reformating and reinstalling anyway. Here is a couple reasons that you might get that error code - You may receive a "Stop 0x0000007B" error message in the following scenarios:

* A device driver that the computer boot controller needs is not configured to start during the startup process.
* A device driver that the computer boot controller needs is corrupted.
* Information in the Windows XP registry (information related to how the device drivers load during startup) is corrupted.
There are quite a few reasons for that code so this is just an example. If you want to read this article it will list them for you and try to troubleshoot.
November 22, 2010 4:26:34 PM

If it were just as simple as a chkdsk one would think I would still be able to at least do that by starting from the OS disk.

It's still definately worth the try though.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 22, 2010 4:46:08 PM

Yeah, first time it happened to me it was my 80 GB drive and I just knew it was busted but not why. So I bought a nice new 250GB sata drive for $100, man it was the shipt. Got my new one in and installed my xp and everything was good. Just to play around I attached my 80 back up and started playing with it and one of the things I did was the chkdisk and boom!!! it was repaired. Been working ever since. When people tell me theirs is clicking and not booting that's the way I've fixed it for them. Took it out of theirs and stuck it in mine. Bring it up in my comp and run chkdisk and it usually works. Only once when if finished and repaired the bad sectors did someone lose all their info. But I did a format and put it in their machine and did a reinstall and it worked.
November 22, 2010 4:52:24 PM

That just doesn't make sense how nobody else has ever suggested anything like that.

I've been told about the chkdsk with the OS disk, but, removing the drive and placing in another machine to chkdsk has not been suggested.

All I can do for now though is wait until my new 2tb hard drives show up and then try it.

Know of a good, easy to use, imaging software to make an exact copy of the drive if I can get the info off?

a b B Homebuilt system
November 22, 2010 6:59:36 PM

I've used the older version a couple of years ago. Acronis® True Image™ Home 2011. You might can find it cheaper elsewhere, this was just a quick link so you could see what I'm suggesting
November 27, 2010 7:55:14 PM

Ok, so I went to play with PC and make for sure the problems I am having are not from somewhere else and sure enough I find out that my hard drives do still work. All I did wasswitch around the power cables and the hard drives (all of them came back).
Can somebody tell me what to do now? How do I isolate where the problem is if I can't get it to repeat itself?
I had already tried that once before but this time I stripped the PC down to just the bare stuff and started adding back and the problem never had came back yet.

So, my question is, how do I find out what's going on? Or do I just wait till it happens again?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 27, 2010 10:06:53 PM

Go ahead and make your copy image and enjoy it until the problem comes back. Maybe you just didn't have something plugged in all the way.
November 28, 2010 3:12:10 AM

That's the weirdest part. I did that several times already to no avail and then all of a sudden its working now. Ooh well, I guess i'll have to wait till it happens again.

Do you think it's a possible PSU prob? Or maybe just a cable?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 28, 2010 2:55:47 PM

May still wanna think about upgrading the power supply. Pulling quite a lot of juice with 4 hard drives I would think.
November 29, 2010 12:08:05 AM

With the zalman fan controller I have it also monitors the Power draw and I have yet to ever get it above 500w draw. I have thought about replacing with a 1000W PSU just for future proofing but overkill is overkill.

No way to tell if the cables i am using are fluctuating w/o buying an expensice meter?

It's a modular PSU so I thik I am going to start by replacing the power lead that seems to be having trouble. It only has done it this once and not again but I don't want to burn out a drive by underpowering it. Is that possible?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 29, 2010 1:18:09 PM

I will say its possible to blow a motherboard by not getting clean juice so its your call.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 30, 2010 4:58:10 AM

Honestly....Not a fan of coolmax. They might make decent stuff..... but I know when I was in microcenter looking at power supplies, their supplies just did not seem to have the same weight and heft to them that made me feel like they were quality units. I dont know that personally i would be comfortable using one or recommending them to my customers. If you can, i would seriously consider cancelling your order and grabbing an antec or corsair, ocz seems decent too. That unit may do ok for you, but I dont know that I would run a coolmax, thats just my opinion though.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 30, 2010 9:38:55 AM

ohiou_grad_06 said:
Honestly....Not a fan of coolmax. They might make decent stuff..... but I know when I was in microcenter looking at power supplies, their supplies just did not seem to have the same weight and heft to them that made me feel like they were quality units. I dont know that personally i would be comfortable using one or recommending them to my customers. If you can, i would seriously consider cancelling your order and grabbing an antec or corsair, ocz seems decent too. That unit may do ok for you, but I dont know that I would run a coolmax, thats just my opinion though.


While i agree with your comment about Coolmax, the weight of a PSU has no bearing on its quality. A lot of people think that more heavy components in a PSU means better power control when it's actually the quality of the power regulation circuitry that most affects the quality of a PSU, and those weigh next to nothing in comparison to the coils and the main capacitor.

Anyway, go for either Antec, Corsair, Silverstone or OCZ for your PSU.
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
November 30, 2010 1:45:50 PM

Griffolion said:
... the weight of a PSU has no bearing on its quality. A lot of people think that more heavy components in a PSU means better power control when it's actually the quality of the power regulation circuitry that most affects the quality of a PSU, and those weigh next to nothing in comparison to the coils and the main capacitor.

Mostly disagree. It's not about better power control. It's about better overall quality. Heavier heatsinks, heavier coils and transformers, more components, and heavier wire all add up. Look at all the PSU's with good regulation that fail catastrophically when operated at their maximum rated power. Raidmax comes to mind.

Show me a 400 watt PSU, weighing substantially less than a Corsair 400CX, that is as good as a 400CX and I'll change my mind.
November 30, 2010 8:23:23 PM

Can anyone tell me what they think of this supply?

It's not east to find a good deal on a modular 1000 watt PSU for a Q6600 with 2 Zotak 8800 gt's in SLI and 5 hard drives.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Will this power the Q6600?

Specs:
Model: ABT-1000MA1S
Special cable management system
Comply with Intel ATX/BTX standard
Two PCI express connectors (6 pin)
Two PCI express connectors 8 pin (6 + 2 Pin)
Eight SATA connectors
One bottom blue led fan (150 x 150 mm)
Support Intel Core Duo CPU & Core 2 Duo CPU
Support AMD 64 CPU & 64x2 CPU
Support High Performance Nvidia SLI GPU
ATX 12V Ver.2.92
AC Input 115 & 240V (Full Range Active PFC)
Output gold-coated connector
Output over / under voltage protection
Output short protection
Nickel-Plated
Six 12V rails.
Aircraft style modular connectors
Built in auto fan-speed sensor
80 Plus™ Bronze Certified
NVIDIA® SLI™-ready certified
3 Year Warranty

Maximum power: 1000 Watts
Frequency range: 60 ~ 50Hz
Input waveform: Sine wave, modified sine wave or square wave
Input maximum current: 115~240 Vac: 15A
Withstand voltage: Input to output 1800Vac 3 sec
Input to ground 1800Vac 3 sec
Efficiency: Up to 86%
Overpower protection: 105%~150%
Over voltage protection: +5V output is between 5.7V to 6.5V
+12V output is between 13.2V to 14.4V
+3.3V output is between 3.7V to 4.1V
Under voltage protection: +5V output is between 3.3V to 3.7V
+12V output is between 8.5V to 9.5V
+3.3V output is between 2.0V to 2.4V
Unit dimension: 7 1/16"(180 mm) L x 5 7/8"(150 mm) W x 3 3/8"(85 mm) H
Unit weight: 9 lbs (4083g) / unit
MTBF: 100,000 hours under the following conditions full-rated load, 120Vac input, and 25C ambient
Switches: ATX Logic power rocker switch
Fan size: 1 - 140 mm x 140 mm x 25 mm bottom blue led fan
a b B Homebuilt system
December 1, 2010 1:59:57 PM

Im just gonna say do what you want, but the coolmax would not be my first choice, would not really be my choice either. If you want to save cash maybe grab an ocz fatality or even an 800 watt corsair.
December 1, 2010 2:10:43 PM

Don't get me wrong by any means. I HIGHLY value the opinion of the vets on this site. I was just hoping I could find some insight or be enlightened in the matter.

The PSU you recommend would be fine but I was hoping to future proof for a few extra dollars. I was hoping not to spend more than $150-$200 and get a modular PSU of 1000-1200 watts that's still going to be reliable. PSU problems can cause' a variety of PC problems that i'd really rather not deal with at all.

So anybody have any recommendations on a 1000-1200 watt modular PSU for $150-$200?
a b B Homebuilt system
December 2, 2010 2:25:02 AM

Maybe something like this one?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Check out the Thermaltakes, Antecs, see what you think. The one above is modular as far as I see, and has 6 12 v+ rails, 2 at 35 amps, and 4 at 20 amps. So should be decent. I would definitely go look on google. But if you want to stay around 150, that might be ok, however I'll let other guys chime in, as they may have better insight. I will say though, you might even look at some of the 800-1000 watt models from Antec, Corsair, etc, as sometimes good power supplies are very efficient and can save you a little cash.
December 8, 2010 10:58:26 PM

Best answer selected by paulbelk.
December 9, 2010 11:57:07 AM

This topic has been closed by Maziar
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