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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I've had 8 hard drives die on me in a year. There is nearly nothing consistant with the setups that would cause problems either. I've had them in 5 different computers, 4 different mobos, different controllers, 3 different OS (98, 2k, XP). Had Western Digital 60gigs, Western Digital 80 gigs, and recently Maxtor 80gigs. The ONE thing they had in common was that I used them to capture video to, and they had alot of data being moved, copied, and deleted on them. I've had them in cases with tons of room, and plenty of air flow, I've had them crammed all together in a mid tower. I've tried about everything, the avg life span of a hard drive in my "video server" is about 3 months. This is getting a bit absurd, and expensive. Help!


Sean
 

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thats pretty strange.. WD and Maxtor quality should be pretty good. I currently use quantums and seagates and do alot of file copying as well.. havent had a failure in a while.


Are you using IDE Raid? What computer power supply do you have? If you can bear the extra cost.. you might want to consider going SCSI, as it seems to me that IDE drives recently are all about cost cutting...
 

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Do your drives and motherboard support "SMART" monitoring? If so, have you monitored their temperature using software like motherboard monitor?


How often are you moving/copying around data? Are the disks actively doing something 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
 

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You may very well have a bad power supply in your PC that is overvoltage on either the 5v or 12v output. If you have digital voltmeter (or multimeter) I would suggest the check the voltages on the power connector to the hard drive.


Ron Jones
 

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I would agree with work permit that heat is a likely culprit. You might try adding more fans/ventilation to your case.


If you are doing a lot of video work, you might want to defragment frequently since the drive mechanics work harder with a heavily fragmented drive.


Is the PC in any kind of unusual enviroment? High or low altitude, hot, cold, dry, damp, salt air, etc. Environmental factors can affect the life.
 

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Hi Sean,


I had 6 drives fry in a year, not quite your record but close. I'm going next for those 5400 rpm fluid bearing drives which don't overheat like the faster models. Hope it does the trick. Mine also were in different machines. Think they must design them that way for pretty new specs for sales purposes and borderline reliability in planning for future sales? Naw, all the other guys' drives last forever. ;)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Dizzy49
Okay, I've had 8 hard drives die on me in a year. There is nearly nothing consistant with the setups that would cause problems either. I've had them in 5 different computers, 4 different mobos, different controllers, 3 different OS (98, 2k, XP). Had Western Digital 60gigs, Western Digital 80 gigs, and recently Maxtor 80gigs. The ONE thing they had in common was that I used them to capture video to, and they had alot of data being moved, copied, and deleted on them. I've had them in cases with tons of room, and plenty of air flow, I've had them crammed all together in a mid tower. I've tried about everything, the avg life span of a hard drive in my "video server" is about 3 months. This is getting a bit absurd, and expensive. Help!


Sean
Sean,


Did they all have the same failure mode? If so, what was it?


Unless there is some common denominator to the different setups that you've had, I'm inclined to think that you've just had some amazingly bad luck. The four drives in my TiVos have been recording 24x7 for two years and those drives are from Quantum's low cost line.


Bob
 

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Quote:
You may very well have a bad power supply in your PC that is overvoltage on either the 5v or 12v output.
Good point. You can monitor voltages with motherboard monitor (no need for a volt meter). If you don't have it, get it

http://mbm.livewiredev.com/
 

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But first, make sure you have a temperature problem. Mother Board Monitor. Mother Board Monitor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I will check the temp of the drives. The power supplies were generic, ermamax, and a zalman. One of the generics was 250, others are 300w+.


As for some of the other things, no SCSI isn't an option. I have 4 80gig drives in a striped raid config. To do that with SCSI would cost me an arm, a leg, and some other cherished body part.


As for the run time, they are probably running 15-20 hours a day, almost 7 days a week. CPU load is 100% and I get the drives going as fast as they can.


I'll head over to motherboard monitor now to check it out. Thanks! I'll keep you posted!


Sean
 

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Any idea what temps your drives were running at? Mine are always below 30 degrees Celsius. To me it sounds like heat even though you say in some cases you had lots of room and good air flow most cases concentrate their cooling around the cards and processor leaving a nice hot pocket around your drive bays. The newer, faster drives run hot so I put temp sensors on all my drives and mount fans specifically to cool them. The least number of fans I use in a case are 5 and I even have one with 13. I currently use some of the drives you mentioned and I O/C the crap out of everything I run but I've never had a drive failure. Heat kills, don't be it's next victim.
 

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Hi guys,


Sorry to be going a bit off topic. My current computer (Athlon 700MHz, 384MB RAM, 20GB w/ Antec 300W PS) is acting a bit weird. When I turn it on, the HD LED light up, but nothing came up.. not even the BIOS. To turn it off, I have to unplug the power cable. Then if I turn it on again, it would load W2K halfway then crashed (when displaying the W2K logo). So I reboot again, and usually it works fine after that. But if I shutdown the computer again, then it's doing the same thing again. Any idea what's going on? I'm guessing that my PS is maxing out (although I think I have a regular configuration: 1 HD, 1 DVD, 1 CDRW, 3 80mm fan, sound card, video card, NIC, modem, about 8 USB peripherals and Antec is a pretty good PS). Or could it be a sign that my hard drive is about to go kaput? The hard drive is about 2 1/2 yrs old. If I leave the computer on, no problem whatsoever. Any ideas? Thks!


Joel
 

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The hard drives get run the most are those in Tivos. They are constantly writing video and most of the time reading it back. In the Tivo forums people report much less hard drive failure than this. Try asking in those forums, people are pretty helpful and very got LOTS of experience of working large drives pretty hard.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by JoelO
I'm guessing that my PS is maxing out (although I think I have a regular configuration: 1 HD, 1 DVD, 1 CDRW, 3 80mm fan, sound card, video card, NIC, modem, about 8 USB peripherals and Antec is a pretty good PS). Or could it be a sign that my hard drive is about to go kaput? The hard drive is about 2 1/2 yrs old. If I leave the computer on, no problem whatsoever.
Hmm.. thats pretty strange... your power supply should not be maxing out on that kind of load.. unless the USB periphs are using alot of energy. The fact that after you leave it on it works fine is kind of strange though.. perhaps you could try getting a HD or PSU at Frys, swapping it, and returning it if the problem persists?
 

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Hi guys,


Sorry to be going a bit off topic. My current computer (Athlon 700MHz, 384MB RAM, 20GB w/ Antec 300W PS) is acting a bit weird. When I turn it on, the HD LED light up, but nothing came up.. not even the BIOS. To turn it off, I have to unplug the power cable. Then if I turn it on again, it would load W2K halfway then crashed (when displaying the W2K logo). So I reboot again, and usually it works fine after that. But if I shutdown the computer again, then it's doing the same thing again. Any idea what's going on? I'm guessing that my PS is maxing out (although I think I have a regular configuration: 1 HD, 1 DVD, 1 CDRW, 3 80mm fan, sound card, video card, NIC, modem, about 8 USB peripherals and Antec is a pretty good PS). Or could it be a sign that my hard drive is about to go kaput? The hard drive is about 2 1/2 yrs old. If I leave the computer on, no problem whatsoever. Any ideas? Thks!


Joel


try to clear cmos reset it to default, if you are overclocking cpu , don`t overclock it

also see if there is update for you mobo bios

if this didn`t work, you`ll have to format drive then install everything over again. i know its a lot to put back every thing but , it will help, try not to put devices not going to use, thats a load on pc,

use good software for your system as far as third party.

this may help
 

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JoelO - Check to see which power rails are used by your mobo as input to the regulators used to feed the CPU and memory. For example, the ECS K7S5A draws on the +5.0 for the CPU and the +3.3 for the memory. This load, plus that of a decent 3D video card and the mobo itself, often will exceed the TCO (total combined wattage on the +3.3 and +5.0) capability of a "300W" PSU.
 

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If all these drives failed in different computers with different power supplies and different motherboards and cases, I don't think the power supply is the problem. I would seriously check the incoming power. I know that at some times of the day/night, the voltage from some providers will surge. If you could get a strip chart recorder and put it on one of your recepticles and leave it for a day or two you may be surprised at the variation in voltage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Don't think it's the incoming power either. I've been in 3 different places, two apartments and now my house. And the computers are spread throughout the house so they aren't even on the same circuits in the breaker box. I think the most likely thing is the heat. I installed motherboard monitor last night, and it looks neat, can't figure out how to get the temp from my drives with it, but it's still neat. Says my CPU is 89F right now. I took the drives out of the raid config, and tried to format them all seperately. One worked. I let them sit for several hours, I installed motherboard monitor, and when I rebooted, it allowed me to format them. My bios has never given me a problem with the last two, they are detected fine. I'm going to play with them tonight and see how they do. Anyone know how to get motherboard monitor to get the temp from the drives? Thanks!


You guys have been great, now someone want to tell me why my HTPC keeps rebooting with a IRQ_LESS_THAN error?


Sean
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Dizzy49
As for the run time, they are probably running 15-20 hours a day, almost 7 days a week. CPU load is 100% and I get the drives going as fast as they can.


Sean
Hi Sean,


Are the drives actively seeking 15 to 20 hours a day? If so, you may just be burning out your ATA drives. TiVos use a propriatory file system that minimizes fragmentation and maximizes long sequential transfers. I rarely hear my Tivos' drives seeking (just the steady whirring of the spindles), even when I'm watching a previously recorded show as I record another .


In normal home PC usage, an ATA drive leaves the heads in the park position with the read current off (low power consumption/generation) unless an Application requests data. After long periods of inactivity, the OS spins the drive down. If your video editting application has your drives actively seeking that many hours a day, then they are generating a lot more heat than they would in standard home usage. Try active cooling on the drives (drive sleds with built in fans or those aluminum hard drive coolers).


I think that your application may be too much for ATA drives. High end workstations and servers use SCSI drives because they are built to handle data intensive applications like yours. (Industrial Light and Magic uses 10K RPM SCSI drives for their digital editting.)


Regards,

Bob
 
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