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I'm building a new streaming media server for HD playback over my local Gb LAN, but I've stumbled across a problem which is causing me a real headache.

The system is based around an ASUS A8R S939 OEM mobo, which has integrated video and 4 x SATA II ports with an onboard ULi M5287 RAID controller (f/w v1.22). The disks are 4 x Seagate ST3750640NS 750GB Enterprise H/D's. I'm intending to use FreeNAS as the O/S.

The drives are configured in SATA1 mode (150Mb/s) and are detected fine by the mobo's RAID. The problem I'm finding is, is that the drives will constantly spin up, then down again as soon as there's any period of inactivity. When configuring the RAID0 array, I'll add each drive, and hear it spin up, add it to the array, then it will spin down again. I can repeat this for each drive. When I eventually create the array, and install FreeNAS, the volume I create will perform fine during normal operation, but within seconds of any inactivity, the whole array will spin down. This is despite any 'power' settings I apply in FreeNAS. Once spun down, the drives won't come back up unless there is an I/O request to use them, but all this extra spinup/spindown cycles are surely causing extra stress on the drives.

There are no faults on any of the drives, and this 'problem' happens whether the drives are in RAID or JBOD mode. I picked up a couple of cheap NetCell Revo 64 3 port PCI SATA controllers recently as an alternative, but these have the opposite problem, SMART and power management doesn't work, so the drives NEVER spin down (not good on a box that's going to run 24x7!). I don't have another mobo with SATA ports to try at the moment, but I guess this is an option.

Anyone have any ideas?
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