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bbeermat

Can bad ATA controllers cause drive clicking?

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A Hitachi 7K250 160GB was attached by itself to the Promise PATA port. Around 3 months after the system was put together, the drive would make the dreaded click-click-click when powering from cold if it was used to hold the page file.

Removing the page file from there seemed to stop the clicking problem, but sometimes BSODs would occur relatively about once a day.

Uninstalling and Reinstalling the drivers for the 378 would stop the problem for a few days, then the same thing starts to happen.

As of yesterday, the 7K250 is now a Slave to an identical drive on the Primary IDE controller of the ICH5R. So far no clicks and no BSODs. Before I was thinking I had to RMA the drive, but now I'm not so sure. So it's either the drive, the Promise controller, or somehow the drivers for it are being corrupted. Any ideas? :huh:

Fingers crossed it isn't the Promise chip as that would mean being without the motherboard while I wait for a replacement! That would be too painful a proposition.

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It sounds like that drive might be developing marginal sectors. Have you checked the temperatures of that drive? I would also recommend checking SMART values like "reallocated sectors", "pending reallocated sectors", "raw read errors", and "seek time". Those should tell you (if the drive reports them accurately) if you are having sector problems. I would also use a diagnostic boot-floppy to do a full surface-scan of the drive, to check for bad sectors.

I've found in the past, that at least with the 75GXP and 14GXP that I had, that allowing IBM drives to get too warm tends to make them "lose" sectors much more easily. I try to keep all of my drives under 40C idle, 45C peak load. Much above 50C is when my 75GXP started to lose sectors.

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best is to run hitachi diagnostic program. see if it picks up any problem with the drive. hdd will develop bad sectors (soft or hard) which will alarm the diagnostic program. reformat hdd will get rid of soft error. replacing the hdd for hard errors.

bad memory or bad controller will also cause BSOD. to test your controller/cables, the easy way is copy a large file (600-1G divx) from one folder to another. then use "fc /b file1 file2" in cmd(command prompt in windows) . if u found mismatch in files. u have a problem.

d/l memtest86 to check memory.

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Well I've run the Hitachi Drive Fitness Test and it turned up no errors. I was under the impression that S.M.A.R.T. was not accurate, sometimes reporting errors on flawless HD's, and not reporting errors on HD's with problems.

I tried the 'file compare' test which also returned no errors. Note that this and the DFT was conducted with the suspect drive still connected to the shared channel on the ICH5R. So that is an indication it is the Promise378, the PATA cable connected to it, or the driver. Would you agree with that? Still I won't be convinced the BSODs are gone until a couple more days of Blue Screen free days.

Drive temps should not be a problem as they have a 12CM intake fan blowing across them and they hover between 30 and 35°C.

I used memtest86 recently which also returned no errors, but I only ran it for a few hours, completing 3-4 passes. Possibly not enough to reveal memory errors right?

Thanks for your words of wisdom. Don't stop now!! :)

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After all that it seems the problems were a result of a bad PATA cable. The HD is now running off the Promise378 with a different cable with no issues. :)

There is the question of S.M.A.R.T values however as SIGuardian 1.7 comes up with alerts for changing spin-up times and Seek-Error rates, and not only for the drive in question. Are these anything to worry about?

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One question: did you patch that 7k250 with the Hitachi tech support firmware fix? The one that is supposed to cut down on the 'meow' sound that the drives make?

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