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promise 20376 raid drives, going Offline randomly

Posted on 2004-08-09
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
I have a new MSI K7N2 Delta-ILSR mobo with onboard Promise 20376 raid controller.  The board has two SATA plugs, and supports 2 seperate IDE 133.

I've setup the new machine to use two WD SATA Raptor 10000rpm, 76gb drives for RAID 0, using the built in Promise controller.  The setup is not done in the bios itself, but in the automatic utility that follows on every bootup.

I installed the system fine, set up the array, and installed a fresh copy of windows XP smoothly.

The problem is that the raid array randomly goes offline, usually after a few hours of use and a couple reboots.  Sometimes it will occur after a winxp system crash (not sure what's crashing, if it's the raid or another issue-- it's a blue screen of death and automatic reboot).  

On reboot, the raid is offline, and in the raid uliity it shows one of the two drives still in the array, and one of the drives is marked as "FREE".  They should be be in the array for it to work.  The only known solution I have now is to delete and recreate the array and reintall XP, which is obviously not possible every few hours.

Since the machine and all parts are new I would like to think it isn't the hardware. Is anyone familiar with this problem or a solution?  

Thanks for any insight.
 
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Question by:blinkie23
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by:Callandor
ID: 11756952
Actually, since the parts are new, there is a chance that they are defective.  Only after you've exchanged them would I say it was unlikely.  You should be able to test the drives separately in a non-RAID configuration to see if it is the drives or the motherboard.
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by:blinkie23
ID: 11757072
OK. That is a good troubleshooting method. So I should install:

xp on SATA drive 1, non raid.
xp on SATA drive 2, non raid.

I can do that, but if they both work ok without dropping the drive the OS is on, what does that say about the RAID failure?  Can you suggest any more scenerios to test?
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by:Callandor
ID: 11757141
Those two tests should verify whether the drives work normally.  Whether they are in a RAID array or standalone doesn't change their basic operation, unless you just want to hook them up as master and slave and see if they can work together.  There's no need to go further because at this point, the problem would be on the motherboard, and it would have to be replaced.
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by:blinkie23
ID: 11757298
Well put. I'll try this.  I guess I thought it was normal for RAID to go offline every few hours...
Since they are SATA, there is no master/slave and that will save some possible configurations.


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by:blinkie23
ID: 11763981
I tested the drives as single drives, installing XP on each one in term, and using them for a couple hours just to see what happened.  They each ran smoothly without a single crash.  

Strangely, I found no way to set up single SATA drives on the Promise SATA controller without doing a single drive RAID array.  (1 striping drive at RAID 0 doesn't make any sense, but it worked)  I could set up 2 single drive arrays if I wanted to seperate drives.

I then gave the 2 drive RAID 0 array another attempt.  Within 10 minutes of the install it was crashing.  I couldn't even keep it going long enough to download some new board drivers as a test.

Should I assume the mobo is defective, and consult the vendor (NewEgg) or manufactor about a replacement?

Thanks
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Callandor earned 100 total points
ID: 11765113
Assume the motherboard is bad.  Newegg has very good return policies, so go to them first, and they should get you a replacement.
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by:blinkie23
ID: 11765558
Thanks
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