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Multiple HDD Failures - Could it be the RAID???

Posted on 2009-07-06
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I have a RAID 5 (AMCC 9500S Controller) with 3 Maxtor 200GB SATA 150 7200RPM drives, and we've had 4 Hard drives fail in 3 1/2 years. Does anyone know if there is a way that I can determine if the RAID controller is causing the drives to fail?
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Question by:vossupport
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M_Intuit earned 250 total points
ID: 24786342
The magic number for maximizing harddrive longevity is 50-52 Celsius PEAK temperature.

Unfortunately there are a ton of ATX cases out there that run drives too hot and/or overheat them.  I've seen the problem with some laptops and 2.5" drives as well.  For laptops there is little you can do but for desktops I will either move the HD, mounting it to the bottom of the case or stick a fan on it.  (example in linked picture)

Primary Factors that lead to HD overheating:
A) whether the drive is directly exposed to airflow
B) whether the drive is mounted toward the bottom of the case (heat rises)
C) The drive has adequate direct contact area with the metal bracket its mounted on

Especially in configurations with multiple drives packed into a tight space, heat silently kills such devices well before their time.

http://img58.imageshack.us/img58/1699/harddrivemounta07y02m27tb9.jpg

Personally for my ancient XP PC (4 HDs) I use an older version of HDD Health v2.1; non-commercial freeware.  Properly setup, great about nagging folks when their HDs are getting too hot.

The four HDs are all Seagate and the earliest of which has been in 24/7 operation since 2002.
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by:ComputerTechie
ComputerTechie earned 250 total points
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Your raid card should have a diagnose software with it.
Make sure you are using the newest firmware and drivers for the card.

http://www.3ware.com/support/download.asp

You could test each of the maxtor drives with maxtor diagnose software and see if they really failed.

Also are you using enterprise drives they stan up better and have a longer lifespan.

CT
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by:M_Intuit
M_Intuit earned 250 total points
ID: 24786420
Other less likely contributing factors can be vibrations, shock, bad power or poor signalling either due to bad data cables or controller.  Also, a lot of people cheap-out on THE most important part of the PC... it's harddrive.  Spend the extra money and time to ensure that it is a quality drive with proper cooling.
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by:ComputerTechie
ComputerTechie earned 250 total points
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I agree I use enterprise harddrives and high quailty powersupplys I have seen too many takeout a server for something they could have spent a little more on.

CT
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