I have a recently purchased Clevo D900F with the following specs:
Core i7 - 960
12GB 1333mhz RAM
3 x 500GB - Seagate ST9500420AS in RAID-0
Intel ICH10R Raid Controller
GeForce GTX 280M (1GB)
I am running Windows 7 Ultimate as well as Fedora 12 (Dual boot) - The problem exhibits itself in both operating systems
The issue is as follows:
While I am working on the system (MAINLY when I am using desktop apps - rarely does this occur in games, but it does from time to time) the drive will make a noise (and also show steady activity) and sometimes the system will pause when it does. The behavior is sporadic, and usually abates after happening a few times. As I write this it is happening regularly, maybe ~30 second intervals.
The noise is not harsh like a "click", rather like a drive coming out of idle... almost like a gear shift noise with an almost liquid sound to it. Immediately following that is a light "click" for lack of a better term. It's not a hard, sharp click... quite soft.
I have been in touch with Malibal (the vendor) tech support, and they had me run some diagnostics (out of the Intel RAID manager) most of the tests aren't available, but I did the short and the long with 0 issues.
I have turned write-back caching on to see if that would help, no dice. I have run several other health checks in Linux as well as Windows, and nothing shows up as problematic at all. Drive performance is phenomenal. I have DD'd each partition off (~1.3TB) to an E-SATA drive, etc... this is not an issue when the drives are actually being used (no clicky).
So, this leads me to believe that perhaps because there is so much RAM that nothing ever gets paged and something weird is happening. I have set the drives to never spin down in Linux with hdparm, to no avail. I have set swappiness to 10, etc.
I am attaching a screenshot of my current system utilization. When I run multiple VMs with a lot of things going on, it will page a tad. This is usual running state.