How long should it take to format my RAID 5 Array?

I am using a 3Ware 9500S-8 controller with 128MB of RAM, 4 SAMSUNG EcoGreen F2 HD154UI 1.5TB hard drives, RAID 5 w/ GUID partition, Windows Server 2008 R2, core2 proc w/ 2GB RAM, GUID. Latest firmware/drivers are installed. All drives have gone through a low level scan through the Samsung drive utilities. I thought it was a bad drive when the 3ware software started throwing sector errors on drive #3 after 4 days of formatting, but I replaced that drive and it is still taking forever. In 10 hours it's only 3% complete (guessing about two weeks until my format is done). A friend of mine has the exact same model card, drive models, number of drives, and firmware/driver version, and his format took about 2-3 days. Any guesses as to what is going wrong?
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
You can re-initiate the process. Another poster with similar issue reported that restarting the process made it work faster.
10DayWuAuthor Commented:
I though that might be the issue too, and I've tried to be pretty systematic about troubleshooting. I've broken the array, rebuilt, and reinitiated after each change that I have made, whether that's changing hardware, updating software or changing settings. I've put several 24 hour sessions into formatting with similar results.
BIOS problem.  Get a BIOS update to fix this ridiculous problem.  If not fixed, throw the MB away.  At that level of non-performance, you should not suffer this BS.  If a RAID array is not done in 30 mins, it is NOT worth suffering.  Get an ASUS NVidia MB and IBM-Hitachi drives, and you will see the max performance.  Samsung drives are probably the worst for reliability -- although WD is fairly close to them regarding failure.

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what DMA mode is the drive running in ?   check in the bios
Bottom line, the problem is your choice of disk.  They will never work for you behind a RAID controller.  

First the disk is 5400 RPM.  They are consumer drives, and, the biggie, these drives go into an energy savings mode.    They also have acoustic mode that trades performance for sound.  The disks may be going into standby mode.

Samsung specifically lists other disks as being suitable for RAID.  This disk is listed under desktop.  The full specs on error recovery timing are not available online.

You have a chance that if you disable acoustic mode, and can manage to turn off the "green" then it will not be too horrible.  Personally, I would NOT put these disks behind a RAID controller. It is a mistake.

Plus, I *love* this marketing spin from their datasheet, "... This best-in-class areal density per platter enables Samsung to achieve a 1.5 TB drive with only 3 platters. With fewer heads and disks, the F2EG has a statistically lower probability of head-disk failures and enables designers to build more reliable computing systems."  Yes they want user to think that it is a good thing that you only have 3 platters, because it is reliable.  Heck, why not go to just one platter, that would be 3x more reliable.  Who cares about performance :)
Followup - I found some diags for the disk. I didn't bother to install them.  There *MAY* be a way to make the disk noisy and power-hungry by turning off the green.  Enable write cache if you can, and if you have a UPS/BBU.   The utility can also run diagnostics, but they won't work with the 3WARE in any sort of RAID mode.   Link is here.
10DayWuAuthor Commented:
I've run the utilities and turned off the Automatic Acoustic Management for each drive. We'll see of that does anything.

looks like all of the max UDMA mode on all of the drives is set to SATA 300

running the most recent version of the BIOS for my RAID card
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