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Dell Server running SBS 2003 + SATA Drive Issues

Posted on 2010-11-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I currently have a client server that I'm working on to increase the storage capacity of. It's a Dell PowerEdge 1800 with one of those PERC 4e SCSI/SATA Cards. I purchased a 1 TB Drive, formatted it, and began copying files. This is where the problems came into play.

I then started getting Write Delay Errors, and then the server would freeze more or less until I would unmount the drive. I thought that was strange. So I tried again. Same thing after a few minutes. I then figured, maybe this SCSI/SATA Card isn't doing the trick. So I got a PCI Silicon Image 3512 1-Port SATA Card. Installed it, found the drive fine. SAME PROBLEM in SBS 2003. I thought ok, maybe it's the drive. Went out to the store to pickup a new 1 TB Drive. Same exact problems on both areas. Only now, the stupid server wouldn't even let me format it. It would almost dismount the drive automatically before I had an opportunity to format it. I have absolutely no idea what the issue is. I've tried turning off the Write Cache for the drive, but that didn't fix it.

I've run SMART checks on the drives and it says they're fine. (2 Different brand drives were tried by the way). The OS Supports 1 TB Drives no problems since I hooked up a USB 1TB Drive for doing backups. I would like to not have to resort to an external enclosure for this drive as well...but I'm starting to lose faith in this server. I took over the company IT operations from another company who wasn't doing their job, so I can only imagine what's actually wrong with this thing.

I don't know if this could cause an issue, but I ended up having to get a 4-PIN Molex Extender since the cables were to short, and then put it into a 4-PIN Molex to SATA Converter. This server has two redundant PSU (approx. 650 W Each) and only (1) Intel XEON CPU.

Any thoughts or help would be appreciated.
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Question by:SBero
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markusdamenous earned 500 total points
ID: 34128199
I've had performance/freezing issues on a Dell Poweredge 860 with a built in Perc5 controller.  It is fine usually, but when you hammer the hard drives it crashes out completely.  Only thing to do is restart it.  Been through the motions with Dell, and the outcome was advised to upgrade to another Raid card.  They suggested their PERC one that goes in a slot, rather than the one on the motherboard.  But, your issue is definately with the Dell raid controller I would suggest.  You could purchase a decent SATA raid controller and rebuild the raid onto it, fair amount of work but definately possible.
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by:SBero
ID: 34128497
Yeah, I was thinking it was something conflicting with that RAID card. I know the drives work fine too, as I've brought them back to my office and formatted them and transferred 100 GB w/o issue. I will just go the USB Drive route as that system is unaffected by the RAID Issue. Their O/S is all on the SCSI Drives on the RAID Card as well...we're going to upgrade their server in the next 6 months to a year, so probably not worth going through the motions of rebuilding the array just to increase the storage capacity of the server.
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