Raid 5 Critical Error

I have a client server with a hardware Raid 5 with 4 ea. 1 gig drives (WD black I think) and a 5th hot swappable drive.  All drives are same make and size.

I am not sure when it failed, likely Friday, 9/13/2013

When you boot, you get an error message during the boot:

ID= 01
Mode = Raid 5
ID Name = Raid5
ID Size = 3999.996
Status = Critical

The error can be seen in the attached photo.

I can click CTRL+F to go to the Raid menu.

It shows all the drives (4 raid, extra and dvd), it shows no errors on the drives.

The computer does boot, but at some point during the day, it will lock and stop functioning.  I do not know what the trigger is for the lock.  I have not yet witnessed it.

I suspect the RAID 5 itself is somehow corrupt or it could be a failed motherboard. The whole system is only a few weeks old.

The reason I think this is the raid itself:   I can find no info that indicates a drive has failed.  Plus, the hot swappable was previously invisible to windows (OS=Windows home server) and yet I can now see it as an unformatted drive in the computer management area (administrative tools) and windows explorer (My computer).

The motherboard is an Asus M5A99x EVO R2.0. The raid chipset is AMDSB950.

I have downloaded and tried the Raid Reconstructor.  It does not see the individual drives, only the 4 gig raid and the 1 spare drive.  so it was unable to tell me anything.

Critical information has been backed up.

What I need to know or figure out:

Is it a drive or the RAID array or the Motherboard?

If Drive, how do I get it to recognize what was suppose to be the hot swappable? How to put it into service and identify the bad drive and remove it?

If the RAID, how do I rebuild it without losing data?  While not the end of the earth to wipe and start over, I'd really rather not.  I did not set up the RAID previously.  I would likely return it to the vendor who did.

If the motherboard, will swapping it out and replacing it, fix it?

Thank you for your help.

Jerry ThompsonNetwork AdminAsked:
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there should be some raid software for windows that comes with the system, it will have an option to test the raid.
raid reconstructor will only see individual drives if you put them into another system.
WD1002faex drives are not meant for RAID 5.

Anything other than an enterprise class drive is a big mistake.

WD RE4'S ,Hitachi Ultrastars or Seagate ES are what you should be using.

RAID 5 chipset software sucks!
Do not use it if you want any type of data integrity.

Get a real hardware RAID card(LSI,Adaptec ) with a co processor and cache.

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Jerry ThompsonNetwork AdminAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your responses.

I returned the computer to the company that assembled/configured it.  All the equipment tested fine.  It looks like the array lost the hot spare and they could not re-insert it.

They are configuring it as a RAID 10.

Thank you for your input.
Jerry ThompsonNetwork AdminAuthor Commented:
While I appreciated the comments, they were not overly helpful.  They did not offer a solution, just pointed to things to consider.
First solution,get rid of those drives.
Second solution is to not use that RAID controller.

If you read any of the links.there is a recovery mechanism built into all modern drives that if it hits a bad or unreadable spot on the disk ,it will attempt to rewrite and reread that spot until it either recovers it or flags it as bad.

On desktop drives it can take anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds to respond,on RAID drives ,it's about 7.

In a HW RAID situation after about 7 seconds,the software says the disk has failed if it has not responded,it then marks it as bad or degraded.

That disk may or may not be bad,but once it has been flagged as such,it will need to be reinitialized and rebuilt .

If,in the rebuilding process,you have another false positive and you lose another disk during a rebuild ,you data becomes toast.

The ironic part of you problem is those WD Blacks drives cost the same as the WD RE's.

The performance is the same except the RE 'S,aside from the timeout tweak,have a higher CRC tolerance than the Blacks.

If you want to stick with those drives,then use the windows built in RAID and bypass the on board RAID altogether.
It's faster and more robust.

If you have server 2012,use the REFS built in to set up the disks.
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