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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys. I've been trying to diagnose several problems over the past few months with my 6 month old PC that I built in January. My latest thread on this besides this one is here.

While trying to troubleshoot all these problems, someone said to check power. So I downloaded SpeedFan, and sure enough the +5v was reading around 2-3v, and rarely making it in to the 4's. I know bad power can screw things up, so I replaced the Antec power supply with a PC Power & Cooling yesterday. To my dismay, the problem of things freezing every few seconds in WinXP was still there.

Also something that remained after the PSU upgrade was a kind of clicking and high pitch whine noise every few seconds. I thought it sounded like the motherboard, but I have evidence otherwise now.

I was running a PC Pitstop test on the machine last night after the PSU upgrade, and it seemed to check out OK, except on the disks. The disks portion showed a red flag, and here are some of the items it said:

- Clean up disk space (Drive D, E)
- Upgrade disk space (Drive D, E)
- Unusually low performance (Drive D)

So I click on "Unusually low performance"

Drive D has an uncached speed of 20 megabytes per second.

Drive E has an uncached speed of -3 megabytes per second.

For comparison, systems with the same CPU and clock speed as this one have a speed of 42.55 MB/s.
During the tests on the screen, when it said scanning drive E, I heard those clicking and high pitched noises. When it stopped scanning drive E, those noises went away. I"m guessing the drive is probably going bad, which is a shame because it's less than 6 months old (this is the 160GB). Any suggestions to save it?

I should also add that as part of my ongoing problems, about a week ago after I rebooted the machine once, it stopped recognizing one of my other drives. That one is the 60GB with tons of important stuff on it. I was thinking maybe it wasn't getting enough power because of the bad PSU, but now that it's got a premium 510 watt, it's still not being recognized. :confused:

Here is the PC Pitstop TechExpress link if anyone wants to have a look: http://www.pcpitstop.com/techexpress.asp?id=RS1ZNW06ZVQSKQJ6

My PC Specs are:
AMD64 3000+
Giga-Byte K8NS Pro
1.5GB Crucial Memory (Tested OK with memtest86 5 passes)
1 x Maxtor 60GB 7200RPM
2 x Maxtor 80GB 7200RPM
1 x Maxtor 160GB 7200RPM
TDK VeloCD CD Burner
Sony DRU500A DVD Burner
Sound Blaster Augidy 2 Platinum

Any other hardware parts to check for failure?

Thanks very much in advance for any help.
 

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Sounds like you have one or more failing hd. Have you run the hd diagnostic from the mfg yet?

The last time I looked maxtor's would not run on sata drives; that may have been fixed by now.
 

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Just running a diagnostic in and of itself should not hurt anything. There is a slight possibility that during the running of the diagnostic, [on a failing drive] that the drive could fail.

I would run the diagnostic with just one hd connected at a time. One of my own systems was giving me problems a while ago when one drive of a raid0 array started failing. It took some time to figure out since the utility [WD] would not run on drives connected to a raid controller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay I unplugged the two known working drives (because the suspected two were on the RAID controller).

I powered the machine on, and on the secondary channel listing of the BIOS screen (which is the 60GB that I said would not be recognized anymore), instead of seeing the drive, I saw tons of symbols that looked like sideways "L" letters. Turn the letter "L" 90 degrees to the right, and that's what it looked like (but several in a row).

It sat and hung at the BIOS screen for 30-40 seconds, then started to load the Maxtor utility. I let that sit for a few minutes, and it didn't load. I unplugged that drive, and it loaded right up.

It's currently doing tests on the E drive, which was the one that made that clicking noise last night, and throughout troubleshooting as well. It is NOT making clicks and high pitch whine noises during the tests now, but during AV scans last night and PC Pitstop it was. :confused:

It has passed the quick 90 second test, but it's doing the advanced one now.

-Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Okay well the E 160GB drive passed the long test as well.

I think to unplug the 160GB drive and plug in only the one that was showing the weird characters. When I plug it in, on the BIOS screen, it actually looks like an L rotated 90 degrees to the left, and then flipped upside down. So



Looks kind of like that, but several in a row.

Anyway, without the 160GB drive plugged in, it boots into PowerMax real quickly, however does not show up under their utility.

-Mark
 

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If that drive is connected to a sata or a raid card, maxtor's utility will not find it. I just checked their site and it is still pata ide only.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Right, I connected both the 160GB and 60GB to the primary IDE channel for testing.

The 160 checked out OK with the 60 (on the same cable) unplugged, so I unplugged the cable from the 160 and plugged the other part of the cable in to the 60GB to test (while still on primary IDE channel, not RAID).

Then it gave the weird symbols and was not detected in PowerMax.

-Mark
 

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Have you tried to slave the problem drive [60 gig] to another system?

You can copy important data and then zero fill the drive. If it still gives problems after that, I would see if you can rma it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Nope I haven't, however I can try that now.

Any ideas on the 160 gig making those clicking/high pitch noises when accessing files in XP (virus scans/spyware scans/PC Pitstop), but not in the diagnostic?

Could that be on the brink of going too?
 

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If you have anything important, then I would slave it and backup asap.

Your 160 drive may or may not be failing. Some drives just make more noise than others. I had two maxtors with ncq that were really loud [one drive failed after about 3 days]
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay I just took the 60 and put it in a low end 1GHz Sempron machine that I'm building for someone.

It recognized the drive just fine in the BIOS, and booting to Windows showed all my files. I have PowerMax running on that now, and might I add that even in that slow machine, it detected the drives in 10-15 seconds rather than a full minute on my AMD64 box.

So that leaves my main box somewhere being the problem. It's not the power, it's not the drive. With all the problems I've been having (here and here), I'm thinking maybe the motherboard or CPU? They are all less than 6 months old.

I can't exactly back up 150GB of stuff off that 160GB drive, as I don't have any more HD's. I don't know what to think on that 160 drive, because it doesnt make sounds when running diagnostics, but does when in Windows.

Thanks again for the help so far :)

-Mark
 

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I have never been a fan of gigabyte boards. I think someone else [maybe arcadion] stated that their shop had a near 90% failure rate with gigabyte boards and now do not install them.

I would guess you have a problem with the board rather than the cpu.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hmm. Well in the past, I've had nothing but good luck with Giga-Byte. I have 4 other PC's with Giga-Byte mobos besides this one (total of 5) and they've always lasted. :(

Is there anything else you can think of to check or anything before I RMA this (will take 3-4 weeks, and I can't be without my main PC that long).

-Mark
 

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Since you have already tested the memory, I would look VERY carefully at the caps on the board. See if any are discolored or bulging.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Okay I just looked over every single one with a flashlight, they all appear to be normal with no discolor.

By the way, the 60GB scan in the other box finished (the long scan). It checked out fine.

-Mark

EDIT: Another note, I"m not sure if I mentioned this or not, but every time I boot up Windows, it tries to perform a scandisk on the 160GB drive, even if Win was shut down properly. Is that a sign of anything?
 
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