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Hard drive overheat causes lockup in apps including BIT?

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  • Hard drive overheat causes lockup in apps including BIT?


    I have just bought the BIT standard edition, as I have been having heaps of stability problems with a new PC I built two weeks ago. The PC has as the main components an Athlon 64 3500+ CPU, ASUS A8N-E mainboard, ASUS X1600XT graphics card and 1 Gb of dual channel RAM.

    I actually built two of these machines - both virtually identical (one for me and one for Mum). The only real differences between the two is that I recycled some old parts in my machine (the power supply, but it's a good Enermax 485 watt), the RAM and my 2 x 3 year old WD Raptor drives (in a RAID 0 array). Mum's computer uses identical parts but they are all brand new. Other than that, her machine has just one Raptor drive, but come Vista, I'll be setting up a mirrored array on her machine. Her machine is currently 100% stable without any issues whatseover.

    My machine shows symptoms of locking up, requiring a power reset in order to perform a re-boot. At first I thought the problem was related to the graphics card, since originally all my stability tests had just been 3D applications such as 3D Mark, the ATi Toyshop demo and some games where I could loop replays (i.e GT Legends).

    After testing what I could by swapping parts between myself and Mum's machine, I began to suspect the problem could be something else entirely (my graphics card worked perfectly for 24 hours of the Toyshop demo on her machine).

    I've since decided that I should buy a new power supply and RAM for my machine and I've installed those (with no change to the stability problem, however the voltages and voltage stability seem to have improved markedly).

    This morning, after buying the BIT Standard Edition, I was actually quite "happy" to see my computer freeze after a mere few hours testing, when I wasn't even testing the 3D graphics at the time.

    What was even more interesting though, was the state of one of my old Raptor hard drives at the time the machine froze when running BIT. Now I realise these drives run hot, but I had this drive out of the case and had some air flowing over it. Nevertheless, the drive was incredibly hot (noticeably hotter than the other Raptor in the array) and I remember thinking that no consumer hard drive could possibly work at those sorts of temperatures. The again, perhaps this was indeed the way Raptors are, since I know SCSI drives are almost too hot to touch at times.

    I then began to suspect that either I had one or two dodgy Raptor drives, or that the RAID Controller on my Nforce4 Ultra chip was dodgy.

    I susbsequently disconnected the two Raptor RAID drives and connected a brand new WD1600YD hard drive as a single drive (and disabled the RAID in the BIOS).

    I then ran a short BIT test for 4 hours without any problems at all. I will run the tests for longer down the track - but only once I feel closer to solving the problem.

    So my questions are:

    1. Has anyone known a faulty hard drive (or an overheated one) to cause the PC to simply freeze up? I guess in hindsight this might be possible, since I know that if an IDE cable works lose, for example, the PC might freeze up.

    2. What would be the best way to differentiate between the hard drive(s) being the problem as opposed to the RAID controller itself? I was thinking of perhaps using the two new spare Raptors I bought for Mum, configuring them in a RAID array and then doing nothing but the hard drive BIT test. Would that be enough to verify the stability of the RAID controller, or are there other BIT tests that I should run concurrently?

    Sorry for the long-ish post, but any insights would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Mum's computer uses identical parts but they are all brand new
    Raptors for Mum. Lucky Mum.

    I was actually quite "happy" to see my computer freeze after a mere few hours
    It is always nice to hear a success story.

    Yes, a bad hard drive can cause a system freeze or crash. Imagine if part of the O/S or the swap file was read incorrectly (or couldn't be read at all) from the disk. Computers aren't very fault tolerant. Even a single byte wrong is enough to cause a problem.

    Yes you could do what you suggested, or just connect the suspected faulty drive to a standard IDE / SATA port and test it like that.



    • #3
      I think I have exactly the same problem, games just stop and freeze requiring me to turn off the power at the switch (cont-alt-del won't work). I am using pretty much the same set up except for processor which is a dual core AMD. My drives are perfect though so I don't think it's related to that. Are you using a 20 pin power connector as I am? I have to wait till monday for the 24 pin adapter. Did you manage to fix the problem? I have full on board temperature setup and all the temperatures seem reasonably low.