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SubjectRe: IDE Disk Problems
On Thu, 22 Mar 2001, Travis Woodbury wrote:

> On 11 Feb, Gary Vinson wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> > We are running Linux Redhat 3.0.3 (1.2.13 kernel) using Cyrix 586.
> > We have lost one Western Digital Caviar 31600 (1.6GB) IDE drive and
> > one WD Caviar (700MB) IDE drive. Now, when I say lost, I mean that when
> > the system is rebooted, the disk sounds like it is physcially broke. There
> > is a periodic clanging noise, as if one of the drive components is
> > actually damaged. At this point, we don't get past the BIOS.
> >
> > These two drives ran for approximately one month each
> > before dieing. Prior to this, we noticed in our system messages:
> >
> > kernel: hdb: read_intr: status=0x4b { DriveRead DataRequest Index Error }
> > " " read_intr: error=0x04 { Drive Status Error}
> > " ide0: do_ide_reset: success
> >
> > Now, my question is, can (or is it remotely possible) linux be
> > writing something out to the WD IDE drives to break the drive. The
> > analogy being, that you can write to a video controller and cause
> > damage to a monitor. One of our people have suggested that Linux is
> > writing to sector 0 of the WD IDE drive.
> >
> I too have had numerous problems with the WD Caviars. I have had
> somewhere around fifteen of these drives die. I was originally running
> Asus motherboards and there was a reported firmware problem in the WD
> that was only supposed to cause problems with certain Asus
> motherboards. I believe c't had a little write up on it 6 or eight
> months ago. When I spoke with WD I chose not to mention that I was

Well, it was november issue of the german c't (I don't know if there are
different translations) of '96, page 276.
According to them Asus boards P55TP4N and P55TP4XE with Award-BIOS ver.
0110 till 0115 were affected. Ver. 0201 is said to be O.K.
What happend is that opcode 90h (execute drive diagnostics) was issued
regardless whether the drive is already up to running speed.
The more fatal bug was reported to be in the Firmware of WD in the sence
that the drive is actually executing this command __WITHOUT__ checking
if the drive is up to speed.
===> the heads sort of crash and damage a few sectors physically.
Drives that have been affected are said to be: AC21000, AC21200, AC21600,
AC31600, AC32100 and AC32500.
c't said that there is a DOS program available to fix the firmware.
( -> 'Data loss prevention')

> running Asus motherboards and asked them if they could analyze the drive
> for me and give me some clues about what was going wrong. They said
> they didnt do that kind of thing. I then tried to offer them some
> money to get them to give me some answers. They still said that they
> didnt do that kind of thing but were more then happy to replace the
> drives for me.
> After the lack of support from WD I switched over to Quantum Fireballs
> and have had no problems with them. Unfortunately a few of the drives
> that WD sent me as replacements have started to crap out on me as well
> and there not even on Asus boards. Now I am stuck with a bunch of
> drives that I can get replaced just so that they can fail on me again.
> Its a horrible never ending cycle for me with WD. Needless to say
> that I have not been to quick to get them replaced.
> The drives I have had fail have been a mixture of 1.6 and 1.2 gig's. It
> would only be fair to mention that I have numerous 425 MB 540 MB 850 MB
> and 1.0 gig drives that have been running flawlessly for years now.
> The failures have been a mixture of bad spots on the drives as well bad
> spots combined with lots of horrible clanking.
> If anyone has any ideas please send them my way as I would love to get
> to the end of this whole thing.
> Travis Woodbury


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