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Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down

wewilli1 Community Member
Currently Being Moderated

I have an MSI Z68A-GD65 (G3) motherboard with a Z68 Express Chipset and I am running 2 arrays.  The first array is a RAID 0 using 2 64 GB SSD drives connected to the SATA 3 ports.  The RAID 0 array is my Windows 7 Pro boot drive.  The second array is a RAID 1 using two 2 TB Western Digital WD20EARX hard drives in combination with an 64 GB SSD acceleration drive.  Intermittently, when the hard drives come out of sleep mode, they go into an infinite spin up / spin down loop.  When this happens, I can hear the drives spinning up, then spinning down, then spinning up, etc.  The computer becomes very unresponsive and the only way to get out of the endless spin up / spin down loop is to reboot the computer.  I originally thought there might be a hard drive firmware problem so I swapped in a pair of Seagate 2 TB ST2000DL003 hard drives but still had the same problem.  My next move was to disable acceleration on the RAID 0 array and I have not seen the spin up / spin down problem since.  I am running the following software:

 

RST Driver: 10.8.0.1003

Option ROM: 10.5.0.1034

 

The motherboard manufacturer is currently listing 10.5.0.1034 as the latest version on their web site.  However, I had a BSOD error when 2 arrays were active which was fixed by reference number 3234888 in the 10.8.0.1003 driver release.  I am thinking that the spin up / spin down problem might also be fixed by updating the option ROM to the latest version.  I emailed MSI about updating the option ROM software but they said that version 10.8.0.1003 is only for the Z77 chipset.  Can anyone answer the following questions:

 

1.  What is the latest option ROM software version for the Z68 chip set?

2.  Are there any known issues which would cause hard drives to go into a continuous spin up / spin down cycle? 

  • 1. Re: Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down
    Diego_Intel Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hello,

     

    We have not seen or received any reports of a similar issue of strange spin of the drives when being used with Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology.

     

    In fact Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology 10.8 should be supported with the Z86 chipsets. So the motherboard manufacturer should update their option rom if this is necessary.

  • 2. Re: Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down
    CarWiz Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    The WD "Green" drives do spin up and down depending on usage. That's what they do to save energy and not particularly suited for RAID. When you replaced the drives, did you clear CMOS memory? Treat the drive change as a "new" configuration. If your new drives are "Green" also, the problem will persist. The Green drives are consumer drives and not meant to be used in RAID configurations because they will all but park on inactivity (sleep). IMHO, the low energy drives should only be used as backup data storage drives.

  • 3. Re: Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down
    wewilli1 Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    In response to Car Wiz,the Western Digital Green drives are recommended by Western Digital for use in Raid 0 and Raid 1 applications.  The WD drives use a variable speed technology which adjusts the rotational speed between 5400 and 7200 RPMs (or something close to that) based on disk usage.  The WD drive does not sleep or shut down automatically unless the OS commands the disk to sleep.  The Seagate drives use a constant 5900 RPM rotation rate.  When accelerated with the Intel RST software, both manufacturers' drives go into a mode where they spin completely down and then start up again.  It's not that they slow down and speed up, it's more like the shut down and restart.  Note that Seagate does not recommend it's green drives for any RAID configuration but WD specifically calls out RAID 0 and RAID 1 as a recommended configuration in the disk drive published specifications.

     

    I did not clear the CMOS but I did install new BIOS versions to try and fix the problem.

  • 4. Re: Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down
    wewilli1 Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    In response to Diego Intel, there are indeed other reported cases of constant disk spin up and spin down.  In fact, I found another case in this user forum.  Please see the following link:

     

    http://communities.intel.com/message/93459#93459

     

    I also found other instances of people complaining about this problem by doing a Google search.

     

    Where can I find documentation which specifies chip set compatibility for option ROM version 10.8?  The motherboard manufacturer is little to no help at all and I would like to provide some concrete specification details to prod them forward.  I can't seem to find any documentation for Intel Option ROM software on the web.

     

    Do you work for Intel?  Are you absolutely positive that V10.8 is compatible with the Z68 chipset?  If yes, I will forward your comments to MSI and see if I can get them to make a new BIOS for me.

     

    Lastly, is there a way to report this to Intel as a bug?  I'm definitely not the only one with this problem (see link above) and I'm also very confident in my test results.  I am a professional software engineer with 20 years of computing experience and my opinion is that there is a bug in either the option ROM software or the driver.

  • 5. Re: Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down
    CarWiz Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    The green drives are recommended for "Consumer" RAID arrays only. That's WD's way of saying they aren't fit for production RAID arrays because they're too slow and the power saving feature(s) exacerbate the situation. I believe your configuration is working as intended. If you are indexing the drives for Windows search, it will more than likely make the situation worse. No matter what WD says, no one that I know of recommends power saving drives in a RAID array where speed and reliability is a concern.

  • 6. Re: Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down
    wewilli1 Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    I agree that the WD green drives are recommended and specified for consumer RAID arrays.  That's what this application is - a consumer RAID array for a family of 4.

  • 7. Re: Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down
    ctro Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi,

     

    I have the same issue with an ASUS P8Z68 Motherboard and a RAID5 Array. I don't use WD-Green but 3 WD blue drives. I do have the latest Intel/ASUS drivers installed for W7/64

     

    I sent a support mail to Intel an got a impressive answer:

     

     

    Thank you again for contacting Intel Customer Support

     

    Please keep in mind the raid array starts to spin up and down constantly is an expected behavior since in a RAID 5 there is parity and the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology is verifying the structure and distributing of the parity.

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Is this guy serious? It is impossible to work with this computer!

     

    What is the solution?

  • 8. Re: Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down
    wewilli1 Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    In response to traveler6666, I did not find a solution to the problem but I found 2 work arounds.

     

    Work Around Number 1:

    I originally started experiencing the problem when I was using a 64 Gig SSD drive to accelerate the RAID 1 array.  When I stopped using the SSD acceleration disk, the spin up / spin down problem stopped happening.  I really liked the performance boost I got with the acceleration disk so ultimately I re-enabled the acceleration disk and used work around number 2 below.

     

    Work Around Number 2:

    In another thread on this forum, someone suggested disabling drive spin down in the advanced Windows power settings.  See the following link for details:

     

    http://communities.intel.com/message/93459#93459

     

    Go to the control panel and select power options.  In the power options dialog, click the "change plan settings" link.  In the Change settings dialog, select "Change advanced power settings".  In the power options dialog, expand the "hard disk" settings and change the plan to turn off hard disk after "Never".

     

    After I prevented my power options plan from turning off my hard drives, the spin up / spin down problem stopped happening.  Originally, my RAID server was powered up and operational 24/7 and I tried to save power by spinning down the hard drives and shutting off the monitors after a period of non use.  I wanted the RAID server to be online at all times because it's a file and media server.  After I found out that keeping the hard drives spun up at all times works around this bug, I resorted to a different power scheme.  I am now using "Wake on LAN" settings and allowing the RAID server to go to sleep when it is not in use.  When the computer goes to sleep, the hard drives spin down but that does not seem to trigger the hard drive spin up / spin down problem we are discussing in this thread.  The RAID server is still available on the network because when one of the client computers tries to connect to the RAID server, the RAID Wake on LAN settings wakes it up.  In short, I worked around the problem and in the process I save more energy than the original power scheme because putting the computer to sleep is more power efficient than spinning down the hard drives and shutting off the monitors.  And, I still get to use my SSD acceleration drive to improve performance.

     

    Other Thoughts:

    I am also completely underwhelmed by Intel's response to your technical support inquiry.  I don't know how anyone who understands RAID could provide a response like that one.

     

    My opinion is that there is either a bug in the RST driver or the option ROM. Hopefully this thread will prompt someone at Intel to look into this bug and try to reproduce it.  In a previous post, Diego Intel said they have never heard of this problem before but it turns out that traveler6666 is now at least the third person reporting this issue in this forum.  Sometimes it's hard to get the people intimately involved in the product to believe there is a problem.  I'm a professional software engineer and I have seen resistance and disbelief from customer feedback first hand.  I think that's what's happening here because I did a lot of Google research and there are numerous cases of this problem reported on various web sites other than this one.  Now it's just a question of whether intel is going to LISTEN to their customers and do something about it.

  • 9. Re: Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down
    ctro Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Thanks for the quick answer.

     

    I do have an SSD for the OS but not for accelerating the disc performance. so workarround 1 does not apply.

    Concering workarround 2: I disabled already the spin down for the HDs.

     

    In my opinion it is a serious bug the the intel raid driver/controller. Wen I answered to that support response, I did not even get a response. GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE. I think this was the worst service I have ever experienced in IT. (Even Pinnacle is better, although the outcome is also nil.)

     

    However the vendor send the motherboard to Asus for repair and I am wainting now already 4 weeks without a PC. This is a joke. Next time I can also buy AMD and purchase for the saved money a real RAID controller!

  • 10. Re: Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down
    wewilli1 Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Traveler6666, is it a true statement to say that disabling hard drive spin down in the power settings did not work around the problem and your hard drives still had the spin up / spin down problem?

  • 11. Re: Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down
    ctro Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Yes it doesn't solve the problem. I had disabled the spin down in W7 and in the ASUS software at the same time without any effect.

  • 12. Re: Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down
    Diego_Intel Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hello,

     

    Yes Intel(R) Z68 is compatible with Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology 10.8. The option ROM implementation completely belongs to the Original Equipment Manufacturer or motherboard manufacturer therefore there is not information on it on our site.

     

    Concerning the behavior that you are reporting I have forward it to our research team in order to check on this. They should be providing feedback on this matter as soon as they find a possible issue related to Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology.

  • 13. Re: Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down
    wewilli1 Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    I have some more data on the spin up / spin down problem.  This morning I found my computer with the RAID 1 stuck in the spin up / spin down mode.  It happened during the night when my backup software woke the computer up to perform a RAID backup.  I had acceleration enabled and hard drive spin down disabled in the control panel power options.  So, it looks like my "work arounds" listed in a previous posting are not exactly correct.  I have a car mechanic's stethoscope with a long thin tip on it for listening for noises in cars.  I used the stethoscope to listen to each drive individually in the mirror (RAID 1) and I could clearly hear the hard drive motors turning on and off in the 2 hard drives.  I rebooted the computer and the problem went away.

     

    I am going to disable acceleration again and see if the problem returns.

  • 14. Re: Accelerated RAID 1 Drives Continually Spin Up and Down
    wewilli1 Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Here is another data point to consider when investigating this issue.  I have 3 other computers in the house using the exact same motherboard (MSI Z68A-GD65 G3), operating system, and BIOS.  All 3 of the other computers use the RST acceleration technology with a single hard drive and we have not experienced the spin up / spin down issue with any of those computers.  The only computer that has the spin up / spin down problem is the one with a RAID 1 and RAID 0 configured simultaneously.  In this computer, I am running 2 Crucial M4 64 Gig SSD drives in RAID 0 connected to the 2 SATA 3 ports.  I am also running a RAID 1 using 2 2 TB WD Green drives configured in a RAID 1 (connected to SATA 2 ports).

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