Have stumbled across a problem that has me dumbfounded, just trying my luck to see if anyone knows what the issue is and hopefully how to fix it. It seems similar to the issues with the Matrix manager marking drives as failed that haven't, but at the BIOS level.
I have a Gigabyte GA-965P-D6Q motherboard, which has the intel P965 express chipset and the intel ICH8R SATA/RAID controller. I am trying to run a 4 disk RAID5 setup (which should be within the capabilities of the ICH8R). I am using Seagate barracuda 320Gb drives, of which I have two older 8Mb cache drives and two brand new 16Mb cache ones (research suggests cache has no effect on RAID, but have tried with both drive caching enabled and disabled
The first time I booted with clean drives, everything worked fine and I installed Vista x64 and all my programs, numerous reboots etc. The next day when I booted the 4th drive (one of the brand new ones) wasn't detected cleanly by the RAID BIOS halting the system at that point. Assuming that the drive was a dud I took it back and exchanged for a new one. Put the new one in, everything worked fine, it rebuilt the array, but on the next reboot the 4th drive was not detected. I rearranged the drives and booted the 4th one as a stand alone disk, tested it (no errors) and reformatted it, added it to the array and everything worked fine, it rebuilt the array. On the next reboot it was misdetected. I have tried changing around which port the 4th drive is in, which has had no effect.
To clarify what I mean by misdetected, the RAID BIOS was "SERIAL ATA AHCI BIOS version iSRC 1.07" It detects that there are 6 ports and 4 drives in the first line, but when it lists the ports and drives it finds the first three, but on the fourth it halts without writing anything. I have left it in this state for over an hour to see if it was just delayed but nothing changed. I have updated the BIOS so I now have "SERIAL ATA AHCI BIOS version iSRC 1.20E" but it has the exact same problem. I didn't install the Matrix manager until I'd reformatted the replacement drive a couple of times, so I don't think its related to that.
I just don't get how when I first installed I got a good 12hrs and numerous reboots before I struck the problem, and ever since I can get a single boot from a clean drive but that is all. Is there any way to check whether a drive is being flagged as 'bad'? While my system is working fine in degraded mode I would really like to get that last drive working normally so I get my parity back before one of my other drives decides its had enough... Any suggestions would be appreciated.