[RndTbl] RAID controller trouble

Trevor Cordes trevor at tecnopolis.ca
Mon Mar 15 07:04:59 CDT 2010

On 2010-03-14 Robert Dyck wrote:
> According to the ASUS website that motherboard has VIA VT8237R
> southbridge.

(My personal opinions about VIA southbridges omitted...)   :-)

> take what you can get. I saw more damaged computers each week at that
> job than I had previously seen in my life. The manager didn't like us
> to replace bad caps, because that might not fix it and customers at a
> retail store got pissed off at even slightly high bills. The point is
> I have seen enough bulging capacitors now to recognise them.

I'm curious, was the bad caps issue widespread when you were in that
job?  Any trends you noticed in brand, year, etc?  I certainly am
noticing trends (like the badcaps issue did not stop in 2003) and would
love to hear someone else's experiences in the field.

> I have so many diagnostic programs now that I can pin-point just about
> anything. But nothing for RAID. Is there any RAID diagnostic out
> there?

If you're using the ob VIA raid then there really is no "raid
controller" as we know it.  As with (mostly) all ob raid, it's just
some firmware bits and bios tweaks to make the system raid capable.
There really is no "raid controller" to test.  The "controller" is
really the main CPU.  So, no, you won't find any diag tools.

Now, there will be HD diag tools you can use to test just the HD's, but
generally you have to somehow disable the RAID first (risky as when you
re-enable, there's a question of it knowing the array is still there!),
or take the drives out onto another system (1 at a time) to test.

If she isn't reporting any crashing/rebooting, and the RAID is always
degrading, then the problem is almost invariably hard drives dying.
Run full scan diags on them.  Even with zero errors, drives can kick
from arrays.  I see a lot of this lately, esp with Seagate drives (what
I sell most of).  Perhaps the HD vendors are making their non-raid
drives more raid-unfriendly to push the raid-version drives, which are
now relatively exorbitantly priced?  :-)

> that's a new install and I'm trying to make it minimal. I have no way
> of knowing how long a RAID resync is supposed to take. She has 2
> drives shadowed.

Good raid systems (like linux md raid) will take a LONG time to rebuild
when the system is busy (so it won't bog down your system).  Windows
fake raid drivers sometimes make the mistake of rebuilding too fast and
result in horrible interactive performance for the duration.

> Before I start making nasty accusations, is it possible her mobo RAID
> controller isn't flushing during the Windows shutdown procedure?

Nearly impossible, though in the past I have seen some incredibly
braindead VIA southbridge behavior.

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