Time to replace the server/workstation (3.5 hours wasted this evening...)

Got the missing cable from Canada Computers today to get the SATA drive installed in the workstation. One of the ATA drives started giving DMA failures last week and this was to be the replacement drive. Problem is the silly thing doesn't work.

Well, more precisely, it doesn't seem to work with the motherboard in the workstation. It's an old Soyo CK8 Motherboard. Depending on (I don't know what) the drive either doesn't show up at all in BIOS or shows up with a NULL product ID and declares its size incorrectly. With the new cable it just hangs the BIOS, with the cable that came with the motherboard (dug out of a spare cable bag) it doesn't hang most of the time. In Linux it sort-of-shows up during the kernel boot, but normally doesn't get a /dev/hd* entry.

I probably should attempt to update the BIOS, but I don't want to risk having to head off to Dallas with the svn and mail server dead. That would make it very hard to get any work done while I'm down there.

Given how much time (which is in short supply this week) I've burned on this already I'm thinking maybe I'll just buy a new motherboard, CPU, CPU cooler, memory and PSU. Or maybe just a whole new box (though I rather like the large Antec case). Anyway, I have the machine back to the point where it boots (with a little poking), so maybe I'll just leave it that way until I get back... of course that means there's no returning the hard-disk if it really is the culprit. Sigh.

Annoying this is that we finished a project tonight (successfully), it should have been a happy little evening with a quick hardware install and then off to bed. Oh well, hardware sucks, as they say.


  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous on 02/20/2007 2:39 p.m. #

    If the motherboard is an older one, maybe you need to do something jumper-wise on the HD to make it compatible... I think that a SATA-II drive (that is, generation 2, or something like 3.0Gbps?) is supposed to be backwards-compatible with SATA-I (generation 1, or 1.5Gbps), but on my Seagate at least there is a jumper you have to set if you want it to work with a SATA-I motherboard. I don't know what the symptoms of leaving the jumper off are -- it was already jumped when I got my drive and I didn't try it without, since I knew my motherboard was SATA-I only.<br />
    <br />
    Also, if you just need to test the drive before the returns-window closes, just buy a USB->SATA adapter (I'm sure you can find one like http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=2020&amp;cat=HDD somewhere local). They're only around US$15-20, and they're extremely convenient when you replace hard drives (and want to copy data over from one to another) or any other task that would otherwise involve plugging and unplugging hard drives and the cycling of power states. I have that one I linked to, and it's a cheap China job, but it works well enough for testing of drives or quick hook up, and it's not like the instructions really need to be legible (the toughest part is deciding whether to hook up the power then plug the USB plug into the computer or vice-versa, but it doesn't seem to matter -- and SATA is designed for hotswapping anyway, so maybe you can even hook the power to the wall and the device to the computer before connecting the drive, though I wouldn't personally try that), and it appears as a generic USB Mass Storage device so every operating system under the sun has built-in drivers for it.<br />
    <br />
    If you can't find a simple stand-alone adapter like that one, an external SATA->USB enclosure would work also, but they tend to be a bit more expensive (since they tend to contain actual metal, and also SATA is still considered "higher-end" with only IDE->USB existing in the $10 marketplace), and enclosures are less convenient for unhooking the drive while playing with jumpers. Still, you might have more future use for an enclosure.

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