Hardware ramblings

August 3, 2008 – 17:05

Ugh

As if the summer heat wasn’t bad enough in my home office (26C with AC, 32C+ without), it now officially killed one of my HDDs.

About 3 months ago I bought three new 750GB Samsung F1 disks and had put them all in RAID. All was sailing smooth and the speeds were amazing. However this last Wednesday I was working with multiple virtual PC’s whilst downloading and extracting large files in the background.

Whilst extracting, WinRAR threw an CRC errors. This can happen and luckily this can be fixed using some freeware utilities. I had set QuickPAR to fix the issues .. it crashed after a few minutes. Hmm strange…

Shortly after that explorer crashed and burned. I quickly saved all the data and rebooted the workstation. The Intel RAID manager (ICH9) threw an error: “Problem occured in disk 2”. Oh dear.

Surprisingly Vista booted through it but it was quite unstable. Excel would crash every 5 minutes. I stopped the computer again and took out the HDDs. They felt as if they were on fire (which is strange as they have active cooling on them and the aircon in the room was turned on). I’d let them cool down a bit, lay them beside the casing and targeted some extra casefans on them.

Booted through again .. again the RAID warning. Windows booted and looked stable enough. Using the Intel Storage Manager app I resetted the HDD back to normal state and all was fine. Some heavy I/O later on, thing became unstable again. Double checked the Intel app again: Disk 3 error.

Nice :\ … so HDD3 is officially dying. I got all the data on external backups so that was a problem. I killed the RAID, took the disk out and recreated the RAID with just 2 disks. Fast enough for me I guess. Sending the dying one to Samsung once it’s gone through the KillDisk hell.

As some of you may know, I picked up a Geforce 8800GT and I loved it. I, however, didn’t like the cooler that much. A singleslot cooler with a very loud fan on it. It was fair enough when idle. However put some load on it and it sounds like it would take off and take the PC with it. Two weeks later I ordered a new cooler and have waited for it to be shipped. After being in backorder for nearly 2 months, I canceled it.

This week I picked up the Zalman VF-1000. Installation was a charme (for me at least) but ended up fighting the tightness in my Antec P180 in order to install the fan header. After 10 minutes of trying to hook the damn thing up, I gave up and got myself a molex-3pinfan converter from the old cabinet. Hooked it up, worked perfectly.

As for the VF1000 performance, haven’t done real temperature measurements yet, but I’m not too fond of it to be honest. The low noise setting makes a rumble noise (like a seeking HDD) and the high-speed setting is only slightly more silent over the stock fan. But the overall exhaust heat is less so that helps.

I guess we’ve come to a point that hardware is so overpowered, silence is becoming a luxury most people won’t be able to afford. That’s what we get for pushing it 🙂

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