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Re: ATA abnormal status

On Fri, Aug 25, 2006 at 08:37:03PM +0200, Francesco Pietra wrote:
> Sent again: The external scsi HD was not connected when the accident occurred
> Hi Erik:
> Thanks for your attention.
> Main board: Tyan K8WE S2895
> SATA II controllers nForce Pro 2200.
> Added graphic card Pixel view 6600 256M PCI.
> Added SCSI controller LSI PCI for external scsi HD (old IBM for backup).
> CPU1 and CPU2: Opteron Dual Core 265.
> ram: 8 x KingstonKVR 400D43a/1GB DDR2 CL3 Ecc Reg.
> HD: 2 x Maxtor 6V300F0; ATA version 7; ATA standard ATA/ATAPI-7 T13 1532 D.

There appear to be problems with Nvidia Nforce chipsets with certain
Maxtor drives that result in data corruption. From what I could figure
out it appears to be a problem in the nforce SATA engine that show up
with certain Maxtor drives, though sometimes also with other brands.
Maxtor has a firmware update that works around the Nvidia bug, you
might want to ask their support department.

> OS: debian etch amd6a, kernel 2.6.15-1-amd64-k8-smp, filesystem ext3, grub on 
> boot partition, partitions for proc home tmp usr var swap, raid1 software, no 
> Xsystem when the accident occurred.

Make sure that you don't have the proprietary Nvidia kernel module
loaded for the graphics card. Because it's a proprietary module it's
not properly reviewed so it might silently corrupt memory.

> #smartctl -a -d ata /dev/sda (or sdb) reported PASSED (run after the accident 
> described above). Unable to see the result of short self test (don't know 
> where it is written, if at all; disks are not in database).

You could try to get smartmontools from debian-unstable and see if it
has support for your drives.

> While I plan to replace the HD cables as soon as this computation has attained 
> convergence, I wonder whether lack of a power protection unit may have been 
> responsible for the failure of disks.

Possible, though drives usually tend to die completely when they get
damaged by overvoltage.

> I plan anyway to buy one; only 
> uncertain about the power for this machine and an Athlon k7 pc. 800VA enough? 
> I do not need long energy supply because calculations can be resumed from 
> last HD written result; perhaps one minute energy supply?

APC has a nice product selector on their website, see
http://www.apc.com/tools/ups_selector/ . There's good support for APC
UPSes by nut, and knutclient even gives you a nice graphical monitor
application (and of course nut can be monitored by nagios).

Anyway, back to your problem:
- Make sure you don't use the proprietary nvidia kernel module
- Replace the cables
- If it still persists, check Maxtor support


+-- Erik Mouw -- www.harddisk-recovery.com -- +31 70 370 12 90 --
| Lab address: Delftechpark 26, 2628 XH, Delft, The Netherlands

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