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Repeated hard drive failures


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#1 woodsman345

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:04 PM

Hi,

I have a HP dv6 i7 that is 11 months old and runs great when it runs. The original HD died after 1 month and was replaced under warranty. Then shortly thereafter I decided to go to a Intel 510 SSD. It is a night and day difference in performance but it died in 6 months and was also replaced under warranty. Well, 3 months later the 2nd 510 SSD just died as well and I am wondering if this may be some kind of a voltage problem and if so, how do I check that? The pins of the connector to the SSD is so small I wouldn't dare try to probe it.
Thanks for any ideas. I am thinking of going to a 520 Intel because i don't think it is a typical problem for intel SSD's, plus you couldn't ask for better customer support than Intel has provided me.

Edited by woodsman345, 15 May 2012 - 05:05 PM.


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#2 rotor123

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 05:58 PM

Well since it is a laptop the controller is likely to be SATA II. The Specs from the HP website can tell you. If it is a SATA II the Intel 320 series have been good performers for me.

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#3 James Litten

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 08:36 PM

This is a very unusual tale. A nice reliable laptop, reliable SSD's, and a user who appreciates the care that must be taken to get voltage values without doing damage.

A few questions :)
How do they die? All of a sudden or a series of errors leading to failure?

Is there any other unusual behavior?

Have you tried the dead ones on another machine?

Do you use the laptop often? I ask because if you use it everyday or so, the amount of time to failure is not consistent with it being a constant problem otherwise they would die faster. Maybe it is a small problem that adds up over time or possibly a rare problem that only happens occasionally.

You might be able to monitor voltages with something like OpenHardwareMonitor but I think the real key to the problem is finding out what exactly is failing on the drives. A chip, a diode, a wire, a spirit that haunts that laptop?

James

#4 woodsman345

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 04:23 AM

Thanks. I use it every day several times. On the last SSD, the life was near 100% left according to the Intel toolbox and the healthcheck reported optimum right up to the day before it fell out.
The original HD started crashing over a 2 day period and I called HP and did a drive check and it failed.
The first SSD started crashing and locking up the system abruptly after running perfect for a few months and I did the SSD check and it failed. Same goes with the second SSD. Have not tried in in a different machine because I don't have a different machine that will accept it so maybe I will re-install it into the HP machine and check it again.
I don't do defrags which are supposedly not good for a SSD. I will ship it back to Intel and I am thinking that it will go to SSD heaven most likely without an autopsy. Or, if it does have one, they wont share that info with me anyhow. It definitely would be interesting.
The first things that happened were the virus scan will lock up for no good reason or the email program will freeze it up and CNT/alt/del fails to respond which makes one think there is a virus or something but I doubt it, I scan with 2 or 3 different engines regular and am careful where I go....but I know that doesn't matter sometimes. The freeze is my cue to do the drive test and that has even locked up, and now I am wondering if I can do that from the USB somehow. Hum.
Maybe the lockup and crashing is fooling the drive test into blaming the SSD now that I think about it. It is getting beyond the scope of my technical abilities to troubleshoot this but doing a SSD data integrity test off the USB seems like it would be the way to go while this is up and running good. If there is a way to do that please advise.
Thanks for the responses.

EDIT Ok, I re-installed the SSD and did a diagnostics scan in safe mode and the read scan failed again at 8%. Maybe a memory location or 2 stroked out.
Tried to run a diagnostic scan of it with it connected via the USB and it doesn't like it, the Intel program only looks at the installed drive. Other than that I can access it via the usb and save and write and move things back and forth, it appears that just one part of it went south and if I could avoid it all would be well again. Wonder if C/properties/tools/scan for bad sectors would have bandaided it good enough to make it work again?. I don't really want to re-install the SSD at this time to try it, but I will try to remember to do that if I do put it back in later.

Edited by woodsman345, 18 May 2012 - 06:32 AM.


#5 woodsman345

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 08:36 AM

I am curios as to the 520 SSD performance when I get it and install it. May not run any better than a 320 but it is cheaper. Like 169 bucks for a 120G.
I have a Intel HM65 chipset rated at 6gb under SATA if that means anything. Wondering if there is "dynomometer" freeware to put the peddle to the wood and see how fast it will transfer data with the 520?
Thanks.......I am trying to learn.

#6 rotor123

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 10:45 AM

The one thing about the 520 series is that they are a sandforce controller, Intel supposedly from what I read took a year to get the drive working reliable. Drives with that controller from other makers were very problematic until eventually they got a decent firmware. The Intel is still more reliable than the other makes using the same controller. That is where the year delay came in. Time to do firmware fixes and make it reliable.

Interesting read here: with Performance testing figures and charts since You asked about performance.
Intel SSD 520 Review: Cherryville Brings Reliability to SandForce
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5508/intel-ssd-520-review-cherryville-brings-reliability-to-sandforce

by Anand Lal Shimpi on 2/6/2012 11:00:00 AM
Intel was rumored to be working on a SandForce based drive for several months now, but even the rumors couldn't encapsulate just how long Intel and SF has worked on this drive. According to Intel, the relationship began 1.5 years ago
Snip
Codenamed Cherryville, Intel's SSD 520 would go through a full year of validation before Intel would sign off on the drive for release. In fact, it was some unresolved issues that cropped up during Intel's validation that pushed Cherryville back from the late 2011 release to today.

Intel's strenuous validation will eventually make SandForce's drives better for everyone, but for now the Cherryville firmware remains exclusive.


The 320 series would be slower if you have a SATA III connection as you indicate. They use a Intel controller chip that has been reliable. I've used Five of them with no problems so far (Knock wood) the oldest being over a year as I recall. Two Desktops, Two Laptops and a desktop build for my brother last spring. His gets the most use 7 days a week.

The Intel SSD 320 Review: 25nm G3 is Finally Here
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4244/intel-ssd-320-review

Last minute add
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5508/intel-ssd-520-review-cherryville-brings-reliability-to-sandforce

Intel did go on record saying that the 520 is expected to have far fewer F4/F7 BSODs than any other SF-2281 drive. I asked Intel if I should read into the phrase "far fewer", but the answer was no - the 520 is expected to have similar reliability to the Intel SSD 510 and 320.


At the end of the day that's what Intel really brings to the table with the 520. As you'll soon see, performance isn't very different compared to other SF-2281 based drives. Intel's biggest advantage comes from the unique firmware that ships with the drive. Intel is also quick to point out that while other SF-2281 manufacturers can purchase the same Intel 25nm MLC NAND used on the 520, only Intel's drives get the absolute highest quality bins and only Intel knows how best to manage/interact with the NAND on a firmware level


Cheers
Roger

Edited by rotor123, 18 May 2012 - 10:59 AM.

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#7 James Litten

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 11:15 AM

Thanks for the answers Woodsman345.

I'll let you know if I can think of anything to try.

If any of your tests ever display the S.M.A.R.T. data for the bad drive, I would love to see it. A screenshot or even a picture from a camera would be fine.

James

#8 woodsman345

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:19 PM

Thanks Rotor great info, and thanks to James if you think of anything. Here is some info for you James, It locked up after every screen shot but I got it :)
I did the CrystalDiscMark a couple of weeks ago. The chipset is a HM65 and like I was saying a SATA 3 according to Intel data sheet and it also said it has been recalled but i never received any notice. How does this chip set interact with the "controller" and can this chipset be used to its full potential with a 520 or am I still possibly limited by something?
Thanks !

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#9 woodsman345

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:26 PM

Oh just for the heck of it here is this from CPU-Z

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#10 rotor123

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:51 PM

11 months old, I'd be on the horn to HP before the warranty runs out asking about the laptops appetite for hard drives and the recall issue on the chipset.

If it truly was recalled by Intel they may have released a revised version with fixes.

Are you registered with HP? They can't recall if they don't know you.
All HM65s are not bad, however since it depends on the stepping (version)
http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebook-Hardware/HP-continues-to-ship-defective-Intel-6-series-chipset-to/td-p/584005


Maybe it is the chipset and not the drives? I don't know.

Try this
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c02712015&lc=en&dlc=en&cc=us&lang=en&product=5051950

To determine if your HP Notebook PC is affected, click here http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c02712015&lc=en&dlc=en&cc=us&lang=en&product=5051950#notebook .


Good Luck
Roger

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#11 James Litten

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:57 PM

That's kind of bizarre :)

Are you using the same cable for all the drives that went bad?
I know you said something about trying a USB connection so I guess that would have been a different cable.

I don't have any answers but I ask about the cable because if we make a very general troubleshooting flowchart it looks kind of like this...
  • multiple hard drives go bad (1 platter and 2 SSD)
  • does it happen on different cables (both the sata and the power)
  • is it a problem with the motherboard or BIOS
  • is it a problem with the PSU

James

EDIT: Looks like Roger and I posted at the same time with the same basic idea. LOL

EDIT2: I should add that the drive does not look broken. That's what I think is bizarre about it.

Edited by NeverSayDie, 18 May 2012 - 01:00 PM.


#12 woodsman345

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 03:07 PM

Looks like I have a good chipset, my serial number is 120 and 107 or less have the problems they say.
Also, CPU-Z that I posted says I have Intel HM65 rev 05 and the affected revision is B2, anything with a B3 is fine
so I don't know why mine would be just a 05.
Thanks for the links Roger.
HP does not like me and I would just as soon not talk to them. They were upset with me for tinkering
and putting in the first SSD and they told me it is NOT recommended but would not say why. Anyhow, I would
like to know why and if it has anything to do with my problem, but the original HDD crapped out too so who knows.
Any little thing I called them about was blamed on the SSD and that was that, they had their minds made up. Well,
forget them, the laptop runs perfect with the SSD if you treat it right.

I use the same cable that came with the laptop for whatever drive I have in..now I am back to the std HD
and it runs well with the same programs, basically, as the SSD, just allot slower.
I have a USB connector for a drive when I want to look at it via usb. In the case of the SSD it works great
through the USB probably because I am not including the bad bits in an executable program but rather just
looking at data.....and I am just guessing at that.
Wouldn't you think a bios problem wouldn't allow it to run 3 to 6 months
before it screws up? I dont know. It did have 1 bios upgrade a long time ago. Cant remember if it was before or after the
first HD failure.
Not sure what a PSU is James.
Thanks for the interest.

So is the jury still out on if I am officially SATA 3 and can handle a 520?
Thanks!

#13 James Litten

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 03:22 PM

I apologize. I forgot that we were talking about a laptop. :crazy:

At this stage, I really think that it is a problem with the laptop itself and not the drives or the software running on the laptop.

The PSU is the Power Supply Unit. In a laptop it is different from what you see in a desktop. Sorry about the confusion.

James

Edited by NeverSayDie, 18 May 2012 - 03:23 PM.


#14 woodsman345

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 03:35 PM

In other words you had a brain fart, right James? I wake up with one and it doesn't go away LOL
I have a program I downloaded called AIDA64 that may tell a few voltages if that would do any good.

#15 James Litten

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 04:02 PM

LOL!

Yeah, I got so flustered from your screenshots showing a healthy drive yet it was crashing the laptop and the HP diagnostics said it was bad.

Voltage readings might be interesting. It sounds like it might be just a loose connection somewhere that is almost good enough but fails sometimes. Who knows :) I have never seen a loose SATA connection. They're pretty snug.

James




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