Re: IDE Disk Problems

William Sowerbutts (
Tue, 11 Feb 1997 23:44:17 +0000

At 17:25 11/02/97 -0600, you wrote:
>We are running Linux Redhat 3.0.3 (1.2.13 kernel) using Cyrix 586.
>We have lost one Western Digital Caviar 31600 (1.6GB) IDE drive and
>one WD Caviar (700MB) IDE drive. Now, when I say lost, I mean that when
>the system is rebooted, the disk sounds like it is physcially broke. There
>is a periodic clanging noise, as if one of the drive components is
>actually damaged. At this point, we don't get past the BIOS.
>These two drives ran for approximately one month each
>before dieing. Prior to this, we noticed in our system messages:

I have the following two drives (data from hdparm -i):


Model=WDC AC31600H, FwRev=23.16U23, SerialNo=WD-WT289
Config={ HardSect NotMFM HdSw>15uSec SpinMotCtl Fixed DTR>5Mbs FmtGapReq }
RawCHS=3148/16/63, TrkSize=57600, SectSize=600, ECCbytes=22
BuffType=3(DualPortCache), BuffSize=128kB, MaxMultSect=16, MultSect=4
DblWordIO=no, maxPIO=2(fast), DMA=yes, maxDMA=0(slow)
CurCHS=3148/16/63, CurSects=3173184, LBA=yes, LBAsects=3173184
tDMA={min:120,rec:120}, DMA modes: mword0 mword1 *mword2
IORDY=on/off, tPIO={min:160,w/IORDY:120}, PIO modes: mode3 mode4


Model=WDC AC31000H, FwRev=19.19E22, SerialNo=WD-WT272
Config={ HardSect NotMFM HdSw>15uSec SpinMotCtl Fixed DTR>5Mbs FmtGapReq }
RawCHS=2100/16/63, TrkSize=57600, SectSize=600, ECCbytes=4
BuffType=3(DualPortCache), BuffSize=128kB, MaxMultSect=16, MultSect=4
DblWordIO=no, maxPIO=1(medium), DMA=yes, maxDMA=2(fast)
CurCHS=2100/16/63, CurSects=2116800, LBA=yes, LBAsects=2116800
tDMA={min:150,rec:150}, DMA modes: sword0 mword0 mword1
IORDY=on/off, tPIO={min:380,w/IORDY:180}, PIO modes: mode3

They are 1.6Gb and 1.0Gb respectively. They've both run *perfectly* for the
past five months in my Linux 2.0.28 box. (was 2.1.xx previously but then
the 2.1 kernels became too broken and I dropped back to stable 2.0) The box
is the server on my network and is switched on *constantly*, rebooted maybe
once every two weeks to a month.

Possibly the HDD controller on the motherboard in question is faultly, or
maybe the drives are overheating, or possibly you have poor IDE cables? I
imagine that the disk drives would ignore or signal errors for any commands
that could potentially damage them.

>[snip] One of our people have suggested that Linux is
>writing to sector 0 of the WD IDE drive.

Now *WHY* would Linux repeatedly write to sector 0?

William R Sowerbutts (BtG)
Coder / Guru / Nrrrd
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