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Dec 222012
 

For the last few weeks I’ve had the odd random hang of one or more of my Virtual Machines on my main desktop computer.  Nothing unusual, I thought.  The other day whilst working on a couple of Word documents they too would just freeze, and force me to quit Word and it seemed at one point that it took me nearly an hour to do one page of writing!

I’m not sure why, but eventually I had a look in the system event log, and saw TONS of disk related ‘logical I/O’ errors.  Where the I/O had been retried, and presumably then succeeded.  Odd, I thought.  Accompanying this were lots of ‘SCSI resets’ from storahci.  These seemed to relate to the freezes.  Sometimes I was getting them as much as 2-3 times a minute.

Wednesday night became a very long night.  I was up until past 4am trying to diagnose the problem, as I have at least two pieces of work that I needed to finish, and I need the virtual machines for that.  I thought it was the drives.. but a spare 2Tb drive started reporting issues almost as soon as I plugged it in (where it has run for weeks on a different system with no errors reported at all).  I thought it was one of the 4 main SATA connectors on the motherboard.  Testing revealed that when one was running singularly the read errors were almost non-existent, but as soon as two or more drives started I/O, then the errors came flooding in.

I thought it was the cables, so I used a few spares..  but the same issue.

Eventually, I have tracked it down, and not lost any data.  I’ve got ‘problems’ with all 4 of the SATA ports on the motherboard, leaving me just 2 SATA connections (called Marvel 6Gb/s connectors) to run my blu-ray drive, SSD, and 3 SATA drives.  That obviously doesn’t work out …  so I have my SSD running on one port, which has my OS installed on (reinstalled no less than 6 times during the Wednesday night session), and a 2Tb drive plugged into the other Marvel SATA port.

Phew.

Now I’m left with trying to figure out which PCI SATA card to get, but it looks like it will be this one.  To be ordered soon after Christmas so I can figure out when it will arrive.

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