Should I run my sinle SATA disc as RAID?

Associate
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Hi.

I am having a problem (BSOD) when I defrag the disc in Windows XP. I have reported this to Abit support, and they suggest I change the SATA Mode from IDE to RAID in the BIOS!

Does this make any sense?

Also support said that when I do this, I will not be able to boot into Windows! If I do change as they suggest, do I need to reinstall Windows afterwards?

The system runs perfectly apart from the defrag crashes.

The BSOD shows STOP 0x000000F4.

Thank for any helps.
 
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Personally if the machine only BSODs when it defrags I would just skip the defrags. With NTFS filesystems file fragmentation occurs far less readily than on FAT or FAT32 and the performance hit of a fragmented filesystem is less.

Have you updated the SATA controller drivers to the latest available from NVidia rather than Abit?
 
Associate
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Thanks for the feedback.

I've always worried about disc fragmentation (stems from years ago when it had a large impact on performance). I have purchased Diskeeper 10 Pro, and I like to keep my discs defragmented as much as possible.

I have also noticed that at work (I am a software engineer), that my PC needs a good defrag every now and then, and I do notice the performance gains after do this.

I have tried the XP defragger, and both this and Diskeeper cause a BSOD. Sometimes they run for about a minute before a crash, and other times it crashes in a much shorter time.

I have installed the latest SATA drivers from nVidia (I think they are version 6.91). These came on the motherboard CD.

Any ideas? :confused:
 
Man of Honour
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STOP 0x000000F4 seems to be quite uncommon but most of the references I can find relate to possible hardware errors. Try running memtest86 and your hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics and see what they produce.
 
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I have not run memtest on this rig yet, but I have run Orthos overnight without any issues. Do I need to try memtest if Orthos is OK?

I downloaded the Western Digital diagnostic software yesterday. I ran both a simple test and a more exhaustive test on the drive. Both showed no errors. So to me, this is sounding like a driver issue (as it only causes problems when in Windows). Not sure if that theory is sound though :)

The sound the drive makes when it's running the diagnostic tests is quite scary though! Sounds like it's really hammering it! :D
 
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I'd agree with probable/possible driver and/or other windows problem. Also run a boot time filesystem check, to make sure the full filesystem is thoroughly checked. I've seen corrupted NTFS filesystems crash Windows hard (blue screen) so it's remotely possible that there's some issue in your filesystem that causes a crash that is triggered by defragger use.

I probably would not bother with changing the RAID/SATA mode, I find it slightly doubtful that will solve anything (though anything is possible, and maybe they had a reason for suggesting that...) It's not that bad to do if you have the tools really -- the simplest way would probably be to backup your entire current partition to another disk, using for example Acronis True Image, change the mode in the BIOS, create the array, then restore onto the "single disk array" thus retaining your installation with possibly dodgy drivers. (Make sure to ensure RAID drivers are installed prior to pulling this stunt or the installation might not boot off the now raided disk, as the controller might be seen as different by windows and might have its own driver even though it's only running in a different mode.) Depending on the amount of data on your disk and whether the drive you back up to is local you can have this done within a few hours at most. I'd expect it to make no difference, but I could be wrong... :)

Finally I'd also suggest trying to update the relevant drivers (controller, chipset etc.) on your system, and run thorough stress tests of all components (memory e.g. MemTest86, CPU e.g. Prime95 or so [Orthos is fine], and HDD which you've done already.)
 
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Thank ByteJuggler :)

Think I will do a boot time filesystem check - have not tried this yet.

I do find it strange that support would suggest changing to RAID, but I guess I do get different drivers doing that - I would be using RAID drivers instead of the drivers I am currently using - so that might change things for me...

Unfortunately, I don't have spare space or software to ghost my drive, but my build is fairly new, and I could suffer the pain of a complete reinstall if it fixes the issue. But if it doesn't, I still have the same problem, and I'm back to reinstalling everything again :(

I think I have the latest drivers for the chipset and peripherals. I used the disc that came with the mobo, and this contained the same nForce drivers that nVidia are showing as 'current' on their web site.

It's strange how others with this board are not having the same issue though... maybe they are all running single-disc RAID setups? :p
 
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