Question HDDs keep dying, have no idea why

Oct 13, 2021
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Hey everyone, first post, made an account just for this thing. Been having awful couple of weeks.

First off, here are my system specs:

GPU: Sapphire Nitro+ RX580 8GB
CPU: Ryzen 2600
RAM: Kingston Predator 16GB 3000MHz
Motherboard: Asus Prime A320M-K (I know...)
PSU: Raidmax RX-735AP-RGB

Alright, so, here's what's going on.
Around a month ago or so, my old (~7 years) HDD died. It was used for storage, as I have a small 120GB Kingston SSD for my system. So I bought a replacement, Toshiba P300 (HDWD120) 2TB. After I put it in, it worked for a while, but suddenly it started not responding every time it'd be writing for more than a few seconds, causing the whole PC to run horribly and requiring a restart. Usually this was accompanied by a repeating clicking sound as it, I assume, tries to reset itself. I quickly checked its sectors and health, and everything seemed to be fine. Ran a few CHKDSKs and nothing was found.

Then I thought it might be the SATA port on my motherboard, so I changed the port. Still not responding. Now, sometimes after restarting the PC, it wouldn't even be recognized. Then, after another restart, it would be there but remain unusable.
So, I changed the SATA cable itself. This also didn't work. Then, its health suddenly dropped to 0% and it gave a Seek Error Rate (checked with HDD Sentinel). After that, figured I just take the HDD out and call it a loss, maybe try and chase warranty but in the meantime I put in 2 older, perfectly healthy, HDDs in. Both of them are 500GB Samsung drives with around 500 days of usage - SAMSUNG HD503HI.

First, it worked fine for a day or two, but then weird stuff started happening again. Whenever I'd boot the PC up - one of the HDDs was unrecognized. I tried it a couple of times to try and see a pattern, but it seemed random. The one that would appear would suffer the same problem as the previous Toshiba disk.
After a day or so of that, one of them completely stopped working, and the other one was now always appearing. Still suffering the same problem of not responding.
Again, I checked health and sectors, it all seemed fine. Unplugged the drive, plugged the one that wasn't being recognized in on its own - it was working, with the same problem.
Took them both out. Installed a fresh version of Windows. Tried them again, still the same problems.

In a moment of desperation I put the Toshiba disk in again. This time, it was somehow at 100% health again (again, checked with HDD Sentinel). I believe this is impossible, right? It must have been a bad read by the program either now or the last time?
Checked it a bit more, and found a few corrupt sectors this time, which I stopped from being used. After this, the disk seemed to work fine for a few hours, but then the same not responding issue started happening.

At this point, it's been around a month, probably longer, and I have absolutely no idea what to do to fix this. Any help is appreciated.
Also, the lil Kingston SSD has been running with no problems the entire time.

tl;dr
Multiple HDDS going Not Responding when writing on them, causing the whole PC to run horribly and need a restart
When 2 HDDS are in, sometimes only 1 would be recognizable at a time
Tried swapping cables &SATA ports
Tried chkdsks and checked sectors/health
Have no idea what to do.


UPDATE:
The Toshiba disk is still in the PC, and is now constantly restarting itself accompanied with clicking sounds. There's nothing on it, and it isn't reading/writing anything.
 
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Phaaze88

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I'd be putting that bottom of the barrel Raidmax PSU in the trash and ordering something of much better quality.
The JG site closed some time ago, so all those reviews are gone and links broken.
Some of the old reviews can be found via Wayback Machine, but not that one.

PSU: Raidmax RX-735AP-RGB
This unit is a piece of crap and most likely the culprit that's frying your drives. It is what gives them power, after all.
Symptoms of faulty hardware tend to be more consistent.
It's also a Tier D unit according to this: https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/psucultists-psu-tier-list-rev-14-8-12-07-2021.3624094/
 
Oct 13, 2021
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The JG site closed some time ago, so all those reviews are gone and links broken.
Some of the old reviews can be found via Wayback Machine, but not that one.


This unit is a piece of crap and most likely the culprit that's frying your drives. It is what gives them power, after all.
Symptoms of faulty hardware tend to be more consistent.
It's also a Tier D unit according to this: https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/psucultists-psu-tier-list-rev-14-8-12-07-2021.3624094/
Thank you for the link, I'll check the list out for my PSU purchase.
One thing that's unclear to me is how are only the HDDs dying, and the lil SSD remained strong and survived everything?
Always thought that a PSU would go for killing more than just specifically HDDs, if that makes sense.
 

USAFRet

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Thank you for the link, I'll check the list out for my PSU purchase.
One thing that's unclear to me is how are only the HDDs dying, and the lil SSD remained strong and survived everything?
Always thought that a PSU would go for killing more than just specifically HDDs, if that makes sense.
SSDs pull less power from the PSU.

And a crap or dying PSU can kill multiple things, or nothing. Drives, motherboard, GPU...

Given the known crappiness of a RAIDMAX, in absence of other verified conditions that might have killed these drives....the RAIDMAX is the likely culprit.

I don't want to buy a new PSU only to have the same problem in the end.
And for that...you need a different, better PSU anyway. Even if this particular one is not the culprit for this particular situation...it will be for something else.
 

Phaaze88

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Psus are the heart of the system. A bad unit is capable of killing anything connected to it.
We don't have any control over what they do take out - at least, I don't think we do... but this one doesn't like storage drives...
It was probably sending too much current or voltage to those drives - perhaps both.
 
Oct 13, 2021
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SSDs pull less power from the PSU.

And a crap or dying PSU can kill multiple things, or nothing. Drives, motherboard, GPU...

Given the known crappiness of a RAIDMAX, in absence of other verified conditions that might have killed these drives....the RAIDMAX is the likely culprit.


And for that...you need a different, better PSU anyway. Even if this particular one is not the culprit for this particular situation...it will be for something else.
Psus are the heart of the system. A bad unit is capable of killing anything connected to it.
We don't have any control over what they do take out - at least, I don't think we do... but this one doesn't like storage drives...
It was probably sending too much current or voltage to those drives - perhaps both.
Thank you both for your answers! I will get a new PSU in a day or two and report back.
Still not fully understanding everything, but it's always great learning something new.
 
SSDs run off the +5V only. HDDs require both +5V and +12V.

I would install hardware monitoring software, eg Hardware Monitor, Speedfan. In fact see if Asus supplies a utility for this purpose. Better still, measure the voltage directly with a multimeter.

Could we see the SMART reports for your drives? CrystalDiskInfo allows you to save these reports to a text file.

  • Edit -> Copy Option -> select desired components
    File -> Save (text)
I haven't checked, but maybe there is a monitoring utility in this suite:

https://dlcdnets.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/SocketAM4/PRIME_A320I-K/AI_Suite_III_Setup_3.00.55_PPSU.zip
 
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Oct 13, 2021
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SSDs run off the +5V only. HDDs require both +5V and +12V.

I would install hardware monitoring software, eg Hardware Monitor, Speedfan. In fact see if Asus supplies a utility for this purpose. Better still, measure the voltage directly with a multimeter.

Could we see the SMART reports for your drives? CrystalDiskInfo allows you to save these reports to a text file.

  • Edit -> Copy Option -> select desired components
    File -> Save (text)
I haven't checked, but maybe there is a monitoring utility in this suite:

https://dlcdnets.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/SocketAM4/PRIME_A320I-K/AI_Suite_III_Setup_3.00.55_PPSU.zip
Hi. I just tried all three HDDs but neither of them will show up when booting now. This hasn't happened before. I hear them spinning up and they click once and that's that. So, I won't be able to get you the SMART reports, sadly.
 
Oct 13, 2021
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Could we see photos of the component sides of the Samsung PCBs? These have a common problem that may explain the symptoms.

I believe this is your PCB:

https://sep.yimg.com/ay/yhst-14437584971410/hd502hj-hd502hj-a4523c721bp5my-3-5-sata-samsung-pcb-fw-10.gif
For sure. Here are photos of it, and indeed it's the one you linked:
https://prnt.sc/1wiptan

I just got a multimeter and tried testing the voltages in the power SATA cable, and came with weird results: 13v and 16v
I am, however, not sure if I used it properly since it was my first time using such a thing. Put the black one into the yellow cable pin, and used the red one to check on the other pins.
 
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Orange - black - red - black - yellow. That's 3.3v - Gnd - 5v - Gnd - 12v. So when testing, your black multimeter lead needs to go to any black wire, and the red will test to any colored wire.
Thank you. Just did it this way and here are the results:
Yellow 19,8
Red 8,8
Orange 8,8
As I was writing this I decided to check once more, just for safety, the same way. This time Yellow was 2 and the other two were 0
EDIT: Setting on my Multimeter is DCV20. I also tried with the little arrow-like symbol setting, all were 1 in the same way they'd be 1 on DCV20 if they went over 20
 
Oct 13, 2021
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Read user manual for your multimeter device.
I don't think, you're using it correctly.
The user manual simply states "Set the range switch to the desired DVC position. If the voltage is not known beforehand set the range switch at the highest range position and then reduce it range by range until satisfactory resolution is obtained.
Connect with the test leads across the device or circuit to be measured. Read the voltage value on the LCD display along with the polarity of the red test lead."

20 is the lowest value for DCV I have. Others are 1000, 200, 2000m, 200m.
I'm really not sure what I'm doing wrong.
 
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There is a lot of corrosion around the HDA pads. Those 20 pads are the connection points for the preamp and voice coil inside the drive. You can gently buff them with a soft white pencil eraser. Don't overdo it, as you can remove the plating.

See the example here:
http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=86&t=649

Also check the bottom side of the PCB. Clean up the 20 HDA pads at the top left corner.

https://sep.yimg.com/ay/yhst-14437584971410/91311196-7.gif

When taking voltage measurements, you can use one of the screw holes as the test point for your black lead. If you wish to practice your measurement technique, measure a 1.5V or 9V alkaline battery, or a 3V lithium coin cell. Be aware that your meter can produce wild readings if its battery is flat.
 
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ruggb

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IMHO, what killed 3 of my HDDs was short power outages. At the 3rd instance, I realized a power outage of 1/2 to 1 sec occured b4 it drive died. I put a UPS on my system and have not had a failure like that again.
As far as your drive is concerned, the clicking you hear if the drive trying to rehome itself by seeking track 0. I have had no luck fixing a drive with this failure.
 
Oct 13, 2021
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Go test a car battery. It should read just over 12v. That'll tell you exactly if you have everything done/set correctly and if that multimeter is working correctly.
Link us to a picture of your meters selector panel. We'll tell you what is what.
Just got done trying it on the car battery, didn't get good results with it. I must be doing something wrong.
Here's a picture of the multimeter: https://prnt.sc/1wqmdy0
I have used DCV20. Tried some other settings as well (on the car battery) and I couldn't get a proper reading.
Kept getting 18 or 19v
 
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Oct 13, 2021
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IMHO, what killed 3 of my HDDs was short power outages. At the 3rd instance, I realized a power outage of 1/2 to 1 sec occured b4 it drive died. I put a UPS on my system and have not had a failure like that again.
As far as your drive is concerned, the clicking you hear if the drive trying to rehome itself by seeking track 0. I have had no luck fixing a drive with this failure.
I don't think I've had any power outages, but I'll definitely look into UPS to be safe
 
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Update: Turns out the wacky readings I got with the multimeter were caused by its low battery. I replaced the battery and got good readings (Just a tad bit above 5v, 12v & 3.3v, respectively)
Now I'm even more confused.
Another update: Just plugged one of the 500GB Samsung disks in the PC while it was powered on. It was recognized immediately and I have successfully copied ~35GB on it as a test.
I have a feeling it'll fail as this kind of thing happened earlier - disk supposedly works normally, dies within a day or two. While it was writing those files, I was checking the power sata voltage expecting a failure - but it was at a steady 11.9 the entire time.
 
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