1. 2 questions, slightly OT
    What are my options:
    1) if you have a pc with a “dead” motherboard & the mb is out of production. I need to keep the C drive.
    2) Keeping the C drive intact, can you swap your mb from one brand to another without loss of data?

  2. Dexter – I assume you mean you have to keep the content of the C drive. If you swap out the MB depending on the OS and how different the motherboard is it might boot then go nuts trying to identify all of the new devices but more than likely the system will blue screen.

    The best bet is to put in a new drive to load the OS off of and put the old drive in as well as a secondary drive once you get the os loaded on the new drive copy all of your data off of the old drive.

    If you are trying to save your applications that are loaded on the C drive you might be SOL without the original files / CD’s.

  3. Dexter: You can try to boot to the old drive connected to a new motherboard and see what happens. It may auto-detect the correct drivers, but it will most likely have a problem with the IDE controller if it is different. What you can do though it re-install Windows on the old drive/new motherboard comb. Don’t do a new installation, have it “update” the installation that is there. That will fix and driver issues and you will be able to keep your program installations. Generally, it’s best to start from a fresh operating system install, but I’ve done the re-install several times with no issues.

    Also, it’s generally a better idea to partition your hard drive, with a C: partition for the operating system and program files and a D: partition for data and installation files. Partition Magic is an easy-to-use commercial product for re-partition existing drives into multiple partitions; otherwise, you can do this when you perform an operating system install on a new drive.

  4. Hello all,

    Very good blog. It came really handy although I have a problem.

    I have a Raid5 Volume of 3x750GB SATA II HDDs. The other day I decided to expand it so I purchased another 750gb same brand same fw HDD and plugged it on my controller.
    Then I went from my Web configuration and expanded my raidset and now it gives me 3TB of raw capacity and 1TB of free raw capacity.

    I then went to expand my volume set as you said, by clicking on the Modify Volume Set then selecting my volume and selecting the new Volume capacity to be 2250GB, but when I click on the Confirm Action and submit button I get a message “You Did Not Confirm The Operation. Action Aborted”.

    Here is my setup.
    WinXP 64bit SP2
    Controller: Areca ARC-1120
    Firmware version: 1.42

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  5. Pannivas: Sounds like you are using the ARC HTTP interface. Try rebooting and going into the Areca Controller controller bios and expending it that way. By the way, are you using an file system format capable of addressing more than 2TB? If you are using Windows, you need Server 2003 or XP 64 or Vista, and you need a disk that is already formatted with GPT (not standard NTFS partitions.) Otherwise, you won’t be able to address anything past 2TB. Perhaps you should create a new volume set if you don’t have GPT file system already in use.

  6. Thanks Carlton for the reply. I will try do that right now.

    Yes i am using win xp 64bit with gtp. I had to do that the first time because the raw capacity of 3x750gb disks is more than 2gb so i was forced to anyway.

  7. I am in the process of copying my old 500gb (some Adaptec raid5 IDE adapter, damn slow) into a new 1.5TB raid5 3ware 9650se array, and initialising at the same time… Pain in the but. Just my 3 cents. Copying should be finished in 20 hours.. no time known when initialisation will be finished ;D

  8. I have used a lot of different RAID controllers over the years, with different capabilities and vastly different pricing. I’ve found my Areca 1220ML to be the best RAID controller I’ve ever used. I cannot tell if the support from Areca is good or bad, because I’ve needed it, and that’s the point. It just works.
    If you cannot afford an Areca controller, wait and save – or regret. Cheaper controllers tend to be just toys, and when you loose data you find yourself asking what you were thinking when saving a few bucks just to lose irreplaceable data.

  9. I would say the same as Tad in that I’ve used to many RAID Controllers in the past but have never used any of the Areca Controllers as of yet. I’m certainly not opposed to giving them a try as I’ve heard / read good things about them.

    With that said as I’ve mentioned in previous posts I’ve settled on 3Ware Controllers of late and I have to say that I’m absolutely thrilled with them. I haven’t had any issues with them whatsoever and I’ve built several systems with them in recent months.

    My personal server has just over 4TB of space on a 3Ware 9550-16 Controller. I’ve expanded the array a few times still with no issues whatsoever. I can’t comment on 3Ware support either as I’ve never had to contract them.

    I can however comment on 3Ware’s sales. I ordered a set of Multi Lane to SATA breakout cables from them, they sent the wrong ones and when I called them up they said no problem and sent me the right cables over night on their dime or so I thought. I get my credit card statement and low and behold they charged me $95 for the overnight shipping (for something that weighs 2 pounds) for the mistake that they made and said they would cover. Well that was back in July and to date they still haven’t credited me back that money. Each time I call, they see in my account what happened and say it will be credited the next business day. I’m at the point where I will have to fight this through My Credit Card Company. So keep that in mind if you ever deal with their sales department.

  10. For 3ware I’d recommend ordering thru NewEgg.

  11. This is a GREAT article and very helpful for anyone looking at single volume large capacity storage. However due to the ever increasing drive capacities and storage needs, it needs to be amended/enhanced with the following critical information:

    When using an Areca controller (the most reliable I have ever used) you should setup your >2TB support as follows:

    1) Try to create an initial RaidSet LARGER than 2TB to start off, so that the controller prompts you to choose how to handle that much data.
    2) Use “LBA64” >2TB support option!
    3) Once the RaidSet is created, create the VolumeSet.
    4) In Server 2003 create an NTFS partition using GPT not MBR [you can convert from MBR to GPT (just right click-in Disk Manager) but only if there is no data on the partition as it will be lost!]

    NOTE: If you already have data, and are not configured as described above, you will HAVE to backup your data and redo the config! No other workaround!

    Now going forward, whenever you add more HD’s to the controller and after you expand the Raidset & VolumeSet, you will need to boot into SAFE mode in windows and run DISKPART to expand the volume. If you try to do it while in normal startup mode it will NOT work!

    With some of the Areca controller models handling 24 drives, following these guidelines you can have over 512TB in ONE NTFS volume as drives get larger, and never worry about space!




  12. Hello,
    I will try and explain my case and maybe someone can help me with this problem that I have.

    I had Win XP 64bit with 1 areca ARC-1120 SATA raid controller. On the raid controller I had 5x750GB Seagate 7200.10 HDDs on a single RAID5 volume of total 3TB.

    When this volume was first configured I made it Dynamic Disk and used GTP so that Windows XP could read the greater than 2TB volume.

    Everything was working fine but 2 days ago I decided to upgrade to Vista Ultimate 64bit.

    I installed vista 64bit then chipset, SATA, Ethernet drivers. After that I installed the areca raid drivers (used latest) open Computer Management and import the 2.7TB foreign disk to Vista 64bit. It worked just fine, I even opened some files from windows explorer.

    After that I installed some applications and video drivers (EVGA 8800GTS) and on the next reboot my volume was missing and when I opened Computer Management the volume was offline. From there on I couldn’t re-import the disk.

    After that I decided to install Win XP 64bit as a secondary OS to check if everything is ok from there. After raid driver installation (used latest) I couldn’t even import the foreign disk from computer management under XP 64bit. I get this error in event viewer.

    INTERNAL Error – The disk group contains no valid configuration copies (C10000B6).
    For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

    The strange thing is that if I open the archttp software my volume is there and it’s shown at Normal state.

    I also installed R-Studio software and that software can read my volume just fine.

    I just cannot understand why I cannot import the volume on XP or Vista 64bit.
    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Hardware Config
    Motherboard: Supermicro X7DAL-E+
    CPU: Intel Xeon 5148
    RAM: 4GB Kingston FB-DIMM
    Video Card: EVGA 8800GTS 320MB
    SATA RAID: Areca 1120 8port PCI-X
    Hard Drives: 5x750GB Seagate 7200.10 series

  13. Still on topic of expanding the capacity of a storage server, I have ran into a new problem. My 650watt Thermaltake power supply cannot take any more hard drives.

    I currently have 10 seagate 750gbs in the array + another hd for OS and a dvd rom. After installing the 11th hard drive the machine will power on and then power itself off after about 1-2 seconds. If I unplug the power of the new hd, the server works fine. This was not a problem I anticipated since my current calculations I should at MAX only be using 400watts (probably more like 350), unless the raid controller card takes an inordinate amount of power to work, but I don’t that since it’s just pci-express and doesn’t even require the extra power running to it.

    Anyways, so I’m wondering for those with large arrays, what type of power supply do you have?

    Oh yeah and 1 more thing, I did attempt booting the machine with the 11th hard drive powered and un-powering the dvd rom, but received the same result. I was estimating that the hd’s only used about 25 watts each, now I’m thinking it’s much more than that.


  14. Nate – There are SO many variables when it comes to power consumption in any system. You have to consider not only the hard drives and the number of them, you also need to consider the CPU, Video card and lets not forget cooling as well.

    What you are really running in to here is the initial surge. When a system powered up and the RAID Controller sends the start command to the drive each of them will start spinning at the same time which puts a huge load on the power supply. SCSI Drives dealt with this a lot better in allowing a delayed spin up command to be issued by the controller. While most SATA RAID Controllers support this most current drives do not. The only ones that I have found that do are Western Digital Drives and even so that was something I have to dig the information up for (you need to install a jumper on it then set the command in the RAID Controller).

    If you would put your system on a power strip that has an AMP Meter or use some other method to measure the amount of current your system draws you will see that when you power up the system it might take as much as 10Amps when the drives all spin up but once they settled down it will drop down to something much lower probably in the 2 – 3Amp range which is roughly 240 to 360 Watts.

    I have a system with 7 drives in it right now and it is taking only 1.2 to 1.3 amps of power once running. That is roughly 150 Watts of power.

    A friend of mine built pretty much the same exact system (Same case, Motherboard, Hot Swap Cages and Drives) but went with an insane CPU and an even more insane video card. When I did some work on it I was shocked to see that it was drawing a constant 4.5 amps of power which is 540 watts! He’s got a total of 15 drives in his so I thought that was the difference. When I saw the dramatic difference I did some checking and removed half the drives and it was still drawing just about the same amount of power. So that shows that the CPU / Video Card (I’m assuming the video card is the issue seeing that it has a direct power connection in to it).

    With that said I am using Mushkin Power Supplies and haven’t had any issues whatsoever. Both of the systems I mentioned are running the 550 Watt Dual-Rail versions which take the initial surge very nicely.

    Hope this helps!

  15. Hard drive consume only about 8-10 watts once they are running. However, the initial start-up can require 2-3 times more power and I’m guessing that is your issue.

    I have 10 drives connected to my Areca RAID controller + 1 system drive connected to the motherboard. I have an Antec Neo Power 500 ATX12V 500W Power Supply. The difference is that the Areca RAID controller supportes staggered spin-up, so the drives come online one after the other. The controller allows me to specify the interval between drive spin-ups; I use 2 seconds as the interval.

    In my experience, it has nothing to do with the SATA hard drives and everything to do with the hard drive controller. All SATA drives will allow staggered spin-up; the key it controlling and coordinating that. My Areca RAID controller has a BIOS that loads at startup. It pauses the boot process while the drives are being powered-up. Once all drives are online, the controller bios allows the PC to continue booting.

  16. I have 3Ware Controllers and they support Staggered Spin up but according to them Seagate Drives SATA Drives do not support it??? I searched high and low on their website and couldn’t come up with anything. I can say that without any doubt the drive all spin up at the same time with 3ware as well as Adaptec controllers with Delay Spin Up enabled and the settings set properly.

    I have not used any other controllers except for SCSI which almost all support Delayed Spin up that actually works.

    If someone knows how to get my 3Ware Controllers to work with Staggered Spin up please let me know.

  17. I think spin-up, spin-down are standard SATA commands. The Areca controller supports spin-down of the drive during normal operation for power savings. But maybe some drives spin-up as soon as they receive power and don’t give the controller a chance to stagger spin-ups. I’m very pleased with the Samsung drives I have, much quieter than the Seagate drives.

  18. Yes, thank you for the replies, that makes a lot of sense. I should have been more specific in my system though, it’s pretty barebones. It’s headless (no keyboard, mouse, monitor) so I use onboard video (I plug a monitor + keyboard in when I need to expand the array) and ethernet. The one card plugged in on the motherboard is the 3ware raid controller. I can’t remember the processor, but it’s nothing power consuming since I built this as a storage only machine. That’s why I was so shocked about having a power issue, but after you explained the initial power surge it makes complete sense. I will look on my 3ware controller for a staggered startup option – I hope it has one because if it doesn’t then my only other option is to upgrade the power supply (which will be a LOT).

    However, since the controller supports hot-swapping, what if I have the computer on and then plug in the power to the drive? I’ve never done that before, but it’s an option. Obviously if I ever power it down (which I only do when I’m installing a new hd), I’ll have to unplug the power again before powering it on, but it seems viable.

    As for measuring the power, I have my storage server plugged into an apc unit with an lcd screen so I will have to watch it and see if it updates quickly enough to show the draw.


  19. Nate –

    Yes the Controller Supports Hot-swapping but if you would power the system on without the drives plugged in the controller will see them as missed and fail them. This could lead to issues and possibly data loss. I don’t think I would go this route.

    I don’t know what model 3Ware controller you have but it should support staggered spin up but as I mentioned my controller (9550-16 and a 9550-8) it doesn’t work with my Seagate 750’s for some reason. I actually opened up a web case this morning with 3Ware to see if I can get this resolved.

  20. To add to the initial power draw of a hard drive. According to the Specs of a typical 750GB Seagate Hard Drive the start up power draw can be just under 35 Watts of power but once it is up and running it settles down to right around 13 watts of power. So you can see how your power supply can have an issue with this initial surge.

    Also what I meant to say in my last post is that if you remove the power from the drives then connect them the controller will see them as missing during the initial post and fail them. This would be bad!

  21. Pleblanc – I have a similar setup to you. Seagate’s and a 3ware controller. I have the 9650-16ML and I can see in the web interface where it says staggered start-up, but I can’t change those numbers (or enable/disable it) and the help file is useless as it says it can be changed, but doesn’t say how.

    I’m guessing this can’t be changed in the web interface and needs to be changed in the other interface during boot-up. In the help file though it does say that you can enable it, but that if the hard drives don’t support it, the setting will just be ignored (so even though it will appear to be working in the controller setup, the staggered setup doesn’t actually happen). Now I’m thinking I should have opted for the enterprise editions of the hard drives rather than the regular seagate 750s…. Hopefully the regular ones will support it, but I’m doubtful.


  22. Pleblanc – Yeah I would have to boot into the motherboard’s bios each time, give the hd power, then exit bios, and then the motherboard bios runs again followed by the 3ware controller which would then see the HD, therefore the controller would have never known that the HD wasn’t initially there. It’s a poor solution don’t get me wrong, but I might have to do it temporarily as I have an extra 750 in the machine right now not being used and I need the space.

    The real solution is to get staggered startup working, but I don’t see any mention of that feature on newegg’s site. I have the 750’s that end in “AS” – when I get home I will have to play around with it more – currently I’m just remotely connecting to the server and looking for the option in the web interface which I’m not seeing.


  23. Hey everyone I thought I would let you know about something I discovered over the last few days.

    As mentioned above I have a 3Ware 9550SX Controller. Recently I expanded my Array from 7 to 8 drives this process took about 2 days to complete. This is where it gets interesting, I have my controller set to auto-verify the array once a week. This past Wednesday my usual verify kicked in and I was surprised to see that I got a few hundred sector relocate errors.

    This made me wonder why this wasn’t caught when I expanded the array. The reason behind that is because the controller does NOT verify the data when it expands. To confirm this what I did was remove the failing drive then reinsert it and rebuild the array. This process completed successfully in only about 5 hours or so (which I thought was impressive) I was kind of surprised to see that I didn’t have any errors. Once the rebuild completed I kicked off a verify and sure enough an hour or so in to it the same drive started to show errors / issues.

    So a nice little safety tip is to Make sure that once you expand your array you immediately kick off a verify. This holds true especially if you don’t have auto-verify enabled (which I do not believe is the default) or if you have verify scheduled for sometime in the future. Also if you do have “Follow Schedule” enabled in the Controller then you might have to Set Ignore Schedule to get it to kick off immediately.

    I have an open case with 3Ware support and I mentioned this to them and they confirmed that when expanding the system does NOT verify the data. This to me seems WAY more risky then I would have ever thought. I guess that is why they say to make sure you have your data backed up huh?

    BTW – I opened a case with Seagate to see if their ST3750 AS Drives support Staggered Spin up cause 3Ware won’t answer the question. They keep referring me back to the drive manufacturer.

  24. Nate – I thought I would drop you a note and let you know what I have discovered with my setup. As I mentioned I have a 3Ware 9550SX-16ML Controller and 8 Seagate ST3750640AS Drives. I thought that I tried the various Staggered / Delayed Spin up settings in the controller but wanted to take another look at them as they were not working.

    I looked through my 3Ware settings through the 3DM software but couldn’t really find anything that would let me change this setting. I was only able to when I rebooted the system and accessed the controller directly.

    I am very happy to announce that I got my delayed spin up working. I am not sure what the default settings are for the controller but the config that worked for me was to choose a single drive at a time (just to make it easier for me to follow the start up), 4 second delay and OOBSATA for the method (this was not the default).

    I power Cycled the system and sure enough the drives spun up one at a time. I can’t believe that it took me messing with this myself to figure out. I have cases open with both 3Ware and Seagate and get nothing but each company telling me to check with the other company. Well this means that these drives ARE Power On Standby Capable.

    It is worth mentioning that in my set up I have my drives in Supermicro Hotswap Enclosures but I do not believe that has anything to do with this working.

  25. Well I’m glad you got it working, because I sure can’t seem to get it! I saw in one of 3ware’s manuals about that staggered option only being able to be set in it’s bios on bootup so I got that step, but the staggered startup was already enabled for me w/1 drive and 1 second delay and on sata. I played around with the numbers a bit (1 drive at a time, 6 seconds inbetween, 2 drives at a time, 4 seconds – all that stuff), but still no luck.

    I watched the power meter on my ups unit and sure enough when I plug in that extra drive it hits 480watts-ish and the machine shuts off a second later. As soon as I unplug it the machine takes up about 470watts and boots fine (then shortly after goes to 200-220, and once booted stayed around 180).

    I thought the problem might be in the motherboard bios (not letting a pci-e card have controller over power or something), but I didn’t see any option that would make a difference. I would say that the drives are not compatible with staggered startup, but since you’ve got them to work I’m pretty stumped.

    I’ll play around some more, but if I get it working I’m guessing it will be a bios option somewhere and with this tyan motherboard they’ve got a million sub-menus and settings. I of course checked in windows that the 3ware controller accepted the changes correctly and everytime I would also turn off and unplug the computer wait a minute and attempt to boot it back up (with the additional drive plugged in). Everytime the power would surge to 480watts and the machine would shut off. Not the way I wanted to start the new year, but oh well, I’ll get it working somehow! Any ideas?


  26. Do you have the “Staggered Method” set to SATA OOB or ATA-6? This is what made the difference for me, I believe mine was set to ATA-6 SATA6 and when I changed it I got it working.

    I don’t believe that anything in the Motherboard BIOS should prevent this from working. I believe the way that this works is the Controller is waiting to send out the Start Signal to the drive based on the staggered start up parameters.

    From what it sounds like this should be supported by any SATA II Drive as it is part of the standard. I do however know that the Western Digital Drives need a jumper installed on it to work.

  27. Other background info my machine (don’t think it matters), the OS does not boot from the storage array, but a single and separate sata drive, I have pulled out all of the 1.5gb jumpers on my seagate 750s to make them run at 3.0gbs, I do not have BBU unit installed on the raid controller.

    If you changed any other settings anywhere, let me know. Thanks.


  28. It sounds like we have very similar set ups but just to confirm my set up…

    I also boot of another HDD that is connected directly to the motherboard and not the 3Ware controller. I do not have a BBU installed on the controller and have had my drives set to 3Gbs since day one (and confirmed through 3Ware Software). Finally I do not have the BIOS enabled on the controller as I do not boot off it.

    So I believe the only differences we have are motherboard, I am using an ASUS Workstation / Server Board and I also am using Supermicro CSE-M35T Hatswap Enclosures for my drives.

  29. thanks for the great tips guys.

    I run a areca 1220 raid card with 4*500GB disks, I just added a 5th to expand the capacity. However, when i expanded to server2003 “dynamic” partition is has create two ‘blocks’ both called Data (D:)

    is this correct or should there be only one ‘block’ called ‘D’ – the array is reporting the right size (2tb) but doesnt look optimal to me.

    thanks again

  30. Sounds correct to me if I understand your description. You expand the RAID set, then you have to expand the NTFS data partition to fill the newly available space.

  31. Yeah the drives power just is not being controlled by the raid card, they all just instantly spin as soon as it’s turned on, hmmm. In 3ware bios it’s been turned on to OOB-SATA, but I even tried ata just as a fluke to see if I could that to work. I’ve played around with several motherboard settings, but no luck there either (although I did find one about enabling sata raid – which I did, but I’m guessing that one is more for software raid – but now that I type that I don’t think my mb has a software raid). I guess I could try contacting 3ware’s support, but from the sounds of it, they’ll be of no assistance.

    It’s also lame that the power supply I have is for 650watts and craps out as soon as it peaks above 480 watts for a second.

    I turned 3ware bios “off,” but all that did was make the controller say “bios not installed” during it’s initialization. I’ll have to start digging through the motherboard manual, since I can’t possible see how the settings for the 3ware controller are off.


  32. Ian – I don’t have the RAID Controller that you have so I can’t speak exactly to your situation but I have expended my arrays several times without an issue.

    Once you finished expanding the array through the controller are you saying that the additional space showed up within Disk Manager at the end of the same bar but at the end? If this is the case then all you have to do is run Diskpart.exe and expand the NTFS Partition.

    Couple of things to keep in mind here though, With the set up you mentioned you would have just went over the 2TB limit of a “Regular” Partition. Did you make this a GPT Disk within Windows? Also some RAID Controllers have something called Auto-Carving that will report anything over 2GB Partitions to the operating system as a separate disk.

    So the bottom line is that if you expanded the array properly and the partition within windows is GPT you can keep expanding the same drive without any issues.

  33. Pete, what case was it that you modified to accept the SuperMicro drive cages?

    What do you guys use to backup your 4+ TB arrays, or are you using them strictly as backup servers?

  34. Jim – I have built several servers with 3 of the SuperMicro Hotswaps in each of them and haven’t had any issues whatsoever. I am using AeroCool Masstige Cases. Each of them have a total of 10 5-1/4″ Bays which allows for 3 of the hotswaps and one CD or DVD-ROM Drives.

    Here is a picture of a few that I’ve built recently. http://www.pete-man.com/images/RaidServer.JPG

    As for backup that is really the 64 thousand dollar question isn’t it? My large servers are Video Servers so pretty much everything I have on there I have the original for. Obviously there are many, many backup solutions that are capable of this kind of backup but they are NOT cheap. Hopefully someone somewhere will come up with a low cost backup solution for these types of applications. I certainly don’t plan on backup this amount of data on upwards of 1000 single layer DVD’s πŸ™‚

  35. Yeah this is my storage server and the backup is that it’s raid 5 with a ups unit. If my apt burns down, well then I have insurance and my storage server will be a small problem compared to the real stuff I lose.

    Anyways, I am just about ready to give up w/my problem, I am absolutely stumped. I updated the driver and firmware for the controller (which btw is amazing, the controller was in use the whole time the firmware updated, no down time or annoying command prompts necessary), I played around with numerous motherboard settings – I thought I had it with enabling the memory cache to write through during bootup (the cache for irq port 16, which is the port that the raid controller is on, I saw the memory range in the driver info in windows), but that didn’t work. Out of frustration I enabled everything to write in cache and then I wasn’t able to get into bios (or bootup) so I had to flash it.

    I think I am going to buy the motherboard that Pleblanc is using and try that – and I think tomorrow I will try to talk to tyan support, but that’s pretty much a waste of my time. I don’t really know what else could be different or going on, I have checked and re-checked everything, the power just always surges up every time the button is pressed. I really wish there was some software app out there to test the hard drive to see if staggered startup would work (perhaps the firmware on my 750’s isn’t compatible or something).


  36. Assuming it’s not my motherboard, then the only thing it could be IMO would be the firmware on one or all of these seagates, Out of the 10 drives I have, I have 3 different firmwares, they are

    I’m thinking of turning off auto-rebuild and unplugging all the older firmware versions (I’m assuming the lower the alpha letter the older it is) and just trying to see if I can get the newer ones to stagger-start. Pleblanc if you don’t mind can you let me know what firmware versions you have so if you have one of the ones I have I can just use that initially for my test. Thanks,


  37. Nate – I don’t know if the firmware of the drives would have anything to do with it or not but just to compare I have a total of 8 drives in my array and only 2 firmwares at this point they are as follows. 3 Of them are 3.AAK and the remaining 5 are 3.AAE according to the 3Ware software. Lets say for the sake of argument that this would have something to do with it then some of the drives would spin up and others wouldn’t???

    Again I personally do not think that this has anything to do with the motherboard. Maybe it has something to do with the SuperMicro Enclosures that I am using but I don’t think that is the case either. From what I understand the way this is supposed to work is the controller has to tell the drives not to spin up until it tells them to. If the controller doesn’t tell them to “Wait” then they will spin up upon power up which is what they are doing. So as long as these drives connected to the controller which they are then it should work. I don’t know what else could be the issue.

    Also I forgot to mention that I am also using my RAID 5 as my backup so I would have to suffer data corruption or loss of 2 drives at the same time for data loss to occur. Hopefully **Knock on Wood** that doesn’t happen anytime soon πŸ™‚

  38. I agree Pleblanc, I don’t think the motherboard or the firmware versions is the issue, but I’m reaching here since I can’t think of anything else and am looking for any differences between a working setup (yours) and one that’s not (mine). I am going to try just the AAK’s initially since we have that in common. If you have any other ideas, please let me know! I’m desperate!


  39. Well on port 2 of the controller I had all AAK’s, so I attempted to just boot up with just that plugged into the controller (but everything has power, so I was hoping that it would stagger the 4 AAk’s that were on the 2nd port), but it didn’t work (same result, 480 watts).

    I even tried putting it on another PCI-E port in the motherboard, but didn’t work. I will say that when you boot up into BIOS upon failure (since it’s not seeing all the drives) it tells you that if you’ve unplugged them just to plug them right back in and do a re-scan. This gave me confidence that my workaround that I don’t want to do will be okay. That being to manually plug in the power to the additional drives AFTER bootup has started. This is of course not what I want to do, but it’s not really that big of a deal since I never have to turn off machine and a restart shouldn’t produce that same huge jolt of power.

    To me the problem has to either be 1) faulty 3ware card 2) motherboard is not allowing the card to have control over the devices 3) I just have drives that aren’t compatible 4) is your setup really working?

    I say #4, because I noticed that it sounds like my drives stagger start sometimes, but the power draw shows otherwise. Are you 100% sure that your drives truly are stagger-starting?

    To anyone thinking about using these seagates I’d say they are fantastic drives, but be aware that stagger-start may not work. If I could do it all over again I would have spent a little bit more on the enterprise drives since I presume they HAVE to be stagger-start compatible.


  40. Nate – I don’t know what to say… I will make 100% sure that it is working on my end when get home in the morning. I can say that once I set the “Method” to OOB on the controller and set the Staggered Settings to 1 Drive every 4 Seconds without any doubt the controller was kicking on one drive every 4 seconds. I would hear them individually spin up then click once they were up to speed then it would go to the next drive. I didn’t see the huge spike in power either.

    Keep in mind that I have these drives in the Supermicro Enclosures which have Activity LED’s on them. Each time one of the drives was powering on I would see that LED come on and stay on until the drive was up to speed and the heads engaged with the noticeable click then it would move on to the next drive.

    I have another system in my network that has Western Digital Drives in it. I haven’t tried that one yet but that would be comparing apples to oranges seeing that the drives aren’t Seagate and I’ve been told that the WD’s need to have a jumper installed on them to enable Staggered Spinup / Power On Standby.

    One of the other systems I’ve built recently is with a friend of mine. He’s got some WD drives as well as the same Seagate 750’s. He is going to give it a try as well to see what happens on his. At the same time one of the systems I built recently has a total of 15 drives in it (all Seagate 750’s) connected to two controllers. I should have access to that system sometime this week at which time I will check to see if it works on his.

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