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Old 01-31-2004, 05:21 PM   #1
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Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: Red Hat Linux 9, Gentoo
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Hard Disk and DMA Problems with 160GB ATA/100 HDD

Hello all,

I am having a very frustrating problem. I have 3 HDDs attached to my box. The problem is that i keep having hard lockups at random times, although I can force it to happen. I believe that the problem is software and not hardware but I could be mistaken. I have /dev/hda as a Seagate 160GB ATA/100 (IDE Interface not SATA) /dev/hde as a Maxtor 40GB ATA/133 and /dev/hdf as a Maxtor 60GB ATA/133. /dev/hdc is a CD-RW and /dev/hdd is a CD-ROM. /dev/hde and /dev/hdf are connected to a raid controller but are not in raid mode.

I keep getting dma errors and I/O errors from hda when it locks. I know this because sometimes I can get the output from dmesg. The only way to get the system back is to power it off and on. If I hit the reset button the BIOS fails to reconize the drive and locks. Most of the time the problem occurs when I transfer files for either /dev/hde or /dev/hdf to /dev/hda or vise versa but will also occur when transfering between partitions on /dev/hda. Also it will lock if just sitting idle.

I have tried everthing I can think of to solve this problem short of RMAing the drive which is my next step if I can't get it to work properly.

I have tried new cables, making it the only drive on the channel, disabling DMA (still locks in PIO Mode)

Now before anybody yells use the search button or google for it I have for the past week. I have tried all the suggestions found to no avail even tried somethings for not so similar problems.

System Specs:
Asus A7N8X Mobo (not Deluxe)
Athlon XP 2100
512MB DDR 3200 (2x256 Dual Channel)
SB Live 5.1
Seagate 160GB ATA/100 (IDE Interface)
Maxtor 60GB ATA/133
Maxtor 40GB ATA/133
CMD 648 ATA/66 Raid Card (I know old but works)
ATI Radeon 7500

Software Specs:
Gentoo Linux
2.6.1 Kernel (gentoo-dev-sources)

P.S. I have also tried 2.4.25_pre6 kernel (gs-sources from gentoo)
Old 01-31-2004, 09:02 PM   #2
LQ Guru
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Virginia, USA
Distribution: Debian 12
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What card and IDE chipset are you using for your secondary IDE controller? If it is a Maxtor card with a Promise chipset then buy a HighPoint IDE controller card and see how far you can throw the Maxtor card. Here are some threads where I explain myself in detail:

I am currently running this disk configuration with absolutely no problems:

motherboard IDE chipset: SIS5513 chipset revision 208
/dev/hda: Seagate ST3120026A - 120G
/dev/hdc: CD-RW

secondary ide PCI card: HighPoint Rocket 100 V1.2
/dev/hde: Maxtor 5T030H3 - 30G
/dev/hdg: Maxtor 5T040H4 - 40G

Be prepared. Create a LifeBoat CD.

Steve Stites
Old 08-09-2004, 01:19 PM   #3
LQ Newbie
Registered: Aug 2004
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hard drive chip set, controller, driver issues

I've also had similar problems. Random hard lock ups, testing points strongly toward hard drives. Crashes 70-80% of the time when running fsck.ext3 against partitions on either of my IDE harddrives with or without slaves being present.

More info on reply post at:

Did you ever get your problem solved?

Old 08-10-2004, 01:20 PM   #4
LQ Newbie
Registered: Aug 2004
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Lightbulb nforce2 chipset linux driver problems

After more googling, I've found this is a bigger problem than just IDE. Follow this link to find a description of the problem and some links to some patches and work arounds.
Old 08-10-2004, 09:19 PM   #5
Crazy Joe Davol
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Registered: Aug 2004
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Highpoint cards are very good PCI IDE controllers. they can take away the BUS Mastering from your IDE chipset, this freeing your system resources. Your chipset may be older and running at lower DMA mode.

In your system BIOS, what DMA mode is your drive currently running at?

Are you using an 80wire IDE cable or 40wire?

Also, you may be able to change the DMA mode using hdparm.

Your problem may be something as simple as a failing drive. Download Seagate Seatools (diagnostic tools) from their website , and create a bootable diagnostic diskette. Run an advance scan on the drive. On a 160GB drive this could take anywhere from 45minutes to a few hours (depending on your system). The scan is a read-only scan and is non-distructive, but still, a current backup is always recommended.

I have also seen my fair bunk cables, so simply changing the cable to another might work.


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