Weird problem with a Seagate 200 gig

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I suppose its related to the nforce4 data corruption problem  or heat
problem with the nforce4 chip which I think is related.

This has resulted in lockups on my PC. After tearing my hair out ---
though  Ive been wrong many times before ---  I think Ive narrowed it
down to my Seagate 200 gig which is new. I got it during Xmas and
installed it only a few weeks ago along with the the two new 160 gigs
Seagates I have and the new 160 gig Hitachi I have and a slightly
older WD 200 gig.

The PC seemed to only lockup when I was transferring data from or to
the 200 gig Seagate. I think when I switched from passive cooling
which had a problem only when I raided my drives ---- Im assuming an
old article I came across was true that claimed things seems to run a
lot hotter when you raided your drives --- like the drives and I
assume the motherboard chip. Passive cooling seemed OK as long as you
didnt really really stress the board. But when I changed to active
cooling I think I inadverdantly made things worse cause the contact
between chip and heatsink wasnt very good. The nforce4 motherboard
chip now has a metal core like the CPU chips. The old MB chips had no
core sticking out of the chip.

Thats one thing dont rock the heatsink back and forth -- easy to do
cause its held by some flimsy springs , cause you can chip the edges
of the core like the core on the CPU.

Right after that it started locking up intermittently when I was doing
data transfers. I did a scan disk and seagate desk tools diagnostic
test after I thought I isolated the problem to the seagate 200 gig.
Physically all my disks come out OK even the 200 gig Seagate. But it
fails the data test. Says the data on it - indexes etc are corrupted.
So I did a scan disk and Windows finds NOTHING wrong with it. However
I cant transfer any data off of it or on at all.

So I decide to take the HD out and put it in my other AMD 64 system
and it transfers fine. Im gettng all the data off it now in fact.
However I tested it again with seagate desk tools since I thought
maybe it was a  system problem and not HD data problem. Nope. It comes
out saying corrupted data on this system too but with no hangs when I
transfer data.

Its all very strange. Anyway I reseated the cooling on my main system
and am taking all the data off my seagate 200 gig using my second
system and will reformat it.  

I assume the heat problem corrupted the data on the 200 gig when it
was on my main system.

The main things are --- why doesnt WINDOWS find data corruption when
Seagate Tools does?

I assume the poor contact with the active cooling unit was the cause
of all the problems with the main system and that explains why it
still locked up when moving data from the 200 gig but then why didnt
it do it with other HDs? And of course the HD didnt lock up at all on
my other AMD system. I hope this doesnt mean there are several
problems --- maybe the newer Seagates do suck like some claim.

I also saw a post at a site where some guy use a temp probe to check
the temps on his nforce4 Chaintech and I assume many nforce4 boards
are like this since many other brands have data corruption problems.
He claims the temps were wildly off the readings. He got readings that
varied as much as 10-40 C !!!

Are these relatively static temps from nforce4 boards bogus? Maybe his
readings were off but if they arent that would explain some of the
problems people have with data corruption.




Re: Weird problem with a Seagate 200 gig

On Sun, 15 Jan 2006 01:57:43 -1000, ""

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Have you yet tried pointing a fan at the suspect chip?
Is it repeatable, regularly or intermittent?

Which Seagate design?  The 7200.8 series is rumored to have
a smooth chip on it that is heat-sensitive.  Either way, if
your drive isn't cooled really, really well you might try
supplimental cooling for the drive to at least isolate the
problem as much as possible.

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The easiest way to cool the drive with certainty might be to
lay it on a desk, upside down, and point a fan at that
smooth chip.  If you have some frag (thermal transfer) tape
and a small heatsink, you might even temporarily affix it,
though lying on a desk upside down with fan, methink the
frag tape and heatsink addition would be unnecessary.

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I question that, the drives shouldn't be hotter due to it
except if it merely means a given drive is then being
accessed more often.  Don't know for certain about the
southbridge, suggest adding a heatsink or heatsink-swap if
it feels too hot regardless of whether you run a RAID array
or not.

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Maybe, but lying the system on it's side and pointing a
small fan at each part (to isolate it) seems a good
attempt... but if you feel the 'sink contact isn't good, try
putting it back on with fresh thermal compound only spread
over the metal spreader in the middle... unless the heatsink
clip retaining force is really poor, then you may need more
compound and it might help to push down in it some, not
excessively, to squish out any excess.

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Agreed, I'd just push straight down on the middle over the

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you might retry that with a fan pointed at the smooth chip,
if applicable.  Chip would clear say "smooth" on it.
However, I have another brand (Maxtor?) that also has a
smooth chip and I'd never noticed any problem... think it
might be a PATA 120GB but my recollection of it is vague,
don't even know if the same exact smooth chip.

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Well if the data was already corrupted, it'll stay that way
no matter where you move the drive.  I'd get all data off
and wipe the drive, recopy data back (keeping another backup
of the data) and more testing of the drive.

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I should read ahead more often.
You might be unlucky and have both problems... odds against
it but the odds catch up to us all, eventually.

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Depends on where the temp (software reading) was taken too.
Where his higher or lower?  I presume higher, but any given
manufacturer may set their own temp offset that is reported
so his software report may not necessarily coincide with

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Well if the temp reading never changes even a single degree,
yes that would appear wrong.  Obviously right after you turn
the system on, especially with a heatsink on the chip, the
temp should be rising at least a few more degrees as it
warms up.

Re: Weird problem with a Seagate 200 gig

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The temps on the nforce4 tend to stay in a narrow range. This post
from a guy at PC perspective says he got a temp probe and even took
the fan off the nforce chip I think and the readings were way lower
according to the bios vs the temp probe which would explain everything
if as I keep ranting about the temps may be higher than I think on the
nforce4 chip. Ive been wrong many time before though and people tend
to be all over the map when claiming problems so you can go off on
wrong tangest easily. The last time I had a problem with memory sticks
I thought it was the HDs, MB and drivers and overheating graphics card
before I narrowed it down to the memory sticks.

Anyway I still have that problem.  I dont have a clue whats wrong with

Seagate 200 gig NEW 7200.7   Pata ST3200822A

AMD chaintech 939 socket board with the suspect active cooling
which I just redid. In fact they sent me TWO fans by mistake so I
sanded down the second one and put that one on after putting a really
thin layer of thermal grease since I put probably a bit more than I
should on the other one and it had that black residue which I tried to
clean off but didnt get off 100%.  This one should be clean.

The other is ASUS cheapo all in one - built in graphics  socket 754
3200 AMD 64 on a HP PC premade.

I did a quick memory test not thorough to exclude that -- I notice
seagate tools also has a quick memory and controller and cable test.

So far ---

a) 939 system --- the HD passes all hardware tests including the LONG
thorough one where it does a surface scan but it continually fails
what it calls a file structure test and hangs.

b) 754 socket --- ALSO passes hardware tests including long one but
once again FAILS file structure.

WIN XP doesnt find any problems with scandisk. WEIRD.

So I figure after I repartition and format my problems are gone. NOPE.
Did that with my 754 socket and it FAILS again the file structure

Is Seagate tools itself buggy? Im using the latest one from their
website. An explanation like this would explain the problems ---- bad
nforce4 cooling - poor contact  like I mentioned is causing the hangs
(why it only does it on the seagate 200 is still a mystery though) so
that explains why it doesnt on my 754 socket and still comes out BAD
on both systems in terms of file structure (buggy software) but still
passes WIN XP scandisk and doesnt change after formatting.

Or the seagate 200 gig is screwy. Using an older seagate tools it
tells me to send it to SG right away and RMA it.

Could be heat from the drive itself. I had it in the case with the 939
and out of the case sitting outside by it with the 754.  That explains
the hang but not the FAIL file structure in both systems.

I may end up sending it back to Seagate. Unfortunately I waited for
over a month to install it so I cant take it back to Compusa Id have
to send it back. What a hassle.

Also noticed there arent a lot of good HD deals since BF --- the
prices are downright terrible since after BF just in case I have to
buy one just in case Seagate takes their time RMAing a replacement.

Im reinstalling it now in my 939 so I can see if it still hangs which
would confirm or not whether my remounting of the active cooling on
the nforce4 makes a difference and Ill try to it out of the case to
see if that makes a difference. I just took the 200 gig out after
using ERASER to write over any data I had on it to send it back and
reformat it and its super hot  !  

None of the other drives comes out bad by seagate tools --- the two
new 160 gig drives seagates and even the WD 200gig !






Re: Weird problem with a Seagate 200 gig

On Sun, 15 Jan 2006 20:08:31 -1000, ""

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Is there a guarantee that the bios reported temp is supposed
to correspond to that chip?  Perhaps it was meant to report
a different chip?  

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Does his methodology for taking temps seem good?  If so, AND
if the temp he measured seems too high, that alone is enough
to be concerned about... to get that temp lower and compare
the function afterwards... even if it means a makeshift
heatsink just to do testing.

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At this system state, does the system otherwise appear to
work normally, is the only apparent issue that the software
isn't working right?

I'm wondering if it's possible the software has a bug, and
then there might also be occasional overheating of
something.  Lots of fans and heatsinks might help, or if you
have an air-conditioner with enough reserve to get the room
cooler that might aid as well... but not as much as a fan
directed at it would and the fan is a lot cheaper assuming
you have a spare.  By fan I mean just a big 80+ mm pointed
at it, not trying to mount a new heatsink yet.


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I was just thinking HDD deals weren't too bad anymore, while
there were several 160GB for $40, now there's a few 300GB
for $100, which makes more sense in the long run as you can
only stuff so many drives in a system.  Then again, that may
only be my perspective having already picked up so many
120-160 drives in the past year, don't need any smallish
ones for primary drives, more for data stores.

Anyway, I'd just ignore the Seagate tools for the time being
and strap fans everywhere to see if it makes a difference
then progressively remove a few till you find the culprit.

Re: Weird problem with a Seagate 200 gig

Oh yeah Im going to try lowlevel formatting the drive next before
RMAing. It worked with a WD I had which was screwy out of the box in
fact this 200 gig I have that worked well now when I had a bad stick
mem and it was acting really weird --- the HD.

Re: Weird problem with a Seagate 200 gig

Well there it goes. Its freezing on all the HDs now so its not the 200
gig.  It only happens when I copy data from one HD to another. Lightly
using it for other tasks doesnt seem to lock it up.

Im running MEMTEST overnight just to get that out the way but thinking
it over clearly its still got to be the cooling on the nforce4 chip.
If you MB chip isnt properly cooled it can give you the freakiest

It all started happening when I changed from the passive cooler to the
active. It just makes sense and its the type of symptom I remember
exactly from the old KT133 board where I ended up changing the cooler
on that chipset when it died. I remember trying to reattach the
replacement cooler 4 times with thermal tape and some other means
which didnt work until I superglued a bigger heatsink fan.

I was playing FEAR and Quake4 up until I changed the cooler.

Now to decide is the puny fan and heatsink chaintech sent me adequate
for cooling the nforce4? Its got to be right? Since all the newer
boards have it and I dont see every single Chaintech 4 owner whining
about it. Its got to be the attachment method. But its an auto
attachment thing with plastic pins and springs.

I think I may be forced to buy a premium MB cooler for this board. It
sucks cause the shipping alone is around $15-20.  COMPUSA only has the
wimpy old fashioned MB coolers which are worse than the stock
Chaintech ones. I have to check if the ones they sent me are in fact
like the ones on the new boards.

However its got to be the paste Im using right? Everyone elses fan
heatsink is attached the same way and I looked it up and it looks as
if other peoples boards are using the same active coolers on the newer
boards which is to be expected since this was sent by Chaintech. The
only difference is the thermal paste Im using some old paste I still
have left over not Arctic Silver. Ive used it before with no problems
but who knows.

The only other obvious change I switched from my full tower Antec to
the Super Lanboy Antec mid tower I said I liked and it seems well laid
out and decent for air flow but maybe Im wrong. Maybe it sucks. But
once again I see no rise in  CPU or board temps given in my bios and
software but the software readings are off a bit. The volage readings
are screwy etc vs the bios readings.

Gee maybe Ill take it apart AGAIN for the 3rd time and reseat the
active cooler on the nforce4 chip. Ive tried generous amount of
grease. Then very very thin amount. The generous amount seemed to work
better. I think Ill go buy some arctic silver.

Re: Weird problem with a Seagate 200 gig

On Mon, 16 Jan 2006 03:05:44 -1000, ""


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On an open flipchip core, any reasonably thin (medium
viscosity is fine, just not really thick stuff) compound
will work fine providing the heatsink base is relatively
smooth.  Generic silicone grease (so long as it's not
separated, dried out) should do fine, but on an open
flipchip it is not good for long-term use because of the
pumping and separating action of the silicone oil in it.  By
long term I mean closer to a year or longer, usually much

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You should get a digital thermometer and take measurements.
Often you'll find them cheaply in the floral departments of
stores, Indoor/outdoor types in the continental US are about
$5-20 depending on features, size.

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Just be careful using a "generous" amount of AS, as it's
messy, harder to clean up.

Re: Weird problem with a Seagate 200 gig

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Im getting ready to jump off a cliff.  This is driving me nuts. Its
JUST like all the whining people at the nforce4 forum that complain
about data corruption.

Why its this hard I dont know.

I went to COMPUSA and saw they have 3 other MB chip cooler solutions

a) They have one from cooler master that looks a lot like the one
Chaintech sent me. A relatively small heatsink and small fan that
looks slightly better than the old KT133 ones.

b) They sell some $35 humongoid heatpipe type of thing with a fan in
it. It huge.

c) They sell a large Northbridge heatsink passive cooling only. I
bought that one it comes with some grease so  I thought it would be
give me two chances --- better heatsink and new grease. To make it
better I also attached the dinky fan that came with the dinky heatsink
from chaintech.

I tried to transfer data and it worked. Thought everything was fixed.

I then tried to open Agent and some newsgroup and it hung. The next
time it blue screened.

Now ---- could I be suffering from two different problems? One is the
improper cooling and the fact that when the chip wasnt cooled enough
it detroyed all my data so that its all screwed up?

Maybe its cool enough but the data is all messed up. Its wonderful
thinking about 600 gigs of data all possibly screwed up.

The other is its still not properly cooling the chip.

Im going to take it off AGAIN and put a new layer of grease on the
fan.heatsink they sent me and test it one more time with only two
newly formatted HDs that test OK. If it still hangs this board is
going back to chaintech RMA. Its almost the deadline in a week or two
for the warranty. Im sick of this.

Its insane. If its THIS hard to cool it properly they need to redo the
whole mounting chip design. Make it more like the CPU where you have a
heavy duty clip and better heatsink and fan.

TRY no 4 !  This the last time. Ive had it.

Also looks like chaintech maybe abandoing the motherboard business.
All the MB makers are supposedly struggling though I dont think they
all are losing money but I think many were. Chaintech seems to be
taken over by BTC. And they seem strangely inactive the last couple
months of last year. There were rumors they were getting out but
articles then denied it. But a forum where they really are into
Chaintechs and where some members visit the US branch seem to think
they really may abandon the MB business. They say theyve had very
little contact with them and they dont seem to answer the phone etc.
They did send me the fan.heatsink when I emailed them ---- hope they
do the RMA too.

The VNF4 ultra seems to be disappearing from many sites ---- theres a
few sites that still carries it but most carry the VNF4 non Ultra.

Re: Weird problem with a Seagate 200 gig

On Mon, 16 Jan 2006 22:05:37 -1000, ""

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There's nothing whiney about data corruption in my
opinion... I assume data is worth more than the system
itself as it's incredibly easy to have 100 hrs worth of work
stored on a system, if not years' worth... backups help but
when the source file is bad the backup is too.

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Yes, it could easily be that after the stability is
regained, you still have to deal with the bad data.

It would be most useful to temporarily use another system
and put this one aside for testing purposes, not relying on
it for the time being.

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You might do some online searchs at places like to see if anyone else is
experiencing same problem and if they've resolved it.

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IMO, it would be nice for them to start engineering better
'sink mounting, use a standardized 4-point plated
through-hole design similar to what's been used on video
cards.  If yours is like the following picture it may be a
bit harder as the 'sink is a bit "landlocked", having any
longer video cards right up against the side of it.

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They should still maintain the stock to cover warranty
replacement, but the problem may be inherant in the board
design or bios and the replacement may exhibit same problem.

Personally, I try to avoid Chaintech as I never felt they
had good quality control and cut too many corners in vital
areas (like capacitor quality, even using those purple
(G-Luxons?) that were suspiciously colored like Sanyo

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Hate to suggest it but considering the time, frustration and
cost it might be better to just give up on it, or isolate
the instability and only use it for a less important
purpose.  In 12 months you'd probably want something else
anyway so it's just the timing of the technology...

Re: Weird problem with a Seagate 200 gig

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It worked. The last time was the lucky one.  No hangs since then.
Im using the active cooling setup they sent me.

Not sure why but maybe the new paste + the orig active cooling was the
right combo. Until then I was using old paste or the new cooler I
bought at COMPUSA the Cooler Master passive large heatsink
which may have been worse despite the fact it was larger.

Now i just have to figure out why some of the HDs I was using when my
PC was flakey come up FAIL in regards to file structure using Seagate

Like I mentioned Ive REPARTITIONED IT , REFORMATTED it on a different
system and there is no data on it and yet it still FAILs. Physically
it comes out OK in all tests in Seagate diagnostics but this FILE
structure test fails all the time and WIN XP scandisk finds nothing

Im still going to try low level formatting the HDs.

The current chaintechs are OK. I felt the same way when I initially
saw the prices for the VNF4 ultras since they were selling them way
lower than everyone else when they first came out $114 vs $150+ for
other brands like Gigabyte , Asus etc but then they left out two lan
connections and firewire etc which sort of explained it. I didnt
really care about that as much. However if they really are going out
of business then frankly thats a reason to avoid them.  They should
say flat out one way or another. They did say that supposedly a few
months ago when rumors were hitting the net but they havent recently
and there seems to be more signs pointing towards GOB.

Re: Weird problem with a Seagate 200 gig

On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 22:24:09 -1000, ""


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... but wouldn't that be a reason why they don't want to
state it flat out, that they don't want their current or
last designs' sales to stagnate?

Re: Weird problem with a Seagate 200 gig

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Yeah and it could be self fulfilling prophecy ! They might be denying
truthfully but then everyone stops buying the boards and they DO go
out of business !

Theres a forum at PC perspective site where they are really into the
chaintechs VNF4 ultra in particular and some of them contact Chaintech
and they like the board and claim they have no problems though Im not
only one who ended up there with the mysterious dead MB after flashing
with WINFLASH and newest bios problem and a few other problems
recently. I didnt have a problem at all with the board until I raided
it which I suspect pushed it over the edge and then tried to flash the
bios and change the cooling.

Get this ANOTHER PROBLEM !!!!! Ive been burning CDRs no problem even
when I had the lock up problem. Now that things seem to be OK and Im
getting ZERO lockups for the last day and even AGENT works fine after
I reinstalled it ---- I try to burn some new bootable CDRs Seagate
TOOLS just in case the old ones were corrupted in a subtle way which
maybe causing the file structure fails.

I try and suddenly both of my burners come up with FIXATION error and
other errors and quit burning after 20 percent. Yeesh. Its often like
this when I get the big problems which Ive had several times. Its like

So now I suspect

a)  maybe a lot of the software on my system has been corrupted.

b) NERO is said to have bugs version 7.0 - but it did burn OK just
until tonight

c) I was also getting weird voltage readings in MBM but I checked the
bios readings over and over and the voltage readings in there are fine

If theres one thing I love is wasting literally days trying to fix
your PC where its like a hall of mirrors and you are sinking in
quicksand. At least this seems to be the last problem and then maybe a
massive reinstall and purge of data and maybe even reformatting low
level many HDs. What fun.

Could even be a virus I suppose. I turned off Norton Anti virus
because I thought that maybe one of the culprits since everyone always
bashes it and says it causes problems.

Im going to try it now --- different burning program, maybe my backup
power supply and rescan for viruses.

Re: Weird problem with a Seagate 200 gig

what power supply are you running?? with 4 hard drives it might be not
enough power wrote:
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Re: Weird problem with a Seagate 200 gig

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Yeah I was using several 400 watts a while ago and at a power
calculation site I did see I seemed to be close the max.

I bought two 500 watters Ultra X and supposedly a SuperFlower which is
according to some posters decent sold under the MADDOG brand.

Didnt have any problems with the MADDOG if it is the MD until
suspiciously I changed the nforce4 chip cooler so Im pretty sure its
that , However I was thinking of swapping it out cause like I said Im
getting screwy readings with MBM.

In bios my voltage and temp readings seem fine but the voltage
readings are wacked out in MBM with the 5 volt rail reading 3.27
That alarmed me until I rebooted and checked the bios and the bios
always reads very close to what the voltage should be for all

I might still try swapping the ULTRA X for it just for the hell of it.
Ive also tested it by unplugging extra HDs and only using 2.

The no 1 suspect is the chip cooler.

Im really disgusted with this system at the moment.

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