Two identical HDDs randomly not showing in BIOS/Windows

  LukaStemberger 23:16 29 Mar 2015

Hi everyone! I am a bit desperate because I consider myself to be knowledgeable in hardware but this is driving me crazy. If I could have your help please...

I decided to upgrade my computer, but save some money while doing it, so I got some components on ebay (I'm saying it because I know there's a possibility of a faulty device). I work as a video producer.

This is my configuration:

  • AMD 8350 (used, ebay, seems to be working perfectly)
  • ASUS M5A99X EVO R2.0 (used, ebay, the same seller, -could- be the problem)
  • G.SKILL F3-10600CL9D-8GBNT 2x4GB RAM (working well, the next thing to upgrade)
  • ZOTAC GTX760 (used, ebay, different seller, working well, rocks on games as well as Premiere)
  • Crucial CX600 (new, I thought my old 600W no name PSU was to blame, so I got this one)
  • Samsung EVO 850 250GB (new, working well, partitioned as a 110GB boot + 125GB current video editing project)
  • Seagate ST3320620AS (old 320GB drive, using it as a downloads/unimportant drive)
  • 2x Samsung HD103SJ (1TB drives, used to be in RAID 0, now I use them as storage/backup in AHCI mode, -could- be the problem)

So, what happens is my two Samsung 1TB drives sometimes don't show up in BIOS (randomly), or Windows (randomly). Usually when I boot the computer they are gone (not always), but after the restart they are back. Once in a while it even happens that the computer freezes on POST or in Windows when trying to restart. Other than that the system works great and so do the drives once they're visible. It's just annoying having to restart all the time.

I read a lot of posts and tired a lot of suggestions, nothing worked. I tried all I could think of - I updated the BIOS, tried rearranging/swapping the SATA cables, then power cables, in BIOS tried default settings, tried turning off S.M.A.R.T. check, tried using them in IDE mode, I tried removing all USB devices (read somewhere that they could cause conflicts), tried a bunch of setting in BIOS, all to no avail.

The weird thing is that two of the identical drives disappear always together, while the SSD and the other HDD are always there, regardless of SATA socket configuration. So I guess it's harder to blame the MB. However, once the drives are visible, they both work well and I tested them, all good. Since it's happening to two drives at once, it's hard to say it's a faulty drive.

One thing that comes to mind is the drives take too long to initialize, so at boot they are not ready when POST is looking for them, or they freeze it, but when I restart, they are already initialized and spinning, so BIOS and Windows sees them. But how can this be, they are modern fast drives...

Can anyone think of anything else to try? Thank you!

  robin_x 12:52 30 Mar 2015

I haven't a clue but wondered if you might slow things down a few secs via POST Delay or Power-up self tests.

click here

Some results may prompt ideas even if seemingly not relevant.

One amazon review mentions possible problems with Power NG signal with PSU

Another set of reviews with some unhappy customers

Maybe someone else can suggest more concrete ideas

  LukaStemberger 13:48 30 Mar 2015

When I was trying out different settings in the BIOS, one of the things was to delay POST by 5 seconds (didn't help), the other was to turn off S.M.A.R.T. check (didn't help)... I used a no name 600W PSU before upgrading and it worked well. I too thought this was the problem, so I bought a new Crucial CX600 - didn't help.

I'm going out now to buy a new Gigabyte MB. Wish me luck :P

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:03 30 Mar 2015

You may have two different SATA drivers on the motherboard what can you see in BIOS?

  LukaStemberger 21:05 30 Mar 2015

Nope, there is only one controller with 6 SATA connections, which allows me to set ports 1-4 as one type of interface (AHCI or RAID for instance) and 5-6 as another (AHCI or IDE for instance). I tried every combination of ports and to run them in IDE or AHCI, no difference, while the other two drives (SSD and the old HDD) are working fine in any port. This is such a confusing problem, I just got another MB (Gigabyte) and about to replace it. I'll update you if that was the problem. It seems like the MB is working fine and the drives are working fine, just not together! Thanks for all the suggestions!

  bumpkin 21:58 30 Mar 2015

* I work as a video producer.*

Then I am surprised that you are using old and second hand hardware in the first place.

  LukaStemberger 00:16 31 Mar 2015

It was an incredible deal (half price) and 8350 is still the best bang for buck for rendering/encoding... And Premiere/After Effects can't make much use of a better card than GTX760, it's currently the sweet-spot. Plus, I just got and installed a new motherboard, the drives are not showing in BIOS! So, it's the drives fault, they went bad at the same time :-/ This was implausible to me, so now I got a new PSU and motherboard for no reason. Crap...

So, what could have happened to two hard drives that were in RAID to make them randomly show up in BIOS and Windows after they were partitioned in Windows Drive Manager?

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