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SSD works at first, then data vanishes (in an old system)


jeffbez

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I was having strange problems with my old disk (failure sometimes during boot, sometimes while running) so I assumed the disk itself was at fault and decided to replace it with a Corsair SSD (extreme X32).

 

I attached the SSD to channel 1 of my onboard silicon image SATA I controller. It was basically impossible write anything to the disk. I would create a partition table in fdisk, write it, then restart fdisk to look at the partition table and it would be gone. Once the data stuck long enough to create a filesystem, but a minute later the disk was wiped. I tried attaching the SSD to channel 0 instead. This time it partitioned fine and I copied a full system onto it. Booted up and it worked great. I used the system fine for 10 minutes or so (enjoying the great performance!), then tried to reboot. The reboot failed with random GRUB errors. fscking the disk revealed it was completely corrupt; none of the partitions would even mount.

 

Is it possible for your SSDs to fail this way--working perfectly for a little while then suddenly full of random bits? My motherboard is 5 years old, and the strange difference between channels 0/1 and the fact that my other disk failed too makes me think the problem could be something else. Is this more likely a defective SSD, a failed SATA controller, or a mobo/BIOS/controller combo that's just too old to support the SSD?

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I think I solved my problem. I changed my BIOS settings to put the integrated (ICH5R) SATA controller in IDE compatibility mode, and attached the SSD to that controller. Then I needed to change the boot order, reinstall grub, and make the right drivers available at boot time. Now it seems to work fine; has survived a couple reboots with everything intact. So it seems the SSD is not defective. It still worries me that behavior like I described is even possible though.

 

If anybody else has problems like this, try IDE compatibility mode!

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I would check with the make of that S-ATA controller and check for the latest MB BIOS as well, but as I remember there was a driver update for early Silicon Image SATA 1 controller's. In fact I have an older ASUS AM2 MB with the same controller that had an issue till I got the latest BIOS and driver from ASUS.
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