June 6, 2010

Enable SATA AHCI on Gigabyte GA-G33M-S2H motherboard with Western Digital 1.5 TB drives

I've had a few posts before about my desktop computer, mainly that first one about putting it together, and an entry about replacing the power supply when that blew up.

Well, two days ago I decided to do a system update (Ubuntu kept complaining at me for a week or more) and on reboot, there were some disk read errors, and eventually the OS couldn't boot. I had two 500GB hard drives internally in a LVM group, which is nice because it lets you use the space between the two in a unified view, but bad because it makes it hard to troubleshoot the disks with simple tools. I have had to try to recover broken LVM setups before, but it has always been pretty tough. Hopefully the rescue and recovery tools will get a bit better there, but since I don't need to do it all that much, whatever.

Since the last time I had to do that kind of recovery (lost an entire weekend and lots of files) I have been regularly backing up to two external hard drives. Of course, I have been lazy lately and my last full backup is probably a week old, but still, not that bad. Probably I'm not even going to lose anything important. Well, I might lose one chapter of a manga that I translated recently, but no huge loss there.

So I made the trip out to Akihabara yesterday, and picked up two 1.5TB hard drive (Western Digital Caviar Green drives) that spin at 5200 rpm and should be a bit slower but more energy efficient and quieter than my previous two drives.

I had spent hours on this, and for the life of me have not been able to get a good OS install. First, I want to go back to Fedora, and use the latest version in 64bits. So I tried installing Fedora 13 x64. The DVD I burned for that (while a good burn) won't boot. I don't know why. I did get the live 64bit cd burned, and could get that working, but it was slow. It took maybe 5 hours to go through the install process. I eventually let it go the whole way (I tried a few other things first) and when I boot from the internal hard drives it was extremely slow. 20 minutes to log in. Just horrible. I couldn't understand why.

So I tried the 32bit version. Same thing.

So I tried Ubuntu. Same thing. The strange thing is that the 32bit versions could boot off of the live CDs just fine, and things are great. I even mounted the new hard drives and copied over a few gigs of data no problem. But when I booted internally things because super slow and unusable. Why!? It is like there are disk errors, but the disks are brand new.

So I finally started poking around in the bios, and noticed that I did not have AHCI mode enabled. I enabled that, and the 32bit OS seemed to be fine. I should probably try to install 64bit again, but at this point I just want to get a Fedora install that works and start copying my backed-up data back over again. That will probably need to run overnight (about 800GB of data.)

My new plan is to run on 1 1.5TB drive, and then set up a script to mirror the data to the second internal drive nightly. Why not run in RAID? It seems like if there are any problems I have had a lot of trouble dealing with LVM and RAID would only make that worse. Probably. But just having a second drive that I could mount in another linux install and copy data off of seems pretty easy.

The long term plan is to put together a Drobo or something that I can back up to, and then add the second internal drive to the LVM (which I know I complained about, but is kind of nice) when I need the extra space. I should be pretty good on 1.5TB for a while though.


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Re: Enable SATA AHCI on Gigabyte GA-G33M-S2H motherboard with Western Digital 1.5 TB drives
I run a Synology NAS.. they're awesome. And love the blog.. keep it up!
Posted 2 weeks, 2 days ago by Max • • • Reply

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