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I consistently lose one of my two SATA drives (one SSD, one HD) after (almost?) exactly one hour. Doesn't matter if the computer is at idle or the disk is being written to frequently. The machine is dual boot and the behavior is the same in Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10. Seems to be whichever port is closest to the top of the machine. The drive will disappear and will not remount until I do a hard (power cycling) reboot. Both drives appear to be fine.

I don't see anything in the BIOS that would do this, but 15 times in a row at between 58 and 62 minutes (maybe exactly 60) is some setting somewhere, isn't it? It's an ASUS mobo, AMI BIOS, Marvell controller for the 6GB port, but the phenomenon also happens when both drives are plugged into 3GB/s ports.

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What drives are they? – user3463 Aug 20 '12 at 21:53
One is a Western Digital Caviar Black (the HD). The SSD is a Crucial M4. Right now, the SSD is on the 6 GB/s port and drops out. I think if I swap the ports, I also swap which goes away. At least, that was true when both were on 3 GB/s ports. – Andrew Lazarus Aug 20 '12 at 22:01
Have you checked your BIOS updates? – user3463 Aug 20 '12 at 22:02
Seems to be most recent, but I will double check. – Andrew Lazarus Aug 20 '12 at 22:33
What's the exact motherboard model ? As if you have a Marvell 812X on board, they're famous for this kind of problems. – don_crissti Aug 23 '12 at 22:32
up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is a known issue with older firmwares of Crucial m4 SSDs after a few months of use:

Correct a condition where an incorrect response to a SMART counter will cause the m4 drive to become unresponsive after 5184 hours of Power-on time. The drive will recover after a power cycle, however, this failure will repeat once per hour after reaching this point. The condition will allow the end user to successfully update firmware, and poses no risk to user or system data stored on the drive.

Source. You need to get at least firmware 0309 from here.

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Check your advanced power settings in Windows. (I assume you're using Windows?)

Then again, are you using any special drivers that might be causing this? (Did you "install" any drive management stuff like products from Ontrack, maybe?)

Also assuming this isn't in the BIOS (which is my first guess), I would be looking long and hard at those things too. Hope it helps.

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BIOS update did not help. – Andrew Lazarus Aug 20 '12 at 23:36
I seriously doubt a BIOS update would help either. However, you may want to check the BIOS "settings". That's different. Usually pressing the DEL key shortly after power on will get you into the settings. – Anonymous Aug 21 '12 at 0:03
Yeah, I've spent a long time in the BIOS screen. On a soft reboot (no power cycle) the disk isn't found by BIOS on start up with corresponding error messages. It's dual boot Ubuntu and Windows, BTW, with this behavior on both sides. Can't find the SATA Suicide option in BIOS. – Andrew Lazarus Aug 21 '12 at 0:11

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