Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Server hardware
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 w/ HyperThreading, 3.0GHz, 800MHz FSB, 1MB L2 Cache
Motherboard: ASUS P5MT-M, Rev 1.03, BIOS version 0310
RAM: four sticks, each one is Corsair 2GB PC2-5300 (667MHz) - for a total of 8GB
Power supply: XION 500W (I don't know much more about it.)
Removable disk: 1.44MB 3.5" Floppy Drive
Optical drive: LG 32x CD-RW, IDE - Primary Master (the MB has only one IDE channel)
RAID adapter: Promise SuperTrak EX8350, Rev A3, BIOS 2.9.0.15
HDD: Five Seagate ST31000340NS 1TB, 32MB, 7200RPM, SATA 3Gb/s
(I don't know the firmware versions on the HDDs, but I doubt it matters at this point.)

The motherboard's onboard SATA is set to IDE-mode, rather than RAID or AHCI. I don't know if this matters.

I am attempting to get this server set up using all five drives as a RAID-5 array. As you can probably guess from the above specs, this is a budget-server, and I cannot afford to upgrade any hardware at the moment. I am stuck trying to get the current hardware configuration to function.

I've tested the CPU, motherboard, RAM, CD-RW, floppy, and HDDs - they all work perfectly as far as I can tell. I tested the hard drives individually by plugging them directly into the motherboard and seeing if a copy of Windows Server 2003 Enterprise will install on them. They are all currently un-partitioned.

The only way I can get this server to boot up (at all) is by physically removing the RAID adapter from the PCIe slot in the motherboard. Otherwise, the motherboard waits until the RAID adapter finishes initializing before it allows the boot-up to continue. The problem is that the RAID adapter never finishes initializing. Instead, after the BIOS finishes checking the system memory, (and then after waiting for about 20 minutes for all the dots to appear) the following information appears on the screen:

SuperTrak EX16350/16300/8350/8300(SATAII 300) BIOS Version 2.9.0.15
(c) 2004-2005 Promise Technology, Inc. All rights reserved.
Scanning drives ..............................................................
..............................................................................
..............................................................................
..............................................................................
..............................................................................
..............................................................................
..............................................................................
..............................................................................
..............................................................................
..............................................................................
..............................................................................
..............................................................................
.......................................................
Warning - Something wrong with your hardware!.
(You gotta love the double punctuation at the end...)

As vague as this error is, it would naturally lead one to assume that a piece of hardware (namely, a HDD) is causing the problem. However, I've tested all of my hardware for problems, and this error occurs exactly the same way even when I disconnect all of the HDDs from the RAID adapter.

One idea that has occurred to me is that I could try updating the RAID adapter's BIOS and firmware, both of which may be outdated according to Promise. However, I'd need the computer to boot-up (from a floppy at the very least) with the RAID adapter installed before I could do that.

What I'd like to know is:
What could cause this to happen?
What can I do to get around this problem?

share|improve this question
1  
I'd move this to serverfault –  Mauricio Scheffer Oct 7 '09 at 22:55
    
@mausch - I haven't used ServerFault for anything yet. I assumed it was for server software questions. Is this really ServerFault material? –  Giffyguy Oct 8 '09 at 0:19

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You might try memtest or something as a sanity check for CPU/memory issues that could conceivably cause this sort of problem.

Otherwise you might just have a defective adapter -- which is what its BIOS seems to be telling you. If it were behaving correctly it wouldn't do this even with failed disks.

Have you tried contacting the adapter manufacturer's support?

share|improve this answer
    
memtest sounds intriguing. I will probably give that a shot and then get Promise on the phone/email. Hopefully they provide some kind of DOA policy, because I can't buy another one. –  Giffyguy Oct 8 '09 at 0:22

What number question is this with the same motherboard?!!!

Anyway... The only thing I can think of is, perhaps the Raid adapter is broken - Have you tested it on another machine?

share|improve this answer
    
What number question is this of mine that you've answered in the last 10 days? Haha, yes, this server is by far the most confusing piece of hardware in my possesion at the moment. One problem right after another. I do feel like I'm getting somewhere, at the very least. I can't possibly imagine what my next roadblock will be... Anyway, (big suprise) if you read my question carefully, you'll notice the fact that I tested ALL of my hardware EXCEPT the RAID adapter. My last resort is to contact Promise and see what they may or may not do for me... –  Giffyguy Oct 8 '09 at 0:21
    
Maybe you noticed the fact that I have a CPU now. Someone was willing to sell it to me with an awesome CPU fan and a 500W power supply, all for $35. I expected to pay a couple hundred for my CPU, but when someone undercuts the price that much, you can't pass it up. And for that price, I can live with 800MHz FSB and 1MB L2 cache, in place of the mighty 1066 and 4MB. –  Giffyguy Oct 8 '09 at 0:35
    
To be honest, it is a good price for a second hand CPU, however I am not sure that it would out perform your old one - when it is all working, you may want to do some benchmarks, remember, HT is fake dual core - and I think your other one was real dual core. –  William Hilsum Oct 8 '09 at 1:22
    
Alas, the Pentium Extreme Edition IS a real dual core, in addition to the higher speeds and larger cache. But the money speaks, and I haven't paid for a Pentium Extreme just yet. –  Giffyguy Oct 8 '09 at 1:58

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.