July 7, 2007

Just Shoot Me, pt. 33054

by Chris Randall

Sometimes, I swear to god. Yesterday, I'm merrily working away on Dr. Device presets, and I hear a small "thunk" sound and my computer freezes up. I think to myself "whee, this is gonna be fun," and reboot. Long story short, it turns out my brand new C: drive, a 320GB Western Digital with a build date of 26-Oct-2006, has mechanically failed. Go, Western Digital!

No big deal, it happens. I keep all my data on my RAID drives, so it's really just the OS and a couple apps that shouldn't share drives with audio. I figure I'll go get a new drive on Monday, re-install Vista and Cubase, and there you go...

In the mean-time, I figured I'd just run off my XP drive. Booted in to XP, that old warhorse, and everything is fine, except I never installed Cubase 4 on that drive, so I decide to do that. My first sign of trouble came when the Syncrosoft installer crashed during installation. "Okay, I'll go get the latest version from the Syncrosoft site. No problem." It installed, but crashes when it starts. Cubase, of course, doesn't operate at all without the Syncrosoft license manager running. Never mind that, but the 4.0.2 updater and the 4.0.3 hotfix won't run at all on my machine.

This is, of course, a sign that something is ill Under The Hood. It's just incredibly frustrating. Just for fun, I ran a couple other MSI installers, which worked fine. Other dongle programs I have (Hello, Logic 5!) also work fine. It's just some Syncrosoft stupidity that I can't figure out. But I'm trying to imagine a scenario where this would be fun for someone that didn't know as much about computers as I do.

In any case, rant over. My Shit List for the day is as follows, in order:

1. Western Digital. WTF, cocksuckers?

2. Syncrosoft. We haaaaates them, Precious.

3. Steinberg. Come on, guys. Do you really think that Syncrosoft stops any pirating whatsoever? It's like punishing people that actually pay for your software for the actions of those that don't.



Page 2 of 3

Jul.08.2007 @ 3:13 PM
As it happens one of my Lacie d2 drives has just died too. Everything is backed up so it's not a data problem (like most people I've learnt that lesson the hard way), but it's a pain. I was looking to replace it with two 500GB drives, any suggestions (external only).

Jul.08.2007 @ 5:11 PM
Adam Schabtach
Personally I'm a fan of Maxtor drives, but CR tells me he doesn't like them. I've purchased maybe half a dozen or more of them over the last few years and had no failures. By contrast, in the same time frame, I've had one WD die (I think it was the stock drive in a Mac but I'm not sure) and one Seagate throw up S.M.A.R.T. warnings after about a week of use.



Jul.08.2007 @ 5:16 PM
Would anyone care to share their backup strategy? I manually copy my files to an external hard drive ?every few? months and have a plan to ?eventually? archive older stuff from the external hard drive to dvd-r's. I'm aware of products like Ghost and Acronis True Image, but I always hear things like ?the older version works great, but the newer version will fuck up everything.? Anyone have a simple, reliable, time tested method they can vouch for?

Jul.08.2007 @ 5:41 PM
I used to use Acronis True Image to image my C drives to a networked file server every night. Imaging is the only way to go for quick restores. I refuse to ever start from scratch again installing Windows, Cubase and all my VSTs. Why waste a weekend doing that when you can get a new drive and restore the image file in about 10 minutes?

Oh, and now I run Microsoft's beta Windows Home Server OS on my server box which does automatic imaging of all my Windows machines each night. Not only is my data copied safely to that machine, but it's all duplicated across multiple (Seagate) drives in the server using Microsoft's own custom RAID-like software technology in case of a drive failure. Furthermore, I pay $5 a month for unlimited online backup to a service called Mozy using their dead-simple Windows (or Mac) app.

Call me paranoid, but when a hard drive dies, I hardly flinch. My data is safe and I'm back in Cubase in a flash.


Jul.08.2007 @ 7:44 PM
My experience - only buy Seagate drives. The WD Raptors seem okay but only available up to 150gb. I have a couple of four and sixteen disk arrays using the 400gb WD drives that haven't suffered any failures yet but others are seeing them fail. Google's research on HD failure is an interesting read but they don't name names.

If you're going to run more than four disks in a system and they're not mechanically isolated from each other don't buy anything that uses perpendicular recording. My preference is to avoid all HDs that use perp recording but that's getting harder to do these days.



Jul.08.2007 @ 8:09 PM
Seagate is making the best drives in the industry right now.

I have had a generally good experience with the few WD drives I have owned. But right now, I wouldn't touch anything other than a Seagate with either my money or any data I would like to keep. On top of that they are some of the quietest drives I have ever used (although I think things are getting a lot better in this department across the industry).


Jul.08.2007 @ 8:13 PM
Why don't you like perp recording? I was under the impression that it was a good thing all around. Supposed to be more secure and make bigger drives cheaper, right?

I have a couple drives that use it and never had any problems, but I don't have 4 in the same box (not sure how this could effect them though).


Jul.08.2007 @ 8:41 PM
Cheers guys. I think I'll pick up a couple of the Seagate FreeAgent Pro models, they seem reasonably priced and fit with my desire to move from FireWire to eSATA sometime soon.

Jul.08.2007 @ 9:33 PM
Chris Randall
Yeah, my RAID drives are all Seagate, and they're trouble-free. (Knock, knock, knock.) I think I'll order up a lil' fatty for my replacement C: as well. I've actually been pondering making a new computer, so I might hold off 'til ASCAP comes this month to see what's what.



Jul.08.2007 @ 10:06 PM
Perpendicular recording allows the magnetic particles to be oriented perpendicular to the disk surface, where previously they were aligned longitudinally. This allows for higher densities of the magnetic particles and accompanies the use of higher coercivity platters. Unfortunately denser isn't always better. Sympathetic vibrations from multiple spinning platters can throw the head off and cause read and write errors. The folks experiencing this are the ones throwing large amounts of drives in a single enclosure with drive trays with no mechanical isolation. (isolation is really tricky to do when using hot swap backplanes) Folks isolating their drives with silicon mechanical isolators for acoustical reasons need not worry about read/write issues due to resonance, and so far it doesn't seem to be a problem with less than four drives. I expect the problem to get worse as 750gb and 1tb capacity drives become more prevalent.



Page 2 of 3



Sorry, commenting is closed for this blog entry.