rupert_hollom
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XPS 420 SATA RAID and drive failing

I have recently bought an XPS 420 with 4GB RAM, and an Intel SATA RAID controller with a pair of 320GB drives in RAID 1 configuration running Vista Home premium
 
Sometimes the machine claims that one of the drives has failed, but (on the recommendation of a Dell support technician) I can go into the Intel Matrix Storage Manager software and mark the drive as active (or similar wording) then all is OK for a while, sometimes a number of hours, sometimes days and then it all happens again.
 
I was informed by Dell that this was a driver issue, can someone confirm this and also what Dell is doing to sort this issue out as the machine become very slow when the array is being rebuilt.  Is it possible that the drives are failing but the software can bring them back online for short periods?
 
If this is a known issue, I am rather disappointed that it wasn't flagged up when ordering the system.
 
Any pointers or info on this would be appreciated.
 
THanks,
Rupert.
 
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143 Replies
alex3305
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Re: XPS 420 SATA RAID and drive failing

I have exactly the same problem overhere with my XPS 420. What I have read online, Windows Vista is also a cause of the problems..

Some people also report that their HDD will stop functioning after a while, while others don't complain a bit.. :S

Appearently there is currently no fix for the driver problems, so *still waiting*
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yann.r
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Re: XPS 420 SATA RAID and drive failing

Indeed, we have two recent threads ongoing regarding HDD subsystem issues :
and
 
I hope Dell is taking these issues into account as, so far, XPS Support call center doesn't seem to be able to bring any solution to anyone...
 
But, I've to admit that I didn't experienced any new problem since 2 weeks. Sadly, I'm still quite suspicious regarding Data storage reliability on XPS420 and cautiously backing up everyday on an external hard disk.
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Highlighted

Re: XPS 420 SATA RAID and drive failing

There have been a number of reported issues with the Dell XPS 420 in RAID mode and hard drives failing.

As for Dells action, driver issue or not that has nothing to do with you. In the UK it makes no difference whats causing the fault the bottom line is the machine is faulty. The consumer is then entitled to a repair within a reasonable time usually considered two weeks or a replacement, failing that a refund.

Best thing for you to do is to contact Dell and get them to fix the problem, make sure you back-up your data now. Not sure what laws there are in your country but I'm sure there will be ones covering faulty goods. Going to Dell are really the only way this can be sorted.
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mtempelm
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Re: XPS 420 SATA RAID and drive failing

Sadly enough, I've now fallen victim to the same issue on my XPS420. 4GB or RAM with 2x 500GB drives with RAID 0 configuration.
 
Prior to this morning the system would randomly power off with an unexpected shutdown.  This was an issue in iteself.  This morning the system froze at the Vista desktop screen with no open apps.  Had to cold boot and now I'm getting "Error Occcured" on the primary drive so the system won't boot at all.  Can't get into safe mode or start Vista but I can access the RAID configuration mode.
 
I'm afraid to reset the RAID drive in the boot up utility feaful of losing the recovery data partition.  Any ideas?  I suppose I could just go and dive in considering I have the warranty.
 
$2,700 paid and in less than 8 weeks the systems hard down.  Looks like I'll be on the phone tonight with Dell.  I may very well check the SATA cable as well as upgrade the firmware to A03 if i can get the system to boot.  But looks like the jury is still out for the success of those two items.


Message Edited by mtempelm on 01-23-2008 05:00 PM

Message Edited by mtempelm on 01-23-2008 05:03 PM
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yann.r
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Re: XPS 420 SATA RAID and drive failing

Hello Paul,
 
I do agree we are in position to demand a repair, a replacement or ultimately, a refund...
I'm in France, and our laws are also quite helpful for the consumer.
 
But my point here is that the most useful strategy is not to seek for an individual solution because :
  • XPS support doesn't seem to be able to propose an efficient repair/solution, yet,
  • It's not secure a HW replacement can solve the problem (so far, BIOS Diagnostics applied on my RAID/HDD is not showing any flaws nor defects),
  • Investing such amount of money represents a personal commitment I want to see "rewarded". Refund will get me going for another manufacturer and basically this is not what I want to see happening. Very personal thoughts here... Smiley Wink
  • I think the most efficient way to have Dell initiating some serious proposals, in order to solve these Raid related flaws (which are not exactly popping up in the same way accross the different posts we have here), is to post on Dell Community forums, which are read by end-users and potential future Dell's customers. We are creating a relevant business case by maintaining a Community "buzz".
As I wrote already, I've been told Dell is aware of this problem and I'm betting they have a plan to make a solution available. Posting is to ensure the issue is raising on their Priority list and this will be beneficial for all of us.
 
These are my 2 cents, from a Mobile industry professional. Smiley Wink
 


Message Edited by yann.r on 01-24-2008 12:34 AM

Message Edited by yann.r on 01-24-2008 12:36 AM
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mtempelm
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Re: XPS 420 SATA RAID and drive failing

I agree, Yann.  As a Help Desk Director myself, I know the importance of following proper protocol to report a problem.  My objective is to contact Dell, get the issue documented and from there, both Dell and I will have concrete documentation as to my troubles.  Having that ticket/refernce number is paramount.
 
My fingers are crossed though.  I like the system and all the enhancements I had added at the time of purchase so having to start all over is not my objective.  Each of us should be leveraging our warranty coverage as frustrating as that may be at times.  But from my experience doing so will pay off in the long run.  Let's just hope it's not too long!
 
Mike
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Re: XPS 420 SATA RAID and drive failing

yann.r - yeah the system should work, in the UK in the first 6 months of owning the product you can demand a lot from the retailer as its up to Dell to prove that the machine worked flawlessly when sold. Once that 6 months is up the tables are turned and its up to the consumer to prove the fault existed at time of sale.

I would have hoped Dell would have taken ownership of the fault and ensured it was corrected quickly.

mtempelm - Yup Dell should have good reporting procedures in place, it certianly looks like a faulty batch of motherboards more than anything else. The controller Dell use in the XPS 420 is a high quality Intel chip used in nearly all of todays high performance and every expensive motherboards.
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nigelwill
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Re: XPS 420 SATA RAID and drive failing

I've worked in Technical Support for the last 12 years and agree that the only way to get Dell to recognise and prioritise the issue is to get the problem logged on their system. I've spent a couple of hours on the phone to them and they have not provided a working solution. A couple of other people who bought the same model (after details were posted on a forum) are also experiencing intermittent problems, so you have to question Dell's assembly and testing ability when offering these models. But what I find particularly poor is that my e-mail tickets do not seem to be logged or acknowledged. Edit: I'm in the UK so I presume it was assembled in Ireland. Ordered 1st Jan 08 and received 8th Jan.

Message Edited by nigelwill on 01-24-2008 12:00 AM
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Re: XPS 420 SATA RAID and drive failing

All - Could you please post your location, if it's a faulty batch tracking down the manufacturing plant may help slightly. Although Dell collecting and collating all the service tags reporting the issue would do the same job.
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