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  1. #1
    Junior Member Chikara's Avatar
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    Default Help with checking SSD and HDD connections please..

    Hello all,

    I've posted a few times before about an intermittent freezing problem I've been having (frozen screen, keyboard mouse etc non responsive but no error messages/BSOD - only way to recover is to press and hold power button to force power off).
    I was going to take it to a repair shop, but I just had a bit of a success in my own recent troubleshooting...but I need some help with the next steps please...sorry in advance for the long post but I wanted to provide as many exact details as possible.

    My setup (will post exact specs at end of this post):
    Main drive: SSD (OS and programs)
    Additional (regular) HDD 1: data/storage
    Additional (regular) HDD 2: programs (but since my last reinstall a few months back, I haven't yet installed any programs to this drive, so it's empty.

    Just standard setup - I'm not running RAID.

    Last week, I disconnected the two HDD's and left the PC running with light usage during this time. In the 5 days since I did that, I haven't had the freeze again. In the past, the freezes would mostly be anywhere between each day, up to 3 or 4 days apart - very rarely would it go longer than that with no freezes. So, while I'm not 100% certain this is the cause - I think it's a high possibility. So it seems to me it's related either to one or both of the HDD's - hardware or drivers/software/BIOS etc - or the cables - or the MB connections.

    So now, I'm reconnecting the HDD's again to try and exactly isolate the problem. I have tried different SATA cables before, so I'm pretty sure it's not that. I've also run diagnostics on the HDD's, so there's no obvious physical problem there, and they are both just 1 year old. As far as I know, drivers/BIOS is quite difficult to screw up, so I think that part is fine (but I will need to double check later to make sure).

    So, what I would like to do next is to test the different MB SATA connectors - and this is where I am very out of my depth and don't understand which drives should be plugged into which connectors.
    Hoping you can advice me which drives should be plugged into which connectors exactly. I'd like to know about the SSD and the two HD's, as well as the DVD drive.

    Here is the manual for the motherboard: http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/...206.1477834344

    I am a bit confused about which drives should use the Intel Z170 SATA connector, and which should use the ASMedia SATA connectors.(page 1-7, and 1-32-33 of the manual)
    For the Intel connectors, I am further confused because there are 6 different connectors: see the MB manual, set 'A' has 2, and set B has 6 connectors (4 regular 'L' shape and two smaller ones).
    For the ASMedia connectors, there are two connectors, both the same.

    I should also mention, when I run the 'Intel Rapid Storage Technology' utility, the 'storage system view' shows SATA HDD on Controller 0 Port 0, and SATA SSD on Controller 0 Port 1. The third HDD doesn't show, it shows empty internal ports 2,3,4 and 5.- shouldn't all three drives show here?

    Yet, all three drives (plus DVD writer) are visible on File Explorer. Plus, all three drives show in Samsung Magician too.

    Which drives should be plugged into which connectors? And how about the DVD drive? Does it even matter? If not, any other thoughts on what might be causing the previous freezes?


    Specs:
    Windows 10, all updates installed
    CPU: i7 6700K
    MB: Asus Maximum VIII Hero BIOS v3201
    RAM: 16GB
    GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970
    SSD: Samsung 850 PRO 512GB
    HDD: WDD 6TB Green (data)
    HDD: WDD 3TB Black (programs)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Help with checking SSD and HDD connections please..

    These days it doesn't matter too much which drives are plugged in to which connectors because you can rearrange them either in the BIOS or in Windows.

    Ideally though, you should plug everything into the Intel SATA ports first and then, if you run out, the ASMedia ones.
    I would connect the drives in order. So your SSD would go in Intel SATA port 1, your other data drives into ports 2 & 3 and your DVD into 4.

    The 3rd drive may not show in the Intel Storage tool if its connected to the ASMedia ports. If it is on an Intel port, then I'd try another Intel port and see if that works better. If its still not there, run some disk diagnostics.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Help with checking SSD and HDD connections please..

    " I've also run diagnostics on the HDD's, so there's no obvious physical problem there"

    That means nothing, unfortunately.
    Ive seen plenty of faulty HD's that pass all the usual tests , incl smart checks .

    Plugging all into the Intel sata ports would be a good start. Get all the latest drivers, especially sata drivers. Try disabling the ASMedia sata
    I would start from scratch, keep everything AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE, untill you are 100% sure its OK. Add one drive at a time.
    Make sure raid is disabled in the bios
    Perhaps clone from the SSD to a HD , & try the PC with just that HD only. Repeat with the 3rd HD only

    Given how intermittent it is , its going to be very hard to track down the issue .
    Ive had PC's with faults so intermittent , I just eventually had to just replace MB & RAM & hope that fixed the issue .
    A good place to start would be to just replace the RAM , with a good brand (perhaps Kingston)
    Last edited by 1101; 01-03-2017 at 09:16 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Help with checking SSD and HDD connections please..

    Also have a look here. Have a look at the posts regarding freezing issues
    https://rog.asus.com/forum/forumdisp...rboards-(Z170)

    Is the mb a bit of a dud ? Google shows quote a few links with people having issues

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Help with checking SSD and HDD connections please..

    Did you unplug the other hdds when you installed windows on the SSD?

    Because you can have probs later, if you didnt

  6. #6
    amateur expert dugimodo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with checking SSD and HDD connections please..

    I don't use intel rapid storage myself, you don't need it and it adds unnecessary extra complications. Could be part of your problem
    i7 6700K, 16Gb DDR4RAM, 512GB M.2 SSD, Gigabyte GTX980

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Help with checking SSD and HDD connections please..

    Is the latest firmware on the Samsung?? Looks like it's up to EXM03B6Q now

    And if Notifications is on, the CPU and disk usage can go to (or used to ) go to 100%. And stay there. I had to disable these, because everything lagged.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Chikara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with checking SSD and HDD connections please..

    Thanks for the suggestions and tips.

    To add a few further points to the questions:

    @autechre I should have enough to use the Intel ones only, as I only have the SDD, 2xHDD, and the DVD drive - 4 ports in total. Unless I am mis-reading the MB manual and used a wrong connector, the 3rd drive is also plugged into a Intel connector already. I'll double-check it again.

    @1101 yep I have all the latest drivers from the Asus site, and yep RIAD is definitely disabled. I have already tested the RAM with stress tests, and also one stick at a time. I think it's less likely to be the RAM. I'm using Corsair.

    @Speedy, I wouldn't have unplugged the other HDD's when I last did a windows reinstall. I've been reluctant to do another fresh install again as it's such a nuisance to reinstall everything but if the problem comes back, I will maybe try that again.
    If I clone the SDD, reinstall, and then copy the clone back, is that OK? Or will that just copy back any problems that exist already?
    And yes, I checked and updated the firmware just a week ago on the SSD. Maybe this is why the freezing hasn't happened the last week, or could just be a coincidence....
    And yes, notifications is on, but I have never noticed disk usage go up to 100%...

    @dugimodo, the freezing was already there before I installed the Intel Rapid Storage software, I installed it hoping it might be able to do some analysis to help me. Perhaps I will uninstall it again now.

    Thanks everyone for your help!

  9. #9
    Junior Member Chikara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with checking SSD and HDD connections please..

    OK, so my freezing is back again, happened again overnight.

    I think I may need to try a fresh windows install again, this time making sure only the SSD is connected during the install, then I will add the other HHD's later. I don't have a Win 10 disk as originally I got Win 10 via the free WIn 7 upgrade - but last time I did a fresh install I downloaded the Win 10 offline installer, which seemed to work fine and recognised my license etc.

    To make sure I do this install properly and 100% correctly this time, can you please let me know exactly what software/drivers etc I should download and install, and in what order?
    There are lots of drivers and utilities on the Asus website for my MB, but I am a bit confused about which ones I need and which ones I don't, and in which order I should install them.

    Also, I know you have advised me to have only the SSD connected when I do the install, but not the other HDD's. What about the DVD writer, should that also be unplugged when I do the install?

    Finally, once I've don the install and I am ready to plug the 2 HDD's back in. Should I do one at a time, reboot, then do the other one? Or can I do both at the same time?
    And, should I format both before I re-connect them, or can I do this after I reconnect them?

    Sorry for so many questions, I just want to make sure I do it 100% correctly.

  10. #10
    amateur expert dugimodo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with checking SSD and HDD connections please..

    DVD Drive is fine, you just disconnect other hard drives to prevent the windows installer from hiding files on them which it is prone to do. Drivers can be installed in any order but network drivers are the best place to start to get you online followed by graphics drivers so things are easier to read. Windows 10 will likely find most drivers it needs anyway and usually that's fine. I usually update the graphics driver and any devices that don't have drivers in device manager but I often just leave everything else unless there is a problem or missing features.
    i7 6700K, 16Gb DDR4RAM, 512GB M.2 SSD, Gigabyte GTX980

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