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Windows 7: Possible faulty HDD cables causing BSODs. Opinions?

17 Aug 2012   #1
Simon Hinton

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Possible faulty HDD cables causing BSODs. Opinions?

Hi guys

I thought it was about time I looked for help on these forums directly, instead of just lurking around attempting to glean information off other peopleís issues for the last year and a bit. Sorry for the long post in advance, i just want to get as much information out there as possible.

Long story short, early last year i purchased a new computer from a custom builder for almost $4000. Ever since i received it, iíve been getting BSODís. The builders never found an issue with it (something i doubt) and because of their lack of interest in following through with my problems, the manufacturers warranty has run out. Iíve re-installed windows multiple times to no avail, updated drivers, run memtests, HDD tests, the lot.

The BSODís that i could pinpoint, i found fixes for, which didnt seem to help because the errors just came from somewhere else.
Excessive (30 gigs) data transfer used to cause BSODís, which was fixed by turning off USB3 support.
Saving large files (such as 700+meg photoshop images and 1.5+gig Zbrush files) would often cause BSODís, and corrupt them in the process. I dont think thats been fixed, but its much more infrequent than it used to be.
Putting the computer to sleep and attempting to resume it would cause BSODís, i think i hotfixed that a while ago, but iíve been to reluctant to use sleep mode since, so i haven't extensively tested it. Something to do with HDD spinup latency, and not being able to read\write data fast enough.
Plugging in more than three external HDDís at a time would often cause a crash.
Running Checkdisk scans on my hard drives would report hundreds of corrupted files and sectors, which were all fixable, but kept appearing after subsequent crashes corrupted new ones. The hard drives are perfectly healthy, with no bad sectors on multiple assessment programs. Iíve also had parts of windows corrupt that were active during a crash - notably the .NET 2.0 framework which was notorious to repair. Windows once bricked itself (i couldnt even use the Installation DVD to repair it) and i had to reformat the C:\ drive outside of the machine because it wouldnt even recognise the partition the OS was on.

Iíve also started having these odd issues with drive letters and paths - i run most of my music and video libraries off external drives, and windows seems to consistently change the paths from upper-alphabet letters (H:\, I:\, K:\, etc) to lower-alphabet ones (W:\, X:\, Y:\, Z:\, etc). Changing them back in Disk Management doesn't help - windows always switches them back on reboot.

My internal secondary hard drive often disappears from my computer too, prompting me to scan for hardware changes in order to re-find it. This has been recently happening to the local C:\ drive as well, but windows typically locks up and displays per-program file access errors before i can do anything about it.

Each BSOD (when they generate minidump files, which is now a rarity), traced through Bluescreen viewer, seems to point to a random array of drivers and files in the system folders. Iím beginning to think these have less to do with the causing the crash, and more to do with just being the files that were accessed when the error occurred.

Iíve tested my hardware for errors for going on a year and a half now, and they all still report fine. I ran a memtest pass post-boot for 15 hours, getting through 3 passes with no errors. My CPU and GPU are often put under strain and never seem to cause issues (oddly preventing them - rendering scenes for a short film took four days non-stop, and it didn't BSOD once). The HDDís have perfect health in short tests, longer tests don't seem to complete before a BSOD interrupts it, which recently made me think.

I ran a SMART test on both internal HDDs (via HDD scan), and the only issues it brought up were alert signs next to ďUltraDMA Cyclic Redundancy Check ErrorsĒ, which Google said represented ďThe count of errors in data transfer via the interface cableĒ.

Seeing as my PC is quite high-end, and and such all the cabling has been pleated and hidden away - would all these issues be pointing to damaged cables connecting the hard drives to the motherboard? I gather being stretched and tugged wouldn't have been good for them during the initial build.

Thoughts? Sorry if this is phrased wrong, doesnt have enough info, or posted in the wrong place, iím new :)

I've attached as much info as i could from the SF Diag tool, it couldn't find any minidumps for some reason, but i have a locked folder in my secondary hard drive filled with 139 megs of large .dmp files, if that would help.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

MS Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1

Might want to search for a new Bios to start with: BIOS Date: 10/29/10 22:06:58 Ver: 08.00.15 Version: 102910 - 20101029
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2012   #3
Simon Hinton

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Any pointers? I've heard horror stories about people permanently ruining their motherboards because they didnt do it properly :|
My System SpecsSystem Spec

17 Aug 2012   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

MS Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1

can you fill in your system specs so i cam advice you better.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2012   #5
Simon Hinton

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth Intel X58 DDR3 USB3 + SATA3 PCI-E
CPU: Intel Core i7 970 Bloomfield 3.20Ghz 12MB 1333Mhz LGA1366
RAM: Corsair CMZ12GX3M3A1600C9 12GB (3x4GB) DDR3-1600
Optical: LG CH10LS20 10X Blu-ray Reader Lightscribe Black SATA
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 32MB 7200rpm SATAII (two)
GPU: ASUS nVidia Geforce GTX580 DirectCU II 1536MB GDDR5 PCI
PSU: Corsair HX750 750W Modular Power Supply
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2012   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

MS Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1

Sabertooth X58 1304 BIOS Improve stability on Marvell controller Download from here: ASUS - Motherboards- ASUS SABERTOOTH X58

Using EZ Flash 2:
EZ Flash 2 is a built-in function of BIOS. It is the safest way to update BIOS, because one is not dependent on the operating system, any application, internet connection, firewall settings, antivirus or anything else that can put the vital BIOS update at risk.

On a new build, BIOS can be updated to the latest version before installation of the OS, which may possibly make the installation go smoother and safer.

Note: All what's said below about loading BIOS defaults also applies to the other BIOS update methods (ASUS Update, AFUDOS and BUPDATER)!

The PC should not be overclocked during the BIOS update! Always load and save BIOS defaults before and after a BIOS update (press <F5>). By loading and saving BIOS defaults before the update, CPU frequency, memory frequency and voltages are set to default (Auto).
Memory timings are set to SPD values which ensure that a PC with high performance memory that need a higher voltage than 1.8V for DDR2 or 1.5V for DDR3 is able to boot on the standard Memory Voltage.
Save the default settings (press <F10>) before starting the update.


  1. Document all your preferred BIOS settings (i.e. the settings you have changed from the default setting).
  2. Download the BIOS file, which normally is compressed (zipped).
  3. Extract (unzip) the BIOS file to a FAT/FAT32 formatted USB Flash Disk with only one partition (or to a Floppy Disk or a CD-ROM). If the unzipped BIOS file is named like e.g. 'P5B-ASUS-Deluxe-1101.ROM', you can rename it to 'P5BD1101.ROM'. Otherwise a truncated name will appear as 'P5B-AS~1.ROM' due to a limitation to max 8 characters in the filename (8.3).
  4. Update:
  5. Reboot.
  6. Press (tap) <DEL> during POST (Power-On Self Test) to enter BIOS Setup.
  7. Load BIOS Defaults (press <F5>).
  8. Insert the USB Flash Disk containing the BIOS file P5BDxxxx.ROM. (Note that the USB Flash Disk has to be inserted before boot to enter BIOS, otherwise it won't be detected).
  9. Save and Exit <F10>. (BIOS will now restart).
  10. During BIOS restart, press <DEL> to enter BIOS Setup again.
  11. Under Tools menu, select ASUS EZ Flash 2. It may take 20 seconds for the drives to show up. Select a drive in the left pane <Tab>. Use <Up> and <Down> arrows and <Enter> to select a drive. If you don't see the BIOS file in the right pane, check the other drives. Note that the drive letters may not be the same here as in Windows.
  12. Select the BIOS file (e.g. P5BD1101.ROM) and press <Enter> to start flashing. Supervise the update, which includes the following stages: Erasing - Flashing (writing) - Verification. BIOS will automatically restart when the update is ready.
  13. Disconnect the USB Flash Disk before/during the restart.
  14. Perform a C.P.R. (CPU Parameter Recall) which resets the chipset. Power down, remove power cord from the PSU for 2 minutes and then power up.
  15. Enter BIOS and load BIOS Defaults <F5> again.
  16. Reenter your preferred BIOS settings - if you are using AHCI or RAID mode, don't forget to set the SATA mode to [AHCI / RAID]. Also remember the settings for other controllers, Audio and Memory Voltage. Check also that the Boot Device Priority is correct.
  17. Save and Exit <F10> (automatic restart).
  18. Press <DEL> to enter BIOS Setup and make a final check that all BIOS settings are ok. Save any changes.
I take no responsibility if you mess it up!! Anything your not sure about just ask!!

Good Luck
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2012   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

MS Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1

After reading your post again, a word of warning sata cables must not be bent / twisted in any way. Having said that the bios upgrade also fixes issues with the Intel Raid & the Marvell controller.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Possible faulty HDD cables causing BSODs. Opinions?

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