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Click, Click, Sigh

Hi all,

Some of you may remember me from way back when - I must apologise in advance, as this will seem cheeky (not posting for so long and then coming back to ask for help), but as a rule of thumb I've never built a computer without consulting you guys first.

So, I've been toying with buying a new PC for a while now, but last time I built one I had a lot more time to actually play games so spent a nice whack of money on it, and it's lasted almost 4 years.. which I'm happy with, until I did something stupid.

I decided that I wanted to wipe my windows drive and start again, I normally clean down my PC at least every year, but I've been lazy, very lazy. So after 4 years I try to move some stuff around, without the means or patience to backup (stupid stupid stupid) - I know, I say, I'll create some space... split my main harddrive into two partitions and then move everything I want to keep into the new partition and wipe the original! Yeah, great idea - after an hour or so of moving around data to create the partitions, reaching a mighty 34% complete my PC decided that was the point where it'd simply give the **** up. Yes, my computer decided to just stop at 34%. And of course when turning it back on there's the amazingly heartstopping click, click, click, click.. steady as life ticking by. Oh, dear. The drive is now inaccessible, and it makes me sad.

SO first question: Any advice on fixing a clicker?

Second question: Is losing 4 years of data and having to crack open a PC to replace a harddrive enough of an excuse to just build a new one? Please note, I'm balancing performance and economy.

If so, could you please sanity check the following:

Re-use the following items:

1 x Antec 900 case with Fans
1 x Antec Quattro 1000 Modular PSU
1 x Asus Xonar D2X PCI-E

Then purchase the following:

1 x Asus M5A97 PRO AMD 970 (Socket AM3+) DDR3 Motherboard
1 x AMD Phenom II X4 Quad Core 980 Black Edition "140W Edition" 3.70GHz (Socket AM3)
2 x MSI ATI Radeon HD 6850 Cyclone Power Edition 1024MB GDDR5
1 x Kingston HyperX Genesis Grey 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C9 1600MHz Dual Channel Kit
1 x Corsair A50 High-Performance CPU Cooler
1 x Corsair Force Series 3 120GB SATA 6Gb/s Solid State Drive (CSSD-F120GB3-BK)
1 x 2.5" to 3.5" SSD Adaptor Plate
1 x Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache

So, any thoughts?

I'm in two minds over crossfire 6850 over one 6950/6970, but technically two are cheaper and seem to perform better. And I no longer have the heart to say "I'll add another card in the future", once this is built, it's built.

The other thought is, for 40 quid more - do I stretch to the top of the 6 cores? or do I wait a week and spend 100 quid more to get the top of the 8 core ones? If I'm not completely out of touch with technology, no one's really utilising these cores properly for gaming yet anyway, right?? :dead:

That's enough from me - any input would be _massively_ appreciated, as it always has been in the past.

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I've not had the failure myself but from what I've heard the clicking is a HD failure. Easy way to check is unplug the HD and boot from a windows install CD or better, a Linux Boot CD if you have one. If video comes up and you get the CD menus everything but the HD is ok. You can power down and set the BIOS to boot from the Linux CD and see if the HD does anything but click. If it boots ok data recover may be possible, if not recovery is a few hundred bucks from the manufacturer. Ouch, but you could just buy a new HD, pay for the recovery and nurse the system for another year or two. Note that using split partitions does you no good if the HD has an internal failure which is the usual failure mode.

If you can't boot from a CD only you have other problems.
Do fans spin up? If yes PS is probably ok.
Do keyboard lights flash? if yes MB, CPU and Bios are running or at least walking.
Do you get video? If yes video car is running.
Start pulling unessential things one at time until there is nothing left.
Check for beep codes during boot.

On the new build. Antec is good but I would not put a 4 year old power supply into a total rebuild. Bad idea, they do have a limited life from capacitor failure or just plain bad luck.

The rest of the new build plan looks ok. AMD is still the economy way to go for affordable performance. Intel is better these days, but 50% or more expensive for equivalent performance.

The speed freaks are going to hassle you about the WD Green HD. It's only 5400 RPM so will be slow especially for caching during game operations. The 8 GB RAM willl help offset the slow drive. I'm running one on my main PC and speed is ok but using a small, fast drive for your C drive and then bulk on your D drive is the recommended approach. Note this allows for some backup capability.

BTW Welcome back.

PS Now you've got me thinking... Hmm, My MB, CPU, RAM has got to be 5 years old by now. And probably the PS too. My HD's get upgraded every year or so.
Damn you Firefox portable! you closed unexpectedly and ate my response! So this time, it'll be shorter.. much shorter!

Thanks very much for the reply LeeJend, nice to see some of the old members still active!

Everything else on the PC is fine - which is kinda good news but I did need an excuse to rebuild, do I need an excuse? Whoops, there goes my money.

I've slightly adjusted the spec from above - and some parts have been ordered. I've figured what's on my extinct harddrive is probably mostly unimportant in hindsight, bar maybe some photos/personal documents.. which would be nice to have but not worth hundreds of pounds! My only option left is to break into the harddrive myself and attempt to fiddle.

I'll let you know how the build goes on Friday... I'll probably be on here crying about something not working as planned, we'll see!!
If you like to fiddle - Usually the electronics goes bad coil drive etc. If you can find a used one of the same drive (cheap) pull the circuit card off it and install it on the dead drive.

That's what the factory recovery does.

You might post what the drive is and see if anyone has an old one lying around for cheap.
Possibly a very good idea - would a new circuit card fix a arm positioning/head problem? which i assume it is from clicking?

Model: Hitachi Deskstar P7K500 500GB SATA-II 16MB Cache
Clicking could also a symptom of servo drive failure which would be the circuit card.

Failed HD sounds for your amusement.
Failing hard drive sounds - Datacent.com - Datacent
Looks like odds are highest its the heads which you may not be able to replace if they need alignment. If they self align then it may work.

Still an interesting effort if you can find an old drive for 10-20 bucks.


Political User
The thing you may try with your clicking hard drive (and let this be a lesson for always keeping backups :p) is to freeze it. Stick it in a freezer in an airtight ziploc baggie preferably with some of those toxic moisture removers that come with most electronics, in a pinch rice will do.

Once it is thoroughly frozen plug it in and pray it starts up, then copy as much data as you can from it, start with most important first. A friend of mine had good luck with this method... he was able to recover all of his data by running the sata cable into the freezer and running the drive in the freezer...
Hmmmm, push comes to shove could buy a replacement, put on the circuit board and then if it still doesn't work - freeze the badboy. haha

PC is built, up and running!

Final spec:

Phenom II Hex 1100T Black Edition
Gigabyte 990XA-UD3
2x4GB Corsair Dominator
HIS Radeon HD6950

Everything seems okay - Testing with Battlefield 3 tonight!
Actually, go for the freeze. I have heard it sometimes works. I just forgot about it or I would have mentioned it. It really depdns on what is broken in the drive.

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