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Old 03-05-2012, 03:36 AM   #1
nuno1959
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FW800 freezes iMac ?

Hi guys !

after much success with simple USB W.Digital My Books for a number of years to store my extensive iTunes library, photos, etc… having read so many wonderful things about OWC/NewerTech Guardian Maximus Quad interface Raid box, i decided to take the plunge, ordered one & installed 2 Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB bare drives in it

using CarbonCopyCloner i copied the content to these & started using it.
right from the start i noticed my late 2009 27'' iMac i7, with 16GB RAM, constantly ''freezing'' when connected via FW800 yet when i tried it via USB it was all good !?..

i have 4 more W.Digital My Book drives, an H.P C6180 all in one printer, a Cambridge Audio DacMagic, an APC UPS connected to my computer via USB through a pair of Logitech Premium powered USB hubs + my HD plasma TV via mini-DisplayPort/HDMI adapter & a Wacom Cintiq 21UX also via an adapter

thinking it might be caused by some weird incompatibility between any one of these components or so, i unplugged EVERYTHING from my iMac, made sure EVERY power supply for the above were ALL in working order ( they are.. ) checked & double checked ALL the cables ( even got a couple of new ones just in case..) checked the USB hubs + their power supplies, you name it - EVERYTHING IS O.K. !

tried plugging in one component at a time - everything worked fine ! however each & every time i plugged in the Guardian Max via FW800 it happened, time & again....regardless if plugged by itself or in combination with any other component
funnily enough the Guardian Max connected via USB gave no problems whatsoever !?
after a little ''Googling'' i could see i'm NOT alone with this sort of problem among Mac users & that it happens with all sorts of drive makes ….as long as FW800 is being used !?

has anyone come across this quirky behavior or has any idea what might be the solution for this ?

i mean, to stream the music, USB is plenty fast but it's still frustrating to have intentionally bought a FW800 capable box & not be able to use its advantages

many thanks !
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:11 AM   #2
anthlover
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Well the thing is FW is a great technology that only works well generally with Oxford based chip sets. The Non Oxford (Knock off) chipsets are a fools errand of hurt like your describing and worse. Now that said OWC mostly only sells Cases that are Oxford based and they state as much on the write up about the drives that are. You might want to check that first.

Then also if it is happening you might want to contact macsales as there may be something wrong with that particular example.

I myself had used mostly multi interface including FW for years before I ran into spotty issues your describing, and gave up and went USB only. Not worth losing your data. The types of problems you can run into can literally cost you your data on your internal drive too. At the very least during one of the crashes random crap/partial backups can be written to weird places on the source or target.

Have to run to work.

Good Luck.
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:53 AM   #3
nuno1959
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Hi anthlover

thanks for your input ! yes they describe this Guardian Maximus as being based on an Oxford chipset, according to them ''a high speed Custom Oxford 946DSE/3100 Integrated Chipset featuring FireWire 800/400, USB 3.0/2.0, and eSATA...''

one drive was DOA ( a W.Digital Caviar Green bought from Amazon.co.uk.. ) but when i got it's replacement & installed it in the Maximus, i must confess it went about it's business of ''automagically'' copying the content of the 1st drive onto the 2nd drive, suggesting partially it MIGHT NOT be an issue with the enclosure itself - fingers crossed....

i did contact OWC & am waiting for them to come back to me on this - i'll keep you posted

regarding damaging one's internal drive, etc....i know what you mean : all those Force Quits, & disconnecting the iMac at it's chord when the above DOESN'T work, CAN'T be good for its health so if necessary i WILL drop the FW

cheers
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:19 PM   #4
anthlover
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Yup

Macsales is a good company and one of the few that sells FW anything, particularly something that is Oxford, but every company has defective samples of a product. It is possible it is the FW port on the Imac, but I would more likely believe the drive case.

Many companies, Segate, Lacie, and no name companies etc sell FW but do not specify a chipset.

There was a time when USB2 on a mac was too slow. It is now only about 20 percent slower then FW400 and of course about 50 percent slower then 800, if the drive can keep up. 800 is nothing to sneeze speed wise but not at the cost of data loss.

*** Macsales should be able to get you straightened out. If you live near an Apple store you can have them test your Imac FW but your probably out of warranty (but still check it out for free). If you had another FW drive that was Oxford you could also test with that.

Soon Thunderbolt and USB3 will supplant FW completely, no solace for us folk with 2010 and older hardware.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:43 PM   #5
nuno1959
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i'm hoping it's just something as innocuous as a firmware update or so....fingers crossed ! now to make sure it isn't my iMac's FW port, tomorrow i'm taking the enclosure to a friend's place & plugging it into his iMac which is the exact same as mine only a week ''younger''

given my luck it could do like cars/bikes when they have an intermittent electrical fault : it NEVER shows up when you take them to the garage, right ?....LOL...

i'm keeping my fingers crossed it IS the enclosure : i know OWC have a great customer support service & that should be quite straightforward to get sorted even if it means being left without the box + access to my iTunes library for a couple of weeks

if it's my iMac, well.....that's something i will have to seriously consider what to do since we DON'T have an Apple Store in Portugal & sending it for service/repair at the authorized tech service company will be at least also a couple of weeks & i rather NOT think about it just now......

as for Thunderbolt - talk about frustration ! right ?...LOL...

regardless, i'll keep you posted as it develops....

cheers
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Old 03-09-2012, 05:14 AM   #6
nuno1959
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finally ?..

Hi Guys

me again & this time i think it's good news - knock on wood !….

as someone had very rightfully suggested, i took the Guardian Maximus to a friend's place, connected it via FW800 to his iMac ( exact same model/year as mine.. ) did ALL I COULD to make it stumble like read & write several LARGE files of 20, 40, 60 AND 85GB SIMULTANEOUSLY &……NOTHING WENT WRONG !!?….then we went out for dinner, took our time ( question of giving time for the drives to go to sleep/park & perhaps create yet another situation which somehow could cause the freezing ?.. ) returned, all was good, drives woke up immediately to stream some music when prompted to...
then kept going at it for roughly 5 more hours & ALL went well..the G.MAX didn't miss a single beat/bit - how's that for a bad pun ?

*so when i returned home i created a new user account on my computer, logged in & again pushed the GMAX as much as i could : that went on for 6 hours & nothing went wrong with it ! after that i ejected the drive, logged back into my regular user account, ran Onyx to ''clean house'' a little, restarted it, switched on the drive & it's been now a day & a half NOTHING has gone wrong !?
*maybe it was just some gremlin who meanwhile got scared & ran for his life ? who knows ? i swear, sometimes my computer seems to have a life of his own….

the only difference between then & now i can think off is that before i had the FW800 cable running right above this row of wallwarts/sockets & now it's on top of my desk - could it be this interfered negatively w/ the FW800 cable/signals ? electromagnetic fields/interference & all that ?…..

*check photos here :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/1370682...6505/lightbox/

- the 1st pic shows the path of the FW800 cable as i had it before
- the 2nd shows how it's laid out now
- the 3rd's the same just behind the computer itself

*later i WILL try again running the cable under the desk but will get maybe some shielding of some kind ? it's just that i just HATE having them cables all over the place, you know ?..
*anyway for the time being i'm VERY happy with this outcome. now i guess only time will tell if any misbehaving *returns or not

*so, for the time being i'm just going to lay back & enjoy my music while i work ! ;-) if anything happens down the line i'll let you know even if just for the sake of sharing details for future reference

a big thank you to everybody who ''chipped in'' trying to help solving this, it feels good to know one can resort to this forum anytime something happens & that people WILL actually try to sort thing out !… ;-)
have a good week-end guys

cheers

Nuno
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:11 PM   #7
anthlover
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Interesting. I will have to do a search about interference unless someone else knows off the top of their head. Length and cable quality can be issues but I assume the cable with the drive and was of reasonable quality and length. Update. I looked around a bit there is info out there about interference but I did not find your issue specifically, more audio related. Certainly common sense would dictate that if it is reliable for a sustained period of time while not routed near the plugs that might be it

Other thoughts perhaps there is some compatibility issues with the drive and case, but again did not mac sales provide it.

Either way keep multiple physical copies of your data. Raid is great for a server because you have a moment to back up but for an individual multiple separate non raided drives offers different restore points. For moment to moment you can use something like crash plan which i highly recommend.

Last edited by anthlover; 03-09-2012 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:42 AM   #8
nuno1959
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yes, tell me about it - IF indeed this is the cause, it never crossed my mind it could happen! i knew about this happening with audio cables either crossing power cables or running alongside transformers & such : sound degradation, parasite frequencies showing up, mysterious ''hums'' but NEVER with FW or USB cables for that matter...

as far as i can tell it's either that or a gremlin who meanwhile took off & hasn't shown his ugly head for a few days now ;-)

as for copies, absolutely ! one of the main reasons i chose this enclosure is it's ability to automatically rebuild the Raid1 array when you remove a drive ( because it failed or because you want yet another copy.. ) & insert a new one in it

funds allowing , by the end of the month i'll get another pair of 3TB drives to install in it, one at a time.
after those are written, i'll keep one at my sister's place & one at my parents !

this way i'll have 4 drives, 2 of which off site - THEN i'll feel as safe as safe can be...
people might find this a bit of overkill BUT after spending months & months loading hundreds of CD's AND transferring thousands of LP's to digital + de-hissing, ''de-cracking'' , etc..with Audacity ( which had i known what i was getting into & i WOULDN'T have done it !!!!.. ) i would REALLY hate to loose it all because of a stupid drive failure & have to re-do it ALL OVER AGAIN, you know what i'm saying ?

if anything weird happens i'll post back again...

thanks again for your help !!

Nuno

Last edited by nuno1959; 03-10-2012 at 04:45 AM.
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