So it seems like one of my HDDs is actually faulty. The SMART long test frozen my box down solid, not even the cursor blinked anymore.
I now have to test SDA too, right now I only tested SDB (SDA had a run of badblocks going just fine), to make sure it’s not simply a generic SMART problem. If I can pin down the problem to a single hard disk, I can probably just buy a new Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 at €70; if I can’t pin it down safely, I’ll have to buy a new pair, and that would cost me up to €236 – for a pair of 500GB disks that would be a nice investment as in the future I’d like to buy a KVM-capable box and then run quite a few virtual machines (hopefully KVM’s I/O performance is better than qemu’s last time I tried; beside, I should try to use an LVM device as virtual disk, rather than an actual file, should be better).
I’ve now resumed the test, and it still gives me timeout error on ata2 (the SATA controller), I hope sda is clear.
The definitive answer should be given out by the “SeaTools” software provided by Seagate itself, but… although it is nice that they use FreeDOS to make use of it, it seems like my Promise SATA controller (an on-board TX2plus) is not supported, it cannot find any disk to analyse 🙁
Seagate if you’re listening, you might want to put some effort into FreeDOS development so that controllers like Promise’s TX2plus (that is quite common as an on-board controller, and probably use the same interface of other Promise controllers, or at least one near enough to share the same Linux driver between TX2plus and TX4.
Anyway, it’s not like I can do much more for tonight beside waiting for SMART reports, for now my Gentoo development is suspended, I updated my .away status, for now I’ll handle packages through proxy until i can get a replacement disk. Donations to support the maintenance costs are welcome.
At least now I know I wasn’t too paranoid when I decided to always keep Enterprise’s disks in pair.