The Lian-Li case with it's drive caddies meant that pulling each of the HDDs in turn to check the serial numbers against the known bad drive's serial number was a doddle. Predictably, of course, the unit I needed to replace was the last one pulled.
Reboot into the BIOS to set the disk system as RAID enabled me to access the RAID controller's firmware BIOS and it immediately offered the new drive as the unit with which to rebuild the array. That done it then informed me that the rebuild would occur from within the OS. So a couple of reboots later (needed to reconfigure the main BIOS as documented before) and I'm back in Windows 7 and Intel Storage Manager tells me that everything is hunky-dory.
Unfortunately it's not giving me a progress check on how the rebuild is going (percentage completion) so I'm reliant on the fact that the HDD access light on the front of the case is permanently lit while the rebuild progresses. But I do know from previous experiences of rebuilding SCSI based RAID 5 arrays that this procedure will take many many hours.
The big lesson I've learnt is that due, I assume, to the peculiarities of my set-up I'll not get any warning should a further disk failure occur so I'll have to schedule a weekly look via Intel's Storage Manager. And I'm now resolved to get ...........
OK, while composing this post the computer froze on me for a few seconds and then recovered. Given the way the machine crashed on me a few days ago I immediately went back to ISM and unbelievably the new HDD was also showing "Unknown status" instead of "Normal". In my book that is looking like a controller fault as a cabling fault would not only have showed up immediately but if one existed ISM would be unlikely to be able to report the disk's serial number. Anyway, I opened the machine up again and made sure that the cabling is secure and then put the old drive back in which, from the RAID firmware, had now got flagged as an "Offline member". Removing it from the RAID array via the ICH10R firmware and then adding it back into the RAID 10 array marked it for "Rebuild" which is now proceeding as I'm back into Windows 7.
As I don't have any spare SATA ports I think a further failure indicates dumping the motherboard's controller and maybe going with an Adaptec RAID 5805 or similar. At least I would expect to see the benefit of a rather faster disk system and, as mentioned, that hardware should see service on my next build a few years down the line. The major downside is that I'll also have to do a complete OS and software rebuild of the computer.
Sorry if this saga has proved of little interest but, to paraphrase a famous quiz-master's phrase here in the UK "having started (the story) I had to finish". And maybe it will prove useful to someone else out there on the Net...
Time to get onto the exercise machine and work off some frustration, I think.
This time the rebuild completed normally so perhaps it was an intermittent contact on the SATA cable. Oh well, after some degree of angst I'm now the proud possessor of a spare HDD and I've seriously started to re-evaluate my reliance on motherboard based RAID hardware.