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Thread: ABYSMAL hard drive performance, anything i can do ?

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    ABYSMAL hard drive performance, anything i can do ?

    heyhey folks i've been having some issues with my system relating to burning and slow file responses etc. for a while now and i've finally clocked whats wrong - my secondary HD (750gig seagate) has absolutely terrible performance and i can't figure out why

    it had been bugging me a while (winrar extracts would take forever, discs would burn at 4x tops) so i got supercopier to monitor file copy speeds and came across some astonishing statistics - copying to my WDC raptor is fine, 45mb/s constant with both 1gig file and 4gig file..but copying from my raptor to the seagate goes at 10mb/s for 1gig file and drops to about 6mb/s for 4gig file...and even worse, copying from/to same drive does it at....3mb/s! dropping to 2mb/s for 4gig file

    i thought it could be a bus isssue or some driver issue but as the same drive > drive cpoy is so slow i figure its the hardware

    is there anything i can do to improve it ? its running in UDMA mode 5 (sisoft recommends running it as 6 but 6 isn't supported on my mobo)

    when i first got the drive it was a lot faster, it seems the re-write speed is whats slowing it down..is there any tool out there that can like..wipe the stuff off the drive so its blank space again, instead of just removing the entry from the FS ?

    also does anyone know of a tool that i can use to monitor all transfer speeds on the computer ? i mostly want it to monitor what speeds winrar is extracting at

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    Re: ABYSMAL hard drive performance, anything i can do ?

    Copying from/to the same drive, is always going to be a slow process, this would be expected behaviour from all drives, even your raptor, although it will be a little quicker because of the faster rotation speed...

    Your 750gb drive is an IDE drive I assume, and your raptor is a SATA, and for this reason alone and not even taking in to account the faster rotation of the raptor, you can't really compare the 2 drives, they are not the same thing at all...

    The fact the 750Gb drive is IDE, means it will be restricted by the IDE bus. Is the 750Gb the master ? or the slave ? is it alone on the bus ? or does it share it with another device ? another hard disk perhaps ?

    Whats the make and model of the motherboard ?

    Do your hard drives have active cooling ? (ie, a fan blowing over them) or are they just left to fend for them selves in terms of heat dissipation ?

    Have you check the 'SMART' information for the drive to see if there are any problems ?

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    Re: ABYSMAL hard drive performance, anything i can do ?

    drive is sata
    <-- mobo is in my profile
    i've got another sata drive in another comp that performs much better, i know its expected to be slower on same drive to drive but 3mb/s is incredibly slow by any standards

    also copying from my raptor to the other sata drive on my network goes at 10mb/s (my network max) but same file to the 750gig goes at 3mb/s locally

    yes both drives have 2x120mm fans blowing on them

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    Re: ABYSMAL hard drive performance, anything i can do ?

    ooh, SATA, sorry, I won't assume next time

    It's going to be either a controller issue, the bus or the drive it's self, so lets start by ruling out the drive... I have a feeling I know what your going to say, but I'll say it anyways... checked for fragmentation ?

    To further rule out the drive it's self, you may also wish to consider scanning your HD with the following utility :-

    HDDGURU: HDDScan

    This outstanding little utility performs a 'timed sector scan' of your entire disk, measuring the time in milliseconds, that it takes to read from each sector. Perfect sectors will be read in less than 5ms but depending on the condition of the platters/heads, you can find some sectors are slow to be read and this will slow down the read/write performance of the entire disk.

    Wost case, a drive with lots and lots of slow sectors on it, would be a sign that something could be about to fail. Unlike most other drive scan utilities that just test the integrity of the platters, this utility can give you a great indication if the heads or the stepping motor that controls them, are begining to fail, because of the way it scans the disk.

    You can also use that utility to check the SMART information on the drive, this is another area that will help rule in or out, a hardware issue with the drive it's self, wiki have a great reference page on SMART :-

    Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology - Wikipedia

    Once you rule out fragmentation, and physical sector reading speed of the drive, you could move on to checking the settings on the drive it's self, such as NCQ and Acoustic Management, as these can sometimes impact a drives performance, google should help provide the information on each setting on your drive.

    HD Tune does a good job of reporting the settings on a drive, and lets you run a benchmark too, you can find it at the following link :-

    HD Tune download

    If all of the above report the drive is in fine health, then perhaps consider changing the SATA cable and see if that has any affect.

    Regarding your request for a tool to physically remove all data from the drive, Seagate them selves to a utility to do just that, read more about it on Seagate's website :-

    Seagate Technology - How Do I Low-Level Format an ATA (IDE) Hard Drive?

    Or alternatively, you can download the low level format utility written by the HDGuru that wrote HDScan utility I mentioned above, available at :-

    HDDGURU: HDD Low Level Format Tool

    Hope you find the problem, there is nothing more annoying than a slow drive ! Sorry for the long post, just trying to help, good luck !

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    Tunnah (21-11-2007)

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    Re: ABYSMAL hard drive performance, anything i can do ?

    Sounds like it's stuck in PIO mode. You need to enable DMA.

    Enable DMA mode in Windows XP

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    Re: ABYSMAL hard drive performance, anything i can do ?

    In his very first post, he says...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tunnah View Post
    its running in UDMA mode 5
    Can it can be stuck in PIO when the drive reports UDMA 5 ?

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    Re: ABYSMAL hard drive performance, anything i can do ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sema4 View Post
    In his very first post, he says...



    Can it can be stuck in PIO when the drive reports UDMA 5 ?
    Missed that

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    Re: ABYSMAL hard drive performance, anything i can do ?

    BIOS and Windows can read differently, with CRC or DMA errors windows drops the UDMA
    But Tunnah has stated its a sata drive not an ide
    Are the correct sata drivers installed ?
    Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

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    Re: ABYSMAL hard drive performance, anything i can do ?

    thanks for the replies guys <3

    fragmentation is a big issue as i deal with large video files (i'm a VJ) with constant new ones coming in and loads of encoding going on

    Sema great info and cheers for the tools, but as for the low level thing, sorry should of stated better - i'm after a tool that takes the free space on the drive and actually makes it free, but leaves the files that are there, not a complete format of the drive more of a tidy up is this even possible or can this kind of clean only be performed by a total format ?

    will run the benchmark tools soon, atm i'm extracting 20x700mb files...at 7mins per extraction

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    Re: ABYSMAL hard drive performance, anything i can do ?

    If your low on memory resources your winrar extracts might be taking up paged memory on one of the discs, check the swapfile is sized ok and its not located on the seagate.

    also try another sata channel and any bios settings realating to sata something sounds amiss with the contoller or settings in bios or windows

    maybe google the drive model number or sata controller for issues realting to big discs.

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    Re: ABYSMAL hard drive performance, anything i can do ?

    I am not aware of a utility that will 'zero' the space not used by files, however there are 'secure erase' programs out there that will 'zero' the space used by a file at the point which you delete it, but that only works at the point of deleting it, not retrospectively, and realistically, having a sector full of zero's, or a sector full of old data, is kind of insignificant as far as the performance of the disk is concerned.

    If the index says a sector is blank, the disk will write to it, the data present in the sector at the point of writing (be it zeros or old data) should have no affect on the time it takes to write, provided the sector isn't physically corrupt in any way, hence the reason for suggesting you try the HDDGURU: HDDScan utility I posted before, this will test for exactly that situation.

    What your using the disk for does set alarm bells ringing however... What defrag software do you use? not all defrag software is the same...

    If you are using the built in windows defrag software, then it's not going to defrag your page file, registry hives, or the directory information and meta-data located on the drive. In a drive thats used for as much file processing as your suggesting, this could be critical to the over all performance, as fragmented metadata can slow down your drive as much as file fragmentation.

    The best commercial defrag software on the market is Raxco Perfect Disk, you can download a free trial from their site here at www.raxco.com

    Look for 'free evaluations' at the top of the page and grab the trial version, this is the only commercial defrag software on the market that will perform an off-line defrag of your disk at boot and will fix all forms of fragmentation that no other commercial software will touch.

    If the trial works for you and you decide to buy the software, then visit the perfect disk blog at PERFECTDISKBLOG.COM where you will find a coupon code that will get you 30% off the price at the checkout, valid until Sunday 25th November, bargain!

    No, I don't work for them....

    If you rule out the disk it's self using the tests above, then it boils down to the controller or the bus. The bus is easy enough to test, simply change the SATA cable. If that makes no difference, then we are left with the controller, but that seems unlikely because your Raptor is also SATA and is using the same controller...

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    Re: ABYSMAL hard drive performance, anything i can do ?

    I had similar problems, a quick change of the sata cable sorted everything out. Sometimes a faulty cable can be the root problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by capt_cornflake View Post
    the large ones were definitely a 2 handed job.

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