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HDD slow but passes all tests (Windows 7, Western Digital 500gb)

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April 10, 2013 6:23:19 AM

Recently I had to reformat my drive because of this same problem. I play a lot of video games on my PC and was noticing studdering that was caused by the HDD. I assumed the drive was going bad, so I ran a couple of tests. Nothing came up really, so I tried reformatting.

After the format, the computer ran great for about two weeks. Now, the same problem has crept up. My disk is maxing out in the performance monitor of Windows 7 when doing nearly anything. It makes games unplayable. I've ran more tests (chkdsk, HDDregenerate, SeaTools, Performance Test 8, etc) and all of them say my HDD is running fine which is obviously not the case.

I've tried different SATA ports to no avail. I've yet to try a different cord yet, which I suspect could be an issue.

If it's not the cord.. Am I looking at either a dying SATA controller or a dying PSU?

All my drivers are up to date. I've defragged multiple times and my hard drive isn't even half full.

MSI Ph67S-C43 motherboard
Intel 2500k Sandybridge at 3.30ghz
4gb RAM
Western Digital 500gb SATA
GeForce 550ti 1gb
April 10, 2013 6:53:37 AM

Are the performance numbers looking good for the disk? I'm expecting you to say yes because it sounds like it isn't your HDD but something that is reading and writing to the drive a lot. Have you used the resource monitor in Windows 7 to track what applications are doing IO when it is "slow"?

Resource Monitor built into Windows 7:
http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/datacenter/use-resourc...
Related resources
April 10, 2013 7:15:59 AM

Usually it's either the game or the pagefile using the most IO when it stutters. It's honestly hard to catch because the stutters are short and the disk looks normal if its not currently stuttering. Occasionaly I get a longer stutter I can look at.

I don't completely understand what's going in the window though. The graph randomly decides when 10mb/s or 10kb/s should be the topend of the graph. Perhaps that's normal.
a b G Storage
April 10, 2013 7:44:22 AM

axelthesot said:
Usually it's either the game or the pagefile using the most IO when it stutters. It's honestly hard to catch because the stutters are short and the disk looks normal if its not currently stuttering. Occasionaly I get a longer stutter I can look at.

I don't completely understand what's going in the window though. The graph randomly decides when 10mb/s or 10kb/s should be the topend of the graph. Perhaps that's normal.

If 10mb/s is the max it goes to then the hdd is not your problem. That's one tenth of the capabilities of that drive. It sounds like you are running out of ram and it's starting to use the virtual memory on the hard disk. Upgrade your ram and you will not have this problem.

April 10, 2013 7:54:10 AM

cbrunnem said:
axelthesot said:
Usually it's either the game or the pagefile using the most IO when it stutters. It's honestly hard to catch because the stutters are short and the disk looks normal if its not currently stuttering. Occasionaly I get a longer stutter I can look at.

I don't completely understand what's going in the window though. The graph randomly decides when 10mb/s or 10kb/s should be the topend of the graph. Perhaps that's normal.

If 10mb/s is the max it goes to then the hdd is not your problem. That's one tenth of the capabilities of that drive. It sounds like you are running out of ram and it's starting to use the virtual memory on the hard disk. Upgrade your ram and you will not have this problem.



No, no. The drive has used more than 10mb/s. I've seen it use upwards of 70mb/s on occasion. I just mean the graph in the performance monitor won't show the graph above 10mb/s.

Also, my physical memory usage sits at 3.5gigs used at most when playing games. On top of that, I've run multiple memory tests so I know it's good RAM. It's also fast RAM, so I really don't think it's the RAM.
April 10, 2013 8:42:00 AM

I think he was implying if 10 mb/s is the IO rate at the time of stuttering its not your HDD that is the cause of the stuttering. I agree its not the HDD.
April 10, 2013 8:45:34 AM

After testing the HDD multiple times (as I said in my first post) I also don't think that it is DIRECTLY the HDD. However, it is possible that it could be the SATA controller, yes?
April 10, 2013 8:55:30 AM

Have you tried playing a game that you experience this on with the game at its lowest graphics settings? This sounds like FPS drops due to the GPU not being able to handle the game and playing at the lowest setting should help prove it one way or another.
April 10, 2013 9:06:47 AM

Yes, I've tried low settings and it makes no difference. Take for example the Secret World. I can play that game on High and it does the exact same stuttering that it does on low.

Again, I've thoroughly tested my cpu, gpu, RAM, and HDD. The HDD is the only one that acts abnormally during gameplay. CPU usage gets to about 50% at most through all the cores. 30-80% for GPU depending on the game. Ram 30-80% depending on the game.

The actual lag I'm experiencing isn't lag typical with general PC sluggishness. The game plays perfectly smooth and then just stutters for a half second or so than is smooth.

For games like Dota 2, I don't notice any stutters at all really except when it first loads. More open world games like Skyrim or MMOS are really effected by this problem though. Again if I stand still there is really no issue and I can interact with everything in the game just fine. When I start to move however, the game begins to have these stutters when (i'm assuming) the game starts loading new/higher res textures.

Whenever these stutters occur, my HDD light is solid. When a game is running fine, it gets the occasional blip or two but not solid.
April 10, 2013 9:20:31 AM

That fix did not appear to help.
April 10, 2013 9:25:05 AM

This problem has come out of nowhere both times. As I said, when I had the problem before I reformatted and it had fixed my problem for a couple of weeks. Just last night while playing Skyrim it started. The day before had been just fine and everything ran smooth. Then, the very next day, after changing nothing, it starts again.

This makes it seem like hardware failure. I don't have anything set to auto update, it is all manual.
April 10, 2013 3:11:32 PM

I've tried tweaking a couple of BIOS settings to no avail. I've run a diagnostics tool called Latencymon that showed me some interesting things. Apparently I'm getting a lot of hard page faults that are taking a long time to resolve.

Here are the results from that program:

Total number of hard pagefaults: 3771
Hard pagefault count of hardest hit process: 808
Highest hard pagefault resolution time (µs): 999132.542424
Total time spent in hard pagefaults (%): 3.434874
Number of processes hit: 32
This is from about 5 minutes of running it. That doesn't look good. That's just from chrome too, not even a game.

Highest measured interrupt to process latency (µs): 2996.223071
Average measured interrupt to process latency (µs): 1.741075

Highest measured interrupt to DPC latency (µs): 1325.896974
Average measured interrupt to DPC latency (µs): 0.661497

Best solution

a b $ Windows 7
a b G Storage
April 10, 2013 3:53:09 PM
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axelthesot said:
I've tried tweaking a couple of BIOS settings to no avail. I've run a diagnostics tool called Latencymon that showed me some interesting things. Apparently I'm getting a lot of hard page faults that are taking a long time to resolve.

Here are the results from that program:

Total number of hard pagefaults: 3771
Hard pagefault count of hardest hit process: 808
Highest hard pagefault resolution time (µs): 999132.542424
Total time spent in hard pagefaults (%): 3.434874
Number of processes hit: 32
This is from about 5 minutes of running it. That doesn't look good. That's just from chrome too, not even a game.

Highest measured interrupt to process latency (µs): 2996.223071
Average measured interrupt to process latency (µs): 1.741075

Highest measured interrupt to DPC latency (µs): 1325.896974
Average measured interrupt to DPC latency (µs): 0.661497


This one sound like a "bitch-slap problem " ......
You have to test all one by one
HDD - run hiren`s boot Cd - MHDD is the right testing tool - in the lower right if you see Warnings or Errors replace the HDD - i asume we talk about OS HDD
If you HDD is perfect than the next susspect is VGA
Furmark - run stability test for 30 -40 min and watch the 3D image - it must be smooth and nice flow - if you have some process eating you Performance you shud see it there
- if it`s bad looking there i have 2 ver.
1. You have overheat problem with the VGA - GPU lowers the CLC to protect it self - clean the PC with pressure air tank
2. You have virus, malware etc in you OS - combofix or clean install - if you have Antivirus soft. have a look for scanning process - try to disable
For total test run MemTest86 - RAM and CPU will be tested for errors - HirensBootCD again
In my work i fallow this simple steps - HDD - VGA - CPU - RAM all tested with 1 usb holding Hirens Boot CD. Depending of the problem i can change the order of testing components :) 

I got this right now :) 

You have 4Gb RAM - and maybe you have`t change you default page settings ?
If you did`n you page-ing is set to Auto witch is 4Gb
Set it to 1024 or make it disabled just for trobleshooting the problem - 4 Gb is not so much for Win 7
I have 3,6 - 3,8 after i Log in Win 7 and i have page set to 0 so maybe that will help you find the "bitch" :) 
!