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Both hard drives running slow at 3 MB/s - how to fix?

Last response: in Storage
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December 31, 2005 7:06:45 AM

The HDTune utility revealed that both my hard drives are running at extremely slow speeds. The primary clocked at about 3MB/sec.

For the primary drive part of it seems to be because according to HDTune, it is currently running in UDMA mode 2 ATA/33 rather than mode 5 ATA/100; this might be because of the IDE cable, I guess. But even with that the drive should still be going at 20+ MB/sec, I believe; 3 MB/s is incredibly slow. And HDTune says the secondary drive is running at mode 5 (or 6), yet that one is even slower at 2 MB/sec.

UDMA is enabled for both drives, and in the BIOS as well. Though according to the Device Manager, the primary drive's Current Transfer Mode is listed as PIO. And the secondary drive's is listed as Ultra DMA mode 2, which seems to conflict with what HDTune reported, unless I misunderstood HDTune.

Anyone have any ideas on what might be the problem with my hard drives, and how to fix it?

Here's some results from HDTune:

Primary Hard Drive
HD Tune: ST360015A Benchmark

Transfer Rate Minimum : 0.3 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Maximum : 3.2 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Average : 2.7 MB/sec
Access Time : 15.3 ms
Burst Rate : 3.0 MB/sec
CPU Usage : 89.6%

Firmware version : 3.33
Serial number : 3KC1J3X4
Capacity : 55.9 GB (~60.0 GB)
Buffer size : 2048 KB
Standard : ATA/ATAPI-6
Supported mode : UDMA Mode 5 (Ultra ATA/100)
Current mode : UDMA Mode 2 (Ultra ATA/33)

Secondary Hard Drive
HD Tune: WDC WD600BB-00CAA1 Benchmark

Transfer Rate Minimum : 0.0 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Maximum : 2.1 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Average : 1.3 MB/sec
Access Time : 33.7 ms
Burst Rate : 2.2 MB/sec
CPU Usage : 56.2%

Firmware version : 17.07W17
Serial number : WD-WMA8E3357761
Capacity : 55.9 GB (~60.0 GB)
Buffer size : 2048 KB
Standard : ATA/ATAPI-5
Supported mode : UDMA Mode 5 (Ultra ATA/100)
Current mode : UDMA Mode 6 (Ultra ATA/133)
January 2, 2006 1:39:04 PM

Quote:
this might be because of the IDE cable, I guess. But even with that the drive should still be going at 20+ MB/sec,


I love how people just dismiss the obvious. "Well , my car is only going 12 miles an hour... yeah I have a dump truck tied to the back , but I have this really cool new set of tires...."

;) 

Replace the cable w/ and 80 pin quality cable, and you WILL see improvement. Also, make sure you never put an optical drive and a hard drive on the same cable. The bus will run at the SLOWEST speed drive's ability. Right now you have two well matched drives, that is very good.

HOWEVER - the 20+gb rating is for burst mode only, and in perfect conditions... not consistent throughput. So don't expect to see that anytime soon. However - you should see closer to 8mb with the right cable, power supply, drivers, and no load on your system. (unload all the crap on your pc that is taking cycles away)

hope this helps,

Joe
January 3, 2006 8:57:42 PM

Quote:
I love how people just dismiss the obvious. "Well , my car is only going 12 miles an hour... yeah I have a dump truck tied to the back , but I have this really cool new set of tires...."

;) 

Thanks for the response, but in this case the obvious was obviously not the cause of the problem ;)  That was readily apparent to me right away, or else I wouldn't have sought help.

I ended up installing the Intel application accelerator due to a suggestion I found at the Dell site:

http://downloadfinder.intel.com/scripts-df/Detail_Desc....

This fixed the probem beautifully and the drives now run at the average 25 MB/s that they should.

Still have no idea how the issue came about--I noticed my hard drive acting extremely slow a few weeks ago, and the computer is years old, and I never uninstalled anything like an Intel accelerator. But at least it's fixed.
January 4, 2006 5:11:41 PM

Your cpu usage seems to be pretty high during the tests as well (antivirus running? viruses on computer?). I recommended first of all clearing NVRAM (clearing bios using jumper or if available "Reset ECSD configuration data" set to "Yes" in your BIOS). Also look in the bios to see what mode your hard drives are currently running at. If bios shows the wrong mode you know windows'll never get it right.
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