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disk access -> system slows down

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December 16, 2007 7:55:28 AM


Hi there,

I just upgaded my PC and now I've got a problem - when accessing any harddrive (copying/deleting large/numerous files) I get a very bad system performance - most noticebly when playing audio - it stops playing or slows down, which is rather unpleasant. No matter which drive, no matter if I actually copy files on the same disk, no matter which program copies (TotalCommander/Exlorer).

my system:
- Asus P5K, Intel Core2Duo
- XP Pro
2 HDD - SATA
1 DVD Burner - SATA
2 HDD - IDE 1

All disks run with DMA 5 or 6 and without conflicts, at least this is what the device manager tells me.
a b G Storage
December 16, 2007 9:31:12 AM

did you install the system drivers? systems will work without them I think, but they are needed.
December 17, 2007 2:47:01 PM

Yes, I installed the drivers, I also had a look at the asus website, grabbed the drivers from there and installed those - no effect. :/ 
Related resources
December 17, 2007 3:35:08 PM

How much ram and whats the specs of your PSU?
a c 167 G Storage
December 17, 2007 3:39:31 PM

How much memory do you have? Assuming you upgraded your cpu to a dual core, you now have enough cpu power to drive more than one application. This can cause you paging problems if you do not have enough memory to hold the working sets of all the active tasks.
December 18, 2007 7:40:41 PM

I've got 2GB of RAM, just like before. And its not a matter of running multiple apps - I've done that with the single core before without problems - the thing is - any heavy traffic on the bus (as with copying files) will lead to sloppy performance, as if the system couldn't handle that many file accesses, resulting in audio stuttering or slowing down - while the cpu load is between 5-10%. This occours every time, no matter for how long the PC is running or what applications are running.
December 18, 2007 7:48:37 PM

MP3 audio or internet radio also? If your copying from one drive to another and tring to listen to music on the HDD thats alot of bandwidth.

What speed is your processor? Overclocking would probably help alot.

Im not familiar with how those didktransfer programs work, but maybe they only use one core and you stock clock is struggling.
December 18, 2007 7:58:13 PM

No, just normal MP3 audio - and as I had absolutly no problems before (using the same disks) with the single core CPU, I assume it has to do something with the board or the boards chipset drivers. And well, it doesn't matter from which to which disk I copy, or where the audio file is - it even happenes when copying on the same disk :/ 

And I really can't see how overclocking would help anything when the CPU load is 5% when the problem occours :) 
a c 167 G Storage
December 18, 2007 8:00:01 PM

Exactly what did you change from and to?
Does the audio playing get it's source from the same hard drive involved in copying?
Are the copies from and to the same device?
Is the problem involved with sata drives, eide drives, or the dvd burner?
If you run the tasks by themselves, do they perform ok?

Turn on the performance monitor when the tasks are single threaded, and then when they are multitasked.
Look for high page fault rate, high cpu usage, high I/O rate, and High HDD device utilization.

December 18, 2007 8:10:03 PM

I changed from an AMD 3000+ CPU

"Does the audio playing get it's source from the same hard drive involved in copying? "

Doesn't matter. Tried with all possible combos - from DVD to any disk, from any disk to any disk, copying on the same disk, MP3 sometimes on the source, target or even on a completely different drive - no difference.

"Is the problem involved with sata drives, eide drives, or the dvd burner? "

All, also when copying from a USB disk to any disk in the PC.

"If you run the tasks by themselves, do they perform ok? " - Well, how do you measure "performs okay" on a file copy task? ;)  I would say yes, they seem to be fine - its just they slow down the rest of the sys.

"Look for high page fault rate, high cpu usage, high I/O rate, and High HDD device utilization."

Couldn't spot anything unusual, as I said, CPU load is like 5%, rest seems also normal.

December 18, 2007 8:13:27 PM

I have the P5K SE and atm I am formatting a full 500G HDD and burning DvDs to the other one. No problems. DDR2 800 ram 2g, e2180 oc @ 3.34.
December 18, 2007 8:28:42 PM

I'm guessing mobo or something in the OS. None of the problems that you are experiencing should be occurring. Initially I was thinking that you were running PIO instead of DMA but that would hog the CPU and you are at 5%.

I know that you don't want to hear this, but reinstall XP and test it before you continue. Keep testing it while you are loading updates programs etc. to see when it slows down.
December 19, 2007 1:59:31 PM

"I know that you don't want to hear this, but reinstall XP" - hu, you were right, I really don't want to hear this ;) 

Well, I would do this without hesitation if the system was older, but this is a clean install - just three days old now and has not much on it.

Hm, so it seems noone has an idea :/  - well, actually I was hoping that someone showed up with the same problem and how he solved it by some magic tricks :) 

Damn, need to dig deeper in the sys
December 19, 2007 5:25:45 PM

If it's new it's easier, there's not much to back up. It's the perfect time to rule out the OS. In the long run you will save time, and aggravation.
December 20, 2007 10:47:45 AM

Dear Hasibuzi,

I hope you'll feel less lonely, I am suffering (well... my PC) from very similar problem:

The performances of the computer suddenly fell (A LOT) down, and it hangs (very briefly but very often) at each disk access, leading to cause e.g. gaps in playing audio.

Another symptom: whenever my system comes back from hibernation, the BIOS has lost the HD, and the HD name in the BIOS is non-sense (e.g. A$x?cyI'KJD'@'#'Io'''') or something alike.

Nothing changed on the computer recently, and it started recently after a couple of Windows crashes.
The problem also occurs under Safe Mode.
I'm trying to run knoppix to see if the problem still occurs without this windows config.

I cannot find any conflicting IRQ.

I still don't know whether it would be a Windows problem (driver? conflict?), or a hardware problem.


Computer is an ACER Aspire 5100 (1,5 year old), running Windows Vista.

If anyone would have the solution, that would be a fantastic Xmas gift !!

Bejor.
December 20, 2007 11:26:52 AM

I had a similar problem once I actually did 6 clean installs. Afterwards it would work for 10 mins and then start stuttering again. I wasted a week of my life trying to fix it. It might not be the same thing but I did find the cause. I would tell you but I want you to suffer.
December 20, 2007 11:39:49 AM

Ok I'll tell you. Basicaly I eventually narrowed it down to bad ram. I was convinced it was a software/driver problem. Served me right for buying cheap no name stuff. But even the expensive stuff can have problems. Run Memtest. Even though the memory was fine before it can develop problems. My ram had been running fine for 6 months before that. It would also make sense considering you said that it happens regardless of HDD you are using.

Also go into your bios and reset to default settings even if havn't done anything or better update your bios.

Getting new ram solved the problem. If memtest doesn't find anything I would guess at bad mobo.

December 20, 2007 3:29:07 PM

Hi Gpippas,

Running a memtest did reveal the RAM was a bit defectuous. I hope it will help to solve the issue. Thanks a lot for the advise.

Merry Xmas !!!

Bejor
December 21, 2007 11:51:46 AM

Dear all,

It appears that the motherboard is causing the problems, not the ram nor the CPU, as tests with another RAM caused the same problem. So the computer is back to the technical team for a brand new motherboard.

I hope the persons experimenting similar symptoms will have less serious problems causing them.

Merry Xmas, and happy new Year all !!!!!



Bejor.
December 21, 2007 2:51:15 PM

Thats alright. Glad I could help. At least you had the sense to try some other ram to see if it was the socket or the ram throwing up the errors. Most people just throw away the ram buy some more and then realise the problem hasn't been solved.

I was going to mention that 6 months later using that same motherboard in a completely different system I realised that the mobo was also faulty. Thing like this are a pain to troubleshoot because the symptons always appear more software/driver related.

Funnily enough I still use that bad ram stick in an old system. I found that if I relaxed the timings a little even further off than there rated speeds it doesn't cause any problems.

When you get it back from the menders try and replicate the problem again to see if it has actually gone because you still might have a single dodgy stick of ram.

Merry Xmas to you to.
December 22, 2007 5:54:31 AM

gpippas, I don't know your specs, but something to consider is the possibility that your PSU could be eating parts. Maybe it's not, just something to check.
December 22, 2007 7:26:56 PM

Zorg

This is a little while back now. The power supply at the time was rubbish. But there was always something dodgy about that motherboard. I had the ram from before from a very old system. I pretty sure I screwed up the ram with a riduculous overclocking experiment which took out everything but the ram. So I wasn't too surprised when I discovered it was causing problems. I was too lazy to send the mobo back because it was only a really cheap budget mobo to last me for a while just to get a bit more use out of an agp x800pro till I got a mobo with PCIE.

My current power supply is an Enermax Infiniti 720W so no problems there.
!