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Secondary SATA drive causing severe slowdown

Last response: in Storage
April 8, 2009 9:06:44 PM

There is a semi-detailed story behind this but I with withhold it for the time being because it may complicate the range of responses.

The basic question is:

What are the most likely reasons that a secondary drive, when installed, causes a severe system slowdown, to the point where I can execute one action every five minutes or so? This has been tested in two different computers; one with an ATA drive as the master and a second with a SATA drive as master.

I realize this may be a broad question but I was wondering if there is a simple answer that I am overlooking. The drive is detected in disk manager but not in "my computer."
a b G Storage
April 9, 2009 10:38:31 PM

The computer is trying to access the drive and just keeps waiting on it making everything slow down..

I had a bad hitachi in my raid array that wouldnt come out of sleep randomly.. and it would either freeze the computer or make it take 5+min to open a web browser until I rebooted.

Personally without any more info I would say thats normal for a bad harddrive, but you dont give enough information for any real conclusions
April 10, 2009 2:17:58 AM

Or bad SATA cable, it's quite fragile and can come loose easily.
Related resources
April 10, 2009 1:09:13 PM

OK, here's the whole story.

I was trying to play a video from my secondary SATA drive when the video suddenly froze. I had to restart the computer, but the SATA drive was no longer detected. I went into disk management and saw the disk there but it was labeled as "offline". I tried clicking "reactivate disk" with no success.

I tried reinstalling SATA controller driver with no success...well actually I never have actually seen one installed but the drive worked before so I assumed it existed somewhere.

PC specs are below.

Processor >
Model: AMD Athlon™ 64 Processor 3200+
Speed: 2.04GHz

Motherboard >
Model: Abit AV8 3rd Eye (K8T800 Pro/VT8237 chipset)

Video System >
Monitor/Panel: Plug and Play Monitor
Adapter: NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT

Physical Storage Devices >
SAMSUNG SP8004H 80GB (ATA100, :74.56GB (C:) 
ST325041 0AS 250GB (SATA, SCSI:232.89GB

Operating System(s) >
Windows System: Microsoft Windows XP (2002) Professional
5.01.2600 (Service Pack 2)

Memory - 2x1Gb Apacer PC3200 DDR400

Here's what it says about the drive in question:

<< ST325041 0AS [P2 T2 H0 L0] >>
< SCSI General Properties >
Controller: 2
Bus: 0
Target ID: 2
Logical Unit No.: 0

< General Information >
Device Type: Physical Disk
Manufacturer: ST325041
Name: 0AS
Version: 3.AA
Removable Drive: No
Embedded Media Changer: No

< SCSI General Properties >
ANSI SCSI Approved Version: SCSI-5
Device Connected to Port: Yes
Width: 8-bit
Addressing: 8-bit
Multi-Ported Device: No
Relative Addressing Mode: No
Synchronous Transfers Support: No
Data Transfer on Secondary Bus:No
Asynchronous Event Notificatio:No
Queueing On: No
Linked Commands: No
Soft Reset: No
Normal ACA: No
Terminate I/O: No

< Disk Properties >
Capacity: 232.89GB
Block Size: 512bytes

After searching around for some answers before I tried some things.

First, since I couldn't get the drive to work as a dynamic drive, I started looking for a way to convert the disk to basic and still retain my data.

I found and implemented the solution at the link below:

Having done this, when both drives are connected (my fully operational PATA master drive plus the not-working SATA drive) my computer now detects the drive but my computer is pretty much at a stand still. I can execute one action every 5 minutes or so. When the SATA drive is disconnected, the computer runs just fine. Just not sure why a secondary drive is causing this kind of slowdown.

Incidentally, when I had the SATA drive in my other PC, with another SATA drive, it did the same thing, so I'm reasoning that it cannot be the SATA drivers or SATA cables (since I used two different ones).

I appreciate the responses.
a b G Storage
April 10, 2009 11:28:22 PM

the drive is most likely bad.

the most likely conclusion from the information you have given.

the reason it freezes is windows gets stuck waiting on the bad hdd and pretty much wont do anything .. that is normal for a system to behave that way with a bad hard drive installed.
April 11, 2009 5:29:54 PM

I had a SATA WD2500JD dropping in speed from time to time without reason (i thought) untill I discovered that de drive's IDE had switched from DMA to PIO :o  . A test showed that it did some 5 to 10MB/sec at >50% CPU usage.

By connecting it to another SATA port on the MB the slowness disapeared. >50MB/sec and 1% CPU usage as result. Untill it hapened again :(  . Moving bact to the other SATA portdid not fix it (that one kept it at PIO also).

Then I un-installed the un-used port, switched the SATA drive back to the now un-installed SATA port and booted the system again. It was back to normal again. :wahoo: 

The reason seems to be that when the drive gives errors (it may be a bad drive) WinXP sets the port to PIO.

a b G Storage
April 11, 2009 6:36:46 PM

Try running a chkdisk on that drive. It may need a format.

Windows is likely trying to access data on the drive and is having a hard time accessing it.

You may also want to keep an eye on the performance tab in task manager as it's being slow. The RAM is outdated and could be getting tapped out.