Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Verify Hard Drive Cache Amount?

Last response: in Storage
Share
June 23, 2009 11:36:20 PM

Is there any way (software I'm thinking) to VERIFY the actual amount of cache on a hard drive? (I know what the label says, but still)

Mostly curious so please forgive me if this is a totally newbie track, but my searching so far has yielded too little ...

I recently got a "white label" drive (640GB, 16MB cache) ...

Haven't done much with it so far, except for some basic S.M.A.R.T. testing, and a little benchmark comparisons w/my existing drive(s). So far, it appears to be benchmarking more than twice as fast as either of two WD2500JS (8MB cache). Ok, I'll admit (don't shoot, please) to using a dated benchmark: HDTach v3.0.4.0. So far, I'm satisfied, but curious ...

For example, Western Digital's WinDLG diagnostic program dumps the drive model, serial number, etc. but NOT the cache amount.

One troubling bit there: it ID's the "type" of my new drive as a "IDE" as opposed to "SATA" as with the two WD's ... I wouldn't think that plugging into a particular SATA port on the motherboard should make any difference, right?

As I say, so far, I'm satisfied and I'm thinking of partitioning the new drive into a few and using for my OS since it seems so much faster ...

Any suggestions?
a b G Storage
June 24, 2009 7:40:14 AM

Hey MinstrelMike, what is your 640GB hard disk? What's your motherboard? And yes, there should be no difference if you plug your hard disk into different SATA ports, unless one of them's faulty of course. Maybe you should try connecting the hard disk to different ports?
a b G Storage
June 24, 2009 9:38:31 AM

Quote:
One troubling bit there: it ID's the "type" of my new drive as a "IDE" as opposed to "SATA" as with the two WD's ... I wouldn't think that plugging into a particular SATA port on the motherboard should make any difference, right?

When you use 'IDE' emulation mode set in BIOS(of the SATA controller) they'll be displayed as IDE. It's required by unpatched XP installs. If you're installing Vista you can use 'AHCI' straight away without problem.

You could try Everest and see if it'll give you HDD's cache value.
Related resources
June 24, 2009 4:43:28 PM

PC Wizard will report something like this:

Informations Hard Disk SAMSUNG HD321KJ :
Model : SAMSUNG HD321KJ
Serial Number : S0MQJDWQ155085
Revision (Firmware) : CP100-12
Family : SAMSUNG SpinPoint T166 series
Serial ATA : Yes
Serial ATA version : 2.0 - (SATA-300)
Support : ATA8-ACS
Size : 320 GB
Cache : 16 384 KB
June 24, 2009 6:55:34 PM


Thanks for your help! I just knew a post on THW forums would lead to useful results! Seems like there's SOMEONE here who knows ANY given fact, so collectively, THW forums knows EVERYTHING! Right?

r_manic said:
Hey MinstrelMike, what is your 640GB hard disk? What's your motherboard? And yes, there should be no difference if you plug your hard disk into different SATA ports, unless one of them's faulty of course. Maybe you should try connecting the hard disk to different ports?


As I mentioned, it's a "white label," from GoHardDrive.com (bought off eBay $50 + $4 SquareTrade extended warranty + FAST free shipping); it's supposedly made by Western Digital, but I don't see any way so far, to verify that ... The "model" is "WL640GSA1672" (doesn't Google any hits for me), the "firmware revision" is "01.03B01" (various diag programs agree to these) ...

Everest also shows a "World Wide Name" of "5-0014EE-F00019C6A" (my other two WD drives don't show this item ?!) ... Anybody heard of this before?

My motherboard (HP Media Center TV/PC m7680n) is: Broadwater P5BW-LA-00 dated 06/30/2006 ...
The controller shows as "Intel(R) ICH8R/DO/DH SATA RAID Controller" in DeviceManager ...

Next time I get around to opening the case, I might try swapping the new HD with one of the others, or one of the optical drives, just to see what happens.

wuzy said:
Quote:
One troubling bit there: it ID's the "type" of my new drive as a "IDE" as opposed to "SATA" as with the two WD's ... I wouldn't think that plugging into a particular SATA port on the motherboard should make any difference, right?

When you use 'IDE' emulation mode set in BIOS(of the SATA controller) they'll be displayed as IDE. It's required by unpatched XP installs. If you're installing Vista you can use 'AHCI' straight away without problem.

You could try Everest and see if it'll give you HDD's cache value.


Thanks! Everest did indeed show 16MB cache on the new drive, as well as the 8MB cache on the old.

I dunno about the "IDE emulation mode" ... Don't recall seeing anything like that on the PC BIOS setup (but then I haven't looked at it, since first plugging in and verifying the new HD was indeed "visible" as expected); this motherboard has a built-in RAID controller (which also recognizes the new HD on boot-up, and which I also haven't altered).

And, I'm using XP Media Center 2005 (sometimes reads as XP Pro) ... Pre-installed on the PC, don't see any reason to spend extra cash upgrading to Vista.

Everest Disk Benchmark (Read Suite) shows ...

LinearRead: Begin Mid End Random Buffered (All MB/s) AvgAccess (ms) ... All rounded also ...

WD2500JS = 59 54 33 49 190 18 (both WD drives, same model, results almost identical)
WL640GSA = 111 93 55 88 237 12 ...

Seems good to me, twice as fast as WD's (all 7200 RPM) ... Dunno how much that has to do with twice the cache (previous THW benchmarks say little); both WD's are pretty well clogged up, but then these kind of benchmarks are supposed to bypass all that anyway, right?

I'm thinking of partitioning the new drive up as my system drive, since it's significantly faster.

hundredislandsboy said:
PC Wizard will report something like this:

Informations Hard Disk SAMSUNG HD321KJ :
Model : SAMSUNG HD321KJ
Serial Number : S0MQJDWQ155085
Revision (Firmware) : CP100-12
Family : SAMSUNG SpinPoint T166 series
Serial ATA : Yes
Serial ATA version : 2.0 - (SATA-300)
Support : ATA8-ACS
Size : 320 GB
Cache : 16 384 KB


HundredIslandsBoy:

I found PCWizard2008v1.871 by CPUID ... Is that what you're referencing?

I didn't see some of the info. you listed; no "Serial ATA" items (and no "firmware" etc) ...
June 25, 2009 11:38:46 AM

When you run PC Wizard 2008 vers. 1.871, click in the drives icon, then number of hard disk on the right...
June 25, 2009 11:42:26 AM

It's under disk controller. If yours doesn't show the info, then it wasn't flashed into your drive's firmware, is it grey market??
June 26, 2009 7:44:15 PM

I think I owe you (and/or PCWizard) an apology: I'm pretty sure the first time I tried PCW, I accidentally ran it under my normal "user" account, NOT an "admin" account, so it probably couldn't access everything it wanted; running PCW under an "admin" account, shows exactly as you mentioned. Sorry, that was too n00b even for me!

hundredislandsboy said:
When you run PC Wizard 2008 vers. 1.871, click in the drives icon, then number of hard disk on the right...

Exactly correct ... Shows the 16MB cache as expected!

hundredislandsboy said:
It's under disk controller. If yours doesn't show the info, then it wasn't flashed into your drive's firmware, is it grey market??

It showed the individual drive info's (lower pane) as you specified above, under "number of hard drives" on upper pane.

And yes, I guess "grey market" is another term ... The vendor calls it "white label" as I mentioned before, also mentioned the "model" and "firmware" as reported; forgot to mention, the "brand" on the label is "mediamax" ... Didn't get anything useful by Googling that either ...

MinstrelMike said:
One troubling bit there: it ID's the "type" of my new drive as a "IDE" as opposed to "SATA" as with the two WD's ... I wouldn't think that plugging into a particular SATA port on the motherboard should make any difference, right?

Well, of the handful of utilities I've tried since (thanks to y'all's recommendations), ONLY Western Digital's DLGDiagnostics have shown the "new" drive as "IDE" while all others (PCW, Everest, etc) show SATA as expected.

Also, upon further research, I see that Intel (ASUS "Basswood", Intel P965+ICH8R/9R) recommends setting the BIOS controller mode to RAID (instead of LegacyIDE or AHCI if not necessary) "for maximum flexibility" ... Which is how mine is set, so I should be good there ...

Now, I'm reviewing "drive partitioning/usage" strategies ... The two 250GB drives were already IN the PC when I got it, and pretty well filled, etc. so this is the first opportunity that I've had to setup a "relatively large" hard drive from the ground up! Time to look for other topics on THW forums!
!