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Hard Drive Questions

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August 17, 2010 11:58:04 PM

Hello, all :) 

Ok... I got a really nice computer toward the beginning of this year and it has been doing really well for me. One thing that I have noticed is that it never goes above 50% RAM or CPU usage, and yet it runs slowly at certain times, startup in particular (when it is running slowly, I look at the sidebar app for hd usage, and generally it is at maximum). I looked at the Windows Experience Index and discovered that the hard drive has the lowest score of 5.9 (the next lowest 7.5).

I downloaded Performance Test 7.0. According to the benchmark results, my sequential read speed is 82.8mb/s, the sequential write speed is 48.4mb/s, and the random seek is 3.14mb/s. How is this? I am guessing it is pretty low, as it was the lowest priced 1tb hd from cyberpowerpc.

So I have come to the conclusion that my hard drive is the bottleneck for my PC. I am now trying to decide what to do next... an SSD or velociraptor is out of the question (money-wise), so do you know of any ideas of how to increase my hd speed without chunking out rather large sums of money? I am willing to look at other hard drive suggestions.

Thanks!

P.S. One thing I would like would to be able to start up my computer and within a few seconds load programs and begin doing what I need to, rather than waiting a couple of minutes for my computer to finish loading. This would be caused by the slow hard drive speeds, right?

P.P.S. Both my hd and mobo are rated for transfer speeds up 3.0gb/s... what's up with this? Is the mobo just "future proofed" for allowing up to 3.0gb/s transfer speeds for future hard drives, or is there something going on I'm missing?

More about : hard drive questions

a b G Storage
August 18, 2010 12:19:08 AM

Mechanical disks can't get info off of spinning metal plates that fast. SATAII and SATAIII is really for SSDs that can (or will) pull data from those cells that fast.

If it NEVER goes above 50% I wonder why that might be. You didn't list any hardware or software specs so I can only guess. Everything looks ok from here, but with no specs I have no idea. If you want windows to load faster have it load fewer drivers. Way back when in the days of win2000 I could double my boot time by having a SCSI card with four 9.1GB drives. This is perhaps the biggest reason why I stopped turning off my machine. Go into the bios and windows and disable anything you don't need.

Also make sure you have the correct drivers for your machine, or the newest. Some system specs would also help.
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August 18, 2010 1:17:41 AM

Ah, I should have posted my specs, sorry about that.

i7 920 2.66ghz
6gb ddr3 1333mhz ram
ATI Radeon 5850
Hitachi HD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MSI mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

If you need more info let me know :) 

I have windows update turned on and get updates every few minutes, so I am thinking I have the most up to date drivers (unless Microsoft does not update all).

I would have no idea which drivers to turn off... I also do not know the process in which to turn off unneeded drivers are disabled.

Thanks!

P.S. If somebody neglects to include their system specs, as I did, one way that you can possibly check their specs is by clicking the "More Information" hyperlink under the user's rank or whatever. If they have entered their system specs, then it should show up when you click "Member Configuration" under that :) 
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a b G Storage
August 18, 2010 6:24:11 AM

You have an "8 core" machine so thats probably why it stays at 50%. I don't think windows uses that many to boot. You don't turn off drivers in the bios, I meant you disable things you don't need. For example, if your bios loads the RAID stuff for your board and you don't use it, turn it off. It will skip that entire part of the boot sequence, saving you time. I wouldn't turn off a bunch of stuff, just things that take a long time.

If its windows loading that takes a long time there are things you can do there as well. Try looking for "black viper"(?) for ways you can trim the windows load time. I'm not familiar with Hitachi drives so I have no idea if thats good or not. 32MB cache with ~90MB read times seems ok to me. RAID or SSD will be faster of course. How long are we talking about here anyways?

I know about the member config. I shouldn't have to click that many times if I'm here to help you and not everyone fills that out. Or keeps it up to date. I have found in my time here you are better off just asking.
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a c 167 G Storage
August 18, 2010 5:39:23 PM

At startup, windows is loading all the started tasks in your startup list.
Many are not necessary.
go to control panel/administrative tools/system configuration/startup.

You should see a list of all the items that are automatically started.
Uncheck those that should not be there.

You might also go to control panel/programs and features.

uninstall anything that does not belong.

I find it much faster to use sleep instead of shutdown. If s3 is specified in the bios, the state of the machine is preserved in ram and the pc goes into a very low power state.
Awakening is much faster than rebooting.

As to hardware, all spinning hard drives will perform the same at a gross level. Only a SSD will help.
Look for better ssd's in the fall.
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August 18, 2010 6:28:28 PM

Re: P.S. One thing I would like would to be able to start up my computer and within a few seconds load programs and begin doing what I need to, rather than waiting a couple of minutes for my computer to finish loading. This would be caused by the slow hard drive speeds, right?

As geofelt mentioned, your best bet is to go for an SSD even though you say that you don't have the cash.... you can get a 40GB one just for the OS and everything else on your 1TB.

You can try RAID-0 but I don't think it would give you as much improvement as an SSD but then you need to get another 1TB drive.

I am assuming that you are defragging your HDD?
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