HD Read/Write Speed

Hey guys, my first post here, so Hi :P. I was hoping someone could help me out.

The current system I am on, is a laptop using the WD6400BEVT drive. The drive is about a year and a half old and causes no problems what so ever, excluding the speeds. The problem I am having is that read and write speeds are extremely slow. I understand that an HD speed decreases as more data us stored on to due to longer revolutions but the slow speeds I am experiencing can't be caused by that, although they could be a factor. Basically I am never getting speeds of over 12mb/s. Based on the review and graph which was created by one of the writers on this website, found here, I don't understand why I am getting such low speeds.

I only have 1 HD and I have created 2 partitions on it. The first is windows partition with a size of 120gigs and 35gigs free. It has my OS (obviously, using windows 7 btw) and any/every program that needs to be installed. The second is basically my storage, 480gigs max and 36gigs free. Both are defragmented regularly.

So is it because of my setup or is it possible that my drive is just dying? If its because of the setup will a full format help and or a new setup (just 1 partition).

Thanks for any help in advance.
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  1. Hi there, & Welcome to Tom's Hardware!

    Hard to tell from you description if there is a HDD problem. One of the findings of an aging drive is slowing of I/O like you described. One of the necessary space requirements for a good defrag is ~ 15% unused disk space, which is being pushed so not sure how complete a defragmentation you received..

    I'd download and run HD Tune (free edition) or Pro, which can interrogate your system or backup drive as to Health, Error scanning, and read/write speeds across the drive. I use it so often I purchased the Pro version and it is invaluable as a measurement of hard drive health.
    They have the lighter free version certainly worth trying out in this situation. Price is right.

    An old time prof used to say 'if you can't measure it, you can't manage it', which holds true here.

    Also, with so little free space on you secondary drive, it is time to upgrade or add additioinal HDD space for your computer sanity.
  2. Thanks for the welcome and the response :P.

    Um, It has only been recently that my disks got this full, while I have been noticing the slow downs for quite some time now. I usually have around 40pct space available.

    I got your program and Im getting 60MB/s average so I am not sure whats going on...
  3. There are many vairables in throughput, what size files are you moving? Is the disk fragmented? The combination of being firther out on the latters as it fills up with fragmentation could potentially be 1 cause. If your reads are not sequential then can be significantly slower. Do you have power settings that affect the rotation speed of the drive? IE when plugged in run 7200, when on battery run at 5400 or 4200.
  4. There are many different factors that determine the transfer rate of HDD's. As it fills up, it will run slower. Might just investigate why your HDD is filling up, if it were just 40% filled a while back. Look for things like Norton's hidden trash bin where deleted files are still stored on disk in a backup section, in case you really, really didn't want to delete it. Others too. Until you delete the secure trash bin, the space isn't freed up.

    "As of 2010, a typical 7200 rpm desktop hard drive has a sustained "disk-to-buffer" data transfer rate up to 1030 Mbits/sec". They never transfer data at the theoretical Max given in the specs, like 2400 Mb/s.

    Your drive is a 5400 RPM drive, so it will perform ~60% as fast as a 7200 RPM drive. So if a 7200 RPM drive transfers data at ~100-150 MB/s, this one will transfer at 60-100 MB/s, which is what you are getting, on avg.

    One of the signs of a 'failing' HDD, is it slows in I/O speed. The HD Tune is a great little program to measure directly the transfer rates. Measure it every week or so (you can copy to the clipboard the image to print out) and see if the speed begins to drop.

    I had a PATA drive used for automatic backups weekly, where I didn't pay an attention to it, until it began taking 90 minutes to do a 30 minute job.
    Checked it out and found it was running 2.5-5 MB/s. Now that was a slow drive! WD replaced it in 3 days.

    So, I think your HDD's speed is what we see for a 5400 RPM WD Blue drive.
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