Very bad Seagate Sata performance!!! Why????

Posted on 2005-03-03
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
MotherBoard: MSI 915P Combo FR
Memory: 2x512 Geill

I have a Seagate SATA 200GB hard drive.

When i start to copy a file it begins to copy at about 20MB/sec in the next 5 sec of copying it drops to 15MB/sec ... even lower.

I have a friend that has a Maxtor SATA 120GB and it has the same problem. He runs on a Gigabyte 7N400 Pro2.

What is our problem??? How can we get the minimum speed of 30MB/sec and stay over that minimal limit when copying????

We both have installed the SATA drives that were found on the floppy disk for SATA controllers.

Thanks a lot. I will award this answer with 400 points hopeing that the answer will help my friend too.

Question by:drcyrus3d

Accepted Solution

J-A-L earned 300 total points
ID: 13455131
Sounds about right to me for a seagate SATA drive.  First of all... the interface speed is 150MB/s but that is much much faster than how fast you can get data off your platters.  Typically, data off the platter is about 40 to 60MB/s depending on your average HD.  When you're copying a file, you're doing reading, writing, verifying and so on... triple duty.  Makes you wonder why we fight for a faster interface speed... the actually hard drive isn't even close to what the interface can do... except for burst speed... momentary data transfer from the buffer.

There's a cute little utility called HD Tach you can download for free to test your HD.

LVL 14

Assisted Solution

tmj883 earned 150 total points
ID: 13455160
What is your problem? A drive index for SATA 150 is normally around 30MB/sec. This is an Index. Real world performance of the drive depends on many factors. Use a benchmark like Sandra to determine your drive's Index, realize that real world performance is usually much less. At least, a benchmark will assure you of the intergrity/performance of the drive.

Author Comment

ID: 13455222
Thank you for your opinions. I'll wait to see if others have any ideas and then i'll grade the answers.

Thank you.
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LVL 23

Assisted Solution

sciwriter earned 150 total points
ID: 13455946
Well, not to disagree with the other experts, but I disagree about seagate and SATA.  Seagate has always had a "power-down" mode in their firmware logic that has made seagate almost unusable for a long time.  And yes, it can happen in the middle of an active copy operation.  As for the SATA drives, they are not yet well debugged for motherboard interaction - many on-board SATA controllers do NOT work right with the current drives.  You might try to get special sata drivers for the seagate, but I doubt in will help much.

Now this is ONLY from 15+ years experience with seagate, I could be wrong with their SATA drives.  So I would suggest this test -- install an IDE drive in the system, at least ATA 100 if not ATA133 -- and run that with a sustained file copy for at least 1 hour.  You should see the copy rate not drop from the initial rate.

If this is what you find, then your on-board SATA controller is just like most of them -- it just doesn't work right.  Give SATA about a year for these MB makers to realize they have major bugs (and the HDD Mfgs too) -- and maybe sometime next year they will fix the great SATA mess.  Sure, some people luck out on getting a MB or controller to work just right with their SATA drive, but most people are not so lucky.
LVL 14

Assisted Solution

mysticaldan earned 300 total points
ID: 13485617
Well i dont know much abt firmware problems. Usually such major problems are taken care by the manufacturers ASAP if any. To continue a further along the current problem. There are a lot many factors to be kept in mind when u copy files. Are the hard disks defragged?? What is the contiguous sector size that windows reads on and what does it write on?? What are ur read caches set too? What is the onboard Hard Disk cache set too. As an example suppose you are copying a huge AVI file from one disk to the othe. Now if ur copying from one partition to the other on the same hard disk and ur gettin a speed of 15-20 MB/s then thats effectively almost 30-40 MB/sec. 50% for a read and 50% for a write. Now change scenario to a better one where u have 2 hard disks maybe SATA or one is a SATA and the other is a SCSI and then see. U'll get speed sof more than 50-60 or near that mark. I transfer files both from IDE to IDE and IDE to SCSI, IDE-SATA and i know there is  a huge difference.
If u decide to change the Contiguous cluster size u need to keep this in mind.

"Smaller cluster size means faster disk access but greater degree of disk fragmentation.
Larger cluster size means slower disk access but smaller degree of disk fragmentation."

So its a tradeoff. if u can keep ur disk properly defragged then it cud help. Also i find NTFS to have slower performance maybe due to additional security things but FAT32 seems to handle much much faster so try that if it helps or u find a difference.

Also overall system performance also makes a difference. Some of the tweaks that really make a difference are :

Optimize Large Second Level Cache  : Open your registry and find the key below.
Create a new DWORD value, of modify the existing value, named "SecondLevelDataCache" and set it to equal your L2 cache size in Kb's (decimal).

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management]
Value Name: SecondLevelDataCache

Restart Windows for the change to take effect.
Note: This tweak is only useful for older processors with the cache located external to the CPU.
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\ Session Manager\Memory Management]
Value Name: LargeSystemCache
Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
Value Data: "0" for Desktops; "1" for Servers
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\
Memory Management]
Value Name: IoPageLockLimit
Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
Value Data: 0 = default

RAM       IoPageLockLimit
(MB)       Decimal    Hex
4           4096     1000
8           8192     2000
16         16384     4000
32         32768     8000
64         65536    10000
Disabling Paging Executive also improves system performance since u have a lot of RAm u shud implement them to make ur system go faster.

Most of these tips will speed up ur windows and help u deliver extra performance. Rw hard disk speed cannot be cchanged and much also depends on how the SATA, SCSI, IDE standard has been implemented by the manufacturer. If that was not the case maybe all SCSI hard disks and cards wud have the same performance.

Also as a bottomline most of these standards are within a few percent of each other so its no magic speeds. Getting hard disks with higher RPM's is better than sticking to standards. Higher RPM's delivers higher speeds out of the bag and is hence preferredd. SO ur SATA 7200 might actually be slower than a 10000 IDE hard disk so think abt it.

Updated drivers for ur motherboard cud also make a difference to speeds as also BIOS updates as the system optimisation is improved and further features added.



Assisted Solution

infinity77 earned 150 total points
ID: 13495010
The speed of you copy operation depends also if it is installed an antivirus scanner with an active online monitor who will scan every file from being virused.  In conclusion depending of the type of file wich is copied, the speed may vary. (et. the *.MPG, *.AVI will not be scanned, but the *exe and executables archives will be) The speed may vary also depeding the size and the number of files. Otherwise, you can compare the performances of two hardisks by testing on the SAME machine, using HD Tach (For HD Tach testing, the hard drive is unformatted and unpartitioned).
We can read opionions also on:


Assisted Solution

Blue_Rishi earned 150 total points
ID: 13500986
Yet another regtweak for ntfs is to turn off 'last access attribute'. Any decent tweak program should be able to do this, but I can look it up if u want. I agree about the benchmark statements; it doesn't really seem all that bad.
If you just want to copy files @ a decent rate, try burstpaste; great little program!



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