Transfer Rate and Copy file rate

I have 3 hard drive in same machine, Maxtor 40G, 120G, 160G. I copy a file in 200M from 160G to 120G, and it took only 20 seconds. But if I copy the same file from 160G to 40G, it took 3.5 -4.0 minutes. It is clear that 40G is very slow. 2 months ago, the 40G is not so slow.

I tested it with Sisoftware Sendra and HD Tach. The test is passed. Nothing is wrong. The randon access read rate is 15M/s, and sequential read = 13M/s.

I tried this hard drive in 2 PCs in Win2k/XP, and re-partition it , the same problem happens in 2 PCs.

The 40G still is in warrenty. If it is defective, I can get warrenty. But the test is OK, what is the problem for so slow copying?
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You talk about the drives, but that's likely not the issue.

In the first place, normally with IDE drives you have two IDE channels, primary and secondary, and each channel has two devices, master and slave, for a total of 4 devices (you didn't indicate that these are SATA, which would be entirely different).  Since you have 3 devices, you must, by definition, have some devices on the primary channel and some on the secondary channel.  Copying will be MUCH faster when going between devices on two different channels, and much slower when going between devices on the same channel.

Also, each device (each of the 4 possible devices) can be configured for any of several speeds of PIO or DMA.  (that is, there are multiple PIO speeds, and there are multiple DMA speeds).  DMA, other things being equal, will be faster than PIO, but we don't know either the PIO vs. DMA configuration of any of the devices, nor the speed of the PIO or DMA.  Also, the fastest speeds (anything above 33MHz) requires that you use an 80 conductor IDE cable.  A 40 conductor cable will always work, but will limit you to speeds of 33 MHz and below, while an 80 conductor cable will permit speeds of 66, 100 and 133 MHz, but of course not faster than both the drive and the controller (motherboard) both support.

So there are several variables that are important, but that we have no information on.  Also, the rotational speed of the drives and the access time (seek speed) of the drives will matter greatly as well.
lukebluAuthor Commented:
Thanks, Watzman. But I think it is not the configuration problem. I tried in another PC in two cable, one cable for my 40G Maxtor as primary master, anther cable for a 30G Sunsang as Sec. master. The test result and copying speed are the same as in my machine. In addition, 2 months ago, it is OK. And I didn't change the BIOS/cables, anything else.

And I tried to install the 40G as USB with an external HD2USB adapter. The copy is still very slow ( It took 4 minutes to copy a file in 200M). I compared a 1G HD (very old Maxtor) in this USB adapter. It took 55 seconds to copy a file in 200M.

It is really big difference between my 40G HD and other drives. In my old Pentium 2 system with 10G Maxtor and 4G WD ( working at Mode 2 and ATA66), it take only 50 seconds to copy a file in 200M.

I found a strange test result of HD Tach. You know, HD Tach can show you a test result curve in your sequential test from 0G to 40G. Normally this curve is smooth, without big difference between Max. read speed and Min. read speed. I tried it in 6 hard drives I had except the 40G. The curve always almost smooth, but slow down little from 0G to Max. capacity. But test my 40G Maxtor, it always has big difference between Max. and Min read speed. Normally min is about 0.5M/s, and the Max. is about 25M/s. So the curve never be smooth, like a sharp saw. In range of 0G to 40G test, this MAx/Min-wave will be repeated about 12-15 times. The average read speed still is in 12-13M/s.

So I think something wrong in my 40G HD.

There is almost nothing that could go wrong with a drive that would impact it's speed.  On some drives, it is possible to tell a drive not to work at the fastest transfer rate that it is capable of with a utility from the mfgr. (which can also restore operation at this speed if it's been previously turned off), but transfer rate is almost never the limiting factor overall throughput.

Have you tried defragging the 40 gig drive?  If it was seriously fragmented, that could cause the problem, but it would have to be quite severely fragmented.  The problem I have -- and I'm pretty familar with disk drives -- is that I can't envision the mechanism that would cause the drive to work normally but slow down 75% or more.

The most extreme thing you could do would be to run the mfgrs. diagnostic including a low level format (which is destructive of the data stored on the drive).  Beyond that, I would not have any suggestions other than to return the drive, but they usually won't issue an RMA unless their diagnostic says that the drive is bad.
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I'd also check about fragmentation, and also check about the free space if the disk is almost full it will slow down too. Maybe empty your recycle bin (don't forget norton's bin if you have that installed too). If the disk uses compression, this will also slow it down.
lukebluAuthor Commented:
I had said I had re-partition it. So no doubt, the logic drive is empty, no file there. The file copy time all are tested in empty logic drive( 40G in NTFS in Windows 2000).  I had used Maxtor's utility to do full low-level format this hard drive and created new partition/logic drive, format it.

The full low-level format took about 6 hours, much longer than my another 30G Maxtor(2 hours). It was very fast to create partition and logic drive. But I failed to format this logic drive 2 time( Error Msg: cannot finish format ). The thid format is done. Then I tried to test it with HD Tach, same result, nothing changes. I tried to copy a 700M file from Primary master(30G Maxtor, just re-formated and installed a new Win2kpro) to my 40G( in secondary master), this copy took about 10mins. But the file copy in 30G from a folder to another folder took only 2 mins.

I tried copy in DOS mode, not Win Mode. 40G is still very slow, similar as in Windows. This hard drive must be abnormal. I tested another Maxtor 40G(fireball) with USB2 and HD2USB adapter. The 700M copy took only 2 mins.

In fact, I am very good at PC trouble-shooting. At my home, I had 5 PCs with 14 HDs(Every PC has 2 or more HDs and 1 or more CD/DVD.The oldest one is PIII 750). Please don't think about all reasons which normal user who doesn't understand computer will happen.

Anyway, thanks
Have you used the maxtor utility to lowlevel format the drive? Did you also run it's diagnostic finction? Maybe that will find a problem (although unlikely, as you were able to format!). Maybe you will have to run a couple of passes for an error to show up. If you do get an error and the drive still has warranty (also unlikely regarding the disk size, it is probably old) you can send it back to maxtor and get a replacement.
What you need to be aware of when copying files is a) the amount of processor u are using when copying, b) what else you are doing, c) which drive your windows are on, d) the cache of the hdd, e) the relevant transfer rates for the drive, f) processor on the computer, g) ammount of ram, i) ammount of available ram....... the list is endless....!!!!

the above are just a few of the issues involved in copying large files from one drive to the next.  The best way to copy large files is to use a dos ased program, programs like partition magic offer this faility in the bootable dos disk program.  It isn't very hard to use either and because its in dos the processor and drive usage are minimal therefore speeding up transfers.

Hope that helps
lukebluAuthor Commented:
Problem is there yet. Although your answer is unhelpful to me because I knaw what you said at least 10 years ago(I was an expert and IC-chip, Assembler language programeer when computer is 286), I still thank you for your comments. You get your points too.

Now I am trying to use Russia PC 3000 to analyze this HD. I hope I can find the reason.

Thank you guys again.
thanx too.
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