SATA Performance

Posted on 2005-05-09
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Hey Everybody.  

Im pretty comfortable with computers, but this one is bugging me a little and I felt that I should reach out and find some info about this situtation.

I bought 2 Seagate SATA Barracuda 7200.7 NCQ Drives when I built this new computer, roughly a month ago.. (,1081,645,00.html)

This is my first time using SATA and Im already building a bad relation with it, even though its said to be better than IDE on performance.

Im a gamer.  So, my system already takes a heck of a beating.  Whats happening is when Im playing these hardcore games Im getting lag from the drives.  For Example:  Ill be running, the drives will churn a bit >insert lag here<, then boom im moving again.  What I dont understand is why this never happened with my IDE drives in the past 4 computers ive built with them.

Is there software for SATA drives that correct this?  Is it because my NCQ (not to familier with it) isnt hooked up? Should I whipe the drives and configure RAID 0 with them?

Heres the low down on my system specifications::

AMD 64 3400+ 939 Chipset
EPoX EP-9NDA3+ (
1GB Kingston HyperX DDR 400mhz 3200
500w Power Supply

Ready... Set... Go!



Question by:ildave1
    LVL 6

    Assisted Solution

    Are you running any kind of RAID or mirroring with the drives? That would certainly do it. There will be a serious performance decrease while the drives are mirroring or attempting to write parity. Disable all RAID and/or mirroring and just run the drives as normal. if you REALLY need one as a backup, then do it manually instead of trying to do SATA RAID on a gaming system.

    If not, with those specs, you should be smokin. I would install the latest drivers for the SATA chipset if you haven't already done so.
    LVL 69

    Assisted Solution

    I don't think it is your SATA drive that is the problem.  I have set up a system with both a Seagate 200GB SATA drive as the bootdrive and a pair of WD Raptors in RAID 0, and both were very fast.  You may be getting interference or delay on the IDE channel with an optical drive, so try disconnecting them.  Check the drive in the BIOS to see if it is correctly identified and if the access mode is DMA.  You should also check for a network card causing hiccups because a delay there will affect the system.
    LVL 14

    Accepted Solution

    FIrstly i wud advice u to stick to FAT32 as  the file system of choice and see if that changes anything. Secondly make sure all drivers are updated and any IDE based drivers are also updated.

    I wouldnt reccomend a RAID0 which is great for striping but can be a little trblsome. However if u wanna squeeze out the last bit of performance then that might be the way to go especially if u have 2 hard disks. MAke sure ur not stuck with RAID1 or RAID5 in that case. You wud of course have to rebuild ur system from scratch fromn the software point of view.

    Also if ur not using RAID i reccomend disabling it as it can cause a bottleneck in some cases even if its not being used. ALso chec if the BIOS is properly updated. Many times SATA performance can improve as its an evolving standard. Also use a good tweaker to have executive paging on and other hard disk tweaks. With a good buffer and cache running there is no reason that ur system doesnt scream. Try XSetup to tweak ur system up and then see the difference.

    LVL 1

    Assisted Solution

    Well i don't know about the NCQ, but i've got several SATA drives (non NCQ) in my systems and they don't seem to have this trouble even while in games. My gameing system has one SATA drive and then a DVD Burner and a DVD drive on the two IDE chains and i run UT2004 pretty hard with no noticible lag. I always use NTFS even on the gaming systems and it's been no problem.

    How do you have the system setup? drive 1 for the os and drive 2 for data? Which drive are the games installed to?

    I've been playing with Raid 0 for my Tivo computer and i can tell a difference on writing large video files but i've not tried it on a game computer. Before you try raid i would suggest figuring out what is causing the lag. it could be something stupid like AV software running or a hidden system process that is trying to do something while you are playing.

    Have you tried pulling the second drive out of the system (if you can) and see if you still get the lag?

    LVL 3

    Author Comment

    Thanks for all the great posts! Im going to get to this during the weekend.  I have my last final tomarrow to study for ;)

    Thanks all!

    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    Have you checked the machine for ad/spyware and viruses lately?  Spybot and Ad-Aware both seem to work well for the add/spyware problems.

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