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SATA HDD Is EXTREMELY Slow

Posted on 2007-08-09
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I have a Shuttle AB60R v2.0 motherboard.  There are two SATA HDD's on one channel.  Both are Seagate ST3120026AS model number (120gb).

On the second channel is a newer Seagate ST332062 0AS (300gb).

The 300gb drive has never seemed to work properly.  It is EXTREMELY slow in transferring data from one drive to this drive.  If there is data on the drive I can seem to access it okay but if I try to copy large (or small files) from any drive to this drive it nearly freezes my entire system and takes many hour to complete a transfer.

Any idas on where I could start to troubleshoot this situation?
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Question by:chefelf
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by:garycase
ID: 19663121
(1)   Does the BIOS report the size of the 300GB drive correctly?   This SHOULD be a new-enough system to support 48-bit logical block addressing (since it includes SATA support) ... but that's the first thing I'd confirm.

(2)  Does your OS have 48-bit LBA support?   If you're using XP with SP2 then you're fine in this regard --> the simple test is does the OS show the correct size of the drive?

(3)  Assuming the issue isn't a basic configuration issue (i.e. both 1 & 2 are okay), then this is likely one of two issues:

(a)  The drive is being accessed via PIO instead of DMA.   To check this, go to Device Manager; expand the IDE/ATA/ATAPI Controllers line; and for each of the IDE channels (both Primary and Secondary) right-click, select Properties, and click on the Advanced Settings tab.   Confirm that the "Transfer Mode" is "DMA if available" and the "Current Transfer Mode" is "Ultra DMA Mode x"  (x will vary based on device).   If ANY of the Current Transfer Mode settings show PIO then that's almost certainly your problem ==> post back and I'll post the details on how to reset it.

(b)  You may simply not have enough power to reliably support 3 hard drives, depending on what else you have installed in the system.


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by:chefelf
ID: 19664213
A little more info on my system  (sorry to not put it up front):

I am running XP SP2, so I should be fine, correct?

In devide manager I have two entries for PRIMARY and two for SECONDARY as well as a Intel(R) 82801EB Ultra ATA Storage Controllers (also listed twice).  So the tree looks like this:

Intel(R) 82801EB Ultra ATA Storage Controllers
Intel(R) 82801EB Ultra ATA Storage Controllers
Primary IDE Channel
Primary IDE Channel
Secondary IDE Channel
Secondary IDE Channel

If I select Primary IDE Channel it lists:
DMA if available and Ultra DMA Mode 5 for device 0
DMA if available and Ultra DMA Mode 4 for device 1

The copy of Primary IDE Channel lists:
DMA if available and Ultra DMA Mode 5 for device 0
DMA if available and "Not Applicable" for device 1

There is a similar format for Secondary.  I'm not sure if that matters.

Windows XP also lists the drive as 298gb so that should be fine.

What should I look for in the BIOS?

Thank you so much for all your help!  :)
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by:garycase
ID: 19664514
Yes, you clearly have 48-bit LBA support in the OS.   It's almost certain that the BIOS also supports this ... but you should still check [XP will implement this even if the BIOS does not ... and if the BIOS does not you can have major problems if you ever access the drive with a utility that uses the BIOS routines].    All you have to do to confirm that is enter the BIOS and simply see what size it shows for the drive ==> if it shows the right size, then all is okay.

The access modes for the Primary channels look good, except it's surprising that you have two different modes on the primary channel.   I'm wondering if the 2nd device there might be an optical drive, and one of your hard drives is on a secondary channel.   What do the transfer modes look like on the Secondary channels??
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by:garycase
ID: 19664529
... in addition to listing the transfer modes displayed on both of your secondary channels; list ALL of your ATA devices (I know you have 3 hard drives ... but how many optical drives?).
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by:chefelf
ID: 19664849
Interestingly, BIOS doesn't see the drive.  Here's what I see:

IDE Channel 0 Master Maxtor 6L300R0
IDE Channel 0 Slave Pioneer DVD-RW
IDE Channel 1 Master Maxtor 6Y120P0
IDE Channel 1 Slave None
IDE Channel 2 Master S13120026AS
IDE Channel 3 Master S13120026AS

So the drive in question is not listed.  If I later go into the Silicon RAID Utility I see this:

* 0 PM 3T3320620AS 305245MB
  1 SM

That's covers everything in my system:

2 SATA 120gb seagate HDDs
1 120gb Maxtor IDE
1 300gb Maxtor IDE
1 320gb Seagate SATA 320gb (the drive with the problem)
1 DVD-RW

And to answer your earlier question my power supply *should* be adequate.  It's an Antec 550W NeoHE - High Efficiency.

Thank you SO much for all your help and quick responses!  :)
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garycase earned 700 total points
ID: 19665139
Okay ...

->  Your power supply is fine.

->  As I suspected, the 2nd device on the Primary controller is an optical drive (so its transfer mode is fine)

->  You still didn't show the current transfer modes for your Secondary controllers;  but I'd expect them to both be okay (should be UDMA Mode 5 in both cases with only one device attached to each).

->  Your new drive is attached to the RAID ports.   This MAY require that you install the drivers for this;  or that you reconfigure the RAID mode (jumper 9 -- see Pg 26 of  manual).   OR ... some boards do not support single drives on the RAID ports [your manual's not clear].

I would try this in this order:  (a)  change the RAID jumper and see if that resolves this;  (b) if not, reset the jumper to its original position and install the RAID drivers for the board and try that.    If neither of those work, the board may not support a single drive on the RAID ports.   Your options in that case are basically to do one of the following:

(a)  put the extra drive in an external case and just use it via USB;
(b)  buy another IDE drive (you have an unused IDE port that will work fine;
(c)  reconfigure the system using the two 120GB drives on the RAID ports in a RAID array (JBOD or RAID-0 would let you preserve the full capacity) => Note you'll lose everything on the drives during this reconfiguration;
(d)  buy another 320GB Seagate and install the pair on the RAID channels.

Hopefully the jumper and/or the drivers will resolve this :-)



http://ftp.shuttle.com/Manuals/en/ab60r/ab60ren.zip
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by:garycase
ID: 19665155
... obviously the link I listed at the bottom of my last post is to a download for your manual (in case you need it)
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by:chefelf
ID: 19665241
For the Secondary Channel:

device 0
Transfer Mode DMA if available
Current Transfer Mode Ultra DMA Mode 5

device 1
Transfer Mode DMA if available
Current Transfer Mode Not Applicable

The second recurrence is the same.

The RAID drivers are installed (Silicon Image SiI 3112 SATARaid Controller).

I'll try checking out the RAID jumper and get back to you!

Thanks again!  :)



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by:chefelf
ID: 19665311
Okay, I tried the jumper setting and it didn't seem to have an affect.  It looks like the second 320gb drive may be the best option.  Well, at least that should allow me to get rid of the two 120gb's and free up some room in my computer.

Thanks so much for all your help, garycase!

I'm raising the point value to all my available points (175) and giving them to you.  Sorry I don't have any more available but that's the best I've got.  I really appreciate all the help!  :)
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by:garycase
ID: 19665465
You're welcome.

You didn't mention that you wanted to get rid of the 120GB drives ==> in that case you could just do this:

(1)  Buy this gadget (VERY handy to have around):  http://www.buyextras.com/sausb20toide.html

(2)  Connect your 320GB drive using the gadget, and copy everything from one of the 120GB drives to it.

(3)  Shut down; replace the 120GB drive (the one you just copied everything from) with the 320GB drive.

... Now you've got 200GB more space than you had ---> and can copy the OTHER 120GB drive's data to it ... and then replace that one with another new drive (either another 320GB or a 500GB ... they're down to ~ $100 these days)
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by:garycase
ID: 19665477
... Note that if you do the above, you'll have the external USB gadget and a pair of spare 120GB drives that you can connect anytime you want to [to transfer data elsewhere; store backups; etc.].
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by:chefelf
ID: 19678987
Thanks for the extra help!  I just noticed that I accidentally purchased a 300gb drive.  Can I pair that up with a 320gb or do I need to have the two drives be of identical size?

It may be nice to have the 2 120gbs still in the system if my power supply can handle it.  1.28TB . . .wow.  :)

Thanks again, garycase!
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by:garycase
ID: 19679394
You can pair a 300 & 320 ... in JBOD mode (if your RAID controller supports it) you'll get the full 620GB; but if you use RAID-0 you'll only get 600GB (only 300GB of the 320GB drive will be used).
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by:garycase
ID: 19679402
"... 1.28TB . . .wow.  :) " ==> It is amazing how much storage we can put on our systems these days ... but it's also amazing how quickly your storage fills up.   I have 3 systems with more than that [the one I'm typing this on has 5 hard drives totalling a bit over 1.5TB] ==> and I'm always adding more :-)


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by:chefelf
ID: 19679833
Yes indeed.  I recently captured dozens of old VHS home movies for my family and that's eating up tons of space.  I need to stop accumulating all this media (or backup more often).  Until then, I'll just keep adding drives!

I'll update when I get the new drive installed, etc.

Thanks again! :)
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by:chefelf
ID: 19709653
Okay, just got in the new drive, installed it, formatted it and I'm still having the same problem transferring files to either drive in that pair.

Is there something I need to do in the RAID utility?  Something I need to set up so that they work more efficiently?
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by:garycase
ID: 19709879
Is the mode for those ports set to RAID in the BIOS?    ... and have you set up and initialized a RAID array?     ==> the two drives should NOT be visible in Windows ... you should "see" ONE drive (the RAID array).

I don't have the same motherboard/RAID controller ... so I don''t know the exact details of your BIOS options ==> but it should be fairly easy to figure out.     Basically you need to (a) be sure the motherboard/BIOS has the ports set to RAID mode (this may require setting the RAID jumper on the board or simply enabling RAID mode in the BIOS);   (b)  installing the RAID drivers for Windows;  (c)  setting up and initializing the RAID array (this may be done through the BIOS or via a Windows-based RAID management utility (depends on the controller & its software).

... be patient;  explore the BIOS RAID options carefully;  be sure you've installed the RAID drivers ==> and you'll get it working right SOON :-)
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by:chefelf
ID: 19710167
Okay, I'm moving files off the first drive now so I can get ready to prepare them.  Funny how moving files OFF the drive doesn't cripple my system like moving files ONTO the drive.

So my other two SATA drive are set u as individual drives and work fine.  I'm going to clear both these drives off and then do what you said.  I'd prefer to have them as individual drives if possible for greater ease of replacement but I'll see what my options are once I finish clearing these files off and get into the RAID utility.

Thanks again!
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by:garycase
ID: 19710312
Remember ... this whole issue seems to be that your motherboard does not appear to support individual drives on the two RAID SATA ports.    One simple way to resolve this if you'd prefer to use each drive independently is to just buy one of these:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816102062

... you could even add two MORE drives if you ever needed to (if your case has room)
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by:chefelf
ID: 19711047
Okay, I went into the RAID Configuration utility and created a striped set.  The total drive is 620gb now (558 available).  I initialized and am formatting in Windows XP.  This should take at least 3 hours to format so I'll report back when I have news on how it went.

Thanks again!
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by:garycase
ID: 19711337
That should work just fine ... if not, something's wrong with the controller for those ports on the motherboard.   If that happens to be the case (hopefully not), then it's time to buy an add-in SATA card like I referenced above :-)
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by:garycase
ID: 19711362
... by the way, the total size is not 620GB ==> it's 600GB    Only 300GB of the 320GB will be used, since the other drive is 300GB.    Note that 600,000,000,000 / (1024 x 1024 x 1024) = 558.79GB  :-)
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by:chefelf
ID: 19713514
Oh yeah, I was striping it instead of doing it as a mirrored set.

Bad news is it's still not working.  I guess I'm going to invest in that controller card now.

Crap.  :-)
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by:garycase
ID: 19713638
Well, that's unfortunate ... but look at the bright side ==> you now have 300GB more storage than when you asked the question ... and will have 2 unused SATA ports that you can use for even more !! :-)
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