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Transfer of Large AVI Files is Impossibly Slow

Posted on 2009-07-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I have a custom built PC with the following components...

Windows Vista Ultimate SP1
Gigabyte GA-965P-S3 (rev. 3.3) BIOS F12
Intel Core2 6600 @ 2.40 GHz
NVIDEA GeForce 8800 GTS
Sony DVD-ROM DDU1621
HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM GSA-H22L
Creative SB Audigy 2
Hauppauge WinTV PVR

Sata Disks connected via AHCI mode:
Seagate ST3320620AS, partitioned into 100GB C: and 200GB D:, Port-00
Samsung HD501LG, E:, Port-01
WDC WD5000KS-00MNB0, F:, Port-04
WDC WD10EACS-32ZJB0, G:, Port-05

The problem is that trying to use this machine for what I built it for - video capture, editing, etc. - is next to impossible as large AVI files tend to cripple the file operations.  Here is a specific example... at the root of the G: drive I have a 3.06 AVI file that I want to cut / paste to a folder on the F: drive.  As Vista counts down the transfer to 2.70 GB, the data is flying at a wonderful rate of 28MB/s.  But then it absolutely grinds to a halt and the speed slowly ticks down from MB/s to bytes/s.  I've let this transfer go as long as 20 hours and it never completes.

My disks were originally installed in IDE emulation mode and I thought that might be the problem.  But after the successful switch to AHCI the problem remains exactly the same.  The copy operation noted above is just one that I can easily, consistently reproduce.  The F: and G: drives will occasionally disappear from the system.  Most of my USER folders are on the E: drive (Videos are on F:) and when I start the PC for the day, I know that I have to wait for a black screen after the BIOS post because the E: drive will not be active.  I have to kill the power and start over and on the 2nd time around the E: drive will fire up and my profile will be found.

I have tried replacing the SATA cables thinking I had some cheapies that were causing the problem, but that changed nothing.  At this point I have had to give up doing large file operations on F: and G: as they simply will not respond to the request.  I admit I am baffled as to what is causing this inability to work with large files and hope someone is able to help.

Thank you.
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Question by:qneela
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by:qneela
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One more thing... I've been leaning towards a motherboard issue as I have this same board in another PC and the onboard NIC went south on it.  Yes, that is entirely different than this issue, but could be indicative of quality problems on this board model.  I am open to thoughts and suggestions.
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by:blohrer
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Can you go into the System Event logs and see if there are any errors being generated by the disks?
Control Panel - > Administrative Tools -> Computer Management
Event Viewer -> Windows Logs -> System.
See if you see any red errors relating to the Disk or NTFS
Also make sure your SATA drivers are up to date.  
 
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by:qneela
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First the SATA drivers... do you mean in the Device Manager under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers?  I see "ATA Channel" 0, 1, 4 and 5 which seems to coincide with the ports reported above.  I do not know if this makes a difference, but 0 and 1 are shown twice while 4 and 5 only show once.  It seems to have something to do with the CD/DVD drives.  Driver information on each is the same...

Driver Provider: Microsoft
Driver Date: 6/21/06
Driver Version: 6.0.6001.18000

The only place I can think of to update the SATA drivers is the Gigabyte web site so I downloaded the only thing they have for this board... GIGABYTE SATA2 RAID Driver.  I am not running RAID but downloaded anyway to see if they would update the driver noted above.  Vista reports "The best driver software for your device is already installed".

There are also two "IDE Channel" devices that are reporting they can not start.  Again, this seems to be related to the CD/DVD drives.

Now the System Logs... I examined the log to familiarize myself with the contents and then initiated the transfer example I noted above.  After starting at a blistering 80 MB/s the transfer ground to a halt again once 2.70 GB remained.  No new entries appeared in the System log.
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by:blohrer
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Your motherboard is an Intel P965 Chipset.  You may want to go to the Intel website and download and install the latest P965 Drivers
http://www.intel.com/support/chipsets/sb/CS-022768.htm
Your going to want to download and install both the Intel® Chipset Software
Installation Utility and the Intel® Matrix Storage Manager.
Since you will then be using up to date Intel drivers, and not the default MS drivers, you may see much better performance.
 
 
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by:qneela
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The Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility definitely did an update to my device drivers as the default AHCI driver is now reporting as "Intel(R) ICH8 SATA AHCI Controller - 2824".

As for the Matrix Storage Manager, when I launch the software it reports "This computer does not meet the minimum requirements for installing the software.  Setup will exit."

There is no change in the file transfer problem as a result of this driver update.
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by:qneela
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I have taken the troubleshooting of this problem one step further.  I have another PC with the same motherboard, CPU, memory, OS... just fewer disk drives.  I removed the two WDC drives from the problem machine and attached them to the other machine (after switching to AHCI and updating Intel drivers).  After all was running correctly I attempted the same copy of the 3.06 GB file from G: to F:.  The results were identical... initially a 80+ MB/s transfer speed until 2.70 GB were remaining.  Then everything ground to a screeching halt.

Although I have reported that nothing is logged in the System Log when this problem occurs, I have come across this error...

Source: atapi
Event ID: 11
Level: Error
Text: The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Ide\IdePort3

I cannot time the error with any particular action and despite all of my messing around today it only shows up in the log once.
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Merete earned 500 total points
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How big is PSU on this system?
Seems like it runs out of power, are the hard drives very larg and need defragging possibly.
Have you tried stopping the AV- disconnect from the internet.
See if these can assist you
http://www.theeldergeek.com/forum/lofiversion/index.php?t31555.html
IDE Emulation Mode
http://geeks.pirillo.com/forum/topics/ide-emulation-mode
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Expert Comment

by:scennimo
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I had a problem with AVG antivirus with similar results that you are having. Just thought I through that out there. The antivirus app would scan the file during the copy. CPU pinging at 100%. Removed AVG and system was back to normal. Just a thought.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
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Run the HD manufacturer's diagnostic utility on the HD's and allow the tool to try to fix errors if it finds some and has the fix option, you'll find it on the UBCD:

http://ultimatebootcd.com

After that, open a cmd prompt and enter chkdsk /x for all your drive letters, if you are told that the drive is locked and that the test will run at bootup, say yes and reboot. All these tests will take a long time, particularly on large HD's.
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by:qneela
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Merete...

The PSU is an "OCZ GameXStream OCZ600GXSSLI 600W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply".  Although not out of the realm of possibility, I would be shocked if I was running out of power.

Jumping forward to the IDE emulation mode, that is what I was running before I did the switch to AHCI.  I switched to AHCI to see if it would fix the problem... which it did not.  So the problem exists whether I am in IDE mode or AHCI mode.

This machine is running NAV 2008, but the subscription is expired.  So I cannot turn off the AV because it has already disabled itself.  All application options are unavailable due to the expiration and the app reports it is using zero CPU cycles.

I will explore the whole SATA I vs SATA II issue shortly and report back.  But I do know there are no jumpers on the drives and that the MB supports SATA II per the Gigabyte web site.

As for the "disconnect from the internet" suggestion, I have not tried that one and am not sure how that will solve a disk to disk file transfer, but I will try it as soon as I am back in front of the PC.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
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Check the symantec site, it has tools to download so you can completely uninstall nav. As a replacement I recommend Panda cloud antivirus:

http://www.cloudantivirus.com/
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by:qneela
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Merete...

I am going to admit that I thought your "disconnect from the internet" suggestion was bunk.  But I firmly believe that I cannot dismiss a suggestion simply based on my feelings and must prove or disprove it first.  I unplugged my network cable from the PC and initiated the same transfer.  Average speed was about 40 MB/s and the transfer went from start to finish without a hitch!  Not sure if I was believing what I was seeing, I plugged the network cable back in again and started the transfer.  As expected it ground to a halt just like before.  One last try with the cable unplugged and this time around it transferred at 60 MB/s.  A few more times back and forth and there is no doubt that when plugged in to the network I can forget about a disk to disk transfer.  Unplugged and I am good to go.

Now I am really confused.  How is the network cable / connection impacting a disk to disk transfer???  As I said, the onboard NIC on my other PC went dead and I had to replace it with a card.  But this NIC (same mobo, remember) has never shown signs of any problems.  What is the ultimate solution here?  I need to be connected to the internet for various reasons and I could disconnect when I am doing local work.  But that seems really hokey.
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by:qneela
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One last thought... the other PC w/the same mobo has a NIC card and the onboard is disabled... and has the same problem.  So at a minimum I believe it would be safe to assume that switching to a card on the problem PC is not the solution.
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
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Hi,
Going out on a limb here,from my own experience I had  issues running Western Digital HDD with Seagate.
All these drives are connected differently, possibily related.
Sata Disks connected via AHCI mode:
Seagate ST3320620AS, partitioned into 100GB C: and 200GB D:, Port-00
Samsung HD501LG, E:, Port-01
WDC WD5000KS-00MNB0, F:, Port-04
WDC WD10EACS-32ZJB0, G:, Port-05
And to add
I think this is where the problem is
Running an ouitdated NAV is not good. Norton is notorious for using system resources.
Do you have a replacement AV installed?
NAV being the main culprit for problems with slow PC especialy if it's outdated
Download and run the Norton Removal Tool
http://service1.symantec.com/Support/tsgeninfo.nsf/docid/2005033108162039

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Author Comment

by:qneela
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As a computer professional and one who builds his own PCs, I DO NOT subscribe to the "NAV is notorious" theory.  I have used Norton products for 20 years and have never seen evidence of this.  First, I made a mistake above... I was running NAV 2009 (not 2008) and the subscription only expired a week or so ago even though this problem has been present for well over a year.  I am aware of the risks of outdated NAV and have ensured that was not the case here.

But as I said above, I will not dismiss a theory simply because I believe it to be false.  So I used the Norton Removal Tool and stripped NAV from the computer.  What happened as a result?  Nothing.  The problem is still present.  Start the transfer and it grinds to a halt with 2.70 GB remaining... exactly like before.  Unplug the network cable and the transfer completes quickly at a rapid 80 MB/s transfer rate.

So now that I can safely say that NAV IS NOT the source of this issue I would like to go back to my most recent question (thanx to the suggestion of Merete)... why does unplugging the network cable make the problem go away?
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
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Could be the services related to the network card.
Background Intelligent Transfer Service is one idea
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Background_Intelligent_Transfer_Service
xp services
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/sys_srv_default_settings.mspx?mfr=true
You could check the running tasks in task manager add in columns and look in VM
Use process eplorer to detemin which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx
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Expert Comment

by:ashbrookcorp
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Hello,

We are having a similiar issue, with the exception that the AVI files could be as small as 50MB. The entire network grinds to a halt for 30 seconds to a minute. Other users who were in the middle of something might get a "timeout" error. This issue also happens if the document being moved or copied has embedded AVI files in it.

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Expert Comment

by:Kindovic
Comment Utility
don't whether it helps but try a 3rd party copying tool such as teracopy which can be found at http://www.codesector.com/teracopy.php
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Author Comment

by:qneela
Comment Utility
All...

Thank you for your input on this topic.  I am going to close it as I am of the belief that the root cause is a faulty motherboard.  Not only does my problem go away when the PC is disconnected from the internet, but the computer also boots noticeably faster when not connected.  Given that the onboard NIC on my mirror PC also went south I think there is some sort of conflict occurring between the NIC and the disk controller.  I've also noticed that plugging the computer back in to the network will install result in a loss of the E: drive... which just isn't normal.

My plan is to replace the motherboard at some point and try all of these exact same tests.  If they crop up again, I'll post again.  If they don't, then the motherboard was more than likely the source.

Thank you.
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Author Closing Comment

by:qneela
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Instructing me to disconnect from the internet helped isolate the problem more than before, although a root cause has never been determined.  It would be my hope that Merete drops the "NAV is notorious" mindset as this case proved NAV to not even be remotely related to the problem.  Even though we did not figure out what was wrong, I appreciate your assistance.
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
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Thankyou, faulty NIC or mobo sounds very feasable. Glad I could assist in a small way.
My opinions of NAV are very good :)
I was only using the feedback from many users coming to EE for help with slow systems and adding that to the other possibilities.
All the Best
Merete
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Author Comment

by:qneela
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Merete,

I think I can safely report that the motherboard was the cause of the problem.  I have installed a new Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P and the system is 100% stable.  Disk to disk file transfers fly - while connected to the network / internet.  I had thought that swapping out the boards would mean a new / fresh install of Vista, but that didn't turn out to be the case.  Vista didn't really freak out that much with the new board and I just had to do a few driver updates.  Thank you again for steering me in the right direction.
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
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Awsome!! thanks for feedback qneela happy to know i assisted in a small way
Cheers
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