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Hard disk slow out of the box, but passes all tests - could it still be damaged?

Posted on 2010-04-05
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I bought a 1TB WD Caviar Green SATA hard disk from Amazon nearly a month ago.  I already had another 1TB SATA drive, and I wanted to put them both in a Dell 8300 I had lying around and install Windows Home Server (WHS).  

I installed WHS on the new Caviar HDD, and despite the Dell being above the 'recommended spec' for WHS, it took roughly double the indicated install time.  When it finally booted, WHS ran extremely slowly (even though I was using a monitor directly connected to the server machine, it was as if I was viewing the desktop remotely through a super slow connection).  

I then tried installing WHS on the old SATA hdd instead, and it installed in roughly the indicated time, and now runs infinitely faster.  I started to suspect the Caviar was somehow damaged, but all diagnostic tests I ran (WD Digital Lifeguard) showed the drive was healthy.  

The drive was pretty poorly packaged from Amazon.  Is it possible that a few knocks during transit may have somehow damaged the drive but that this damage would not present itself through Western Digital's own diagnostic software?  

Are there some better drive diagnostic tools/techniques you could recommend to help determine whether the drive is functioning normally?
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Question by:r0ball
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by:c_a_n_o_n
ID: 29813672
Green drives use less power consumption, and slower transfer rate than non-green drives.
A couple of comments on the drives here: http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Caviar-Green-Internal/dp/B0013FVZWI

This may be the reason for your experiencing the slowness compared to your other drive.
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by:edbedb
edbedb earned 800 total points
ID: 29813923
You can check the 2 drives with HD Tune to compare the performance.
http://www.hdtune.com/ 
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by:SnowWolf
ID: 29814178
Check if the drive still has the jumper on limiting the transfer speed. Also check the logs on the server to see if there are any hard drive related errors.
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by:exx1976
exx1976 earned 1200 total points
ID: 29815352
The power consumption isn't the issue.

Green drives are propblematic for some Operating Systems because of the sector sizes.  Most traditional hard disks use 512 byte sectors.  The Caviar Green series of drives use 4KB sectors.  This is important because physical and logical sectors need to be aligned.  The drive presents a single 4KB sector as eight 512 byte sectors to the Operating Ssytem.  Vista and Windows 7 are sector-aware, so they can align themselves properly with the disk.  However, by the sounds of your issues, WHS may not be.  This is a problem because it will start writing at LBA sector 63, instead of LBA block 2048.  Starting at LBA sector 63 means that all the blocks on the hard disk will be mis-aligned, CRIPPLING performance.

Here's a decent article about this issue.  Relevant information is on page 3.


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/wd-4k-sector,2554.html


HTH,
exx
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Accepted Solution

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r0ball earned 0 total points
ID: 29820903
Thanks all - I found the following article that makes it pretty clear this 'advanced format' isn't compatible with WHS.  The Align tool won't run in WHS without modification, and the jumper setting sounds like a total liability.  

http://www.wegotserved.com/2010/01/31/forum-focus-western-digital-advanced-format-drives-and-windows-home-server/

Ah well, back to Amazon with it!  
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