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Speed of copying large files in Windows 7 slows down significantly over time

Posted on 2012-09-05
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I'm running Microsoft Windows 7 on a Dell Precision 690.  The root drive (OS drive) is a SSD 80GB intel drive.  It's working fine.  It also has a Intel RAID controller card (SRCS16) with three drives connected to it.  When I copy a large file (1GB or more) from the root to the RAID array the speed starts off very fast, but then comes to a crawl.  For example, the transfer speed start around 170MB/s and slows to 6MB/s.  So, the transfer issue is NOT from a network drive to an internal drive, it's from an internal drive to another internal.

I upgraded the RAID to the latest drivers from intel and still no change in transfer speeds.  No anti-virus software is running on the machine, so that shouldn't be interfering, either.

Why does such a basic component of the OS behave so poorly?  How do Microsoft programmers sleep at night?

In all seriousness, if any of you all have any information I can use to solve this problem before I resort to testing a new drive that would be great!

Thank you for your time and help!
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Question by:ariestav
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by:John Hurst
ID: 38370745
I get full speed copying drive to drive or over a 100Mbits/sec network (machines on same switch).  Windows 7 Pro 74-bit both machines.

Is a drive getting hot?

Can you try to a different drive.

.... Thinkpads_User
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by:ariestav
ID: 38370811
Network transfers are fine, but it is from the internal root drive to the internal RAID array that is problematic.  To try a different drive would mean I have to spend money to get another drive and I would lose the redundancy offered by the RAID.
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John Hurst earned 2000 total points
ID: 38370815
If network transfers are fine, then Windows 7 is fine. So then it must be a drive issue.

.... Thinkpads_User
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by:John Hurst
ID: 38370823
Actually, I had that happen to me once, years ago. The target hard drive had slipped into PIO mode (UltraDMA is standard for hard drives). Drive to drive was very slow. But I don't think RAID drives can go into PIO mode. .... Thinkpads_User
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by:ariestav
ID: 38370876
What is PIO mode?
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Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 38370925
PIO == Programmed input/output
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programmed_input/output

For example, the transfer speed start around 170MB/s and slows to 6MB/s.

It will be full speed until the caches are full then it will slow down.  You said you are copying it from SSD to RAID (but neglected to say which type of RAID).. Some raid writes are slow but their reads are fast.

RAID 5 has the slowest write performance. Raid 10 the best.  With 3 drives you must be using RAID 5
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by:ariestav
ID: 38372789
My Intel RAID controller has write cache capabilities.  It has an on-board battery.  As of now, in the controller's BIOS the write method is set to Direct, not Write Cache.  I've read that if I enable Write Cache it will improve write speeds.  Will it improve it significantly?  Also, what are the risks / downsides to using Write Cache in place of Direct Write.

Thanks!
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by:John Hurst
ID: 38372820
I've read that if I enable Write Cache it will improve write speeds

I am not sure if the increase will be signfiicant but it is certainly worth trying. You will probably see the difference, but perhaps not up to full speed (I am not sure on that).

Risks:  Just like Windows write cache - a sudden power loss means data will not get written. So keep this system on a UPS.

... Thinkpads_User
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Author Closing Comment

by:ariestav
ID: 38373535
It was definitely either the drive or the controller card.  I'm not sure which, but I just tested on a different drive that I had laying around, and you were definitely right that it was hardware related, and not software related.

Thanks!
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by:John Hurst
ID: 38373697
Thank you, and thanks for the update. .... Thinkpads_User
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