suddenly terrible disk throughput (1MB/second)

Discussion in 'HP' started by Marc Sabatella, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. I have a Compawq Presario V2000 notebook with a Hitachi hard drive.
    Last week the system crashed with a blue screen that I think was
    implying some sort of device driver might have caused a problem. My
    first attempt to reboot failed - the system went into an infinite loop
    displaying some other message I couldn't quite read before it erased and
    tried booting itself again, over and over. So I tuend it off and left
    it off the rest of the day.

    The next day I booted and it came up OK - but it took around 15 minutes,
    whereas the system had always previously booted in a minute or so. The
    system works fine, and is actually quite usable in most respects, but
    any disk-intensive activity (program startup, file copy, etc) is MUCH
    slower than usual. I ran the disk diagnotics from Windows, and while it
    was ridiculously slow (took all day to do the full scan), it reported no
    problems. I tried calling HP support, and they walked me through a
    couple of things to try (holding power button down for two minutes with
    battery & AC disconnected, doing a Windows system restore) that had no
    effect. Next they wanted me to reformat my disk and reinstall Windows,
    but I'm not ready to go there - this seems much more likely to be a
    hardware problem than a software one to me, and I don't really feel like
    going through that pain just to verify that.

    So I've done some poking around using utilities I've found online. The
    PassMark performance test shows my system functioning more or less
    comparably to other systems on all CPU, memory, and graphics benchmarks
    (well, 3D graphics performance is not so good), but most significantly,
    my system comes up about 20-50 times slower than other systems in disk
    read and write. It is showing a throughput of only around 1 MB per
    second. The SpeedFan utility says my hard disk is performing within
    normal parameters (according to S.M.A.R.T. data) all across the board,
    though. The Windows device manager doesn't report any problems with DMA
    or anything else. So I'm not sure what to make of this sudden reduction
    in performance.

    I am hoping to try booting it with a different hard disk (and/or putting
    my harddisk in another system and booting from it) to see if the
    problems seems physically with the computer or the disk, but I'm not
    sure where I'd go from there. If the system performs poorly when booted
    from another boot disk, then I can call support back and say it is
    *definitely* not a Windows issue. But if it boots up fine from another
    disk, and/or another system has problems with my disk, then I guess I
    still can't *prove* whether it is a hardware or software issue.

    Any ideas?

    ---------------
    Marc Sabatella


    Music, art, & educational materials
    Featuring "A Jazz Improvisation Primer"
    http://www.outsideshore.com/
     
    Marc Sabatella, Sep 5, 2006
    #1
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  2. Well, lots of lots time over this, but it's all figured out now.
    Further testing had shown the disk worked fine when accessed via USB
    instead of IDE (I have a USB enclosure for the disk). So I had
    concluded it must be an IDE problem. Took some convincing to get HP
    support to buy into this. Before they'd let me send in my computer for
    repair, they insistent on sending me a new disk, which I thought would
    exhibit the same problem. Much to my surprise, the new disk worked fine
    even via IDE. So it looked like some weird issue where my old drive
    could talk fast via USB but not IDE (weird because the USB enclosure
    uses the IDE connector internally). I resigned myself to reinstalling
    everything on the new disk.

    After getting the OS and drivers up and running from the original disks,
    I went to the HP site to update drivers - I know I had needed a new card
    reader driver to handle 2GB cards. Well, one of the available downloads
    was a fix for a problem where an IDE controller, after a repeated access
    failure (like the infinite loop my computer got into after the initial
    crash), would revert to PIO mode instead of DMA. Bingo. I spend the
    better part of a week debugging this, and the fix turned out to be
    simply uninstall the IDE driver and reboot (an update is offered to
    prevent the problem in the future). I'm a little disappointed no one at
    HP support knew of this issue, since it is one of only a handful of
    available driver updates for this model, but that's far outweighed by my
    relief at having my computer back.

    For reference, here is my original problem description:

    I have a Compawq Presario V2000 notebook with a Hitachi hard drive.
    Last week the system crashed with a blue screen that I think was
    implying some sort of device driver might have caused a problem. My
    first attempt to reboot failed - the system went into an infinite loop
    displaying some other message I couldn't quite read before it erased and
    tried booting itself again, over and over. So I tuend it off and left
    it off the rest of the day.

    The next day I booted and it came up OK - but it took around 15 minutes,
    whereas the system had always previously booted in a minute or so. The
    system works fine, and is actually quite usable in most respects, but
    any disk-intensive activity (program startup, file copy, etc) is MUCH
    slower than usual. I ran the disk diagnotics from Windows, and while it
    was ridiculously slow (took all day to do the full scan), it reported no
    problems. I tried calling HP support, and they walked me through a
    couple of things to try (holding power button down for two minutes with
    battery & AC disconnected, doing a Windows system restore) that had no
    effect. Next they wanted me to reformat my disk and reinstall Windows,
    but I'm not ready to go there - this seems much more likely to be a
    hardware problem than a software one to me, and I don't really feel like
    going through that pain just to verify that.

    So I've done some poking around using utilities I've found online. The
    PassMark performance test shows my system functioning more or less
    comparably to other systems on all CPU, memory, and graphics benchmarks
    (well, 3D graphics performance is not so good), but most significantly,
    my system comes up about 20-50 times slower than other systems in disk
    read and write. It is showing a throughput of only around 1 MB per
    second. The SpeedFan utility says my hard disk is performing within
    normal parameters (according to S.M.A.R.T. data) all across the board,
    though. The Windows device manager doesn't report any problems with DMA
    or anything else. So I'm not sure what to make of this sudden reduction
    in performance.

    I am hoping to try booting it with a different hard disk (and/or putting
    my harddisk in another system and booting from it) to see if the
    problems seems physically with the computer or the disk, but I'm not
    sure where I'd go from there. If the system performs poorly when booted
    from another boot disk, then I can call support back and say it is
    *definitely* not a Windows issue. But if it boots up fine from another
    disk, and/or another system has problems with my disk, then I guess I
    still can't *prove* whether it is a hardware or software issue.

    Any ideas?

    ---------------
    Marc Sabatella


    Music, art, & educational materials
    Featuring "A Jazz Improvisation Primer"
    http://www.outsideshore.com/
     
    Marc Sabatella, Sep 9, 2006
    #2
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  3. Marc Sabatella

    Gonzo Guest

    HP put a 40wire ide cable in mine instead of an 80wire one going to my DVDRW
    drive. That knocked up the access mode one notch but this HP dvd640 drive
    is still the slowest drive I ever owned.

    They need to fix the firmeware in it or something.
     
    Gonzo, Sep 10, 2006
    #3
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