Processor usage very high when writing to hard drive

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Colorado Man

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I have recently purchased and installed a new hard drive. It is a WD Caviar 16MB cache SATA 2 7200rmp 250 GB. (running as SATA 1 because mother board only supports SATA 1). I have noticed that it is horribly slow when the drive is being written to, also the processor usage spikes to 80-100% during the writing. I have concluded it's just during the writing because the computer boots fast and seems just fine when reading from the drive.

I have Windows XP installed, and running the latest updates. The driver for the the HD is a Windows SCSI driver. I have looked on the WD website for their driver, but have not had any success finding it. The only software that came in the retail box is the WD Data Lifeguard application, but it doesn't have an option for installing drivers.

I've read some posts about DMA and PIO settings, but I'm not sure if that only applies to IDE drives.

Thank you in advance for the help.
 

JohnWill

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I'd check in Device Manager to see if the drive is running in PIO mode, it also applies to SATA drives. The symptom you describe perfectly fits a drive running in PIO mode.
 

Colorado Man

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I checked in the device manager to see if the drive is running in PIO mode, but could not find any tab on the properties page that mentioned it. Also, my drive is under the SCSI controller.
 

JohnWill

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OK, if it's under the SCSI controller, you have a 3rd party controller, or a RAID controller. How about the exact make/model of the MB? Do you see any errors listed in Device Manager? How about downloading HDTune and doing a test on that drive, let's see some actual numbers.
 

Colorado Man

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I've run HDTune, and here is the information...

HD Tune: WDC WD2500KS-00MJB0 Benchmark

Transfer Rate Minimum : 0.4 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Maximum : 62.1 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Average : 52.8 MB/sec
Access Time : 13.4 ms
Burst Rate : 103.9 MB/sec
CPU Usage : 6.5%


There was one spike in there that caused the minimum transfer rate that you see.
 

Colorado Man

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Here is some more info on the hard drive...


HD Tune: WDC WD2500KS-00MJB0 Information

Firmware version : 02.0
Serial number :
Capacity : 232.9 GB (~250.1 GB)
Buffer size : 0 KB
Standard :
Supported mode :
Current mode :

S.M.A.R.T : no
48-bit Address : no
Read Look-Ahead : no
Write Cache : no
Host Protected Area : no
Device Configuration Overlay : no
Automatic Acoustic Management: no
Power Management : no
Advanced Power Management : no
Power-up in Standby : no
Security Mode : no
Firmware Upgradable : no

Partition : 1
Drive letter : C:\
Label :
Capacity : 238464 MB
Usage : 2.85%
Type : NTFS
Bootable : Yes
 

Colorado Man

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Here is more info on the mother board...

Manufacturer: MSI
Model : MS-6702 1.0
Chipset : VIA K8T800(VT8383)
 

Colorado Man

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I just used Process Explorer from SysInternals to watch what was eating up all the cpu time. The offender it seems is the Hardware Interrupts which eat up 60-100% of the cpu sporatically during an 80 meg copy of files from one folder to another. I googled on that and found a page that inspired me to check the system event log. There I found lots of warnings with this message <b>An error was detected on device \Device\Harddisk1\D during a paging operation</b>, and several errors with the message <b>The device, \Device\Scsi\viamraid1, did not respond within the timeout period.</b>. Hope this helps.
 

JohnWill

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Ugh! Sounds like the drive may be failing, which would explain the problems! I recommend you download the disk manufacturer's diagnostics and run a test.
 

Colorado Man

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I downloaded the Data Lifeguard Diagnostics tool and ran it. It says the drive is fine. Although the SMART capability seems to not be working.

I did a little more "digging" on google and found this forum thread (http://217.115.198.3/content/topic/12946/?o=0), which after wading through some of it, has given me a little hope that I could check my SATA cable or buy a PCI RAID controller card and not use the integrated one on the MB. (Whew, sorry for the run-on sentence.)

I hope the drive isn't bad, because it's brand new from Best Buy, and I don't want to deal with getting a replacement under my manufacturer's warranty.... *sigh* I will if I have to though, as long as I'm sure that's the true problem. I don't want to get another drive and have the same thing happen again.
 

JohnWill

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You shouldn't need to buy an add-on SATA controller to use your drive. Is there a possibility of trying the drive on another system?
 

Colorado Man

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John, sorry for the long time between posts, but I was away for the weekend. Here's the scoop. I switched the SATA cable that came with the drive to one that came with my mother board....and the problem has been reduced considerably. It is not totally gone (those system events saying the drive is timing out still happen a few times during high load), but it is back to at least the performance that I had with my first SATA drive. While I'm relieved to have my drive performance back, I'm still thinking WTF! What a crazy solution to a strange problem.

Thanks for the advice and direction you gave. Feel free to close this thread or whatever. I will check this thread later just in case you have any parting thoughts or advice.
 

JohnWill

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No problem, we don't normally close threads, just let them die a natural death. :D
 
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hi,
I have recently purchased WD 250 GB SATA 2 Hard drive for my ASUS K8S-MX board, since the board supports only SATA 1, so I was expecting little down performance but atleast better than my previous IDE drives., but it is worse, the drive is struck at PIO mode, and the CPU usage shooting at 100 % while i'm working on the drive., moreover when i benchmark the drive it gives mere 3-3.5 MB\s throughput.,.,.,., Thts Ridicules:mad:
 
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