SATA HDD Slowing things down big

By Schmutz · 12 replies
Oct 17, 2007
  1. Hi, I have just upgraded my computer to:

    Processor: Q6600 Quad core 2.4ghz
    RAM: Patriot 2GB PC-6400 C4 Extreme Performance
    Board: ASUS P5K-E
    GFX: PowerColour 2900Pro 512MB GDDR3
    PSU: Corsair VX 550W PSU
    OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit
    Additional HDD*: Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB SATA II 7200RPM 16MB Cache

    *I have not installed the second hard drive yet, I am using a 200GB samsung SATAII

    These parts seem to be working great, the performance and speed when playing games is crazy and I almost had a heart attack when I seen how well After Effects was running! But installing these programs, booting windows, loading programs is extremely slow. I am sure I have something configured incorrectly, but my knowledge in this area is very limited. There are 6 sata drive connectors on my motherboard, I have used SATA1 and referring to the manual this is where I should put the boot disk. Also, in my bios I have selected "Configure sata as RAID" from "configure sata as IDE"

    Any ideas? My fingers are crossed its something simple :)
  2. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    well did you change those BIOS settings before or after you noticed the change in performance?
  3. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    I never changed anything at first and it was set to IDE in bios. Installing vista in IDE took around an hour, then installing drivers from the motherboards support CD took an awful long time.

    I started to get concerned and identified the HDD was causing the problem, so I then changed the BIOS settings to identify as RAID, and formatted/reinstalled vista. I'm not sure this has made a difference, is there software I can use to measure the speed of my HDD?
  4. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    I think I've set it up incorrectly.

    I have a 200GB samsung + 500GB Western Digital. Could anyone list step by step (or direct me to one) on how to configure these. What HDD should I install the OS onto? What SATA sockets do I use on the motherboard? What are master/slave drives? Should I use "RAID" or "IDE"

    Dear god I'm stuck with Hard drive configuration!
  5. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,189   +470

    I don't think you want to set a RAID array. You should be using identical hard drives if you do, at least of the same capacity. If you want to use the capabilities of faster SATA hard drives, set the controller mode in the BIOS to AHCI, otherwise use IDE.

    Master and slave does not apply to SATA hard drives, only IDE (PATA) devices on the same IDE cable. Since each SATA device has its own cable, master/slave is not applicable.

    Simplify your life. Install only one SATA drive for now. Install Windows on the Samsung 200GB SATA drive for now. With only one SATA hard drive installed, you, the BIOS and Windows only have to find one drive. Windows will configure it as C: drive. Of course, you could partition it into other drives too. Once Windows is installed, updated and all drivers installed, you can then physically install the other SATA hard drive. Then you could simply use Windows Disk Management utility to format this drive. Then you're done.

    For the purposes of installing Windows, go into the BIOS and set the boot order with the CD drive as first. You need to boot from the CD to begin the Windows installation process. You can change the boot order later. I suggest floppy first (if you have one), hard drive, cd drive and last, other device (if an option).

    The version of Windows you want to install will determine the finer details of Windows installation, such as using or not using F6 for third party SATA/RAID drivers or whether you might need a floppy drive.

    Sorry if I've covered info you already know. I wanted to put everything into context.
  6. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Thanks mailpup, thats some useful details and its really filled in the gaps! :approve: Well I've gone one step more simple than you've suggested and used only the 500GB drive. I will combine the 200gb drive with old components to upgrade the other pc :)

    You've recommended that I should set the controller mode to IDE, but unfortunately I did not read this in time and I'm now running Windows on 500GB drive set to RAID, and changing it back will probably have crazy consequences... on another note, I started this thread with the intention to figure out why my hard drive was slowing down other components in the computer, but it seems this problem is now gone?? I've installed a few game demos including bioshock/UT3/PES2008 to monitor speed and it simply seems to install faster now. I am sure this is because any of the following;

    • Setting controller to RAID instead of IDE
    • Changing from SATA1 to SATA2 slot in motherboard
    • Using direct SATA power connectors instead of 4pin to sata converters (from the PSU)
    • New Hard drive? (to suggest that my previously fine 200gb drive was malfunctioning...)
    I'll report if there are any further problems and thanks again for the post I'll be sure to take a note!
  7. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,189   +470

    Actually, I recommend setting the controller mode to AHCI but you can set it to IDE if you want. RAID only works with two or more hard drives so even though it is set to RAID, it has to be running in a different mode regardless of what it is set to.

    The main thing is it seems to be working okay now. If it gives any trouble, you might have to reconfigure the controller mode.
  8. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Sorry you're right, you have suggested AHCI and not IDE :) But like you've said it appears to be working fine now so I'll keep my fingers crossed. If there are any problems I will be using AHCI mode. Thanks a lot for the help again it has been extremely useful.
  9. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,189   +470

    I'm happy to help in any small way.
  10. yakwhacker

    yakwhacker TS Rookie Posts: 31

    Also might want to beef up your PSU. 550 is a little weak for that system.
  11. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Really? I think anything higher than 550W are intended for crazy SLI/6million hard drive builds aren't they? I've just payed £54.99 for that one. What happens if my PSU isn't cutting it? What do I need to look out for because there doesn't seem to be any probs so far and I've already put the PC through some pretty tough conditions :D
  12. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    wattage isn't all that important in a PSU. Whats equaly important is the Amps each line can deliver. Use a calculator to find your estimated wattage needs, then look at your hardware to see if it requires any sorts of conditions

    Have a read of this well made guide.

    Do note that there are "better brands" than others, but like everything, there are exceptions to the rule. Look at your options and see if you really need an upgrade or not.
  13. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Thanks. Very useful

    Using the PSU calculator it suggested around 370W+ for my system. Even with another 2900XT in crossfire it didn't pass 500W
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