Very Slow SATA drive.

By Gravesent ยท 10 replies
Oct 14, 2005
  1. Very Slow SATA drive (sorry for the long read)

    Hello, I'm having a very slow performance with a Serial ATA :(
    AMD Sempron 2300+
    Asrock k7vt4a+ (kt 400 chipset)
    256 ddram kingmax pci 3200
    geforce 4 mx 440 64 mb
    As you might know the KT400 chipset doesn't have SATA so in order to use my "Segate 80 gb 7200 Sata baracuda" disk drive I use "Silicon Image Serial ATA Sil 3112 Controller", I have my operating system installed on the segate sata hdd and also (momentarly) have another western digital 160gb ata100 drive installed, runing World of Warcraft from the wd ata drive works fine, I get a good performance but it is imposible to play it from the segate sata drive, the hdd make continous effort, it practicly never stops loading, I had a ata 66 10 gb 512kb buffer hdd which worked better :( shouldn't the sata drive be at least as fast as the ata one? Do I need to install a special controller driver? Is the segate hdd or the controller broken? Should I take them back? Is there a bios setting I should make?
    The strange thing is that if I copy from the ATA drive to the SATA one I get 46 - 50 mb/sec which is as best as you get from ata.
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    You have too little RAM. And when you run the game from the same drive you keep your pagefile on things will be very slow.
  3. Gravesent

    Gravesent TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Made this shorter:
    I ran some PC mark 2002 hdd tests and came up with this:
    On a Gigabyte kt 600 mb my segate sata 7200rpm 8mb buffer scores around 1600, on my Sil 3112 controller added in my asrock k7vt4a+ it scores 1088 (in bouth cases also runing the OS).
    (I would also like to mention that an ata 100 western digital on the gigabyte mb scores 1233)
    What is there to do?
    Thank you for taking the time to read my posts :)
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Buy more RAM.. 256MB just doesn't cut it today, especially if you play games.
    Or use the better SATA controller (in KT600) to make things go a (very) little bit faster.
  5. Gravesent

    Gravesent TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I can't aford any upgrades, and I don't care about what "cut's" today, I want what I have to work right and I was just asking how, I read reviews about the Sil 3112 controller and in their benchmarks it did only a litle bit better than an ata 100 drive, and that's exactly what I want because it's normal the PCI slot limits it to that. The performance gain to what I want is very little but I don't care, I just want it to work right, call it my obsession if you will.

    Ok, I have further isolated the problem it seems I get good scores at everything with PC mark 2002 except for "Hard Disk - Cached file read" it's only 17, the ata drive scores 40, any thoughts on this any windows/bios setting, driver or utility to fix this?

    I'm also having a slow memory but that's another storie :)
  6. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Cached file read is most likely about the amount of RAM.. The number of file buffers Windows can allocate is limited by the size of available memory :)

    Your system "works right" already. What you want is performance and whether you like it or not, your system's bottleneck is the RAM.

    Check the test systems used in those benchmarks you saw, do these have 256MB of RAM or more?
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,128   +982

    You should address this first. Remember the 'weakest link ...'?
    All HD data transfers are limited by how fast memory can be read or written.
    Even {U}DMA controllers are going to be limited.

    Four primary factors to performance are
    cpu rate
    bus speed
    cpu/bus ratio
    memory cycle time​
  8. ianr11

    ianr11 TS Rookie

    You have to install a special Controller Driver

    Hi Gravesent,

    I have a gig of ram in my machine, and I recently bought a maxtore 6L300s0 7200rpm drive. I installed it and moved tons of data. it took ages. (I went to work and slept most of the time).

    Tonight I ran a few different harddrive speed tests on it and they all said it was running at 3MB/s! That is BAD. I ran the same tests on my main drive and was getting around 75MB/s.

    I searched for a while and finally found someone who explained that the SATA controller probably had the wrong driver installed. It did, once I installed the correct promise SATA driver from my motherboard's driver CD and reset my machine, the speed tests changed to about 55-65MB/s. MUCH BETTER! For how slow you say your drive is running, I imagine you have a similar problem.

    Try to update the driver in your device manager. Mine was under "SCSI and RAID controllers". That was what worked for me. I hope it helps you.
  9. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Driver is not the issue here. The driver tip will probably help others with similar problems though.
  10. warperaz

    warperaz TS Rookie

    Anyone has an idea what is the problem or issue, because i have the same, over the year long. SAme hard drive same problem, and btw, i got 1gb RAM
  11. Gravesent

    Gravesent TS Rookie Topic Starter

    [Please note that I'm only saying what I've learned through experience and I may be wrong]
    Do you use a PCI controller like I did? If so the 3112 sil chipset is slow, in tests it only runs slightly better than a normal ATA hard drive at it's best. In normal conditions that should be enough to have a decent performance with 1gb of ram in WoW, some motherboards have problems with the PCI slots and make the controller run slower (which could be your problem) I also heard that you shouldn't use the first or the last PCI slots because they lead to slow performance, try putting your controller somewhere in the middle.
    You should also defragment your hard drive more often, because the more often you defragment it the less time it takes to do it, for example if you do this every morning it shouldn't take you more than 5 minutes and the performance gain is noticeble.
    Controllers are slow, you should try to get a motherboard with an integrated sata controller, like a kt600, kt 880 or, if you can afford it, an enforce 2.
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