HDD advice?

Duncan Webb duncan at dwebb.ch
Thu Nov 14 13:06:03 PST 2002

"Ian Molton" <spyro at f2s.com> writes:
> Hi. no replies so perhaps I should ask here instead ;-) I suppose the
> problem /might/ be LFS related... hehe  how many people actually read
> lfs.chat anyway?
> firstly, please reply by email as well as to the list, as I use the news
> server and its non too reliable right now...
> I have a query about HDDs in case anyone knows better than I.
> I just got a WD120GB special edition with 8MB cache.
> the first drive died shortly after receiving it, so i have a replacement
> now.
> Right from the bat, though, I have been concerened, as the replacement
> has never performed up to expectations.
> first, the original drive cosistently got 50MB/sec in hdparm, wheras the
> new one hasnt bested 46MB/sec. its 1 month older than the drive it
> replaced and obviously has different firmware.
> Today I tried to burn a CD for the first time since getting the new
> drive(s) and it died after about 17% due to a buffer underrun.
> I wrote a little program to read 1MB then print time in microseconds,
> then read another MB, etc. and found that the disk read was averaging
> about 2MB/sec for the most part, with an extended period of 0.8MB/sec,
> and picking up to a spotty average of 8-10MB/sec (with peaks of 20) for
> about the last 1/3 of the file.
> What I need to know, is is this a bad drive, or should I be expecting
> this?
> the file was aquired over a DSL link, probably at about 5K/sec or so, at
> the same time as a few other large files (ok, so I was leeching movies),
> and so I imagine its at least a little fragmented, but still!
> The filesystem is a 116GB ext3 one, with standard journalling options.
> I know this is a non-ideal case, but 0.8MB/sec! really?! with an 8MB
> cache on the drive?
> Ideas? are there any fragment-o-meter programs out there?
IDE drive performance depends to a large extent on how it is connected to
your IDE controller.

If you want the best performance from an IDE drive, which is running as
second hard disk then connect it to the secondary/master with nothing
connected to your secondary slave. Your CD-ROM should then be connected to
your primary/slave and surprisingly your boot/system drive connected to the
primary/master. Hope that's clear. I did some testing and the results were
surprising, the same hard disk when connected first to the primary/master
and later to the secondary/slave performed less that half as well when on
the primary/master. You could try this.


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