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I just built a complete new computer including a motherboard with SATA 3 ports and a brand new 2 TB harddrive 7200RPM, 64mb cache, and Sata 3 capable.

I'm working with some large files and it's taking FOREVER.

I pulled up the Windows performance monitor and during transfers, disk activity hovers around 6-8 MB/sec Disk I/O.

Is this normal? I seems way too slow.

I've never done much relevant HDD troubleshooting so I'm not sure what information about my setup is relevant. If you need more information, please comment and I'll update it.

I ran CrystalDiskMark at 100MB and got the following results: (Read/write)

Seq       208.6          181.2
512K      75.70          143.9
4K        1.123          1.318 
4k QD32   1.820          1.137

Also possibly worth noting, I installed the Seatools utility that came with the drive and it does not seem to detect the drive at all.

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What do you mean you're "working with some large files"? What are you doing with the files? Are you accessing some of them in parallel maybe? – Breakthrough Mar 8 '13 at 3:11
Converting video files. – cody Mar 8 '13 at 3:11
when you're converting video files, I wouldn't expect to see much higher than that. How many FPS are you encoding at? Encoding is primarily CPU/RAM bound. – Breakthrough Mar 8 '13 at 3:12
If you are trying to do multiple task at once, there will be an extra delay every time the computer switches between tasks. Allowing 4 individual copy operations to complete separately and then starting the next one will generally finish much sooner than trying to do all four at once. – washbow Mar 8 '13 at 3:36
Your benchmarks look fine. Don't do more than 1 thing with a hard drive, or it will be significantly slower. Copying 2 files at once will probably take 3-4 times as long as copying them one after the other... A hard drive can only access one part of it a time, after all. – Breakthrough Mar 8 '13 at 4:20
up vote 3 down vote accepted

As this is a new build, check the cheap and easy first.

SATA cables can drive you nuts in trouble shooting. They can appear to be attached, but not fully attached or may have come loose during some poking and proding as you went along.

A small cut from a sharp edge in the case while tucking it away could also cause a problem.

Suggest you try:

Disconnect and reconnect the cable or replace the cable.

Use a different SATA port on the motherboard

I also noticed an improvment to performance of platter drives by changing BIOS option from IDE to AHCI during a SSD install. Crystal disk mark showed and improved performance number from previous IDE benchmark results.

IDE Crystal DiskMark results

      Sequential Read :    91.467 MB/s
      Sequential Write :    87.171 MB/s
     Random Read 512KB :    26.938 MB/s
    Random Write 512KB :    45.231 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) :     0.287 MB/s [    70.1 IOPS]

Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 0.676 MB/s [ 165.1 IOPS] Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 0.493 MB/s [ 120.4 IOPS] Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 0.697 MB/s [ 170.1 IOPS]

Test : 1000 MB [C: 16.6% (232.6/1397.3 GB)] (x5)

AHCI enabled CDM results

      Sequential Read :   105.395 MB/s
      Sequential Write :   102.510 MB/s
     Random Read 512KB :    29.256 MB/s
    Random Write 512KB :    46.686 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) :     0.304 MB/s [    74.1 IOPS]

Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 0.748 MB/s [ 182.7 IOPS] Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 0.359 MB/s [ 87.8 IOPS] Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 0.754 MB/s [ 184.1 IOPS]

Test : 1000 MB [E: 16.1% (225.3/1397.3 GB)] (x5)

Get a benchmark score from crystal diskmark or the like just to get some numbers to start with and see if you notice an improvment after the cable suggestion.

I really suspect the cable is at fault or the connection of the cable.

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My PC just got slower and slower. The HDD light would come on every few minutes and then the entire PC would freeze for few (and later, many many) seconds, until nothing really worked anymore. It was a new HDD, and I was already about to give up... And it was the stupid cable! Thank you so much! – Domi Oct 23 '14 at 8:55

The best way to know if your hard drive is really slow is using CrystalDiskMark. Download it and compare the performance with other people. Also check your BIOS configuration and make sure that AHCI mode is enabled instead of IDE. If the problem persists, check your SATA connections and make sure that the HDD is really connected to the 6gbps SATA3 port.

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hmmm...great suggestions ;) – Carl B Mar 8 '13 at 3:46
Please add relevant product link(s), and links and reason(s) for why AHCI is better than IDE. Would help turn this is good answer. Also need reason to use CrystalDiskMark. Sounds like product promo. – Lizz Mar 8 '13 at 3:52
here some info about AHCI on Intel website: – Kaveh Mar 8 '13 at 6:39

Your hard drive might be out of alignment.

If you have a drive with 4k sectors, but it is still using 512k sectors, you may experience slow downs.

Check if the drive is a 4k drive (all drives manufactured since January 2011 will be), and verify it is formatted with 4k sectors.

Here is additional information on how to investigate further.

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