I am having a weird problem lately and I am pretty sure that my hard drive is failing and would like your input.

I am on Windows 7 32bit, Core i7 970, GTS 450 Video Card and 4GB Ram (3.5 usable).

I have 2 hard-drive, my main one is 750GB WD Green drive, my other drive for data is a 1500 GB WD Caviar Black (Both ATA).

It's been 2 days straight where I was playing Guild Wars 2 without any problem when after a couple of hours when I had some very important lag, some missing audio or very late. At first I tough it was just a internet problem. But exiting the game the problems continued. Everything was so slow. I still had some audio missing and very very slow everything.

For example I had a couple of Windows Update to do, so if I was to restart I would as well do them right now. But the downloading and Installing bar seemed stucked at 0%, but when I rebooted, it did install some updates. So the computer was so slow it couldn't even update the Progress Bar.

I used HDTune to check out the SMART status of the drive, where everything checks out for both. I did a quick bad sector scan and found none. But for performance for my 750 GB had a min value of 0.8 MB/s and 5.6 max, while my second drive was 150MB/s. This very poor performance (even for a green drive) is telling me my drive is failing. But just rebooting the computer would fix the performance problem (going up to 80MB/s from 0.8). Then again the problem returned while playing only to be fixed by a reboot.

I have checked with Autoruns and disabled unnecessary program loading, and I don't see anything that doesn't belong there.

My CPU temp was at 45C, my HD temp at 36C and my Video Card was up to 70C, while playing.

One thing to note, is that I am having a lot of Out of Memory crash with GW2 so I did enable the "3GB" switch the other day (using this command :"bcdedit /set IncreaseUserVa 3072").

So my Questions are :

  • Would the 3GB switch affect performance of only 1 drive?
  • If the drive is failing why is it fixed with a reboot?
  • Maybe the motherboard?
  • 1) Does the problem persist is you undo the 3GB chance? If it does not then you can mark that as a coincidence.
    – Hennes
    Oct 12 '12 at 15:50
  • Your issue appears to be happening when your computer starts to use lots of RAM. Have you performed any test at your RAM modules?
    – Zuul
    Oct 12 '12 at 15:51
  • @Hennes - I will test it tonight.
    – Nigol
    Oct 12 '12 at 16:31
  • @Zuul - I haven't in a while, but I don't see how it would affect 1 hard drive and not the other. WildVelociraptor answer might be the reason, I will try if diabling the switch will help and if it does not I will just replace the hard drive.
    – Nigol
    Oct 12 '12 at 16:34
  • @Nigol The answer already provided by WildVelociraptor elaborates on my suggestion. (when I've posted the comment, I didn't had much time to elaborate on the matter!).
    – Zuul
    Oct 12 '12 at 17:20

Try checking the resource monitor in Windows. You can find it by typing "Resource Monitor" into the search bar. This will help you see if a process is accessing the hard drive too much.

If you use the 3GB switch, it may be filling up that 3GB and starting to page the extra memory. Paging occurs when you've filled up your RAM and need to store additional data in memory. This seems like the culprit, given that it takes time for the drop in performance to hit.

Do you know which disk your page file is on? It's usually located on your system disk (where Windows is installed). Excessive paging would definitely cause poor performance on that disk. You can check how much paging is occurring using the Resource manager and Task Manager (look at the Virtual memory information).

Do you get a drop in performance on green disk after a few hours of non-gaming use? If the performance drop only occurs after playing GW2 with the 3GB switch on, I'd bet my lunch that the paging that occurs is hammering your disk. If you can confirm this, I'd highly recommend adding more memory, or if that isn't possible, move your page file to the faster HDD.

  • Yes the pagefile is located on the Main slower drive. I am not at home now so I cannot say if it is the problem, but even with the game running I usually have 800MB of RAM left. But I am also thinking that it could be the culprit, because even if I have some ram left it is not accessible to the windows Kernel. And your hint that it is using putting all pagefile on 1 hard drive would explain why I have problem with only 1 drive.
    – Nigol
    Oct 12 '12 at 16:01

You've installed Win7 on the wrong HDD. The WD green is so slow and should be only used for storing data. The black if the performance drive and should be used as system drive-

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