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Replaced hard drive is slow - why?

by SWJO / February 7, 2011 6:48 AM PST

Hello, I'm not sure if this question should better be posted to the hardware forum but because the PC is a DELL Dimension E510 (about 5 years old) I thought to give it a try here.

I recently had to replace my old hard drive that came with the PC (a WD1600, 160GB, SATA) with a new hard drive, a Western Digital Caviar Green 500GB (WD5000AADS), also SATA. I am running Windows XP Professional with SP3 on a Pentium 4 with 2 GB Ram (not sure what other information should be posted).

The problem is that the new HD is noticeably slower than the old HD. To be more precise: HDD Speed Test measures about 4,7 MB/s write access and 8 MB/s read access. From all I know this is less than expected (factor of 10 or so). The HD Tune tool on the other hand reports an average transfer rate of 70 MB/s and a max. of 91 MB/s, which is normal for this drive. Therefore my conclusion so far is that the drive is probably ok but Windows somehow cannot access it properly.

I first thought this might have to do with the 4k-sector (ADF) issue but the WD5000AADS HD drive apparently does not use ADF, so this should not be the reason.

I really have no idea why the new HD is so slow and what I can do to speed things up. Any hints are greatly appreciated!

Here some more details that might be important - but I'm not sure:
The old 160GB HD had just one primary partition and I used Norton Ghost to backup the complete system to an external USB HD. After I installed the new 500GB hard drive I used the Norton recovery CD to boot the system and tried to reinstall the image to the new HD (without formatting the new HD first). Although Norton Ghost did not report any problem the system would not boot. I guessed that this might have to do with a missing MBR and therefore decided to use the Windows XP install CD to first format the new HD. I was afraid to not be able to recover all my backup data because of a mismatch of partition sizes and therefore decided to create two partitions on the new HD. The primary partition has the same size as the previous HD (160GB). The remaining 340GB are the secondary partition. I installed a new Windows XP on the primary partition (which booted just fine) and then used Norton Ghost to overwrite this new Windows installation with my backup image that I had saved on the external drive. This worked, the whole image was reinstalled and the system boots and works fine. Apart from the slow HD ... Could the second partition on the new HD be the problem??

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Isn't this one of the new Advanced Format drives?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 7, 2011 12:53 PM PST
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WD5000AADS does not use ADF
by SWJO / February 7, 2011 4:04 PM PST

Bob, thanks for your reply. This was also my first idea. I even downloaded the WD Align tool. But to my surprise the 500GB green drive from WD does not use the Advanced Format, only the bigger ones do (see spec sheet). The Align Tool confirmed this.
I suspect the problem has to do with an outdated driver or some system setting that worked fine for the old drive but not for the new one. But unfortunately this is beyond my computer skills, I have no glue what & where to check.
Also, I'd like to rule out the possibility that the second partition slows down the HD.
Thanks- Stefan

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The only time I've seen a second partition slow down XP
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 7, 2011 11:38 PM PST

Is if someone installed apps there or if it's some foreign to XP file system.

If one put apps on the second partition it's the old discussion why it forces the drive to seek more. But that's the owner's choice and we let them live with it.

There may be other factors like a forgotten driver or since it's SATA a bug in what translates SATA to IDE for XP's sake.

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Greens are slow, IMO
by Willy / February 8, 2011 3:01 AM PST

Didn't WD supply its own "clone(install) s/w" in order to swap data/image of old HD to new HD. You may try that and eliminate the Ghost use, though it still can be a back-up. Also, I have heard the "green HDs" are slower because the RPMs are. -OR- I've heard they are, that's one reason I got a std. Seagate HD rather than a green labeled one, so far not disappointed.

tada -----Willy Happy

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