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External HDD driving me crazy

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Bought Seagate Expansion ST902504EXA101-RK 250GB yesterday. Transferred about 130GB of data last night, took about 3 and a half hours. This morning I transferred about 1GB and it took around 30 minutes.
Comp: VGN-FE660G (OEM Sony VAIO, don't know the motherboard, BIOS is Phoenix but I can't seem to get in), Windows XP Media Center Edition [Genuine, OEM installed]. The drive is plugged into an 'Enhanced' USB port (saw this with Device Manager, Intel 82801G 27CC or something). Drive is Optimized for Performance. Checked with SeaTools, all tests PASS.
No other USB devices are plugged in at the same time as the drive. I was not doing anything when data was transferring.
So, what the Heck.
post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 
Benchmarked this Seagate with HD Tune Pro. Removed the partition, deleted data. I'm getting a maximum write speed of 25.4 MB/s and a burst rate of 31 MB/s. Aren't USB 2.0 apparatuses supposed to have 60 MB/s (480 Mbit/s) speed? So what the Heck is happening?
post #3 of 15
Something obviously not right.
A couple of questions - 1) if you have several USB ports do all of them perform just as slow? 2) Do any other external unit (ex. different HDD) perform normal or just as slow?

As you say USB 2.0 have a maximum transfer rate of 480Mbit/s.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Had to repartition (format) the disk because after doing the write test, the disk became unallocated so I had to screw around a bit in Computer Manager. Now it says 'New Volume' instead of 'Seagate Portable'.
1) I have one USB 1.1 port and two USB 2.0 ports. Both 2.0 ports are of the same speed.
2) I have a couple of SanDisk USB sticks and yes, pretty much the same speed.
About the 480 Mbit/s this is from Wikipedia. Universal Serial Bus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
What I don't understand is that yes, my drive is plugged into a 2.0 port (that's what Enhanced means) and drivers seems to be correct (Windows didn't ask me for any). Changed the USB cables, same thing.
Oh well. Seems like I'd have to spend another 3 and a half hours today.
I miss Ubuntu.
post #5 of 15
Since your SanDisk USB sticks perform on the same level - really slow - I suspect it is OS related. More specific USB driver related.

Back to Ubuntu maybe?
Sorry, but I am not familiar with Windows XP Media Center Edition and can not help further.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, the driver is from 2001, and I can't seem to find an update, so.
Ubuntu. Yeah, the rest of the family have never even heard the word 'Linux', and my internal disk in only 100 GB, half full/empty, so no place for a VMware or somethin'.
Will be buying/assembling a comp soon, when I get enough money.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
A person on another forum told me that NTFS (this is what I have in my Seagate) has flocks (eh? what's the term) of 32 KB each. He also said that my 20-something speed is 'normal', that hard disks are usually the weak point of current comps, and that only eSATA has a real 60 MB/s speed.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3602 View Post
Benchmarked this Seagate with HD Tune Pro. Removed the partition, deleted data. I'm getting a maximum write speed of 25.4 MB/s and a burst rate of 31 MB/s. Aren't USB 2.0 apparatuses supposed to have 60 MB/s (480 Mbit/s) speed? So what the Heck is happening?
25.4MB/sec is about right. 60MB/sec is the theoretical maximum speed which will never be reached in real life for various reasons. You can assume a real-world maximum of 30MB/sec and a much more likely average of 20MB/sec for a usb 2.0 hard drive.

In short, your drive is working as intended.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3602 View Post
A person on another forum told me that NTFS (this is what I have in my Seagate) has flocks (eh? what's the term) of 32 KB each. He also said that my 20-something speed is 'normal', that hard disks are usually the weak point of current comps, and that only eSATA has a real 60 MB/s speed.
NTFS has clusters that you can set, but it has absolutely nothing with the speed you are getting from your drive. It is highly unlikely you will see transfer rates of more than 30MB/sec from a hard drive connected via USB 2.0 hi-speed.

Hard drives are indeed the bottleneck of current computers but the speed you are seeing from your external is being limited by the interface not the drive. eSATA as opposed to USB is essentially an external plug/cable to the internal interface so you would be limited by drive speed with eSATA; even the slowest version of eSATA (based on SATA I) is limited at "only" 150MB/sec.
post #9 of 15
But there is still something funky.
Transferring 1GB should NOT take 30 minutes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3602 View Post
This morning I transferred about 1GB and it took around 30 minutes.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
But there is still something funky.
Transferring 1GB should NOT take 30 minutes.
That's a good point, missed that part. The fact that it benchmarks at essentially the speed it should be running hits that other factors are at play here.

One of the major factor when dealing with a slow drive (the drive within the enclosure is a 5400rpm drive) like this is the size and number of files.

3602: Were you transferring lots of small files? Did you try transferring a single large file, like a single 1gb+ file? If you haven't can you please do so, that will eliminate the performance hit of a slow rpm drive.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, I was transferring photos, thousands of them. Could be it, eh?
Should I WinRAR small files next time?
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3602 View Post
Well, I was transferring photos, thousands of them. Could be it, eh?
Should I WinRAR small files next time?
That's probably the cause; if you're going to group the files together to transfer, you'll need to weigh the pros/cons of doing so, as you'll be able transfer them quicker but you will need to decompress them if you only need one file
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
I won't be really 'accessing' the drive too often, I bought it for backing up my music, invaluable photos and important documents.
Thanks for the help, guys!
post #14 of 15
No problem, let us know if compressing it to a larger file fixes your slow transfer problem!
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quick question: Checked my internal hard disk (a Hitachi something) using HD Tune Pro, the Health tab gave me this:
Quote:
(C5) Current Pending Sector
Number of unstable sectors: 1
The drive has unstable sectors.
Does this mean that I need to chkdsk it?
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