HDD head parking causes lags

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Hardware' started by Timl, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. Timl

    Timl New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello!
    I own Windows 7 x64 running on a new Acer Aspire laptop - 4GB RAM, Intel Core i3 2.13GHz, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 (1GB own memory).

    When I switch the computer on, the drive makes a characteristic sound - it is spun up, and its head is placed over the plates. When I turn computer off - it also makes a characteristic sound.

    Now when I play a game (an old game - like Call of Duty 1 or WarCraft III) the game lags. Lags on this hardware? With such old games?

    Guess what - when it lags I hear the very same sound of drive being switched off, immediately followed by sound of drive being switched on. WTF? Why would it park it's head to immediately use it again (or spin down to immediately spin up again - whatever).

    It's a 500GB Western Digital HDD (WD5000BEVT). I've already tried their support forums but received little help.
    I hope there exists some setting to stop head parking (or spin down)? And no, it's not the "Put hard drive into sleep in x mins" setting in power management.

    Help!
     
  2. Highwayman

    Highwayman Extraordinary Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    112
    simply disable the auto power down when idle on the hard drive (usually set at 20mins default) in the power settings, unfortunately when running off a battery and not mains this feature will increase power drain.
     
    #2 Highwayman, Aug 27, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
  3. TorrentG

    TorrentG Banned

    Joined:
    May 31, 2010
    Messages:
    7,814
    Likes Received:
    372
    Give the drive a nice defragmenting run. Other than that, it might be defective.
     
  4. Highwayman

    Highwayman Extraordinary Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    112
    might also be worth running checkdisk in case of faulty sector which could cause the click/spinup/lag issue
     
  5. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
    Microsoft MVP

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    159
    Perhaps it is yet another reason why I am constantly saying notebooks do not make good game machines, in spite of what notebook marketing weenies would have us believe. Being mobile devices, notebooks are designed with rough handling in mind. You don't want the read/write head banging into the platters so it may very well be a self-protection feature that it parks the heads when idle - if that is is what is happening. It may just be spinning down to reduce heat (another inherent problem with notebooks).

    I can't imagine a new hard 500Gb hard drive would be anywhere near close to being fragmented, unless you have filled it up with 470Gb of tunes or something. Sadly, you did not provide a model number so we can't check specifics. You said you checked your power management settings - I assume you mean in Windows. Some notebook makers include independent power management utilities. Did you check that?
     
  6. Timl

    Timl New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    As I said, the lags occur every few seconds, not every twenty minutes. Still I've tried that option before with no effect.

    The HDD is not fragmented, still I ran a defragmentation - only 10 files remained fragmented.

    On a brand new HDD? I don't think so and I gave up scanning it during system boot.


    @Digetari:
    Full HDD name (as seen in device manager) is: WDC WD5000BEVT-22A0RT0
    I also think that few notebooks make good game machines :) I had no other choice however, as I'm going to school away from home and I need my own computer. Damage protection is what I suspect as well - it makes most sense. Still I only use laptop when it steadily sits on my desk, so I'd rather turn safety settings off.
    The windows power management is useless, I've searched it roughly. I can't find any Acer power management programs... Acer has something called ePower Management, but it just seems that it's not included on my notebook.
     
  7. TorrentG

    TorrentG Banned

    Joined:
    May 31, 2010
    Messages:
    7,814
    Likes Received:
    372
    If Windows was at some point continuously wanting to run chkdsk on boot up, you can practically guarantee the hdd is defective. If the hdd makes noises or clicks, it is definitely defective.
    I'd look into warranty info or RMAing the drive or whole machine.

    You shouldn't really even be able to tell there is a hard drive at all, by hearing alone. My father has a cheapo netbook from Acer with a Toshiba mechanical 2.5" drive inside. It doesn't make a peep.
     
  8. Timl

    Timl New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    No, Windows didn't want to make chkdsk on boot up even single time (I meant that I'm too lazy to restart computer to make a scan, as it needs to be performed during boot-up). Everything works perfectly fine.

    Indeed it makes clicks. It makes exact same clicks as my WD external drive, bought soon after the laptop. Do you think they are both defective some way? (Both work perfectly, just those access lags). I don't think so.
     
  9. TorrentG

    TorrentG Banned

    Joined:
    May 31, 2010
    Messages:
    7,814
    Likes Received:
    372
    #9 TorrentG, Aug 28, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  10. Highwayman

    Highwayman Extraordinary Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    112
    I suppose a long shot but maybe the HD controller drivers are somehow running a generic driver???
     
  11. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
    Microsoft MVP

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    159
    Some drives are pretty noisy, and depending on how they mount, the sounds can reverberate through the case and make a lot a racket. But I agree with TG and if the drive is making a lot of noise, and there is noticeable access lag, it is worth running a diagnostics on it. While it is not common for a brand new drive to be bad or fail early in life, it happens. here is WD's diagnostics for your drive - or at least, you should let chkdsk /r run it's course - even though it could take many hours, or even overnight.

    The problem is not the computer hardware inside, it is the fact gaming is one of the most demanding task you can ask of a computer, and therefore, is one of the most heat generating tasks. Even desktops with multiple large fan support often struggle to keep the electronics supplied with sufficient cool air flow through the case. There is no way a notebook, because of the size restraints, can provide adequate cooling. Additionally, with a PC, you can easily open the side and blast out all the heat trapping dust and dirt. Notebooks, being proprietary, just don't allow the "normal" user access for thorough cleaning. And since notebooks have fans, dust and dirt is sucked in. Dust build up is inevitable. No way around that. While the generated heat may not be enough to cause immediate failure or sudden reboots or freezes, it frequently causes the notebook to toggle down in speed. And long term exposure to high heat, even if not excessive, contributes to component aging.

    Notebooks were designed for, and still are for the road warrior, and best suited for Word and PowerPoint document writing and presentations for work (and school), web surfing, email, and the occasional DVD movie.
     
  12. Timl

    Timl New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've downloaded and ran HDTune. Performing error scan through first 60GB (I'm sure that beyond this point there are no files) found no errors and quick scan through whole HDD also found no errors.
    Here is benchmark screenshot:
    HDTune_Benchmark_WDC_WD5000BEVT-22A0R.
    Should you notice those two dramatic transfer rate falls and one acces-time dot at the bottom: I guess it's connected with my problem.
    The strange thing is:
    health.PNG funkcje.PNG
    For some reason I can't see my HDD health status. Is the reason that my driver doesn't support it? Maybe it is indeed under a generic driver?
     
  13. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
    Microsoft MVP

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    159
    Then you are the only person in the world with such skills - what is your trick? Seriously - you need to let the diagnostics run through completion.
     
  14. Timl

    Timl New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    The trick? Lol. Defragmenter analization shows where is the data located.

    Gonna check WD diagnostics now.

    EDIT:
    Quick test fully passed - no problems. Running extended test now - estimated time 2-3hrs.

    EDIT:
    Done more research and found an interesting report.
    http://daniel.gnoutcheff.name/hd-park/report.pdf
    It's about excessive head parking issue and seems to address my problem.
    This fits my situation perfectly! Lags when game requests to load new graphic or location after like twenty seconds of inactivity. Sadly the report is just about creating a better algorithm for deciding when to park the heads. It doesn't cover how to actually implement this and few useful information relates to Linux.
     
    #14 Timl, Aug 29, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  15. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
    Microsoft MVP

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    159
    It shows where the "stored" data is located. It does not show where temporary data is temporarily stored by the OS and other programs when they are running. If the system is trying to stash them in a bad location, it will cause problems.
     
  16. Timl

    Timl New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Are you sure? I can see all kinds of caches, and also the swap file. And do you think that for some reason my OS wants to store temporary data at the edge of HDD platters? Nevermind - right at the moment I'm performing a full deep HDD scan. We'll see :D

    EDIT:
    Test done! Guess what? Passed!
    both passed.PNG smart.PNG smart 2.PNG

    In my opinion, there is enough evidence that my HDD is not faulty. Anybody disagrees?

    I think that most probably the problem is that head parking issue presented in my previous post. Now - how to disable it or lengthen its timeout? I look forward to any help and also other ideas on what might cause the damn lags. Gonna do more research on myself as well and post a solution if I manage to find any.
     
    #16 Timl, Aug 29, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  17. TorrentG

    TorrentG Banned

    Joined:
    May 31, 2010
    Messages:
    7,814
    Likes Received:
    372
    Is it somehow possible for you to record the "clicks" or "noises" with a microphone and post a link to the audio file? Perhaps send it to Rapidshare if you can then post.

    I'll be able to tell you straight away if the sounds are normal or the evidence of a faulty drive.
     
  18. Timl

    Timl New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sure - tomorrow I'm buying headphones with a microphone and I'll try to record the sounds. Though I'm afraid they can be too quiet, especially when they are being muted by my fan. Still I'll do my best.
     
    #18 Timl, Aug 29, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  19. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
    Microsoft MVP

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    159
    I never said anything about the edge. I don't deal with extremes. You only scanned 60Gb of a 500Gb drive - that hardly left just the edges.

    I am glad you did the full test, nevertheless. That eliminates that as the cause.

    I note one reported cause of constant spin ups is due to a low +12VDC voltage. What is your +12V really at?
     
  20. Timl

    Timl New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess my HDD is supplied with enough power as I've never modified anything inside or even opened the case (my notebook is less than two months old and under guarantee).
     

Share This Page

Loading...