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Old 08-02-2010, 11:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Busy hard drive

Hey everyone,

Not sure if I'm posting this in the right section, but this could definitely be considered 'tweaking PC performance,' I think.

Here's my issue: I've been running Moo0 System Monitor on my XP Pro system to analyse how my computer uses it's system resources. My computer has been quite slow and I was surprised to find that it was not because I had too little memory or because my cpu was being overloaded. It looks like a hard drive issue.

Any time that I open a new program (Google Chrome, say), my HDD usage will spike to 100% for a few seconds and creates a bottleneck. During this time the computer is running slowly. It takes the program probably a good 20-30 seconds to load and things are just very laggy and sluggish until the program is fully loaded. Doing just about anything on my computer will result in these spikes and slow things down. I would like for things to be more fluid, but I'm not sure how to approach this problem.

My hard drive is connected to my MB via IDE rather than SATA. Could this be the problem? Also the rpm is only 5400, although I don't suspect that would cause an issue like that alone. If it's not a hardware/connectivity issue, do you know of any software that is designed to optimize hard drive performance?

I appreciate any help here. Thanks!!
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Busy hard drive

5400 RPM, IDE, that there shows it is a bit on the slow side.... Have you defragmented your hard drive and ran checkdisk?
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Busy hard drive

The hard drive isn't very fragmented, so I don't think that would help much. I've also run checkdisk which found no errors. I built this computer, probably 6 years ago or so. That was the last computer I built and I haven't kept up with hard drives since then, so I wasn't sure if 5400 RPM on IDE was completely archaic by now.

Could it possibly make a noticeable difference by buying, say, a 7200 SATA HD?
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Busy hard drive

A 7200 RPM SATA drive would help quite a bit compared to your current drive IMO.
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Busy hard drive

Thanks c0rr, I'll have to look into doing that. I just discovered that my hard drive is actually more fragmented than I originally thought, so I am performing defrag to see if that helps. It makes sense that there would be spikes in hard drive activity when a program is being called, but does anyone know if it should be spiking up to 100% usage? Is it typical to expect that?
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Busy hard drive

Yes, that sounds about right for a fragmented drive.
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Busy hard drive

It is typical for that to happen if the drive is older, and is heavily fragmented, the drive will run at full capacity for a longer duration trying to pull the files it is trying to find.
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