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  1. #1

    My hard disk performance is crap

    I recently set up a Linux server with all new hardware and shipped it across the country to a friend's data center. The testing was fine (other than the fact that this motherboard isn't compatible with Linux's soft reboot--yech) but now I'm having serious performance problems with the hard disk. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    What happens is this: I'll try to load a large file (say 100M... nothing too crazy) and the CPU basically blocks and all other processes on the machine pretty much freeze. It's a web server, so this is a major problem. Here are some things I've dug up, I am happy to post more details if it'll help:

    The motherboard is an Asus P4S800-MX with SiS661 chipset. The hard drive is a Seagate ST3120026A (120G.) Nothing fancy.

    When I start accessing lots of data on the hard drive, the CPU looks like this in top:

    Cpu(s): 1.7% us, 0.0% sy, 0.0% ni, 0.0% id, 98.3% wa, 0.0% hi, 0.0% si

    The load average starts to go up very fast as the website CGIs block for hard disk access.

    # uname -a
    Linux wonderboy #4 Wed Aug 3 21:59:39 EDT 2005 i686 unknown unknown GNU/Linux

    # hdparm -I /dev/hda


    ATA device, with non-removable media
    Model Number: ST3120026A
    Serial Number: 4JT0F8FQ
    Firmware Revision: 8.01
    Used: ATA/ATAPI-6 T13 1410D revision 2
    Supported: 6 5 4 3
    Logical max current
    cylinders 16383 65535
    heads 16 1
    sectors/track 63 63
    CHS current addressable sectors: 4128705
    LBA user addressable sectors: 234441648
    LBA48 user addressable sectors: 234441648
    device size with M = 1024*1024: 114473 MBytes
    device size with M = 1000*1000: 120034 MBytes (120 GB)
    LBA, IORDY(can be disabled)
    bytes avail on r/w long: 4 Queue depth: 1
    Standby timer values: spec'd by Standard, no device specific minimum
    R/W multiple sector transfer: Max = 16 Current = ?
    Recommended acoustic management value: 128, current value: 0
    DMA: mdma0 mdma1 mdma2 udma0 udma1 udma2 udma3 udma4 *udma5
    Cycle time: min=120ns recommended=120ns
    PIO: pio0 pio1 pio2 pio3 pio4
    Cycle time: no flow control=240ns IORDY flow control=120ns
    Enabled Supported:
    * READ BUFFER cmd
    * WRITE BUFFER cmd
    * Host Protected Area feature set
    * Look-ahead
    * Write cache
    * Power Management feature set
    Security Mode feature set
    SMART feature set
    * FLUSH CACHE EXT command
    * Mandatory FLUSH CACHE command
    * Device Configuration Overlay feature set
    * 48-bit Address feature set
    SET MAX security extension
    * General Purpose Logging feature set
    * SMART self-test
    * SMART error logging
    Master password revision code = 65534
    not enabled
    not locked
    not frozen
    not expired: security count
    not supported: enhanced erase
    HW reset results:
    CBLID- above Vih
    Device num = 0 determined by CSEL
    Checksum: correct

    # hdparm -i /dev/hda


    Model=ST3120026A, FwRev=8.01, SerialNo=4JT0F8FQ
    Config={ HardSect NotMFM HdSw>15uSec Fixed DTR>10Mbs RotSpdTol>.5% }
    RawCHS=16383/16/63, TrkSize=0, SectSize=0, ECCbytes=4
    BuffType=unknown, BuffSize=8192kB, MaxMultSect=16, MultSect=off
    CurCHS=16383/16/63, CurSects=16514064, LBA=yes, LBAsects=234441648
    IORDY=on/off, tPIO={min:240,w/IORDY:120}, tDMA={min:120,rec:120}
    PIO modes: pio0 pio1 pio2 pio3 pio4
    DMA modes: mdma0 mdma1 mdma2
    UDMA modes: udma0 udma1 udma2 udma3 udma4 *udma5
    AdvancedPM=no WriteCache=enabled
    Drive conforms to: ATA/ATAPI-6 T13 1410D revision 2:

    * signifies the current active mode

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer Nerderello's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    North East England
    try disabling the smart feature (in BIOS), this may help a little.


    Use Suse 10.1 and occasionally play with Kubuntu
    Also have Windows 98SE and BeOS

  3. #3
    On mine I disabled bus mastering (it says this boards bus mastering is only for windows), man there are too many hybrid, windows only software/hardware devices these days. Bus mastering should be hardware only! And yeah, the performance is crapola. This setting gave quite a boost,I have found a few times that ata based bus mastering or RAID devices perform very badly in linux. The only way to get true disk performance is to try to avoid those, the easiest way is to get SCSI, or turn those features off if possible.

  4. $spacer_open

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