SOLVED! Caviar Black WD2001FASS -- No More Slow Interactive Performance! (Windows Search)


#1

Hello all -

Here is my system configuration:

Windows XP SP3

Dell Vostro 200

Intel Core2 Duo E4600 @ 2.40GHz

2GB RAM

Internal System Disk (New) WDC WD2001FASS-00W2B0

Integrated Graphics & Audio

Virtual Memory (pagefile) initial 2GB, max 4GB

The system is about two and a half years old.  It came with this internal system hard drive:

WD5000AAKS  (500GB Serial ATA Hard Drive 7200RPM, 16MB Cache)

I kept the system as clean as possible with regular defragging and updated anti-virus and anti-malware.

The old WD5000AAKS internal drive was very fast for interactive performance. For example, I could click on an icon to clear the Internet Explorer cache (with the cache empty) and the process would run so quickly that the display window wouldn’t even show up on the screen. If I clicked the ‘clear IE cache’ icon four times very quickly, I would see the display window for the last two processes for a fraction of a second on the screen.

(I realize this is not any sort of official benchmark, but it is a very good example of the performance I was used to.)

Unfortunately the drive began to run very slowly. Some engineering jobs that used to take 3 minutes to run were taking 30 minutes. I suspected the disk and ran CHKDSK from within Windows with the fix/repair options checked, and it took 3 days 5 hours to complete. It showed 17GB worth of bad clusters on the 500GB disk.

I ordered the 2TB Caviar Black and it arrived a day and a half later. I used my Windows XP installation disk to format the new drive and install the operating system on it. I used Windows Update to bring XP fully up to date. I have scanned with anti-virus and anti-malware and the installation is clean. I have defragged the installation once. I tried running both the Acronis and Paragon WD Align programs but both say that the Caviar Black drive does not support advanced formatting (which appears to be the case, based on what I’ve read in this forum).

I cannot find a driver for the WD2001FASS on the Western Digital website; maybe I’m not looking in the right place. The operating system is using a Microsoft driver version 5.1.2535.0, dated 7/1/2001 (!!). That is so old I’m hoping it is the problem!

THIS IS THE ISSUE:  The “interactive performance” of the new Caviar Black drive is VERY slow, compared to what I was used to with the old 500GB WD5000AAKS system drive.  For example, the ‘clear IE cache’ icon (with the cache empty) now shows the display window on the screen for about 2 to 3 seconds.  This is probably 10 to 20 times slower than with the prior drive.

Here are the CrystalDiskMark results for the new WD2001FASS Caviar Black internal system drive with 1000MB and 100MB test sizes:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I honestly don’t know if these are slow or about right for the WD2001FASS with my system configuration.  The “sustained performance” during engineering jobs seems about what it was–the 3 minutes runs are back to 3 minutes.  (I thought there would be more improvement, because much of the run is waiting on disk.)  But, again, the main issue is the “interactive performance”, which seems very poor.

I can live with the loud seeking and the drive running hotter than some others.  I want the great performance that was the reason I bought this drive.

I’m at a loss of what to try next, other than the “right” driver.  Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Thank you in advance.

(edit: add pagefile size, correct a typo)


#2

SIMPLIFIED DESCRIPTION

 

I paid $185 for the “high performance” 2TB Caviar Black internal hard drive.

 

I could’ve paid $40 for another 500GB Caviar Blue drive, which is what I had.

 

 

For interactive tasks, the old 500GB drive was MUCH faster than the Caviar Black.

 

Why?

Edit: Because I forgot to disable Windows Search!


#3

SOLVED!!

The problem was Windows Search.

After installing XP on the new disk, I had disabled “Indexing Service” (which I believe is the service for the old XP search indexer; not sure why it still loads), but I forgot to disable “Windows Search”.  I stopped and disabled “Windows Search” and the excellent interactive performance is back!  I cannot believe how BADLY Windows Search slows down the interactive performance of the hard drive.

I re-ran CrystalDiskMark and with the 1000MB test size; the eight transfer rates improved an average of 8%.  (I wasn’t specifically looking to improve sustained transfer–the issue for me was interactive performance; but I assumed there would be a small increase in sustained transfer rates as well, and there was.)

The new 2TB Caviar Black drive is also MUCH, MUCH QUIETER now!  Like maybe 1/10th the seek noise, or probably even less than that.  I can’t believe it.

btw, I run the AVG Free anti-virus program, but I had disabled that in all previous tests, and it didn’t make any difference at all in the speed or noise of the Caviar Black system drive.

So to try to be helpful, here is exactly what I did:

I decided to try turning off some services (if you are running XP, you only need to disable Windows Search and maybe Indexing Service):

error reporting
fast user switching
help and support
netmeeting
security center
system restore
windows image acquisition
windows search - THIS WAS THE PROBLEM!

(I reset the seven others to what they were.)

To turn off Windows Search:

Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services, Windows Search, right click, Stop, Properties, Disable

Start, All Programs, Startup, right click “Windows Search”, Shift-Delete the shortcut

Right click the taskbar (bottom of the desktop), Toolbars, uncheck “Windows Search Deskbar”

In Windows Explorer, right click each hard drive, properties, uncheck “Allow Indexing Service…”,
click Apply, select “Apply changes to x:, subfolders and files”, ignore errors in the
“Applying Attributes” window because those files are write protected or in use.  Applying the
attributes takes a few minutes, depending on how many files are on the disk.

I hope this helps out someone else.  I was becoming very unhappy with the Caviar Black internal hard drive, but now I am thrilled with it.