WD Blue running VERY slow under XP SP3

I have a small company and I have to support old software, which often means keeping around machines with an old OS to support legacy software. I recently had the original drive (Toshiba HDDR320102) go out on a Toshiba laptop. Luckily, I have an archive image of that drive.I picked up a WD Blue 1TB drive at Best Buy (WDBMYH0010BNC-NRSN). I installed it into the Toshiba and sucessfully restored the C: partition from the archive using the Paragon HD Manager (v14, same as the archive). I believer the archive software, which runs from a CD, is based on Linux. It uncompressed the image and transferred the files (about 20GB) to the WD Blue C: drive in under an hour. The summary display showed an average speed of over 170Mbps from the external drive (WD Elements 1TB) through the USB2 cable to the new C: drive. Everything checked out with chkdsk and Device Manager showed no issues.

I thought everything was okay until I started to transfer data files to the drive. No matter what I did, transfer usually ran at ~16Mbps, and never exceeded 18Mbps. So a SATA drive, albeit in an old laptop, running at little better than USB1 speeds…? I expected slow, but not SLOW.

Okay, maybe it’s a driver issue for XP? The PC is running SP3. So I tried finding a new driver for the WD Blue but was unsuccessful.

I was able to compare this Toshiba PC to a nearly identical one being used for another project. It too has XP SP3, and an original Toshiba HDD. I tried copying a pair of ISO images (~1GB) from one partition of that drive to another. It completed in about 1.5 minutes.

I did the same test on the Toshiba with the WD Blue drive. It took nearly 9 minutes, which works out to the aforementioned ~16Mbps.

Next thing I did was find an old Seagate 2.5 inch drive and repeat the process. Everything worked the same, except the old Toshiba PC with the ~8 year old Seagage drive runs at expected speeds; it read in 10GB of data files from an external drive at around 150Mbps.

I’m not blaming the WD Blue drive quite yet. Transfers under Linux (booted from CD) seem to be okay, but running under XP SP3, things are simply terrible.

My experience with SATA drives is that they have been very easy to use and replace. I’ve done the same replacement steps with a number of machines without any headaches.

Any help would be welcome.

I suggest that you run a tool to check the S.M.A.R.T. status, and see if it is getting sector errors. WDC has a tool called “Data Lifeguard.” I use “Acronis Drive Monitor” (which is no longer supported by Acronis, but works fine under Windows 10):

If the drive is healthy, it should show show zero “Reallocated sectors count,” zero “Current pending sector count,” and zero “Unorrectable sector count”. If the drive is not healthy, that could cause the slowdown. (Note: if Acronis Drive Monitor says the drive health is “99%” that is very bad – it needs to be 100%!!!)

When a drive has to retry a read of a sector, that process doesn’t make the read take twice as long, it makes it take hundreds of times as long, because the drive has to wait a full revolution of the platter before it can retry the read. So when a drive is getting lots of “soft errors” it can make everything slow down a lot.

Usually, if that is going on, you’ll see that the drive is starting to get some hard errors, and/or it will have relocated some of the bad sectors. Not always, though. I have seen sick drives which lied and claimed they were healthy, when they were actually on death’s door. (I don’t remember whether the lying drives were WD or not.)

It reminded me of a Monty Python bit: “Bring out your dead!” “But I’m not dead! I’m feeling better!”

Also, another suggestion: check the partition alignment. If your old drive was 512-byte sectors, and the new one is “Advanced Format” (4096-byte physical sectors), and the partitions aren’t aligned on 4096-byte boundaries, then everything will be very slow.

I wrote a little Perl program to check partition alignment; here it is:

(Just unzip it into a folder, open a command prompt, cd to that folder, and run the .bat file.)

I have a drive with similar issues under XP, when I format it the speed is normal at the begining but when I start filling it out with files it gets slower. zero bad sectors and everything seems ok but it just doesn’t like ‘copy paste’

I found the WD-Acronis Alignment Tool, booted to it and found that my partitions were all “aligned”. Apparently, Paragon does this by default. Didn’t help.

Customer Support was useless; said that I should upgrade to 7. I let them know that I rely on CAD software that is most stable when run on XP (not my opinion, it’s according to their lead support engineer who wished to remain anonymous).

Heck of a problem, but it’s all JUST SOFTWARE. I’ve run the same WD Blue drive in both an XP SP3 system and a Win7 SP1 system. The former maxes out its write speed at 18Mbps, a little better than USB 1. The latter runs at hundreds of megabits per second. Both were copying 2GB of ISO (~650GB each) files from a WD Elements USB2 drive to the installed C: drive.

The slowness is due to the lack of (a) a driver for XP and/or (b) suitable firmware on the drive itself. I’m a bit surprised that nobody has written this driver, but msWindows is, after all, a closed system.
WD could put in firmware that accommodates either format coming from the OS, but they choose not to do so. Considering the number of drives that they make, the cost of the added firmware would be around 1 penny. It’s much easier just to PO customers.

I’m switching slowly, but surely, to Linux, and keeping Windows systems just to run specific software.

I’ve seen some mention that Seagate does have firmware that accommodates older OSs, but haven’t had a chance to check it out.

The saga continues…

I purchased a brand new Seagate FireCuda 1TB 2.5" drive (ST1000LXA15) from MicroCenter (the last computer shop in Colorado) and repeated my tests.

Since the FireCuda is an SSHD, I copied 10GB to make sure I filled the SSD buffer during the transfer. Again, I used a series of ISO files, around 650MB each.

The Seagate FireCuda transferred the files at 185Mbps. I know this is not great, but keep in mind, this is a 10 year old Toshiba laptop and it was only a mediocre performer when new. AND IT SURE BEATS 18Mbps, the best speed the WD Blue would yield.

Bottom Line: Seagate is still using their SmartAlign ™ Technology and it works. See attached article.

I guess I’m switching to Seagate!

tp615_Seagate-SmartAlign_HDD_AFD_4K_10f.pdf (85.6 KB)

WDBMYH0010BNC is a SATA (internal) drive. Are you copying from an external USB device to the WDBMYH0010BNC, and blaming the WDBMYH0010BNC for the slow speed? If so, you’re almost certainly blaming the wrong thing.

Also, you keep writing “Mbps” (megabits per second) when I suspect you mean “MBps” (megabytes per second). Am I right?

A byte is eight bits, so you can nominally convert between the two measures by dividing or multiplying by eight. However, when speeds or sizes are given in “megabytes per second” they’re usually just counting the data, which means the slowing effect of overhead bits is accounted four; when speeds are given in “megabits per second” the “bits” are often a mix of data bits and overhead bits, which means that the Mbps rate may be nine or ten times the MBps rate, or even higher.

But not only is the “b” ambiguous, so is the “m”. “Mega” can mean times 1,000,000, or it can mean times 1024-squared (= 2^20) (= 1,048,576). Some writers use “M” to mean the larger value, and “m” to mean the smaller value. The SI units use “M” to mean times 1,000,000 and “Mi” to mean times 1,048,576.

The spec’d signal rate for UPS 2.0 is 480 mbps, but the maximum practical throughput for USB 2.0 is only about 40 MBps.

USB 3.0 is spec’d to be about 10.4 times faster, but in the real world it’s nowhere near that. Practical benchmarks tend to run at about 145 MBps. “USB 3.1 Gen 2” is supposed to be twice as fast as that.

When I said 18Mbps, I meant mega bits per second. Yes, not much better than USB1.

I’m a Tech Tool, ie, I know my metric system, and I know my bits, nybbles, bytes, and various word sizes. And I understand MiByte, GiByte, etc.

Tests were done copying large files (a bunch of ISO files) from an external USB2 drive (WD Elements) to the internal SATA drive. Two 650MByte ISO files took just under 10minutes to transfer. That’s sloooowww.

Math: 2 * 650MB = 1.3GB. 1.3GB * 8bits/byte = 10.4Gbits. 10.4Gbits/600s = 17.3Mbit/s.

The laptop I’m doing the eval on is old and predates USB3. When things are really good, xfers from the aforementioned external drive run at a bit over 200Mbitspersecond. I’ve never seen ANY USB2 device transfer at over 250Mbps under similar conditions with any PC in my stable.

Yes, 200 mbps = 25 MBps is probably typical for USB2. I agree that 17 mbps (2.2 MBps) is much slower than it should be. It seems very strange that it is so slow.

How fast is copying one large file to another on the WD Blue SATA drive, and on the Seagate SATA drive (i.e., without involving the USB drive)?

Seagate works, I’m done. WD doesn’t care and I’m not getting paid to evaluate WD drives, so back to the store it shall go.