Time required to format 160GB drive?

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Eric2048

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I installed a new Maxtor 160GB drive into a new HP 780n PC (Pentium 4, 1.8Ghz). I installed the drive as a slave drive on the primary cable, so it uses the controller on the motherboard, not the Maxtor PCI card.

Win XP recognized the new drive, initialized it, and started to format it. But it has taken 16 hours to format the first 10% of the drive! At this rate it will take 5 more days. Is something wrong? Could this just be a Master/slave or Cable Select jumper problem, or do you think I need to use the Maxtor card to get the correct format speed?

What format speeds have you seen? This rate (263KB/second) seems slow for a new hard drive on a fast PC.

Thanks
Eric
 

Bytes Back

Ex Police Chief
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I've formatted more drives than I can count now, and most of them are fairly quick, However I have come accross a WD 10Gig that took about the time your describing.

I tried chaging IDE channels, running with no other drives, poking about the BIOS and nothing made any difference.

Why don't you boot from an XP disk and choose quick format. Once the drives up and running see how fast it is.

In the case of the WD 10Gig it ran just as any other drive.
 

sparky

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Jan 6, 2002
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is there something about mobo's not supporting 160 gb(yes i know it sounds stupid).read somewhere that the current limit is 138gb read it in a mag somewhere ..........stay tuned and ill see if i can find it
 

Bytes Back

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From the Maxtror website

Poor or slow write performance on my ATA hard drive.

Procedure for adjusting write verify modes via the WVSET Program.

Answer
Maxtor hard drives are normally shipped with the "write verify" feature enabled. The "write verify" feature is enabled to provide protection against any particles that may have moved caused by mishandling. This feature is enabled only for the first 10 power cycles after which the feature will be disabled. A power cycle is the normal shutdown operations of the computer, including turning the power off.

"Write Verify" performs a Read of the data just written to the hard drive and validates the data via the Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC), providing additional assurance that the data written to the hard drive was written correctly. When Write Verify is enabled, the WRITE performance of the drive is affected as a read occurs for each write. When disabled WRITE performance is improved as, a read is not performed for each write.

When performing benchmark operations the "write verify" feature should be disabled to insure valid comparisons to other products that do not offer this capability in their product.

To enable, disable, or set occurrence values(number of power on/off cycles) for the "Write Verify" operation please refer to the WVSET Program.
 
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insaNity

Guest
cool. Interesting info Bytes Back. But I still don't think that accounts for it. It wouldn't be THAT slow. I mean, it would take him almost 1 week to format his drive...that is beyond the joke.

I'd still like to know about this "maxtor pci card" and the answer to my own question.
 
E

Eric2048

Guest
Ok. problem solved. I had to reopen the PC and install the Maxtor PCI ATA controller card. Win XP then recognized that new PCI card, took the drivers that came on the Maxtor CD, and after another reboot Win XP saw the new drive connected to the PCI card. It saw the full size (~153GB after overhead) and allowed me to format it in about 2 hours.

The PCI card (and ATA/133 cable) came in the Maxtor box. Specifically, I am talking about Maxtor model #4G160J8 (see maxtor.com). It is a 5400RPM 160GB 3.5" internal drive, with 5.25" mounting bracket, ATA cable, and PCI card. The instructions could be better, but things worked out. ($299 at CompUsa) Oh - one other thing, the PCI card has connectors for 2 ATA cables, and the supplied ATA cable has both a master and slave connector, so I think you could add up to 4 new drives using this card (640GB!), if you can find space for them in your PC.

I don't think it was the write verify thing. I think it was some horrible interrupt or bus conflict, or maybe the motherboard's hard drive controller was throwing away extended format commands that it did not recognize. During the (first) format operation, other Win XP operations were running 10X to 20X slower than they should, which indicates something was really wrong.

Eric
 

Qumahlin

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Just so everyone knows in the future sparky was right...the HD limit on current motherboards is 138 GB...if your harddrive is larger then 130 GB it will not format correctly even if you make it through the slow format. the PCI cards that come with the drives have a controller on them that know how to correctly address the higher sectors of the drive so that everything works fine :)
 
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insaNity

Guest
ah ok thanks
so I'll assume all future mothboards will support it and not need a new card.

It's about time they pushed the limit RIGHT up rather than doing it in small leaps. It makes me think it's deliberate to sell more hardware.
 

scriptasylum

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Joined
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If he were to partition that drive into, say, 2 80Gig partitions, would that curcumvent the problem?

Also, if you are using FAT32, wouldn't it be wise to partition into smaller chunks anyway because of all the wasted space due to the larger cluster size?
 
R

Rock

Guest
If he were to partition that drive into, say, 2 80Gig partitions, would that curcumvent the problem?
no, unfortunately

it takes me about 20 mins to fdisk and format a 120gb raid0 partition
 

Qumahlin

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no it would not circumvent the problem. he would still need the maxtor pci card because his bios CANNOT address the higher sectors. his 160gb drive would only be formatted to 138 gig max and it would have severe read and write errors
 

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