Re: Slow disks.

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On Sun, Dec 26, 2010 at 4:34 PM, Rogier Wolff <R.E.Wolff@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Sun, Dec 26, 2010 at 03:38:51PM -0800, Mark Knecht wrote:
>> First, the drives are 4K sector so it's really important to get them
>> on the right partition boundary. Installing Gentoo requires that we
>> un-tar some large-ish files. IIRC on a 512 byte boundary these drives
>> took 20-30 minutes to do this. On a 4K boundary they took about 1
>> minute. I know that doesn't make sense but those were my numbers, and
>> it's a very high end Intel i7-980x MB so there wasn't any other
>> problem I could find.
> Mark,
> Thanks for your contribution. You're seeing a 20-30 fold performance
> issue, where only about 2x would be expected. So to test this theory
> I'll see if we can evacuate a partition, untar a large-ish file as a
> benchmark, and then see if we can improve that by changing the
> alignment of the partition. (hmm. Maybe we should do things the other
> way around. First find a tar-workload that takes about 1 minute on a
> properly working drive, and then we can wait up to 30 minutes for it
> to finish on the improper setup.).
> Being able to reproduce a problem at will is a great progress to being
> able to solve it!
> Â Â Â ÂRoger.

I hope my memory isn't way off on those numbers. I can certainly
recall that the difference was remarkable and was very easy to

1) Partition the disk with fdisk placing a partition at sector 63, the
typical first address we're given. Untar a Gentoo Stage 3 release
snapshot such as

2) Create a second partition starting at sector 1000 and do it again.

It was day and night.

If it was only the performance difference that would be one thing but
the problem i had with these WD10EARS drives was sometimes they would
just hang for long periods. In a RAID they just got kicked.

The kernel was modern for the time I was building the machines, maybe
7-9 months ago.

Hope this helps,
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