[Alug] Hard Drive performance

Ian Bell ruffrecords at uklinux.net
Tue Sep 17 07:44:02 BST 2002

I mentioned in an earlier post my move from a P!! igig PC to a new dell 
laptop with a P4 1.6 gig and how with rh7.3 it seemed slower than the old 
system.  I have now investigated this a little further.

I installed rh7.2 becuase I suspected KDE3 was slowing things down but 
although the slimmer KDE2 is a little faster it is still nowhere near as 
responsive as the old system.  So I have played around a bit with hdparm to 
see if hard drive performance is a factor.  hdparm reports a cache speed of 
over 200MBytes/sec (basically the memeory bus speed) but the cached disk read 
speed is a mere 3MBytes/sec.  dma is not enebaled by default but if i use 
hdparm to enable it, cached disk read speed jumps to over 20Mbytes/sec.  Set 
like this, applications load about twice as fast.

Then I tried all the PIO modes but this mad eno difference.  So I started to 
set dma modes, starting from 0, but this froze the system and forced me to 
hard reset.  So my questions are:

1.  How well should a basic install be able to automagically select good disk 
drive parameters

2.  Where are these stored and actioned?

3.  How do I find the best settings for my drive other then very tedious 
trial and arror?



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