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  • EpicForever
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Question about disk performance while playing
My whole music collection is placed on WD30EZRX HDD - Western Digital Green Power Drive with 4k physical sectors, SATA 3 interface and 64 MB cache. I know that WD Green and all power saving oriented HDDs doesn't have good performance when compared with regular HDD series (like Blue series for Western Digital) but is it possible that they simply suck? My problem is that when I play music with foobar and simultanously copy from or copy to my "music" hard drive, playback is often interrupted. Animations like musical spectrum or spectrogram stutter all the time. When they start stuttering I hear no sound - there's silence while it happens. After few seconds animations start working properly for another several seonds and I hear the sound again. After that everything starts stuttering again. This happens for about 2-4 minutes. After that it seems that sound starts working correctly. Is it normal foobar behaviour on such hard drives? I know for sure that it happens when I copy large files (like 10, 80, 120 GB), I'm not sure whether it hapens for much smaller files like mp3s.
Configuration details:
WD30EZRX HDD is connected to Gigabyte's GA-890GPA-UD3H motherboard using SATA 3 cable (bundled with MB). Motherboard is based on AMD RS880D/SB850 chipset. I use latest drivers for that chipset (but it doesn't matter what version was used - it happened since the very beginning). HDD is working in AHCI mode and ESP is enabled for it (it can be hot plugged/unplugged). Foobar is using DirectSound output (using integrated Realtek HD Audio device) and it has 2500 ms buffer set. By the way - what is the default/recommended value for buffer? This setting was made years ago with different foobar version and for different hardware configuration. Other drives on my computer are all WD drives - WD1002FAEX for system and WD20EADS for other storage purposes. Does my hardware sucks so badly that it's normal?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

  • dhromed
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #1
I'm currently copying a 12GB movie from my WD EARS drive to another one at ~85MB/s, while playing some music. It's problem-free, as expected.

Have you used a latency checker tool yet? You come here often enough to know that this is the first thing to do when faced with interruptions.

If you're on Windows 7 or 8, LatencyMon is a better bet than DPC Latency checker, I'm told.

Default buffering is 1000ms, by the way.

  • EpicForever
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #2
Both LatencyMon and DPC checker mostly show that everything is OK. LatencyMon sometimes shows that something isn't OK, but indicates that the problem is with some microsoft windows core drivers related to network connectivity... The only situation when something is apparently bad with DPCs occurs when I use PATA DVD-RAM drive - mostly when I eject CD/DVD, rarely when I insert it.

  • Propheticus
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #3
Buggy W-Lan drivers are infamous for causing DPC spikes. Try updating them.

  • EpicForever
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #4
I got no W-LAN devices on my desktop. As I said before, drivers that are reported as let's say "being bit too slow" are microsoft core drivers - like winsock or something similar (I don't remember what exactly it was).

EDIT:
I checked again. That was tcpip.sys signed by Microsoft... Other driver that sometimes causes similar reports is SCSIPORT.sys - also signed by Microsoft.
  • Last Edit: 08 April, 2013, 06:41:51 PM by EpicForever

  • tedsmith
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #5
I use external USB disks: e.g. The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex or the Seagate GoFlex Desk.  The FreeAgent is slow USB powered and very portable drive.  The GoFlex Desk is a high performance USB3 (tho I'm using it on a shared USB2 along with my all of my other USB stuff.)

Anyway I have my output buffers set to 16 seconds for foobar2000 and only rarely have any audio hickups or animation pauses: only at midnight (for some reason) and the very rare times when the disk get hopelessly behind (say doing a backup, a defrag, a CD rip and playing high res music.) FWIW all of the normal foobar2000 output drivers work the same in this regard.  Also FWIW I'm on a Windows 7 64bit laptop.

Do run LatencyMon or DPC Latency checker: I do get one or two second hickups on my network work cards with stock MS drivers even when I'm just playing music off of local drives (I assume it's Scrobbing, lyrics downloads, etc.)  If my foobar2000 buffering is too small this is a real problem.


  • mjb2006
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #6
Shot in the dark: if you configure your library (in fb2k) to be empty, no folders monitored, does it still happen?

  • EpicForever
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #7
@mjb2006 - yes. I set up media library about half a year ago, maybe even less. So it happened long time before I tried ML.
Few other details: all my drives are in AHCI mode and I'm using Win7 x64 SP1. Both Green Power drives (WD20EADS and WD30EZRX) have ESP enabled (are hot pluggable). Even before, when WD20EADS was "music" drive and I got no WD30EZRX I got similar problems. LatencyMon shows that resolving hard page faults takes definitely tooo long on my PC.
Testing whether the same happens when music is placed on WD1002FAEX will be bit problematic for me but I think I'm going to do this whithin next few days.

EDIT:
But I'll check that Media Library thing in first place. I noticed that I copied these files mostly into ML watched directory and that were mostly .avi files, which are recognized by one of my input plugins (foo_input_ds by Haali). Also .iso files can be problematic - as they are recognized by foo_input_dvda... Hm... That must be investigated. Anyway it will be still stramge to me that simultanous copying, Media Library scanning and playing music can cause foobar even stop responding.
  • Last Edit: 09 April, 2013, 01:12:33 AM by EpicForever

  • Case
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Developer (Donating)
Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #8
This handy little component from FauxFaux should fix your playback problems: foo_disccache. Don't mind the spelling disc, it's for disks. Those WD Green drives are very slow in some situations, but I recall mostly when dealing with small files.

  • EpicForever
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #9
LatencyMon is highly unreliable. After several clicks, HDD content opening, copying small files or even just after several minutes of doing nothing/playing music it shows that my PC is unable to do anything. Everything is RED AS BLOOOOED... I miss there only pentagrams and inverted † . If its as bad as LatencyMons says, then why my PC has no problems with capturing uncompressed UYVY video via USB grabber and playing music simultaneously without drops? At least as long as video is captured to other hard drive than "music" HDD. Of course there are 2 drivers that couse these "problems" - scsiport.sys and tcpip.sys. To "upgrade" them I would need to upgrade to windows 8... Or at least Windows 7 SP2. I need to check that ML thing and avi/iso files.

  • tedsmith
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #10
LatencyMon is highly unreliable. After several clicks, HDD content opening, copying small files or even just after several minutes of doing nothing/playing music it shows that my PC is unable to do anything. Everything is RED AS BLOOOOED... I miss there only pentagrams and inverted † . If its as bad as LatencyMons says, then why my PC has no problems with capturing uncompressed UYVY video via USB grabber and playing music simultaneously without drops? At least as long as video is captured to other hard drive than "music" HDD. Of course there are 2 drivers that couse these "problems" - scsiport.sys and tcpip.sys. To "upgrade" them I would need to upgrade to windows 8... Or at least Windows 7 SP2. I need to check that ML thing and avi/iso files.

I think it might be the other way around: LatencyMon IS showing you what's wrong.  FWIW video interrupts often take priority over audio (and almost everything else) so video performance does not imply audio performance on most PCs.  I may be just paranoid but I think going to Windows 8 for this problem may be throwing the baby out with the bath water.  RE tcpip.sys: perhaps the manufacturer of your network hardware has a more reliable set of drivers (not likely, but worth trying.)

  • EpicForever
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #11
My network hardware manufacturer can not replace Microsoft's tcpip.sys driver, which is Windows driver providing general networking functionality  same goes to scsiport.sys. AMD can update their amdsata.sys, but not scsiport.sys . In opposition to LatencyMon, DPC Latency Checker shows exactly what I hear. When I open CD tray in my PATA DVD-RAM drive I hear droput nearly every time and it is showed in DPClat. When I disconnect SATA HDD I see big latency, when I disconnect some USB drives I see some noticeable latencies - and this is sometimes audible. So there is corelation between DPClat display and sound. But there is no correlation between LatencyMon and actual sound. Accordingly to LatencyMon, every 2-10 seconds scsiport.sys is doing something terrifying... And there should be no sound at all. Please...
After tests it seems that it's just a problem with overall HDD and system (hardware) performance. And is connected with Media Library scan, but only a little. It is more connected with overall system load. When I copy over multiple HDDs, create DVDs from captured UYVY avi's, shrink ready DVDs to DVD-5 and play music simultaneusly then I it is more likely to happen. Even if I manage not to perform simultaneous operations on the same HDD (except listening to the music from WD30EZRX while reading/writing AVI or ISO to/from it. When there is just one file copied to "music" HDD then mostly nothing bad happens - seeking is bit slower.
Conclusion. AMD sucks. Gigabyte sucks. Green Power HDDs sucks most of them.

EDIT:
And small remark - while capturing analog video, more important interrups comes from data transfer via USB (bus acessing/releasing) and storing it on HDD. Video interrupt are maybe executed for displaying video on preview, but this preview is mostly hidden or even disabled. While such capturing I got no droputs and DPClat was turtned on all the time. Latencies were about 500-800us, rarely about 1300us. Sound was just OK. I haven't tried LatencyMon while doing this, as I expected to see just sea of blood. Seems like LatencyMon is and audiophille and don't like any other interrupts than soundcard interrupts, especially network related and mass storage related. Just like regular audiophilles.
  • Last Edit: 09 April, 2013, 03:38:00 PM by EpicForever

Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #12
I have noticed this behavior on my HDD as well but it's not limited to audio/video. Opening any file will occasionally cause the system to "hang" until the entire file loads.

I've managed to reduce this behavior by upgrading one of my storage drives to SDD. My FLAC storage drive is still a mechanical HDD and the behavior persists on that drive.

Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #13
HDDs are bad with parallel access, especially when you are accessing two or more files that are stored at different ends of the HDD and especially small files. I have the same thing happen on my WD HDD when under heavy access, for example, copying a lot of files from a faster drive. Increasing foobar's output buffer (Preferences -> Output -> Buffer length) helps.
  • Last Edit: 09 April, 2013, 07:34:21 PM by ChronoSphere

  • tedsmith
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #14
To "upgrade" them I would need to upgrade to windows 8... Or at least Windows 7 SP2. I need to check that ML thing and avi/iso files.

A shot in the dark: how about the KB979223 hotfix? http://support.microsoft.com/kb/979223

It has a fix (which includes an updated tcpip.sys) for a memory leak which may cause performance problems...

  • EpicForever
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #15
I requested download. But generally I am installing Windows Updates regularly.

  • carpman
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  • Developer
Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #16
Just a FYI, EpicForever since you're using AMD + Gigabyte combination, here's an email I sent to Gigabyte related to audio glitches + Easy Tune 6 (may be worth noting):

Quote
Are Gigabyte aware that EasyTune6 (tested on GA-970A-DS3 and GA-78LMT-USB3 boards) with Win7 x64 has a very pronounced glitching effect on audio? This has been mentioned around the web: example (http://sc123a.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/how-to-fix-audio-issues-and-crashes-on.html) "After I uninstalled ET6 and restarted the computer, the audio popping was gone". You don't have to uninstall it; I use it to manage fans (and ET6 has to load - but once loaded I have to exit to ensure the very annoying glitches don't occur). This issue has occurred on every fresh install of Win 7 x64 on 3 separate recent builds, all using Gigabyte boards, all coming with ET6. Some builds have PCI sound cards, some use onboard sound -- always the same result : remove ET6 and you get glitchless audio. Please pass this on to those responsible for ET6. I can see many people returning their boards because of what they assume to be a hardware problem (I nearly did), when the real culprit was the bundled software, specifically EasyTune 6. For me it's been the one area GigaByte has really underperformed. This really needs fixing; please fix it.

C.
PC = TAK + LossyWAV  ::  Portable = Opus (130)

  • EpicForever
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #17
I don't use such tools. For me all that candy looking applications are useless. I installed EasyTunes 2 times - first when it was in version 4 and I got old Athlon and 2nd by mistake, when I clicked "install all" on my current MB. That was serious mistake. I never did this mistake again.
  • Last Edit: 10 April, 2013, 11:52:46 AM by EpicForever

  • Case
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  • Developer (Donating)
Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #18
EpicForever, you didn't reply anything about my suggestion to use foo_disccache component. I'd like to hear how it failed to fix the problem for you.

  • EpicForever
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #19
OK, I've tested it a while ago. It doesn't help. I've started copying of 130 GB .avi to other disk. Then I've made a change into ML config - this required rescan (searching for new defined file type). I started playback. Foobar's UI (Default One) started being slo o oo o ow. Which means that music stil stutters at least at the begining. Animations (Musical Spectrum and VU Meter) tend to stall for a moment, main window ocassionally reports unresponsiveness. Everything after installation of recommended plugin. When I change track manually I have to wait at least 2-4 seconds for UI response after sound starts. I mean - I have to wait for changing focused track, changing the |> position on playlist and changing displayed waveform (from waveform seekbar). All waveforms from tested playlist are already cached and don't need to be scanned again, so foo_waveseekbar shouldn't cause this problem. Sometimes I got even about 5-10 seconds of pure silence after I change track. Also seeking in track is sometimes (fortunately only sometimes) slo o oo ow (sound stutters after picking point on seekbar). I assume it's just WD Green because renaming files witn Windows Explorer on 2nd partition that is placed on the same HDD that my "Music" partition is also slow - names are changed with 2-3 sec delay.

EDIT:
But I must say I see some difference between having foo_diskcache installed or not - without diskcache music stutters more often but I don't get "not responding" message on main window. With that plugin installed I got that messages, UI still stalls, but stuttering occurs rarely. Stuttering is superseeded by longer delays - for both sound and UI responsiveness. I noticed that delays are longer mostly when playing is in Shuffle mode and there are tracks that meet my skipping query. Skipping is just MUCH slower when disk is on heavy load and diskcache is installed. These are my impressions, I hope they're consistent with reality  .
  • Last Edit: 13 April, 2013, 04:25:09 PM by EpicForever

  • Sandrine
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Question about disk performance while playing
Reply #20
For me foo_diskcache interferes with SACD ISO playback... somehow the tracks are blocked from tagging while playing when the component is running.