Seriously: How long to format an ATA100 40gig harddrive??

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Vince Maskeeper, Mar 1, 2002.

  1. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Ok.

    I have a Seagate Berricuda ATA100 40 gig drive in my HTPC. I have had some issues with the system and so have experimented with installing and re-installing several different OS.

    Each time I've done a full format, to clear the previous install and insure a fresh install from scratch. Each time I format the drive, it probably more than 1-2 hours.

    I didn't think much of that, the only other large drive I have is an 18 gig and although I have formatted it in a while, I recalled that it took a pretty decent chunk of time, probably the better part of a half hour.

    However- I'm helping a friend build a machine and he purchased the exact same ATA 100 Berricuda 40gig drive that I have. When we were installing his OS yesterday, I swear to god his drive formatted in under 15 minutes. This is the same drive I have- same capacity- same everything. His took like 1/10th the time mine has taken.

    So how long should this take? If it shouldn't take 2 hours- what would you think is causing mine to behave this way? If it should take 2 hours-- why did his manage to finish in a matter of minutes?

    Anyone? Help?

    -V
     
  2. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    PS: I started formatting about 20 minutes ago, just checked: 12% done.

    -Vince
     
  3. Bob Hill

    Bob Hill Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't know about that 15 minutes to format but a larger drive like the one you are talking about should take about 45-50 minutes to format the whole drive as one partition. My recommendation to you is start it formatting and go watch a movie.
     
  4. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Vince - 1-2 hours to format a 40G HD doesn't sound unreasonable. Formatting my 9G drive takes >20 minutes.

    But there are two different methods of formatting. One is a full format. The entire is disk processed, essentially erasing every last bit of data formerly stored there. The other is a "fast" format, where the disk's "roadmap" (telling it where all the files are, how big they are, etc.) is reset, but the data isn't actually erased. The fast format is much faster -- I'd guess that your friend's 100G HD was fast formatted.

    You can see this simply by formatting a floppy disk - do the "fast" method, then the "full". The full format will be substantially longer.
     
  6. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    Quick format takes only a few seconds no matter how large the drive is so I doubt the friend's drive was quick formatted.

    The risk with using quick format on a new drive is that the drive could have some bad spots that a full format would find.

    But I'd take that risk. I'd use quick format, install the OS and maybe some applications, and then do a full disk surface scan later.
     
  7. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    The strange part is I executed both formats myself- both from the same win98 second editions cd, both with the same command line of simply Format C:

    I didn't ask for a quick format-- and used the same exact cd on the same drive type.

    Puzzling.

    -V

    PS: Now 1 hour 50 minutes into format, 72% done.
     
  8. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    A full format probably does not erase the data on the disk. (Otherwise, there would be no market for all those disk wipe utilities.) What it does do is try to read every sector to make sure it is readable. If not, the sector/cluster is marked bad so it will not be used.

    A good OS would not allow a quick format on a drive that has not been previously full-formatted by that OS. The quick format wipes the root directory and removes all the allocated cluster chains, but should retain the locations of all the bad clusters.

    Going back to the original problem, 15 minutes sounds about right for a fast 40GB drive. It's reading the whole drive, overwhelming the driver buffer, so the sustained transfer rate matters. You end up around 40MB/sec, well under the ATA100's 100MB/sec.

    If it's taking 8 times as long, that's 5MB/sec, down in the good old PIO range. It could also be one of the ancient non-Ultra DMAs. I'd try verifying that the drive is using UDMA100, either with Windows (maybe something off the Device Manager) or a third-party utility (maybe Sandra). Also see if the BIOS has anything to say about it.

    //Ken
     
  9. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    I could be wrong but I think you're simply not going to get DMA from DOS mode. DOS mode doesn't have a chip-specific IDE controller driver, it relies on the BIOS to talk to the drive. The speed in DOS mode is probably the same if not slower than Windows in Safe Mode.

    That still doesn't explain the discrepancy. I'd guess it's something different in the BIOS between the two computers.
     
  10. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  11. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Vince,
    I just used that exact same HD to build my dad's PC (down to the model # you listed). It didn't take me that long to format with Windows XP (clean install) and I did the full NTFS format, not the quick format option. It did take a while, maybe betwee 50-60 mins, but nowhere near 2 hours, let alone 3!
    Hope your drive is okay. Don't know what could have caused such a slow format. For the record, my dad's system was a P4 1.8 GHz w/ 512MB RDRAM and an Intel 850MV board, maybe that might make the format go faster? [​IMG]
     
  12. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    A-HA!

    Turns out that despite ordering a 40 gig drive, this one is a 60 gig. I checked my invoice- and the one I was supposed to get is the 40... but this is a 60.

    I guess I never noticed.

    Might explain the extra format time- although I'm still baffled how I did his 40 gig in 20 minutes.

    -V
     
  13. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    When I do a regular format, my 40 GB takes minutes. But when I do a low-level format it takes about 4 hours.
     
  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Well, I was completely wrong :b But I learned a few things [​IMG]
     
  15. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    I noticed a big increase in DOS format time when I changed by IBM drives to Seagate ATA IVs last year. Though the Seagates are bigger drives, the increase in DOS format time just didn't add up. I'm talking HOURS. Formatting in Windows (98 or 2000) was fine, much, much, much faster.
     
  16. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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