HDD clicking on X41T - cache problem on the drive?

X2/X3/X4x series specific matters only
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DavidNZ
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HDD clicking on X41T - cache problem on the drive?

#1 Post by DavidNZ » Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:24 pm

Via jkontherun.com:

http://www.tabletpcbuzz.com/forum/topic ... hichpage=1

Interesting discussion on the problems that some have been having with clicking 1.8" hard drives. Some are thinking that it has to do with a 0kb data cache on the drive rather than that stated 2MB. Some have been putting in calls to IBM/Lenovo already. Worth a read.

I might run Drive Fitness Test on the new HDD on my X to see what the cache is.
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#2 Post by Yotam » Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:55 pm

This is a VERY interesting issue. I have never thought about that. I was sure the HDD has a bit of cache. (I'll try the test program ASAP).

But I have some questions:
1. Does IBM/Lenovo have any responsibility to replace these drives? Is it a mass-defect or just a known property of these HDD?
2. Is it a problem of the tablet series only, or all X4x series? AFAIK X40/X41 use this HD too.

Very strange, very interesting. If it is solved, it may really improve the HD performance.
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#3 Post by Yotam » Mon Sep 26, 2005 4:35 pm

Ok. Done the test, and I have 0KB cache size too.

On tabletpcbuzz one wrote that lenovo are aware to this problem and replace the HDD if you ask for, and another one wrote the lenovo rep. told him that the HD ticks and no-cache is just fine and should be like that.
One there even got new HDD and says it doesn't tick.

What are you saying?
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gst
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#4 Post by gst » Mon Sep 26, 2005 5:55 pm

i don't think that this is the cause of the problem. if the disks really had no cache you would notice this performance wise. the performance doesn't seem to be that worse. also various reports indicate that the clicking noise disappears if you disable the power managment on the drive (e.g. see the section about the clicking harddrive on http://demod.foosel.net/linux/thinkpad_x41) - so this seems to be the noise of the drive parking the head.

by the way: according to thinkwiki.org the X41 includes a SATA harddisk (while the X40 includes a PATA disk). is this really a SATA disk (i thought that the X40 and X41 are using the same disks?). or is it just a SATA controller with a SATA-PATA bridge for the PATA disk?

/gst

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#5 Post by beq » Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:26 pm

gst wrote:by the way: according to thinkwiki.org the X41 includes a SATA harddisk (while the X40 includes a PATA disk). is this really a SATA disk (i thought that the X40 and X41 are using the same disks?). or is it just a SATA controller with a SATA-PATA bridge for the PATA disk?
That's very interesting, can anyone with X40 and X41 confirm this?

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#6 Post by bhtooefr » Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:36 pm

Two HDDs listed in the X41 HMM are the Hitachi DK14FA-20 and the DK13FA-40. These appear to be part of the C4K40 series, which are 1.8" ATA-5 (read: PATA) drives.

So, it looks like it's an adaptor chip...
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#7 Post by johnd04 » Mon Sep 26, 2005 11:13 pm

Can someone with an X40 or X41 (non-tablet) run the hard drive test and see if their hard disk has a cache?

The Drive Fitness Test can be found here http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/download.htm

You'll need to make a bootdisk or boot CD

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#8 Post by DavidNZ » Tue Sep 27, 2005 3:59 am

X40 here with a HDD that was manufactured in July 2005 (original was removed and returned 3 weeks ago due to early signs of failure).

2048kb cache according to DFT.

Anyone with a 41T run the DFT?
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#9 Post by BillMorrow » Tue Sep 27, 2005 4:17 am

FWIW, my X41 tablet with the 60gig drive (as well as the spare drive i just got for it) both show zero cache..

no clicking at all but it does have the jumpy mouse pointer for a minute or two after a cold boot..
which is indicative of something slow and in this case the slow thing is the HDD..

interesting thread in tabletPCbuzz forum..

SUBSEQUENT EDIT:
in looking at the TABook and the hitachi web site i see NOTHING relating to a cache on the 1.8 inch drives OR the two 2.5 inch drive spec sheets i looked at..
now we ALL know that there is a cache on the 2.5 inch travelstar drives and what idiot would design a 4200RPM drive without a cache..?? :evil:

so it appears to be a problem.. :?

and thinking about this and other threads like this (fan noise, heat issues and the like) this might be why ibm and now lenovo do not like me.. :shock:
Last edited by BillMorrow on Tue Sep 27, 2005 4:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#10 Post by gst » Tue Sep 27, 2005 4:23 am

DavidNZ wrote:X40 here with a HDD that was manufactured in July 2005 (original was removed and returned 3 weeks ago due to early signs of failure).

2048kb cache according to DFT.

Anyone with a 41T run the DFT?
my drive was manufactured in july 2005 too and i don't have any problems with the mousepointer (at least i didn't notice them). i'm currently not able to use the hard drive test as i don't have any external drive to boot from here. i can check it in a couple of days.

an occasional clicking is still there when using the drive but i don't think that it is disturbing.

/gst

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#11 Post by gst » Tue Sep 27, 2005 4:29 am

update: i just tested it with hdtune (http://www.hdtune.com/) which you can use in windows without having to reboot.

the buffer is displayed with a size of 0kb. the smart status shows failed on "seek error rate". (this doesn't seem to be a real problem as others have reported it too and CHC shows the value as OK).

DavidNZ: what cache size is displayed by hdtune for your drive? does it show the smart error too?

/gst

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#12 Post by gst » Tue Sep 27, 2005 4:48 am

BillMorrow wrote:SUBSEQUENT EDIT:
in looking at the TABook and the hitachi web site i see NOTHING relating to a cache on the 1.8 inch drives OR the two 2.5 inch drive spec sheets i looked at..
http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/c4k40/c4k40.htm:

"Data buffer (MB): 2" but with the note: "Space reserved for firmware".

the C4K60 sheet also lists 2 MB cache but with another note: "Upper 128KB reserved for firmware"

/gst

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#13 Post by Yotam » Tue Sep 27, 2005 5:25 am

HD tune shows on my tablet 0kb buffer and 2 problems:
1. Seek Error Rate - Failed
2. Reallocated Sector Count - Failed

What is the second error?
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#14 Post by Yotam » Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:46 am

Hitachi page for the exact HDD model in my system:
http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/c ... k60_ce.htm

It is very clear, in this page, that this HDD should has 2MB buffer.

I'll try to contact IBM support here. Not sure they'll know what I'm talking about...
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#15 Post by gst » Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:55 am

don't assume that the output of the hdtune (or any other utility) is right. the x40/41 series does use a PATA harddisk which is connected to a PATA->SATA bridge which is connected to a SATA controller.

maybe it's the fault of the bridge that the query on the buffer size returns the wrong result.

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#16 Post by Yotam » Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:10 am

Are you sure about that?

In windows device manager the HD appears under Intel Ultra ATA Controller, which appears on the main system root (when sorted by connection). There is no SATA device or bridge. Shouldn't it appear there?
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#17 Post by gst » Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:16 am

Yotam wrote:Are you sure about that?

In windows device manager the HD appears under Intel Ultra ATA Controller, which appears on the main system root (when sorted by connection). There is no SATA device or bridge. Shouldn't it appear there?
i don't see any SATA device either when using the windows device manager, but i see it when booting linux. have a look at http://thinkwiki.org/wiki/SATA_and_Linux for more information about the SATA bridge (there are also several threads here on thinkwiki about it).

/gst

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#18 Post by bhtooefr » Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:12 am

Calling all T43 owners! Do you have an "Intel Ultra ATA Controller"?
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#19 Post by BillMorrow » Tue Sep 27, 2005 12:09 pm

gst wrote:"Data buffer (MB): 2" but with the note: "Space reserved for firmware".

the C4K60 sheet also lists 2 MB cache but with another note: "Upper 128KB reserved for firmware"
so much for scanning for "cache" at 5am..
of course, "BUFFER!"

:)
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#20 Post by BillMorrow » Tue Sep 27, 2005 12:14 pm

gst wrote: don't assume that the output of the hdtune (or any other utility) is right. the x40/41 series does use a PATA harddisk which is connected to a PATA->SATA bridge which is connected to a SATA controller.

maybe it's the fault of the bridge that the query on the buffer size returns the wrong result.
my X41T uses the IDE ATA parallel interface..
from the spec sheet at HGST website the SATA drives use a ZIF socket and come only in 20gig and 30gig..
not 40gig or the 60gig in my tablet..

they MIGHT use a bridge internally (in the X41) but i have not yet (this moment) looked for it..

i DID compare (using HD Tune) the 60gig 7200 in the T43p and the 60gig 4200 in the tablet and roughly, the 4200 is about 3/5 as fast as the 7200 drive.. ?!
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#21 Post by gst » Tue Sep 27, 2005 3:37 pm

BillMorrow wrote:
gst wrote: don't assume that the output of the hdtune (or any other utility) is right. the x40/41 series does use a PATA harddisk which is connected to a PATA->SATA bridge which is connected to a SATA controller.

maybe it's the fault of the bridge that the query on the buffer size returns the wrong result.
my X41T uses the IDE ATA parallel interface..
from the spec sheet at HGST website the SATA drives use a ZIF socket and come only in 20gig and 30gig..
not 40gig or the 60gig in my tablet..

they MIGHT use a bridge internally (in the X41) but i have not yet (this moment) looked for it..
yep - that's what i wrote above ;)

i'm pretty sure that they include a SATA controller and the bridge as:
1) i see the SATA controller when using Linux
2) http://thinkwiki.org/wiki/SATA_and_Linux says the same

this means even if some other manufactorer produces 1.8" drives with an ATA interface at a later date we are still stuck with the Hitachi disks because of the same SATA-bridge problem which occurs with the T43 too (2010 BIOS error + corruption).

/gst

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#22 Post by jokerunm » Tue Sep 27, 2005 5:59 pm

I think the chipset in the X41T has one parallel interface and two serial. I'm betting the hd is connected directly to the parallel interface and is not using a sata adapter.

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#23 Post by jokerunm » Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:03 pm

It sure would help if someone with a working cache(some of you have posted) could post some benchmarks, say from hdtune.

Comparing performance could be a good way of telling if the caches are truely broken or just not being reported correctly.

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#24 Post by BillMorrow » Wed Sep 28, 2005 11:38 am

i loaded HD tune on my assistants X40, yesterday, and i'll run the speed test today..
FWIW, her 40gig drive has, or shows, a 2k buffer.. (cache?!)

though i would not put TOO much faith in HD Tune..
nice utility and nice example of freeware.. but how accurate is it..

will load sisoft sandra later and see what IT shows..
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#25 Post by DavidNZ » Wed Sep 28, 2005 1:10 pm

I ran a system profile using AIDA32 (www.aida32.hu) and I show a 2MB buffer on my 40GB 1.8" drive.

Then, I went back to my archives and found a report generated when I had my old 1.8" drive (before it was replaced) - it also reported a 2MB buffer.

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#26 Post by jokerunm » Sat Oct 01, 2005 10:09 am

BillMorrow wrote:i loaded HD tune on my assistants X40, yesterday, and i'll run the speed test today..
FWIW, her 40gig drive has, or shows, a 2k buffer.. (cache?!)

though i would not put TOO much faith in HD Tune..
nice utility and nice example of freeware.. but how accurate is it..

will load sisoft sandra later and see what IT shows..
Any word on the benchmarks Bill? I would really like to find out if the drives are indeed missing caches or they're just being reported wrong before I call up IBM and inquire about a new drive. I think performance will be the best indicator at this point.(There should be a huge differnce between a drive with cache and one with none.(Both drives being the same))

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#27 Post by taob » Tue Oct 04, 2005 4:55 pm

Here's the original 40GB drive as shipped with my X40, March 2004:

HD Tune: HITACHI_DK13FA-40B Information

Firmware version : 00MCA0B3
Serial number : 2B1484
Capacity : 37.3 GB (~40.0 GB)
Buffer size : 2048 KB
Standard : ATA/ATAPI-0
Supported mode : UDMA Mode 5 (Ultra ATA/100)
Current mode : UDMA Mode 5 (Ultra ATA/100)

S.M.A.R.T : yes
48-bit Address : no
Read Look-Ahead : yes
Write Cache : yes
Host Protected Area : yes
Device Configuration Overlay : yes
Automatic Acoustic Managment : no
Power Managment : yes
Advanced Power Managment : yes
Power-up in Standby : no
Security Mode : yes
Firmware Upgradable : no
- Brian
2004: 2371-8EU X40, 1.2 GHz Pentium M, 1 GB, 40 GB, 802.11b/g, 2 x 8-cell
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2011: 4286-CTO X220, 2.5 GHz i5-2520M, 8 GB, 60GB SSD, 250GB HD

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#28 Post by gst » Tue Oct 04, 2005 5:01 pm

seems that the SATA bridge is really the cause of this problem. everybody with an X40 reported that the cache is there while everybody with X41 reports that the cache is missing ... (IMO the cache is still there but the SATA bridge doesn't allow you to query the size of it).

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#29 Post by jokerunm » Tue Oct 04, 2005 5:21 pm

taob wrote:Here's the original 40GB drive as shipped with my X40, March 2004:

HD Tune: HITACHI_DK13FA-40B Information

Firmware version : 00MCA0B3
Serial number : 2B1484
Capacity : 37.3 GB (~40.0 GB)
Buffer size : 2048 KB
Standard : ATA/ATAPI-0
Supported mode : UDMA Mode 5 (Ultra ATA/100)
Current mode : UDMA Mode 5 (Ultra ATA/100)

S.M.A.R.T : yes
48-bit Address : no
Read Look-Ahead : yes
Write Cache : yes
Host Protected Area : yes
Device Configuration Overlay : yes
Automatic Acoustic Managment : no
Power Managment : yes
Advanced Power Managment : yes
Power-up in Standby : no
Security Mode : yes
Firmware Upgradable : no

Could you run the hdtune benchmark on the drive? So far we have several people establishing that they can see the cache on there X40's, but none has run a benchmark to compare performance.

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#30 Post by jokerunm » Tue Oct 04, 2005 5:22 pm

Bill Morrow, I think you have access to both an X40 and an X41T. Can you run some benchmarks or can you just insert the X41T drive into the X40 and see if you can see the cache?(By running drive fitness, etc)

This is getting kind of irritating, I'm asking you X40 owners to help out the X41T users a little....please post benchmarks of your drives.......


Thanks.

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