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Windows 7: Increase HDD buffer?


30 Mar 2010   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64, Mac OS X 10.6.2 x64
 
 
Increase HDD buffer?

Is there a way to increase my internal HDD buffer. I have a few HD videos that have a higher bitrate than my hard drives buffer.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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30 Mar 2010   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

You have to install another HDD with e.g. a 32 or 64MB cache like this one. Check the cache size of yours, it may be only 8MB.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2010   #3

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

Do drive caches really make that much of a difference? E.g. say a 32MB cache, how much data would it hold, generally speaking? about 1 second at the most? Since windows uses unused RAM to cache gigabytes worth of data, I would think adding RAM would provide a much bigger performance boost than anything a hard drive can give you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Mar 2010   #4
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Disk caching and RAM caching both have their function in a well working hierarchical storage management. The bottleneck comes from the weakest link, and that can very well be the disk cache.
Btw: the OP was asking to increase the HDD buffer (=cache).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2010   #5

Windows7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cclloyd9785 View Post
Is there a way to increase my internal HDD buffer. I have a few HD videos that have a higher bitrate than my hard drives buffer.
No, you can't. The "buffer" is a chip soldered to your HDD. You either buy faster disk, or buy disk with larger cache. HD video is compressed video, the bitrate is way way lower than the slowest HDD on the market today. A slow laptop HDD (this is a slow HDD, desktop disks can achieve ~60MB/s or more) can achieve ~30MB/s to ~40MB/s in sequential read (I assume your HD video file is contiguous), that's well over 200Mbit/s (or two hundred thousand kb/s), way way way above HD requirement. Can you tell me what makes you think that your HDD is the bottleneck?

zzz2496
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2010   #6

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Btw: the OP was asking to increase the HDD buffer (=cache).
WHS, Just trying to pick your brains and learn from you!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2010   #7
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Btw: the OP was asking to increase the HDD buffer (=cache).
WHS, Just trying to pick your brains and learn from you!
Bill, I am honored. I am not sure though, how much you can learn from me. My hay days were 40 years ago. I am getting too old for this stuff now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2010   #8

XP Pro SP3 X86 / Win7 Pro X86
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cclloyd9785 View Post
Is there a way to increase my internal HDD buffer. I have a few HD videos that have a higher bitrate than my hard drives buffer.
My first question is why do you think this is true?

I stream 1080p over wireless all the time... Wireless == roughly 5mB per second.
Now unless your hard disk is giving you a throughput of less than 5mB per second you shouldn't have any problem with it at all.

It's not about cache size, it's about SPEED.

One thing I noticed when I was trying Windows 7 on my HTPC was that it had really REALLY lousy hard disk speeds... My HTPC is an ASRock ION 330 with 500gb sata drive. Under Windows 7 it tested in at burst speeds of 14mBps with sustained speeds of 9mBps. When I switched back to XP on that same machine the speeds went to 122 and 67 respectively. This slowness caused all kinds of havoc... MP3s would stop playing and the speakers would make this horrific BRAAAAAAP sound. Videos got out of sync, and stuttered, nothing worked right. When I switched it back to XP all those problems vanished.

Now I'm not saying you should switch to XP, I'm suggesting that if you're having problems with video and audio playback it's not your disk cache that's the problem... most likely it's the drivers for your hard disk not giving you the full speed capability of the drive.

If you go into hardware manager and look at your IDE/SATA controller (not the drive itself) you will likely find a speed test button... or you may need to engage a third party benchmarking program. In either case you need at least 20MBps of sustained throughput to play 1080p content (allowing for other processes that might be using the hard disk at the same time). If you aren't getting this, you need to look into new drivers for your IDE controller... If you are getting good throughput you should look into other stuff running on your machine that might be saturating your harddrive's bandwidth at critical moments causing problems with video playback.

Finally be sure you aren't mistaking the BYTE size of your disk cache for the BIT rate of your videos... 1 byte == 10 bits (8 bits data + 2 bits ECC) so if your video is asking for 10Mbps it requires a drive capable of delivering roughly 1.6mBps (note the capitalization, b is bits, B is bytes... and yes it's very confusing)

In any event I seriusly doubt that buying an expensive new hard disk is going to fix anything.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2010   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium x64, Mac OS X 10.6.2 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by zzz2496 View Post
Can you tell me what makes you think that your HDD is the bottleneck?

zzz2496
When i play other 1080p video (native resolution is 768p) with WMP, it plays without lag, and it said the bitrate of that was about 4-6 MB/sec. This 1080p video was 14 MB/sec, and it wouldnt stop lagging.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2010   #10

Windows7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

Trace your computer, use "Resource Monitor" see if anything is using your resources while you're playing HD video. Looking at your spec, your HDD is far more than enough to stream HD video. There's gotta be something else bogging your system down.

zzz2496
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Increase HDD buffer?




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