11 Replies Latest reply on Jan 10, 2014 2:58 PM by ZaneBridgers

    HDD Seeking prior to Playback - PP6 Workstation - Down throttling? Slow HDD?

    ZaneBridgers

      Hello Community -

       

      I'll try to keep this brief, as I have a few rather specific questions that I couldn't answer searching. I built a workstation in 2012 as a budget performance build. Specs:

       

      i-2600k

      GTX460

      16 GB G-skill DDR3

      Asus p8z68-v

       

      Drives (as per Harm's generic guide):

      C: Sandisk Extreme SSD

      D (media): WD Cavier Black

      E (cache): WD Green

      F (exports): WD Green

       

      No raid, all using onboard SATA controller.

       

       

      Question 1: (DSLR 1080p 30fps workflow, T2i footage on media drive)

       

      When trying to playback from the timeline, there is a long pause (1-3 sec) with very audible hard drive seeking noise before playback begins. When playback begins, the seek noise stops and things play fairly smoothly if not heavily effected. Is this a HDD performance issue? I understand I can short stroke the media drive or run a RAID setup with the two WD greens, but my understanding is that a 7200rpm SATA drive should have no trouble playing back un-effected DSLR footage.

       

      Question 2:

       

      My 2600-k has a moderate OC @ 4300, but I've noticed in CPU-z that it is downthrottling during playback in Premiere (multiplier drops from 43x to 16x). This seems very undersirable, even though CPU usage in task manager remains low, occasionally spiking to 60% or so. I turned off speedstep - same result. Is this likely to be affecting performance? Is this behavior normal?

       

      Etc etc:

       

      I am most concerned with playback (don't mind waiting for rendering, encoding) so where is the most likely bottleneck in the system? Is it GPU acceleration? Monitoring the CPU and RAM usage during playback, it seems neither are maxing out. Audible cues point to HDD seek times, but technically that doesn't make sense to me. I know WD Greens are very much undesirable - could it be the cache drive holding things up?

       

      I appreciate any and all help! Thank you and happy new year!

        • 1. Re: HDD Seeking prior to Playback - PP6 Workstation - Down throttling? Slow HDD?
          John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          >Drives (as per Harm's generic guide):

           

          I think you read something wrong... Harm has NEVER said to use a "green" drive for anything other than static backup, never for editing

          • 2. Re: HDD Seeking prior to Playback - PP6 Workstation - Down throttling? Slow HDD?
            RjL190365 Level 4

            You misread the guide (as John stated). "Green" drives are never recommended in an editing system for any purpose outside of offsite (outside-of-PC) backups. What you experienced is the Green drives spinning themselves back up because those drives spin themselves down to a complete and total stop after just a few minutes of idle. And this automatic spin-down and spin-up can (and do) occur in the middle of an editing/encoding session. No spindle-based hard drive ever had variable spindle speeds (this would have required astronomically expensive motors and controls that cost far more money than the disks themselves). Instead, the WD Greens have a single, fixed slow(er) spindle speed with a complete stop mode that cannot be overridden or even disabled at all. As a result, not only will you have to suffer from the slow performance from such drives, but also that annoying and time-consuming automatic spin-down and spin-up than is always enabled no matter what. And this spin-down is permanently enabled in the drives' firmware and cannot be turned off at all whatsoever - and Windows' drive power management settings have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the early spin-down of those Green drives (which menas that the disks will always spin down to a complete stop after a few minutes of idle even if you have Windows set to never spin down the disks).

             

            By the way, your WD Greens do not spin anywhere close to 7200 RPM even at their full speed. They actually spin at only 5405 RPM.

            • 4. Re: HDD Seeking prior to Playback - PP6 Workstation - Down throttling? Slow HDD?
              ZaneBridgers Level 1

              Wow! I did not realize the performance drop was so severe. Thank you all! My apologies - in my pre-build research I did not come across the Do's and Dont's page (not sure it was up) and never read about how severe the performance hit was. (The greens were pulled from an old PC and not part of the original build).

               

              Regarding Q1:


              So, I exchanged the Cache/Page drive with a 160gb SSD on hand, and it seems playback is much better. Nonetheless, on effected (Magic Bullet Looks) and layered video tracks, there is the same audible seeking noise and hold-up prior to and sometimes during playback. Is this the WD Cavier Black (Media drive) holding things up? The export drive is still a Green (to be replaced - point taken) but this should not affect playback.

               

              Regarding Q2:

              Should I not be worrying about the CPU down throttling during playback?

               

              Not sure how others have thier k-series OC's set up, but I have a voltage offset with the multiplier set 'per core' at 43. It's stable but voltage jumps around a lot.

              • 5. Re: HDD Seeking prior to Playback - PP6 Workstation - Down throttling? Slow HDD?
                Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                What are the core temperatures when it starts throttling?

                • 6. Re: HDD Seeking prior to Playback - PP6 Workstation - Down throttling? Slow HDD?
                  ZaneBridgers Level 1

                  Core temps around 30*C when throttling, max temp during editing is 47*C.

                   

                  It goes something like this. I play from the timeline, core is at 4300, then playback starts lagging or freezes and the hard drive seeking sound becomes audible. At this point, CPU usage drops in task manager, and it downthrottles to 1600. When the seeking sound stops, it will play again. So, two issues:

                   

                  1) HDD seeking sound -> Freezing playback (when CPU and Memory usage <50%)

                   

                  2) CPU downthrottling during playback. The worst I've seen is throttling at 11% usage, at which point it cycles between 4300/4299 and 1600/1599.

                  • 7. Re: HDD Seeking prior to Playback - PP6 Workstation - Down throttling? Slow HDD?
                    JEShort01 Level 4

                    Sounds to me like a ailing/failing disk!

                     

                    You can run a drive diagnostic like HDTune Pro on each drive and see if that turns anything up.

                     

                    Jim

                    • 8. Re: HDD Seeking prior to Playback - PP6 Workstation - Down throttling? Slow HDD?
                      ZaneBridgers Level 1

                      So, I ran an HDTune benchmark and checked the health monitor on the Cavier Black. Running an error scan now. Looks like it's approaching critical 'reallocated sector count'. Other drives are fine. Still, 89mb/s average transfer rate seems normal, no?

                       

                      HDTune_Health_WDC_WD1001FALS-00E8B.pngHDTune_Benchmark_WDC_WD1001FALS-00E8B.png

                      • 9. Re: HDD Seeking prior to Playback - PP6 Workstation - Down throttling? Slow HDD?
                        RjL190365 Level 4

                        That particular WD Black is very slow by current 7200 RPM standards. In fact, it was one of the very first revisions of the WD Black ever manufactured. That Black used three platters to achieve its 1TB capacity whereas the newest-generation 7200 RPM 1TB drives such as the newest WD Black WD1003FZEX use only a single platter to achieve 1TB capacity.

                         

                        What's more, that particular WD Black of yours is slower than even the newest version of the WD Green in sequential speed performance. Only the access speed is faster on that Black than on any Green drive.

                         

                        In other words, your particular WD Black is just plain old. Thus, it is not surprising that the CPU throttled back because the disk simply cannot keep up with the demands of your particular footage. (Or put it this way, the CPU had to wait for the disk to catch up.)

                         

                        In addition, there is the issue of the QuickTime (which IMHO all Canon DSLR video is wrapped/encoded in). With all versions of Premiere Pro prior to Premiere Pro CC 7.1.0.141, all Canon DSLR footage that uses the .MOV extension requires the use of the QT32 Server software, which limits the operation to 32 bits and the maximum amount of RAM that the system can use to under 4GB. This will force a huge page file to be created on your WD Black, resulting in the severe performance slowdown that you experienced.

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                        • 10. Re: HDD Seeking prior to Playback - PP6 Workstation - Down throttling? Slow HDD?
                          JEShort01 Level 4

                          It looks like the HD Tune 2.55 test you ran was only a read test and it is still possible that one of your drives has a serious "write" problem. I've certainly RMA'd drives that performed that way before (perfect reads, writes had serious issues).

                           

                          Try downloading the HD Tune Pro 5 version and run the File Benchmark test which tests both reads and writes. The full Benchmark Write test is even better, but that test unfortunately is destructive and can only be run on drives or arrays that do not have any data on them.

                           

                          Jim

                          • 11. Re: HDD Seeking prior to Playback - PP6 Workstation - Down throttling? Slow HDD?
                            ZaneBridgers Level 1

                            Thank you Jim and RjL.

                             

                            I will try to install HD Tune Pro 5 and run a read/write benchmark. Nonetheless, it sounds like I need to replace all drives but the SSD if I want to improve performance. Unfortunately, this could get rather expensive.

                             

                            As for down throttling, it does happen when the HDD cannot keep up, but it also happends when things are playing back smoothly. Recently I saw it drop at 26% CPU usage. It seems odd, but I guess it doesn't matter if it's not causing hang ups.

                             

                            Regarding QT32, I do not believe this is my issue. I can kill the QT32 process and editing remains unchanged in premiere. Plus, I often reach sustained 8gb of memory usage in task manager with no background applications running, so clearly premiere is using more than 4gb of ram. Also, I do not have a page file enabled on the WD Cavier Black.

                             

                             

                            So, I should replace the D, E, and F drives with newer 7200 drives. Now, according to the KISS disk setup guide on ppbm7 I should run E and F in Raid 0 - is that true even if using the onboard SATA controller?