Friday, November 23, 2012

My Does It Take A Long Time To Format a 500 GB Hard Disk

I am busy on it right now.  Of course, at least partly this is because I am formatting it in preparation for cloning my current hard disk over a USB connection, so that is certainly part of the slowness.


  1. Most 7200RPM hard drives will have a tough time keeping up with USB 2.0 under most read/write mixes. USB 3.0 can definitely transfer data faster than an individual drive can supply it. The drives will advertise a bus speed of 3GB/sec or 6GB/sec, but you can only pull data off the platters so fast. The primary advantage for a faster bus speed is lower latency, which does matter on certain kinds of operations, but not so much for formatting or cloning.

  2. Note that if this is a Western Digital advanced format drive, and you are using WinXP, for best performance it also needs to be realigned (which takes 20 plus hours) and cloned with special Acronis software that WD provides for free. WD makes a 1tb advanced format notebook drive that works great in at least the dv6700 series of HP notebooks. Newegg had this on sale recently for $79 - current price is $99. Its 5400rpm.
    My theory is that align, long format (not quick) then Acronis clone is the best sequence.

  3. It turns out that the interface is SATA/150, so I can't really take advantage of the 6 GB/s throughput of this disk drive, but it was mostly for enhanced space. The 4 GB cache should help even at 1.5 GB/s bus speed, but that was just about $20 more than the equivalent size, normal cache drive, and I am sure it will pay for itself.

    In the meantime, I am using the backup notebook for blogging.

  4. It turns out to be a Seagate Momentus XT drive, not a Western Digital. I am using XXClone to do the clone. It is unfortunate that there is nothing higher speed than USB 2.0 on this notebook.