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5 second pause whilst HDD spins up during playback - HTPC

Discussion in 'HTPC' started by BurningFeetMan, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. BurningFeetMan

    BurningFeetMan Member

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    Hey guys,

    My HTPC has been travelling along OK, specs below;

    • GA-MA78GM-S2H
    • 2 x 1gig DDR2 ram
    • 4850E 2.5ghz
    • Onboard ATI Radeon HD 3200 Grpahics
    • Hauppauge 2200 dual tuner
    • Windows 7
    • 1 x 1.5 TB, 4 x 0.5TB HDD drives

    But for some reason, randomly a HDD will spin up whilst we're in the middle of watching a recorded or buffered show, or even an AVI, causing playback to stop for 5 seconds, then resume in fast forward for another 5 seconds, then return to normal.

    What are some options for fixing this type of issue? Any suggestions, either hardware, software, or OS related I'm willing to give a go. With that, I've already turned off a few Windows Services, but the problem still continues, usually about twice an hour.
     
  2. Omnomnom

    Omnomnom Member

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    In control panel > power options > edit plan settings, change advanced power settings, there is an option to prevent hard disks turning off (just set the time to 0).

    This might work unless you have already tried it.
     
  3. Sorak

    Sorak Member

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    yeah this happens with me with media player classic. i think its a programming error with that player.

    i havnt noticed it happening on VLC but then again i dont use VLC all that much.

    pretty sure its the players fault...
     
  4. LostBenji

    LostBenji Member

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    Nope.
    If the HDD's are powered down and something goes to access the drives, you can or will get a freeze while it does so, some apps just keep the drives alive and don't allow spin-down.

    OP, besides suspecting that it is HDD's spooling up, also check the event log and ensure you have no video crashes. These will also cause random jerks and playback issues.
     
  5. Sorak

    Sorak Member

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    i think the OP is saying in the middle of watching a show thats been reading off the HDD. not at the start.
    minor hijack:
    all my media files are on a storage HDD not the OS HDD so there shouldnt be anything accesssing that drive.
    the event log with windows is indicipherable what is being written/read where and when.
     
  6. jamieyn

    jamieyn Member

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    Could be that a hard disk is failing with bad sectors and doing a reseek? -> Try a SMART analysis utility: http://www.passmark.com/products/diskcheckup.htm

    I've also seen this behaviour personally with marginal power supplies - where it would drop one of the power rails, enough to poweroff the drive, then power it on again -> hence spin down and spin up. With 5 x hard disks, and if you were using a "lite" power supply for an HTPC this could be the case.
     
  7. LostBenji

    LostBenji Member

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    Hence why I said to check the logs for video crashes, momentary crashes are common with alot of the drivers around these days, especially with nVidiots.

    You would be very surprised, WMP (including it's network bullshit) is a shocker for it, third-party crap like Nero, Realplayer, etc. etc. are all culprits. Now add indexing and win-search, you start to get the picture.
     
  8. qwertylesh

    qwertylesh Member

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    I've experienced the same thing with my 24-7 HTPC/Media backend and my two spare/bedroom HTPC's, in the middle of playback, it just goes all slow-mo then catches up, etc..

    I figure its because I haven't bothered to modify the hdd power settings yet, I'm using all Win7 Ultimate on the HTPC's and using Media Center.

    Somethings to consider are the condition of the file (I know for my HTPC ive got video on it thats been sitting there for years and this machine never gets turned off) and also network traffic, the route and number of devices your network has between the HTPC front and back end. (ie; 1 could be starting to go flakey)
     
  9. NormM

    NormM Member

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    I get this when playing videos from my WD640AAKS drive. All diagnostics say that the drive is fine but it happens every now and then.

    It has nothing to do with power management as I'm sure the drive wouldn't be trying to sleep while it's in use.

    Might just RMA it, may score a 750GB as a replacemnent.
     
  10. Oppressa

    Oppressa Member

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    Get the same here on my HTPC. 780g chipset, 5 x local WD 1TB EACS green drives.

    Happens whether the file is on the system or storage disk, normally within the first 10 mins of watching something be it VOB or TV (both in Win 7 Media Center using PowerDVD 8 as the VOB player. Just always forget to check HDD power options LOL
     
  11. qwertylesh

    qwertylesh Member

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    Fragmentation probably contributes to the frame loss then catchup in the middle of the video playback for me, as my HTPC is never defragmented
     
  12. broox

    broox Member

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    Happens to me all the time playing off an old IDE drive (250gb?), occasionally off newer SATA (1tb) drives too , but far less frequently.

    Drives get defragged every week, and have been for months, when I'm sleeping, only found that out the other day when I went investigating the issue :p

    I think the IDE drive is not as good as it once was, I'll migrate my torrent directory to a new drive and monitor the situation.
     
  13. Dropbear

    Dropbear Member

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    if you're running NTFS then fragmentation is *NOT* an issue, and defragmenting every week is ludicruously silly.
     
  14. flinchy

    flinchy Member

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    howso? does NTFS never fragment files or something?
     
  15. OP
    OP
    BurningFeetMan

    BurningFeetMan Member

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    Heh, my original problem was so random. Still happens, but I have a more concerning issue now, jumpy recording!!! *shakes fist at digital TV*

    I updated all of my drivers, including the CCC drivers, along with the tuner drivers, to find the problem went away for a couple of weeks, but alas, it's back again, ruining last nights Masterchef playback. :p

    I'm going to try two things, increase my ram to 4 gigs, (up from 2 gig) and purchase then place the OS (which is what, 4 gig?) plus the TV recording drive onto a 64 gig SSD. They're about $200 now, and I've always been keen to suss them out.

    Can someone confirm the pro's and con's on doing the above? Also note that all 5 sata ports are filled.

    Since I'm using Media Centre Buddy, shows will sit on the SSD for a week, before being encoded onto a permanent 1.5 terabyte HDD drive. If they're recorded with out issues onto the SSD, then it will be a win!
     
  16. Fatmantan

    Fatmantan Member

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    Jumpy recording will mostly be due to the tuner or reception.

    I had this problem and it turned out to be my USB tuner card. Purchased a HVR2200 and everything is now smooth sailing!
     
  17. OP
    OP
    BurningFeetMan

    BurningFeetMan Member

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    That's my current tuner card too. I've always suspected that perhaps I've also got internal electical interference when various hard drives spin up which cause the choppy reception/recording.

    In further reading on ssd's being used in htpc's, there are only two real benefits; complete silence, fast boot times. Possibly also reduced power consumtion.

    It also seems that my 2 gigs of ram are barely used too, so increasing them to 4 gigs would be a waste of power.
     
  18. nexx

    nexx Member

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    I had to do this too.

    I'm not sure why this is a default in Win7. If I'm watching a movie, surely the hdd is in use, why the fuck would it turn off, only to have to spool back up again? :confused:
     
  19. OP
    OP
    BurningFeetMan

    BurningFeetMan Member

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    It happens with watching normal TV too. As an example, the Windows search will decide to start indexing in the background and it'll turn on a random drive to start indexing. Whilst that drive spins up, everything pauses. :(

    Also, does anyone know if my motherboard, GA-MA78GM-S2H, supports a port multiplier on the E-sata connection? In the 5 minutes that I've had to play with it, I can't get multiple sata drives working through it, but one drive at a time works fine.

    EDIT: Crapo, looks like my motherboard doesn't support eSata port multiplying. Thus, I can either plug the dual dock in via USB, or invest in an Esata port multiplyer PCI card. :tired:

    Yay for HTPC adventures!
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  20. Oblong Cheese

    Oblong Cheese Member

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    Have you tried running any HDD benchmark or diagnostic programmes?
     

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