Tweaking the Performance of your hard drive
Installing a big hard drive with Linux is not actually a big issue, based on the partitions required during the installation; but of course keep in mind that a very big hard drive for an old system may require a controller.
Make sure that when installing new hard drives the LBA option is enabled in your BIOS setup. When buying a new hard drive, buy a new IDE cable ATA 100/133 compliance, it will ensure that the data transfer will always be reliable.
If you are installing more than one hard drive, create swap files for each drive. Make sure your system has enough fans. Hard drives usually tend to heat. If you are adding all kinds of devices to the system, make sure your power supply will handle it. I usually use 350 to 400 watts in my systems depending on what I have installed.
To optimize your drive, you need to install the hdparm package, a utility to test your drive set parameters for better performance; I consider this an interleave set utility and is driven by the ATA/IDE device driver subsystem.
The hdparm utility has many parameters, read the documentations to learn the details of these parameters. “man hdparm”
Here are some of the most frequently used parameters, to get information about your drive.
To get the current and adjustable parameters use:
To get complete details about your drive
The current active UDMA transfer mode is marked with an asterisk (*).
To run a benchmark:
Note: You can use combinations of parameters to get better results.
How to optimize your drive
Using the parameters you can optimize the drive. Many hard drives have features that you can enable or disable such as 32 bit I/O support, Power management, or maybe defect management. For example here is how you enable the 32-bit I/O support; a parameter followed by a numeric value will turn it on.
Currently supported numeric values include:
- value 0, disable 32 bit I/O support
- value 1, enable 32 bit data transfer
- value 3, enable 32 bit data transfer with special sync sequence (works with nearly all 32 bit IDE chipset)
Note: 32 bits only refers to data transfer within PCI or VLB (Vesa Local Bus) all (E)IDE drives have only 16-bit connection over the data ribbon cable.
hdparm -c3 /dev/hda
With the executed command, we just enabled a synchronized 32-bit data transfer.
Power Management: To enable the Advanced Power Management –B parameter
hdparm –B /dev/hda
Check the current power mode:
hdparm –C /dev/hda