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N40L stalling with 4TB drives?


Undergrid
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I have a N40L running the modified BIOS and OpenMediaVault (a debian variant I believe).  I've recently upgraded from 4 x 2TB drives to 4 x 4TB Seagate NAS drives, in both cases with the OS booting off of the original 250GB drive) and now I'm getting stalling when streaming 720p content from the server while doing anything else that requires accessing any of the hard disks at the same time, for example even browsing Samba shares can cause stalls in the streamed media and long waits for the samba server to return folder content.

 

Has anyone else seen similar when using 4TB drives?  Is anyone else even using these drives?

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I have a N40L running the modified BIOS and OpenMediaVault (a debian variant I believe).  I've recently upgraded from 4 x 2TB drives to 4 x 4TB Seagate NAS drives, in both cases with the OS booting off of the original 250GB drive) and now I'm getting stalling when streaming 720p content from the server while doing anything else that requires accessing any of the hard disks at the same time, for example even browsing Samba shares can cause stalls in the streamed media and long waits for the samba server to return folder content.

 

Has anyone else seen similar when using 4TB drives?  Is anyone else even using these drives?

Depending on the previous Seagate drives you had, your new drives may be slower.   Most of the Seagate 2TB drives were 7200rpm and all the 4TB Seagate drives that I know of are 5900rpm max.   This is because there are 4 platters in the 4TB drives and that is a lot of inertia to spin up.  Drive life is significantly increased by reducing maximum speed to 5900rpm.  

 

I currently have six of the Seagate 4TB HDD.   Depending on how you configure them, they can spin down for energy efficiency (like the WD Green drives).   This can cause hangups.   

 

I do stream multiple 1080p streams from these drives in a N54L all the time and had no problems once the drives are spun up.   I agree that the Seagate Barracuda 2TB and 3TB 7200rpm, 64MB cache drives are very responsive and have less lag than the 4TB drives.  They also have a higher maximum transfer rate than the 4TB drives because they spin that much faster.   For streaming of media content (not that high a bandwidth) it really should not make any difference between the 2TB/3TB HDD and the 4TB HDD.

 

If you have your 4TB on a different SATA port than the 2TB drive, you might want to check the BIOS to ensure that you enabled it to run at SATA II speeds.  Some of the default settings for hot swapping made the ports run at SATA I speed which could cause your hang-up problem.  It has been awhile since I messed with the BIOS.   Someone like Joe Miner may be able to give a more precise description of what to check for to maximize HDD performance.

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To clarify my original post, the reason that the 4TB drives are 5900rpm is, in part, because there is a lot of inertia to accelerate to speed (faster acceleration requires larger motors and much more power) but, also because the larger mass has more angular momentum and puts more torque on the spindle bearings.  To withstand 7200rpm with the greater mass with high durability would require much beefier bearings, spindle, and bearing housing which would have more weight and cost more money.

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Hi Just Checking,

 

The drives I was using before were a combination of Western Digital Green and Seagate Green disks, which I believe are all 5400rpm and I have the SATA ports set to 3.0Gbps.

 

I do have a spin down time out of 10 minutes which was fine for streaming with the green disks but I'll up it and see if that helps.  The problem I see with that is that the stalling also happened when I was accessing a share on a different disk from the one the movie was streaming from.

 

Any other suggestions would be appreciated from anyone.

 

Thanks.

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Hi Just Checking,

 

The drives I was using before were a combination of Western Digital Green and Seagate Green disks, which I believe are all 5400rpm and I have the SATA ports set to 3.0Gbps.

 

I do have a spin down time out of 10 minutes which was fine for streaming with the green disks but I'll up it and see if that helps.  The problem I see with that is that the stalling also happened when I was accessing a share on a different disk from the one the movie was streaming from.

 

Any other suggestions would be appreciated from anyone.

 

Thanks.

I don't have much experience with "green" drives because of their relatively poor performance.  Other things that I would look at are:

1. What is the the SATA rating of the drives?  Older drives were SATA I or SATA II.   That does make a difference.

 

2. What is the cache memory of the HDD's?  Again, my experience is with drives that have 64MB cache so streaming media is easier with few hangups.   Older drives and "green" drives may have 32MB or 16MB cache which could be insufficent for streaming new 1080p media files.

 

3. Make sure that your network is at your expected performance.   Run a test where you stream files from your server to a workstation and monitor the instantaneous transfer rate.   With Windows OS, this is easy.  I do it all the time.   I am not familiar with Linux or Ubuntu OS to tell you how to do that.   If you are getting hang-ups or slow downs, you will have to investigate that further.   I find that the initial transfer rate of a large gigabyte+ file is initially very high as the data is transferred from the cache buffer memory of the server to cache buffer memory of the receiving drive.  When those buffers fill, the transfer rate slows down significantly then speeds up again.  Monitor the transfer rates and know the "signature" of your drives to determine what is going on.

 

There are other programs like crystalmark and others to do benchmarking.   You have to set them up for large file sizes to get a more accurate picture of your system performance.  I use them but I find that just watching file transfer instantaneous rates gives me more information.

 

4. If you have simultaneous streams on your network you can have QOS issues.  You may have to make adjustment to your router setup to ensure that your video stream gets priority.   I found that, even with an ac router, my wife would still experience small jerks and hangups when streaming.   The workstation she was using only had a single band N150 card which couldn't utilize the 450Mb/sec capability of the wireless signal on the 2.4GHz band. I switched her over to a wired gigabit ethernet connection and she never complained again.   Same drives, same media, just wired vs. wireless and a lot higher bandwidth on the network.  

I have a N40L running the modified BIOS and OpenMediaVault (a debian variant I believe).  I've recently upgraded from 4 x 2TB drives to 4 x 4TB Seagate NAS drives, in both cases with the OS booting off of the original 250GB drive) and now I'm getting stalling when streaming 720p content from the server while doing anything else that requires accessing any of the hard disks at the same time, for example even browsing Samba shares can cause stalls in the streamed media and long waits for the samba server to return folder content.

 

Has anyone else seen similar when using 4TB drives?  Is anyone else even using these drives?

Undergrid wrote "now I'm getting stalling when streaming 720p content from the server while doing anything else that requires accessing any of the hard disks at the same time"

 

This post leads me to suspect that you have a network QOS problem.   You can try prioritizing "video streaming" in your router settings and see if that helps.  You will sacrifice bandwidth in other areas but should have fewer hangups.

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