Hello nice community! I have a strange issue with my HDD (/dev/sdc) and would like some help in investigating/fixing it. (Warning, wall of text incoming...)
- Zorin is installed on a 50GB partition on an NVME drive, however, /home, and a separate /Games partition, are on a HDD (/dev/sdc3 and /dev/sdc6, respectively).
- I also have a Nobara installation, this one installed on the HDD in question (/dev/sdc5).
- I am using Plasma desktop on both distros.
- (I also have Windows, on a completely different disk, an SSD, but this is probably not very relevant.)
Problem: the HDD on which my /home partition became very, very slow. Symptoms include
- heavily I/O intensive work, e.g. Steam patching, became a nightmare (even a small-ish game like Euro Truck Simulator 2 takes 15+ minutes to patch /not to download the patch but to install it/, during which time all other applications become almost unresponsive)
- file operations take way too long (e.g. I have a 3.1 GB file I was trying to copy to an external HDD, which took more than four minutes -- doing the same thing, from the same source to the same destination, from live USB Zorin took only about half a minute)
- while Zorin boots up quite fast, it takes considerable time for it to start up after logging in in the GUI. If I have applications in autostart, those open very slowly and I can't use them until all of them are open as they appear frozen. (Because of this, I took outt everything I had in Autostart for now.)
- if I try to log in to Nobara, the screen remains black for several minutes before the desktop GUI appears
I did some investigations using hdparm and sysbench's fileio module (using the default 128 files of 16 MiB each and rndrw file test mode) and found some curious results. (I see I cannot upload extensionless text files here, so I put the output files on Google Drive here.)
- For my other HDDs, hdparm gives a result of about 170 MB/sec, so I am taking this as a point of reference (even knowing that they not being in use gives them an advantage).
- running it from a terminal before logging in, it already shows much lower speeds, 63-66 MB/sec, see hdparm_Zorin_nologin.
- After logging in in the GUI, running it again on tty2, it produces even worse results, 18-41 MB/sec (see hdparm_Zorin_after_login).
- When launching Nobara, before logging in, it gives a solid 167-169 MB/s, as seen in hdparm_nobara_nologin.
- However, after starting the login on Nobara, it drops a little, to 88-121 MB/sec (hdparm_nobara_after_login). Still, as stated above, Nobara starts up very slowly.
- On Zorin, Throughput starts already low before logging in, at 0.37-0.44 (see sysbench_Zorin_nologin).
- After logging in, it drops to 0.11/0.07-0.07/0.05 (sysbench_Zorin_after_login).
- On Nobara, it is considerably higher before GUI login (2.49/1.66-2.5/1.70, which is comparable to that of my other HDDs), as seen in sysbench_nobara_nologin.
- However, after starting the GUI login, it drops to 0.11/0.07-0.15/0.10 (sysbench_nobara_after_login).
First, I thought it was a hardware issue, but when testing from a live USB (or, as per the above, before logging in to Nobara), the measurements are what I would expect, so now I doubt it is hardware-related.
Further, I already ran fsck on the drive, it reported no issues, so, allegedly, there are no logical errors, either.
I get the feeling that maybe there is some process that uses too much i/o and slows down everything else to a crawl. Looking at iotop -o on either system, however, I don't see any heavy processes wasting my I/O bandwidth, in fact, only 1-2 processes are running (such as baloo or tracker-store).
I am also including the results of ps -ely on both systems; I cannot see any suspicious processes, but maybe someone has an idea what might be slowing down the system?
Now, I'm obviously not expecting my HDD to have SSD speeds but I know even a HDD should do better than this.
Also, I have tried to search for such an issue here with the keywords hdparm, HDD performance and HDD slow but got nothing that I could identify as being the same problem as mine.
Does anyone have an idea what to do to fix my HDD's performance or how to troubleshoot this further?