Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

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Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby orduek on Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:31 am

Hi.
I have an HP500, laptop. 1gb RAM and 60g HDD.
I'm using Linux Mint 4.0 but this problem happens with Ubuntu also.
Every once in a while the computer just holds for few seconds. when looking on the system monitor bar I saw its indicating 100% CPU for I/O Wait.
after using the "top" command in terminal I saw that whenever it happens some process calls ata/0 is showing up in the list. when it goes down, the system is back to normal (with a second delay or something).

any ideas?
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby Husse on Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:50 am

Seems to be a problem with your ATA controller
Post the result of lspci (in a terminal)
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby orduek on Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:56 am

here it is:
ord@ord-laptop:~$ lspci
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile 915GM/PM/GMS/910GML Express Processor to DRAM Controller (rev 03)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 915GM/GMS/910GML Express Graphics Controller (rev 03)
00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 915GM/GMS/910GML Express Graphics Controller (rev 03)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801FB/FBM/FR/FW/FRW (ICH6 Family) USB UHCI #1 (rev 03)
00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801FB/FBM/FR/FW/FRW (ICH6 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller (rev 03)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev d3)
00:1e.2 Multimedia audio controller: Intel Corporation 82801FB/FBM/FR/FW/FRW (ICH6 Family) AC'97 Audio Controller (rev 03)
00:1e.3 Modem: Intel Corporation 82801FB/FBM/FR/FW/FRW (ICH6 Family) AC'97 Modem Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82801FBM (ICH6M) LPC Interface Bridge (rev 03)
00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801FB/FBM/FR/FW/FRW (ICH6 Family) IDE Controller (rev 03)
02:04.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation PRO/Wireless 2200BG Network Connection (rev 05)
02:06.0 CardBus bridge: ENE Technology Inc CB1410 Cardbus Controller (rev 01)
02:08.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation PRO/100 VE Network Connection (rev 03)

I really hope you could help me.
that problem is with me for a long time.
thanx.
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby Husse on Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:33 am

Pretty standard things, normally no problems. I'm out of time today, but hopefully I can look in to it soon
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby orduek on Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:00 pm

Hope you'll find time.
It has to be hardware issue, because on the other occasions everything works fine.
and it's annoying to wait few second every once in a while (especially when I want to show off with my linux Mint :) )
thank you for your time.
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby Husse on Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:13 am

Most modern versions of UNIX report the percentage of time the CPU spends in each of four states. These are %System State, %User State, %Wait I/O and %Idle. The first two are reasonably straightforward - the CPU is actually busy and working in those states, either executing the code of user processes, or executing UNIX kernel code on behalf of user processes usually as a result of system calls. %Idle is also pretty easy to understand - the machine has 'nothing to do' and what you are seeing there is the percentage of time it spends in the Idle Process, a do-nothing loop which soaks up unused processor cycles. The fourth state is also an idle one, but it's one which has been forced on the machine. %Wait I/O is time in which the CPU could have been doing useful work, but all of its active processes are waiting for I/O operations to complete. This enforced idle time is degrading the ability of your system to do useful work, and should be avoided. Measured over reasonable periods (5-15 minutes), a %Wait I/O figure consistently above 10% is of concern. If you see this sort of thing, you will need to identify any disk drives which may be bottlenecks, i.e. those with high utilizations (> 40%).
From this you see that if the hard drive (or CD/DVD) works hard you may have this problem
You have ICH6 a reasonably well working Intel chip and I have not found anything indicating what your problem might be.
Try to see if there's a system in the madness - if you are doing something particular when this happens
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby orduek on Sun Apr 13, 2008 5:15 am

first - thanx for the informative answer.
second, the only thing I saw was that a second before that starts to happen processes like ata /0 and other /0 are showing up in the "top" command in the terminal.
Is it a useful information or should I try to see what cause it?
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby Fred on Sun Apr 13, 2008 5:29 am

orduek,

Just a thought for you and Husse. How about the power saving settings. Do you notice if the hard drive is parked and has to spin up and run at the beginning and during this pause?

Just a shot in the dark.

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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby orduek on Sun Apr 13, 2008 8:30 am

how can I check that out?
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby Fred on Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:25 am

orduek,

Well, depending on how much noise your hard drive makes, you can probably hear it. Maybe a slight click and a rising frequency whirring sound as the motor spins up the drive.

I'll tell you what I am thinking. As a power saving feature, if the drive is not needed for a period of time the head is parked and the power is cut off to the drive. As your ram fills up or the kernel needs information from the drive, power is reapplied to the drive and it spins back up so it can be accessed. The system can, to some extent, forecast when the drive will be needed and spins up or restarts the drive so it can be accessed. It is possible that the ata controller is not anticipating the need for spin up properly, or that the drive is slow spinning up because of a drive motor going bad or a spindle dragging in a bearing. The cpu then has to wait for the drive to spin up before it can move information into or out of ram. If I had to guess, I would say it is probably a drive problem. It is more likely that than the controller.

Of course I could be way out in left field too. :-)

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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby orduek on Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:43 am

It seems right to me.
although, the HDD is very quite and I can't hear him doing some horrible sounds.
But, if this is the problem...what can I do?? can I change something in the power manager? or someplace else?
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby Fred on Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:49 pm

orduek,

Yes there is a command sequence to change the spin up. The problem is I don't know it off by heart. I am going to have to look it up.... which will take a few min. Plus, I ate breakfast very early this morning and need something to eat. I am diabetic. I will go eat and when I come back if someone hasn't already shown you how I'll look it up and tell you.

Sorry, but you will just have to be patient with me.

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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby Husse on Sun Apr 13, 2008 2:12 pm

Code: Select all
sudo hdparm -B254 /dev/sda

Be warned hdparm is very powerful and can destroy your disk. The setting given will not - it will make the drive spin down less frequently
There is a lengthy topic about this in the forum, but I don't find it right now. It's titled something like "Ubuntu destroys laptop hard drives " but not exactly that
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby Fred on Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:10 pm

Husse,

Thank you sir for helping me out. I didn't mean to barge in on your thread. I just had an idea and had to get it out before I forgot it ... carry on. :-)

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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby orduek on Sun Apr 13, 2008 5:10 pm

OK. thank you Husse and Fred :)
I'll try that and let you know.
I remember I came across something like "...destroying your HDD" and cheked my drive for cycles - it was OK.
but I'll try that line end see what is the results.
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby Fred on Sun Apr 13, 2008 5:14 pm

The command that Husse gave you will not hurt your drive. You can give hdparm commands that will, but that one won't.

Fred
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby orduek on Sun Apr 13, 2008 5:31 pm

OK, did the command:
ord@ord-laptop:~$ sudo hdparm -B254 /dev/sda
[sudo] password for ord:

/dev/sda:
setting Advanced Power Management level to 0xfe (254)

hope it'll work.
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby Fred on Sun Apr 13, 2008 6:33 pm

orduek,

Let us know what happens... for sure. If my theory is correct, the problem should almost go completely away. you will see a shorter battery life though.

If this seems to solve the problem that tells me that the disk drive is going bad. I don't know how old it is but notebook drives are not known for their reliability. If you have a lot of data on that drive I would suggest you start backing it up.

Fred
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby orduek on Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:21 am

thats bad new for me. especially because this laptop is about 1.5 years old :(
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Re: Laptops holds I/O Wait 100%

Postby orduek on Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:49 am

OK.
after showing some good signs, it seems that we didn't find a solution to my problem.
The laptop was good for few hours but it seems like after few hours (or maybe after screensaver was first activated) the ata/0 process is back to hold my laptop for few seconds.
Now, I have two ideas:
1. its heat related. maybe when the computer is hotter the power manager hangs him (or something like that).
2. its screen saver related. after first activating, something is changed and we're back to ata/0 holding things.

any ideas?
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