Question Why my HDD performs better on a docking station rather than directly on motherboard SATA?

Sep 15, 2021
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It's been a while since I've noticed some of my internal HDDs are not performing as well as I think they should. I've decided to copy the same set of files to the same HDD on clean boot: once directly on my mobo SATA and once on my USB docking station. On the docking station the whole transfer went smoothly, averaging around 90mb/s, never on 100% active time and with average response time around 400ms when highest. Directly on SATA the average speed was aroung 50mb/s (started for a few seconds on 250mb/s, which didn't happen on USB dock, but quickly went to 90mb/s, then oscillating between 39mb/s and 60mb/s), average response time higher than 2000ms sometimes and 100% active time. I can confirm that this is not the only HDD that I've noticed behaving strangely. Most of my HDDs are 2TB Barracuda, that I get for cheap storage for RAW files. The only one that I think acted as expected was a 1tb Barracuda. I'm betting it has to do with Windows and its drivers, since I've updated the BIOS to rule this out. I've actually tried to update HDD firmware also. I guess the only thing I didn't try yet is reinstalling the OS or trying a different one.

Does anyone have a guess on why such a performance difference?

My specs:

Windows 10 Pro 19043
AMD Ryzen 7 3700x
TUF-Gaming X570-Plus
2x8gb 3466mhz Trident Z G.Skill
Corsair HX850i
OS in on a KINGSTON SV300S37A240G
The HDD tested was a 2tb Barracuda ST2000DM008-2FR102. I have other 2 of those and a ST2000DM001-1ER164. All behave weirdly on SATA. The only one that acted according to expectations was the ST1000DM003, and the only major difference is that it was a dynamic disk, but that shouldn't make a difference, right?
 
Sep 15, 2021
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Bios and firmware, but what about the motherboard drivers?

Have you used something like CrystalDisk info to check the SMART status of the drives?

Chipset should have plenty of bandwidth.
Yes, forgot to write, but I updated the motherboard Chipset drivers from the ASUS website. Thought it could be Windows using generic drivers, but it didn't make a difference. Started the test I mentioned after trying to update Chipset drivers and also trying to change the AHCI controller drivers (thought it could be that for some reason). I actually check CrystalDiskInfo quite often, because these HDDs hold some important work files. Apparently they are healthy, that is why I think it must the OS, not the HDDs themselves.
 
Sep 15, 2021
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You do have a full backup of all this data, correct?
Yes, this one at home, another at the file server that we have at my work and another on the cloud. I'm just wondering why they perform better on dock. I think the only option I didn't try yet is reinstalling the OS.
 

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