Periodic execution delays

Using XFCE. Occasionally activity stops for a short while. Not just over the Internet, local file activity. It has always started up again. My first thought was a failing drive, but it’s less than a year old and I have tested it several times using smartctl and badblocks. It passes. I swapped the drive cable, and switched to a different on-board connector in case they were the problem.

Today I was able to catch an error as shown below. Could someone please explain what it means and whether it’s time to trash the motherboard?

   89.080055] ata3.00: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x1850000 action 0xe frozen
   89.080064] ata3: SError: { PHYRdyChg CommWake LinkSeq TrStaTrns }
   89.080069] ata3.00: failed command: READ DMA EXT
   89.080079] ata3.00: cmd 25/00:80:48:81:62/00:00:16:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 65536 in
                        res 40/00:00:00:4f:c2/00:00:00:00:00/40 Emask 0x14 (ATA bus error)
   89.080082] ata3.00: status: { DRDY }
   89.080090] ata3: hard resetting link
   89.080093] ata3: nv: skipping hardreset on occupied port
   89.952064] ata3: SATA link up 3.0 Gbps (SStatus 123 SControl 300)
   89.959807] ata3.00: configured for UDMA/133
   89.959831] ata3: EH complete

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Googling PHYRdyChg CommWake LinkSeq TrStaTrns the only truly helpful link I hit was My sense is a transient error caused by either a cable near edge of spec, or a power problem.

How old is the SATA cable? If it’s old and red, try a newer one or any other color. Red dyes in some common old cables apparently can cause corrosion and failure.

My other suspicion is the power supply. Who made it? How old is it? PS quality long term varies widely. Bad caps that plagued motherboards and other electronic components in the first of the century’s decades still haven’t left us. Take the cover off the PS and inspect for bad caps. shows what to look for and suggests ways to deal with bad ones, including DIY replacement. If the motherboard is old enough, it could be suffering from the bad cap plague too. Most newer motherboards have upgraded to using longer lasting poly caps instead of traditional electrolytics.

Thanks for the suggestions. I have changed SATA cables more than once. The power supply is quite old being the original one, but I can swap it out with a new one I keep on hand. The box is a HP Compaq dx2450 which dates back to 2008. Pretty old, but I hate to trash still working products.

That old it could be overheat from dust accumulation, another reason to take a look inside it before taking a new PS out of its shrinkwrap.

Your diagnosis of a problem power supply was on the mark. I replaced it and the problem has not shown up for two days. Many thanks.

You’re welcome.

What did the old PS look like inside? Any obviously bad caps?

I didn’t look. Replacement capacitors are not a popular item in this small Mexican town.

I doubt they are popular anywhere in North America. The only reliable sources I know of with a respectable inventory on this continent are Digi-Key and Mouser.