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Old March 4th, 2005, 10:47 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Akron, OH
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Strange disc happenings (forced PIO mode)?

I recently put a 2nd internal HD into my machine. It's a 250 GB MAXTOR model with a 16MB buffer (6B250R0) For some reason, it seems to be forced into PIO mode. It's set as CS on the Primary IDE chain. The first drive is a Seagat model and is using Ultra DMA on that same ribbon without a problem.

I noticed this on install and while I thought it was odd, I wasn't worried becasue I don't pull on this machine. I do edit and render on it though. Still no biggie... or so I thought.

When I coppy large files (or large amounts of files) to this drive from my external firewire, I get some really strange problems. Even in PIO mode, a copy should either be successful or fail.

Well if I copy a 36 GB avi file over, it will play with horrible skips once the copy is complete. The file is the exact same size and the drive isn't fragmented beyond 1 or 2% but the playback is unbearable. I play the same file from the FW drive perfectly.

Does anyone have an inkling as to how this is even possible and what the problem might be?

Kevin Kimmell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 5th, 2005, 02:03 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4,750
If you get hard drive errors, Windows will throttle your hard drive speed back. TO check:
Go to run --> eventvwr (hit enter)

Look for entries pertaining to hard drive errors under the system branch.

2- To restore the drive away from PIO, uninstall it from device manager. Windows should set it back to DMA.

3- You might want to replace the cable on the 250GB maxtor. You can also try setting the other drive to cable select, or do the master/slave thing.

4- Another thing you can try is to check the SMART status of the Maxtor. The utiltiies from the drive manufacturer should allow you to do this, as well as the program "speedfan". There's a section for cabling errors.
Glenn Chan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 6th, 2005, 10:04 AM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: BG
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About 1 mount ago I did buy 2 Maxtor 300 Gb/16Mb cache
- they are the same production family as yours Kevin.

After a long time of tests with different "HDD_test_software" I've RMA them ,
as both HDDs was defective units!!!

You can check this easy with AIDA32 (this program is no more developed-use google to find it-latest version is 3.94.2 from 2004-03-24)
1.Reactivate UltraDMA Mode as Glenn said.
2.Run Aida and on the Menu go to "Plugin",then "AIDA32 Disk Benchmark".
3.Choose "Linear Read",start ...and wait about 1 hour... :)
4.Run the same test on your Seagate
5.Compare the resoults... -the graphs should be equal! the difference must be only in numbers (Mb/sec)

The graph you should see,will tel you ALL about that Disk on the phisical level
(regardless what are the partitions and their content...).
The transfer of the these Maxtor HDDs must be about 64-68 Mb/sec in the begining(and without any abruptly break-downs) -if not RMA them!!!

DO NOT activate "write tests" unless you want to complittely ERASE the entire drive!!!

Best Regards
Marin Tchergarov is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 7th, 2005, 01:27 PM   #4
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Location: Akron, OH
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Okay.... after going through all of this to finally find a solution I figure I'll share in case anyone else has this same goofy problem.

This machine that I'm working on is a Dell Dimension 8300 but the same issue has been confirmed on a 4300 and another model that I'm not sure of now.

In any even, I ran the AIDA software and was getting around 2.3 MB/sec for my read times (yikes). No matter what I did, I couldn't get the drive out of PIO mode. I tried remving the drive and the IDE Primary channel from the device manager... I tried a registry tweak... I switched the drives from CS to MASTER and SLAVE - nothing worked.

So my next step was to get the latest drivers for the DELL bios and also for the Intel chipset on the motherboard... still no dice.

I had finally given up and decided that I was probably going to need to RMA the drive. Upon calling Maxtor the very helpful tech had me check the BIOS to see what it was reporting (and I was a tech for 8 years...)

Silly me has grown too used to the GUI oses and the Plug and Play-ness of todays systems. The BIOS setting for the SLAVE on the PRIMARY IDE channel was set to NONE instead of AUTO. For whatever reason, that was the problem. Even with it set to NONE the OS was detecting the drive but was unable to set it as DMA. Once I set the BIOS setting to AUTO and the BIOS was properly detecting the drive, UDMA-5 was banging and I'm averaging over 60MB/sec on the drive.

Thanks both of you for the pointers. Anyone else with similar problems may learn from my doh factor.

Kevin Kimmell is offline   Reply

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