BIOS issue with NEC AD-7170A

I posted previously about this but thought I’d create a new thread just to home in on this issue.

When I installed the drive the initial ‘post’ part of the boot process went from about 2 seconds up to about 30 seconds. I was able to reduce this back to 2 seconds by changing the drive setting in the Phoenix BIOS to ‘CD ROM’ as opposed to ‘Auto’. In doing this the BIOS no longer recognises the drive by its ID as it had done eventually with Auto setting. The drive does seem to work ok but I’ve not done any speed tests, and I am concerned that things are perhaps not quite as they should be. By not auto detecting the drive, is the BIOS not picking up information that it should?

Has anyone had the same problem and does anyone know why the BIOS might have had this delay in picking up the drive? Is it a firmware issue or a hardware issue? Is it worth me flashing the firmware with another version, or does all this suggest that the drive has a problem and I should ask for a replacement? Are there particular BIOS settings I should use?

Questions questions!

Any help would be very much appreciated.


The BIOS is pretty much irrelevant these days, most of the stuff output is for cosmetic/display purposes. BIOS’s have been so buggy that operating systems generally ignore what is reported, or treat it as circumspect. Windows/Linux is going to probe and program the IDE/ATAPI/SATA adapters and drive communication.

‘Auto’ means it is going to probe the drive as an IDE Hard Drive which doesn’t seem to be a great plan. Leave it as ‘CD-ROM’ and it will handle it like an ATAPI Drive which is frankly far more appropriate. It should also be able to boot the CD-ROM in this mode, and only takes two seconds.

The problem could be the BIOS, especially if it wants to play with UDMA transfer modes, but like we said, who cares. Most of the problems with BIOS’s tend to be that they try and get too smart in ‘Auto’ detection modes and can’t handle future hardware changes like hard drives crossing LBA size boundaries, etc. We wouldn’t worry unduly about this.

That said there are some odd DMA/UDMA issues with these new drives which make flashing in Windows somewhat problematic, these might be addressed in future firmware updates, but nothing available now does.

So basically calm down, set it to CD-ROM, and enjoy the drive.

Brother Vlad

Ta for that - I can rest easy now!

I was considering updating my mainboard BIOS with a newer revision, if one exists, but won’t bother now as that itself can give rise to probems if it doesn’t flash properly. Don’t want to risk creating a problem if there isn’t a problem to start off with!

Only one question - the BIOS does have an ATAPI setting as well as CD ROM and Auto - would I be better using this mode, or should I really just leave well alone?

Thanks again,