Crap Burning Performance

I have a (yes, crappy) 1.4 Athlon-based system, XP Pro, 256 RAM, with onboard ATA100 controller and one 100 and one 133 drive. My problem is, I cannot safely reach maximum speed for burning as my transfer speed to both my CD burner as well as my DVD writer never reaches above a certain point (about 41/42x for my CD writer and about 4.2 or so for my DVD writer.)

Now, from everything I’ve read, I should be able to more than safely write at max speed (52x for CD, 8x for my DVD burner), and yet I cannot. Well, more accurately, I can, but it doesn’t improve performance as it’s basically a game of buffer catch-up. (As well as with CDs, it makes discs that are nearly-impossible to read with all the link jitters)

DMA appears to be on (although I’ve heard that sometimes with XP it doesn’t necessarily work when it’s turned on), and it would seem (according to hard drive speed tests) that I can do many times the transfer rate needed to burn at max speed, and yet the Nero “detect max speed” option still reports the low results I mentioned.

Anybody know what the problem might be?

P.S. Oh yes, my DVD burner is the master on the primary IDE channel, and my CD burner is the slave on my secondary.

First off, try defragmenting your hard disks.

Secondly - it’s possible you have an IDE multi-tasking issue with the DVD burner if it’s a slave to the hard disk you’re burning from. It’s a little hard to know what to suggest as you have two hard disks and two writers - I guess the ideal solution is probably an add-in IDE card to get the hard disks off the motherboard channels.

However, before spending any money, it’s possible that you have an issue with the IDE drivers you’re using. Some more details on your motherboard would help - especially what kind of IDE controller it has (VIA, ALI or so on). On many non-Intel motherboards, the Microsoft IDE drivers lose you a little performance with your hard disks, but work much better with optical drives.

Your system isn’t that bad, by the way - if it does what you want it to, there’s no need to criticise it. My second string machine is a Pentium III 450 - it’s more than adequate for running Office XP, which is really all it’s called on to do.


The thing is, I have three optical drives and two hard drives - the hard drives are on an apparently separate ATA channel, and the DVD-ROM, DVD-R, and CD-R are on the primary and secondary all by themselves. (DVD-R has it’s own channel) It doesn’t seem like defragging does much (I tested before) but I can try it again, I guess.

My mobo is an ASUS A7V133 with VIA, I believe (this is from memory, so if there’s one or two juxtaposed digits or numbers don’t blame me) with an onboard Promise ATA 100 controller.

OK - I’m with you now.

Apparently you have one of those motherboards that has both the southbridge IDE controller and a built in separate IDE controller, so you’ve got your hard disks each on their own channel on the separate controller, and the optical drives split across the two IDE channels on the southbridge. That makes my add-in IDE card suggestion redundant - effectively you already have one.

Hunting down some newer drivers for the Promise IDE chip may help - but the issue may simply be that you have slow hard disks. Just because they’re UDMA/100 and UDMA/133 drives doesn’t mean they’re particularly fast, especially at seeking, which can be important when recording (especially if you’re recording lots of small files).

If you fire up Nero InfoTool and go into the Configuration tab, you should be able to get some idea of the model numbers and possibly the make of the hard disks. Posting that information would be interesting.

Another non-hardware related thought - if you normally have on-access virus scanning enabled, disable it when you try to record. Does that help any?


most of what I’d have suggested have already been tried. Ok, u’ve defragged, hard drives are separate from optical drives, and dma is on.
Ok, it shouldn’t be an issue since it actually does work, but maybe if u check which ide drivers ur using now… if its the via drivers, try to do an update driver and use the m$ ones already on the hard drive.
If that doesn’t work, for the hell of it, try using only the controller on the southbridge with 2 hard drives and 2 optical drives and see how it goes. my thinking is that maybe (shouldnt, but we don’t know) the pci bus is maxin out (don’t know what else is plugged in). But just try them on the same controller, not channel, but same controller and see how that goes.
keep us posted

I’m not sure you can use Microsoft’s IDE drivers on the Promise chip - and the problem seems to be down to the transfer rate from the hard disk rather than anything else.

The suggested experiment with two hard disks and two optical drives on the southbridge IDE controller (using MS drivers) would certainly be interesting - so long as the system is bootable that way!

A maxed out PCI bus is a possibility - it does depend on the rest of the system. This is where I’m fortunate - my main system has a 32 bit 33MHz PCI bus and two separate 64 bit 100MHz PCI-X buses. The high bandwidth stuff (the main SCSI controller and the Gigabit NIC are on the PCI-X buses - each has a bus to itself at the moment!). The southbridge IDE controller hangs off the internal bus, so that’s not on the PCI bus either.

All that’s on the PCI bus is the motherboard’s Firewire chip (which I’m not using), and two slots. One of the slots contains my second SCSI controller (which is only driving a SCSI CD-RW and a SCSI scanner), and the other a rather horrid Conexant PCI V.92 modem (which I’m only using for fax, and will probably eventually pull and replace with an external modem I’m planning to free up from another machine). I’m considering putting a better soundcard in that PCI slot.



Dumb question here but have you got all the lates VIA drivers for the chip set? That’s in addition to the ones needed for the Promise controler. I’ve got a A7V that’s a 100 mhz version (older) of your board and it burns fine at 48x.

Jo Bo

DavidW: This is possible, since I have all sorts of shit installed (sound card, TV tuner card, network card, the list goes on), except for the fact that both my ATA and my IDE are internal. :confused:

The Promise controller is going to be on the PCI bus, even though it is on the motherboard. The other IDE controllers probably won’t be on the PCI bus (they wouldn’t be on a modern Intel chipset, though I’m not overly familiar with non-Intel chipsets).