Thanks Liggy. I'm thinking about maybe giving it one more try with a different brand adaptor. The adaptor I got was a really cheap "two way" type from ebay. It can work as an adaptor from either a sata controller to IDE drive, or from an IDE controller to sata drive.
Interestingly it appears to work perfectly the other way around (driving a sata drive from ide controller), and it also works ok as a reader when it's driving an IDE drive from sata controller. But unfortunately write mode with an IDE drive is the one mode that just won't work.
Just now I tested it out with a couple of hard drives instead of a burner. This has dramatically pinpointed what the problem is - the write speed is just unbelievably slow when it's used as a sata controller to IDE drive.
I just tested it copying a 1GB vob file from one hard drive to another, and here are the results.
- Adapting IDE controller to SATA drive.
- Read 1 GB file from sata hard drive : 20 to 25 seconds.
Writing same to the sata hard drive: 20 to 25 seconds.
Adapting sata controller to IDE drive.
- Reading 1GB file from IDE hard drive : 20 to 25 seconds.
- Writing same to the IDE hard drive : 13 minutes!
So 13 minutes for 1 GB is basically slower than any DVD write speed (even 2.4x), so no wonder this thing won't work. Surprisingly I'm not getting buffer under-runs though, it's just seems to freeze up the burner software (nero) and eventually it just gives up and comes up with a "burn failed" error message.