Optiarc AD-7170A problems. Help!

I have some problems with my new Sony AW-G170A (Optiarc AD-7170A). When i insert a DVD-movie and tries to play it in Windows media player it says: “Windows Media Player cannot display subtitles or highlights in DVD menus. Reinstall the DVD decoder or contact the drive manufacturer to obtain an updated decoder”.

When i insert the DVD in my other, older, dvd-drive it works just fine. I have also tried to play the DVD in VLC and wmp classic but it doesn’t work.

Also, when i insert a music cd it cant be played, but the drive recognizes it and shows the files on it. It is no problem to burn data dvds with it, but when i try to burn .img files nero says something about communication error. I haven’t installed any modified firmware because then the warranty will be gone.

I’ve just bought an NEC AD-7170A - same Optiarc chip. I hadn’t realised that it runs on UDMA only and was originally using a standard IDE cable. I was getting all sorts of strange behaviour, nearly all of which was sorted out by replacing with an 80 conductor UDMA IDE cable. If you’re using standard IDE cable, that might be the problem.

Thanks for the reply.
Yes i’m using the IDE-cable that came with the computer, but i don’t know what type it is. How can you see if it is a standard or an 80 conductor UDMA IDE-cable? And exactly which cable did you buy o fix the problems (link, please?). Very confusing with all the different types of IDE-cables… :stuck_out_tongue:

Only way really is to get an idea of how many separate wires make up the ribbon cable - it’ll either be 40 or 80. Maybe count the wires in half the cable and double it. The idea is that each signal wire has an earth wire next to it which separates it from the next - this enables the cable to support a higher data rate with fewer errors. The connectors are basically the same.

Okay, thanks.
But what is this UDMA-thing?? And what cable do i need for the AD7170.

UDMA is ultra direct memory access. Don’t know exactly what the difference is but it just amounts to transferring data at a higher rate - your mainboard has to be able to support UDMA and you’ve got to make sure your O/S is set to use it. In XP you can check by going into the IDE / ATAPI devices in device manager - select either Primary or Secondary IDE depending on which your drive’s conected to - and selecting the Advanced tab. If your system supports UDMA your should be able to select it here. If it resets to PIO then that could mean you have a problem. If your system does support UDMA but you just have standard 40 way IDE cable, than you do need to replace it with an 80 way IDE cable. That’s where my knowledge runs out - I hope all that’s correct at least!

i really appreciates the help, Swell!
In IDE/ATAPI devices it says “DMA if possible” or something like that (translated from swedish XP) and below it says “Ultra DMA Mode 5” when reading from “device 0”. But there is also “device 1” which says: “DMA if possible” and then “not applicable”. I guess that “device 1” is my older optical drive and “device 0” my ad-7170a, which would mean that my IDE supports DMA and that it is activated, or am i wrong?

Hmmm - only thing is that the drive should be Mode 4 not 5. Since xp picks that up automatically it suggests that this isn’t the new drive. Are you looking at the right IDE channel? It could be that you’re looking at a hard drive. Have a look at the other channel, whether Primary or Secondary and see what’s there. Only other possibility is that I’m completely wrong - my drive’s the NEC equivalent not a Sony, but since it’s the same Optiarc chip I’d think that the UDMA mode would be the same. Not 100% sure about that.

You’re right about the AD-7170A showing up as UDMA4 on those controllers that support those modes. My AD-7170A does and NEC’s specs for this drive show the Burst Transfer Rate as “PIO mode 4 / ULTRA DMA 66 mode 4”.

Yes, when looking at my secondary IDE-channel it says that “device 0” has Ultra DMA Mode 4 activated but “device 0” has PIO-mode activated. What does that mean? I have the ad7170 in the end of the IDE-cable btw. Does that make it secondary or primary?

Each IDE channel supports 2 drives identified as device 0 & device 1. So what you’re looking at is the 2 devices in your secondary IDE channel. Device 0 is classed as the master drive for that channel and device 1 is the slave. If you’re using the ‘cable select’ jumper setting on the drives then the one on the end automatically becomes the master i.e. device 0. Otherwise you have to use the jumpers to set one as the master and the other as the slave. So if your ad7170 is at the end of the cable, provided you’re using the cable select setting it will be device 0. So it looks like that one is your ad7170 and it’s correctly being picked up as Mode 4 - this also means that your system supports UDMA. It looks like the older drive is not UDMA and has reverted to the older PIO setting. So now it’s just down to whether you’re using the right IDE cable. UDMA cable will work fine with a PIO drive also.

Only other option might be to force the new drive to use PIO mode - in other words deselect the ‘UDMA where available’ setting. I did try this with my drive but still had problems, so I opted for upgrading the cable and using UDMA. This might work for you though. Better to use UDMA if you can.

I have jumpered them and i am using ad7170 as master, not cable select. But the device manager says that Ultra DMA mode 4 is activated for device 0, doesn’t that mean that i have the right cable and that i can use UDMA? Or does that only mean that the system can handle UDMA?

That means that the system supports UDMA and has picked up that the drive also supports UDMA. It will work to an extent with standard cable, but will have problems. I found that mine burned DVD’s fine with standard cable but couldn’t handle CD burning at all. Weird. With UDMA cable all’s fine. As I say, if you set it to work in PIO mode it should in theory be ok with standard cable - might be a temporary solution - but you might as well use UDMA if you can. You probably still need to confirm which cable type you have.

Yes, and the way to do that is to count the wires on the cable? 40 means not UDMA 80 means UDMA, or am i wrong?

Yes you’re right. Both types are the same width - UDMA just has more & thinner wires making up the ribbon cable.

I bought a new IDE-cable today, and all the problems are gone. Thank’s for all the help, swell!

Only glad to help - I had exactly the same problems so it makes sense to share info. like this.

After reading these posts, I just bought a new computer for my brother. Bought the Optiarc AD-7170A in the kit. Installed it with an 80-pin cable. Installed Windows XP Pro. If I boot the PC with no disc in the drive, it reads through WIndows Explorer as a “DVD-RAM” drive. Then if I insert any CD-ROM or DVD-ROM media, it will not read it. If I have a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM IN the drive during boot, it will read the media and play DVDs just fine. Any thoughts???

Tonight I am going to put it in a KNOWN good system to see if it acts the same.

Well, tried the drive in another PC and it worked great. Same problems with another cable and swapping from primary to secondary IDE channels. Tried to contact MSI tech support today…took almost an hour of repeat calling after getting voicemail. ALso, their voicemail system does not have a prompt, so you can’t tell you’re leaving a message. Opened an internet ticket which got very fast response. At the same time, finally got a live tech. He only wanted to consider an OS issue and recommended I wipe the OS after booting into Safe Mode and still having the problem. Sooo…I’ve wiped the system and am starting over against my will.

reinstalling everything step-by-step solved my problem…but cost me a few hours of time.