Optiarc AD-7200S + Asus M3N-HT = hard freeze?

Hey all, experiencing a bit of an issue with some Optiarc AD-7200S drives…

I have 4 DVD burners in this rig - the two Optiarcs mentioned, a Pioneer DVR-215D, and a Lite-on iHAS120. In IDE mode, any time a burn was initiated, the computer would lock up hard. In RAID mode, the drives would burn, but using more than one drive at once would seriously cripple throughput (2 drives would max about 4x each, 3 drives couldn’t go faster than 1x without buffer underruns).

After playing with the drive a bit, I found I can move the Pioneer and the Lite-on anywhere, and the system will not freeze on a burn. The Optiarcs, however, will cause freezes in most positions, and there are no port positions that allow both Optiarcs to work with other drives. What I have seen is that the Optiarcs don’t like to be on the same “IDE Channel” as another burner, and if a burn is initiated to any burner, having an Optiarc on the same channel as any other burner whether any burners on that channel are a target or not will cause the computer to lock up.

As stated in the topic, this is with an M3N-HT, which is an nForce 780a-based mainboard.

Anyone else experiencing issues with Optiarcs and other SATA ODDs on the same “IDE Channel” in IDE mode causing these issues, especially with nForce chipsets?

Nobody. Hm.

For what it’s worth, I think it is a problem with these drives. If the Optiarcs are run on alone their own IDE “channel” (as identified by BIOS) in IDE mode, they work fine. As soon as an Optiarc and any other drive are combined - whether it is with another Optiarc or a totally different burner, I get the whole system lockups.

As I need burners, don’t really want to run them externally, and want to close up my case, my solution is to not use the Optiarcs in this rig anymore. Which is depressing, because they burned my media of choice well. I don’t know if it is an implementation issue (there are lots of bugs with this board’s firmware), a chipset issue, or an issue with the burner itself… but I can combine any other SATA optical drives I have just fine. I don’t really know.

Have you tried the new 7200S firmware, version 1.0A?

I’ve ran either two combination of 7200S, 7201S, or 7203S off a nForce4 controller in IDE mode without any issues on channels 2 and 4, whereas channels 1 and 3 were used for hard drives.

You can also try a Silicon Image based PCI-SATA controller card, either 3112/3512 or 3114, as long as the BASE BIOS is loaded on the card. I’ve ran the drives on there without any problems as well.

[QUOTE=KTL;2215715]You can also try a Silicon Image based PCI-SATA controller card, either 3112/3512 or 3114, as long as the BASE BIOS is loaded on the card. I’ve ran the drives on there without any problems as well.[/QUOTE]That is also my preferred choice as well.
You can pick one of the 4 port cards up in the UK for around £12.

Dee-27, no, I have not tried 1.0A. It’s not worth my time to experiment and have even more downtime for this machine, though, so I likely just won’t. If there was a changelog that addressed this bug, I would flash and try it, but until there is confirmation that this is actually an Optiarc bug and that this firmware actually fixes it, it’s far cheaper (time-wise) and easier to just order drives that I know will work.

KTL, any addon controllers are not an option. As mentioned in my original post, I have 4 ODDs, and they are using the 4 IDE-capable ports on the board. They are not recognized in AHCI mode, and burning to (or accessing randomly from) more than one drive in RAID mode (which has ports 2 and 3 swapped from AHCI and IDE - bios bug?) immediately cuts throughput significantly. This is on an MCP78, or nForce 780a based system.

The reason add-on controllers aren’t an option is for two reasons - one, aesthetics, as my case is about as cable- and clutter-free as one can get - the only cables you see are where they plug in and immediately hide away, and most of those are right-angle and/or unnoticable :). The second is that I physically have no place to plug in an add-on card. My hard drive setup is 4x1TB on an Areca ARC-1220 PCI-e RAID card, leaving all of the motherboard ports available for optical drives. With a big water loop, two videocards and a soundcard taking up the rest of the PCI-e slots, there is no way to physically access another PCI-e or PCI slot.

Also, KTL, running in channels 2 and 4 (or primary slave / secondary slave as viewed in BIOS in IDE mode) is the only combination that works with my Optiarcs without any lockups. If one is alone on primary, it’ll usually work as well, but if both are on primary, IIRC, it locks up. If both drives are on the same IDE “channel” (ports 1&2, or ports 3&4), it’ll always lock up when a burn commences. It doesn’t matter if the Optiarc is sharing the “IDE” channel it with another drive either - as long as it is sharing it with another ODD, it will lock up. It will not lock up on reads, however…

Any other SATA drives I have used, work combined in any way, so as I stated, I am just going to go with some other drives. I also have no spare SATA HDDs to test out and see if they cause a crash when paired, so I can’t see if it crashes with an HDD present as well or if it’s only when paired with an ODD.

I think I’ve experienced this before, when using channels 1 or 3 for ODDs, don’t recall if it were only specific to Optiarcs. So it’s likely a chipset bug that was never properly tested and corrected.