I have a very unpopular poll out on this forum to help awareness of the read speed issues.
One thing that isn’t mentioned on the poll is the drive’s allergy to Nvidia chipsets. That is caused by an Nvidia driver which can be uninstalled (if applicable). Microsoft’s bundled drivers in XP can well support your drives.
I am aware of no need for 3rd party IDE drivers in a stock system.
If you don’t have 3rd party drivers from the mainboard’s chipset manufacturer, you could test drive them to see if they help. I’ve never seen that, but there’s got to be some reason for their existance.
ASAPI may not be well installed on your system, but it can be reinstalled.
For most cases, UDMA mode should be enabled in the BIOS, and in some cases, it should be turned off for greater performance. In most-all cases, DMA should be enabled in Windows for both hard drive and CD.
It is possible that your CD data cable is just no good. I experienced this once on my personal computer sitting right on my desk. Sure, the cable looked innocent. . .but it wasn’t!
Some software does not fully support the drive you own. However, there should be at least one case of the drive performing as advertised.
Games may have Safedisc (or similar weak-sector copy protection), and this causes random failures with any optical drive. Sure, it is hard to copy, but it is also generally hard to read. Try a different disc. At least one of your discs should perform to near-advertised specs.
The product is allergic to some media types as is normal for any optical drive. Most rom types work very well. Many, but not all recordables work well. Here’s some that do: Verbatim, Prodisc (not all), CMC Mag (HP BenQ, Phillips), Ritek, Memorex, TDK, Maxell, and many more work very well.
Let us know if any of these suggestions work.