Thanks for all ur replies. I finally managed to suss it after trawling through many many mannny msgboards/forums and the like and extracted relevant info from about a million different posts, and managed to suss the problem. It’s annoyingly very simple, and ill just outline it to anyone else having the same problem [ive never seen any msg in any forum with someone with exactly same prob as this]
in simple terms: disable UDMA for the burner’s port in the BIOS, and enable it in win2k device manager. it works - woohoo! dont really know why, but i dont care cos it works a treat!
Config is [unchanged at]
[location, description, bios setting]
Pri Mas - Main HD UDMA auto
Pri Sla - secondary old HD, PIO auto [it doesnt support UDMA anyway]
Sec Mas - 24x burner UDMA disabled, Auto detect
Sec Sla - old burner, UDMA disabled , auto detect
Then in Win2k device manager, UDMA is set enabled on the 24x burner.
[still using all the standard drivers that installed with win2k when i first set it up. ridiculously stable - woohooo!! ]
Managed to simulate no botehr in 16x with 1% CPU usage. cant simulate any higher in nero. havent actually tried a burn yet but im gonna presume it works; it previously simulated and burned at exactly the same slow 8x ish speed, with high processor usage.
cheers, sorry if this dont make sense but im very hungover!!
ps wud be interested to hear if this works for neone else , or if it doesnt for that matter.