Writing 16x with AMD 2400+ - Speed problems

Dear all,

I have a Benq 1650 DVD writer in an AMD Athlon 2400+ system. Burning with speeds up to 12x works fine but when I try 16x, my computer can’t send the data fast enough. Due to CAV, the data rate at the beginning of the burn is ok. It increases over the time, and at approx. 3/4 of a full DVD the computer can’t send the data fast enough any more. The drive slows then down to 4x speed and finishes the disk slowly (thus needing more time than for a 12x burn).

I thought that I avoided the usual pitfalls (DMA mode…) but do not understand why my system is too slow. Some information about my hardware:

CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2400+ @ standard 2000MHz
Mainboard: Asus A7V8X
OS: Windows XP Prof. SP 2
HDD: 2 Seagate drives, 40 GB and 250GB, 7200 rpm, with UDMA 100 interface, both on primary IDE channel, with correct DMA 5 mode according to BIOS and Windows
Secondary IDE channel: A LG CD writer and the Benq 1650 DVD writer, both in DMA 2 mode

Removing the CD writer from the bus does not help. Besides the problem was exactly the same when I borrowed an LG 16x-DVD writer.

Any idea what’s wrong with my system? The harddisks should be fast enough. The data is not fragmented, either. Also, the CPU is not too busy while burning: the load stays easily under 50% while burning.

Can someone help me and figure out why the data goes not fast enough from the harddisk to the DVD writer?

Many thanks for your help, Johann

The harddisks should be fast enough.

But it’s not. Try burning from the non-operating system hard drive, and be sure that it also is not doing anything else at the time.

That board uses a VIA chipset. You can try using the VIA IDE controller driver, or try using the default MS driver (try which ever you don’t have running) and see if changing that fixes your problem.

In any case, this is the result of the hard drive not keeping up. I assume the Seagate 250 is the newer drive, it should be faster.

I’ve seen many systems with DVD writers installed that only have a 40-wire IDE cable installed. You need an 80-wire IDE cable to use UDMA on yer DVD writer. Reason is that for every pin on the interface there’s a corresponding ground wire to stop crosstalk and therefore enable faster data throughput.


In theory, a 40-wire IDE cable supports UDMA modes up to Ultra DMA Mode 2. This mode is capable of burst rates of about 25 MB/s and should be enough for 16x burning.
But Ultra DMA Mode 4, supported by the majority of recent burners, is only possible with an 80-wire IDE cable. :slight_smile:

VIA chipsets are famous for their speed problems, I think [B]mciahel[/B] once posted something about those.

I recommend an 80-wire IDE cable for avoiding trouble though, and users with USB enclosures (=> limited speed => similar problem) have had more luck with UDMA4-capable burners/firmwares.

My 1.5 years old Asus mobo still came with an 80-wire “HD cable” and a 40-wire “CD cable”… LOL! :bigsmile:

I neglected to notice he’s also using a CD rewriter that limits the DVD burner to the CD burner’s UDMA mode; defaults to the slowest device on the channel. Best to get rid of the CD burner and install a DVD ROM drive as well as use an 80-conductor cable.

Not so these days. Might have been true years ago but not so now.

Regular defragging should help.

My XP2100 with a VIA chipset , Benq 1650 , same memory etc will burn fine at 16x but I use 12x anyway as the burn quality is slightly higher.

Definitely go for 80wire cables though.

All that said, something else may be dragging performance down; that list is endless.

When all been done that said above, you can also try to swap IDE channels, ie put HDD’s on secondary and opticals on primary channel.

BTW, good point about 40 conductor ide cable [I]kg_evilboy[/I]. :clap:
I never had problem burning at 16x with “40 cable” on my oldish $ntel 815PE wit 733MHz PIII and a fast HDD.

Thank you all for the advice. By following your hints, I got some improvement (coincidence or not?) but the problem is not completely solved.

When I installed the newest VIA drivers and disconnected the (posibly hindering) CDRW drive, I got the speed graph in the first image with Nero DVD speed (“Create disk”). This looks fine for me (the drops in write speed are due to walking optimal power calibration, WOPC, I suppose). When I turned WOPC off, I got the second graph. Here, I have no clue, where the (fewer) drops in writing speed come from (any idea???). You also see that writing speed drops down to 12x (the drive spinned down, too) shortly before the end. This is surely an improvement over 4x speed for a much bigger part of the DVD but it shows that the problem partly remains.

Some facts for excluding possible reasons for failure: I do use 80 wire cables, both for the harddisks and the DVD writer. When I copy large files from one harddisk to the other, the speed is about 30MB/sec - should be enough for 16x DVD speed. Besides, Nero DVD speed has problems with writing 16x, too, but it generates its data itself and the harddisks are idle when I create a test disk.

So it’s not a slow hard disk. The DVD writer works in IDE DMA mode 2, according to its specifications, and reading DVDs at 16x isn’t a problem, either. So I am still mystified by my DVD writer. I’m glad to read that TimC is able to write 16x on a very similar system (even slightly slower CPU), so I don’t give up hope for my system. Have you any idea what else I could try?

Thanks, Johann

The second graph is a normal downshift as part of the OPC. It’s supposed to do that if it senses that the laser is not right for the media/speed combination. You can see that it is doing the normal calibration blip, then returns to 12 instead of 16x. This can happen with seeming randomness, does it on one disc and not the next. Very normal.

This is a completely different phenomenon from a downshift due to buffer under-run. The CDSpeed test does not evaluate the later possibility unless you are burning from an ISO.

Personally, I wouldn’t use 16x for burning anyway, but 12x.