Perfomance of 2 CD-ROMS on one IDE line.

Posted on 1998-01-22
Last Modified: 2006-11-17
I have 2 CD-ROMs on one IDE line: Infra 18oo 12x (master) and
Goldstar 8x (slave). BIOS does not detects them. Does this
affects perfomance. In other words, if I'll remove 8x, will
speed of Infra increase ? Now it VERY slow, 12x is ~1800K/s
and now its speed 900-1000K. Infra supports PIO 4 and Goldstar
PIO 3 maximum. Is this drivers issue ?
Question by:busuka
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Expert Comment

ID: 1124908
I'll assume that you are trying to make one cd-rom a secondary master and the other a secondary slave. This configuration is great for the speed of the primary hard drives. However, both CD-Roms will slow other things down that are on the same connection.
I don't think that it is a driver issue, since both CD-Roms work, even though slower than you would like.
I also don't think that it is a bios problem. I have had several computers now, and none has ever detected an IDE CD-Rom upon bootup. What I mean by this is that when the computer is detecting for hard drives, it visually says nothing about detecting other devices like CD-Roms, even though the Bios had been change to say that a CD-ROM is present.
If you are using WIN95, you might want to check the properties of your CD-Roms. To do this, Right click on My Computer - Properties - Performance-  File System - CDROM. This would tell you your settings, like the cache size and the CD-Rom speed. Also, check your Device Manager to see if anything conflicts.

Expert Comment

ID: 1124909
Cd-roms are slow you need to use smartdrv to speed them up just add smartdrv line to your autoexec.bat also edit setings for your cd-roms there will be readme.txt on floppy with drivers that will tell you how you have to set each drivers so they are only controling own cd-rom. Sometimes driver loaded early will take two drivers making the one from different manufacturer slower

Expert Comment

ID: 1124910
I'm not trying to cloud the issue here but I have an Award BIOS that not only finds IDE CDROMs, it even boots from one!
Sorry for the intrusion busuka.

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Author Comment

ID: 1124911
datn, I'm not worried about my BIOS doesn't detects them (you right:
I have 2 CD-ROMs both on secondary IDE) and I don't care about
booting from CD, just will perfomance improve, if I'll hook 2 CD-ROMs as
slaves on Primary and Secondary IDE (I have 2 HDDs on Primary IDE) ?
rmarotta, OK. For me every opinion valuable.

JBURGHARDT, I don't want use SMARTDRV. I have pretty bad experience
with it. Isn't Win95 have some sort of SMARTDRV inside ? I think
it has.

datn, I don't have conflicts at all, just perfomance SIGNIFICALLY
lower than need, even on sequental read test.

I have 2 HDDs, both 2.1G WD. Bus-master drivers installed.
So, can I improve perfomance of CD-ROMs by hooking them as two  slaves.

Expert Comment

ID: 1124912
I think there may be an answer in the fact that the CDs are PIO devices.  This conflicts/degrades with bus master driver.
For more info, you may want to look at the FAQ at:


Author Comment

ID: 1124913
Hmm, got the hint. So Master/Slave, Prim/Secondary game will not
give me perfomance on CD-ROMs. Sad. I don't want remove busmaster

OK, rmarotta, thanx for the hints. You can post an answer after
couple of days, if no more opinions on this issue.

Expert Comment

ID: 1124914
I have found in the past that simply having 2 devices on an IDE bus affects the performance. As I understand, IDE does not seem able to cope with Synchronous data transfer (unlike SCSI)  so that the BUS can only communicate with 1 IDE device at any one time.
This effectively means that the 2 devices are taking turns at using the IDE BUS. I believe that BUSMastering Drivers  simply speed up this process of taking turns.
I guess what I'm saying is that sharing any 2 devices on IDE will have a noticeable performance hit. If you really need the extra devices and you can afford SCSI then that's the way forward - but costly. I suggest a 10 Disc SCSI Jukebox with external RAID of 7x9GB Hard Drives for an immediate upgrade...(joke!)

Author Comment

ID: 1124915
Hmm, David, if I use only ONE device at time. This was one of
causes that I put 2 HDDs on Primary IDE and 2 CD-ROMs on Secondary
IDE. I never use 2 CD-ROMs at the same time. SCSI is fine, but not
for now (I'm little tight on budget for my 'puter ;()

Thanks for opinion.

Expert Comment

ID: 1124916
Good morning busuka,

Out of curiousity...
If you don't use both CD Roms at the same time and currently have performance issues with your current configuration, surely this warrants removing one of the CD Roms? It may look nice to have the 2 CD Rom drives installed but does the potential performance increase not warrant the extra disk changes incurred with removal of one of the CD Rom drives?

Author Comment

ID: 1124917
Good morning (I have ~11:00 am) !

I'm not having 2 CD-ROMs just to be *cool*. Goldstar 8x is leftover
from my previous computer and it AWESOME reader of CDs (self-cooked,
half-burned, scratched ...), but it has bad DAE. Infra is mainly
for DAE issue. I make DAE on 6x with minor clicks and pops, and
on 4x everything clear.

Expert Comment

ID: 1124918
Forgot to ask - are you manually setting the PIO modes in BIOS? I have seen problems before with some hard drives and controllers not talking properly/efficiently when the PIO is manually set.The same is true for setting this mode to AUTO - suggest you try the different settings to see if there is an issue with the controller. Incidentally, what motherboard do you have?  - IDE Controller chipset and driver versions under Win95 would be useful too. Are you only using Win95 for your Operating System?

Author Comment

ID: 1124919
OK. Some more info: tried both Auto settings and manual PIO changes.
Seems like no change on work (not checked perfomance, I'm dumb).
Now all on AUTO. Both CD-ROMs hooked on motherboard. Tried to
detect manufacturer: no luck. Even on Wim's BIOS page I have some
unknown brand of VX mobo (wide range of choices, but lucky I'm not
VXpro el cheapo) 3 ISA slots, 4 PCI slots, USB port, 4 SIMM slots
2 DIMM slots. 82371SB PIIX.

Now here another mystery info. Previously Infra was Slave and
Goldstar was Master. In this position Infra "ate" its tray
immediately after I press Eject button on it (or by Eject utility).
So I changed it to present state and got rid of this behaviour.
Now if I forgot CD inside Infra, after reboot can not be detected
not by Win95 OSR1 (all patches) nor by real-time DOS drivers.
Creative said that I have broken CD-ROM (Infra firmware 1.04c) and
should replace it. For me it's headache.

Now some magic about busmaster drivers: I have installed 82371FB (!!!)
drivers, however on motherboard 82371SB. Everything worked fine

Author Comment

ID: 1124920
BTW, if somebody could solve busmaster mistery, I can easily enlarge
points for this question. My approach was "don't fix, if it's not
broken", but I'm adventurous guy.

Expert Comment

ID: 1124921
No two IDE devices can communicate with the BUS at any one time.  All that Bus Mastering does is this-

When a drive recieved a command to perform an operation the drive can accept the command, give control back to the system, then when the drive has completed it's task it will regain control of the bus.

CD ROMS are a little different though, they are constantly communicating with the BUS; so theoretically, the more CD ROM drives you have the slower the entire system will become.

The way I see it is you have three choices;

1) Put up with it
2) Get rid of one of your CD drives
3) Go SCSI

Accepted Solution

rmarotta earned 20 total points
ID: 1124922
What do you gain from use of bus mastering support? If you aren't running multiple, (disk-intensive) applications, Intel says there is no benefit for you.  I installed it only to find unexplained problems when trying to burn CDs.  My BIOS recognized both ATAPI CDs properly and everthing worked fine execpt for occasional hangups when writing to CD.  A couple of coasters convinced me not to argue.  I uninstalled with no more headaches.
So your answer remains in the Intel FAQ......
Best regards,


Author Comment

ID: 1124923
OK. Just FYI. Last Friday I opened case, pulled out SB 32 PnP card,
then uninstalled busmaster drivers (this strange FB). Win95 found
my 82371SB and installed drivers for it. No conflicts. I inserted
SB card back. Win95 found standard IDE/ESDI controller (?!?!?!).
No conflicts, everything works. I also make CD burns. If I don't
run MP3 player during burn :) I don't receive coaster. But I have
HP4020i :(((. This Writer very sensitive to media. All my coasters
(buffer underrun) were Sony. I have not any problem with TDK, Fuji,
Philips, Mitsubishi.

Thanx again.

Expert Comment

ID: 1124924
Does the Soundblaster have an on-board IDE port?  Maybe that's why it installed the driver for standard IDE/ESDI controller.
If not, perhaps the driver you use for the card mistakenly installs support for an IDE??
I have the Memorex 1622.  It's an EIDE rewritable that (so far) hasn't caused any problems once I got the IDE drivers figured out.  Been using generic CDR's without trouble.


Expert Comment

ID: 1124925
Have you been able to burn a bootable CD yet?  I have tried to follow several different sets of instructions, but so far, no luck.  My computer will boot from NT4 CD, so I know it is capable.  Just haven't found the right combination yet!


Author Comment

ID: 1124926
- Yes SB has IDE port
- Yes, because of this port WiNdOzE :) install IDE/ESDI driver
- I don't know what IDE connector on SB (secondary, tertiary ...)
- I don't have any device connected to SB IDE connector.

My BIOS not supports bootable CD and I don't think that I going
to reflash my BIOS soon. This process potentially dangerous and
I'm not going to do this just for curiosity sake :)
Check this FAQ:



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