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Busmaster problems and DMA channel

Posted on 1999-01-27
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
Ok, the problem is that using busmaster DMA on my hard drive is not stable.  OSR2/Win98 check box or VIA busmaster drivers do not work.  The system always locks up while running defrag, or when unRARing certain archives.
Now, does the HDD use DMA channel 3 for busmastering? If so, it's already in use by my ECP printer port. Or am I way off base here. Anyone who can help me get busmastering running on my system will get a 500 point bonus when I have completed stability tests.

Board is a Matsonic MS-5120 VxPro+ (VIA VPX ripoff).
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Question by:bios072698
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by:jhance
ID: 1138349
I hate to tell you this but there are many marginal motherboards out there that just don't work right with a high-speed DMA load like that generated by a UDMA hard drive.  In my experience, Matsonic branded parts are of the lowest grade and I've junked more of them than I care to remember.  
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Author Comment

by:bios072698
ID: 1138350
jhance...I agree with you completely. I would neither purchase nor recommend ANY PcChips mainboard, regardless that some people say they have cleaned up their act. I just don't believe it.
Unfortunately, this is the board I'm stuck with for now. The problem still occurs with udma disabled (ie: pio 4) and busmastering in use.

Is my theory correct, however? Does HDD busmastering use DMA channel 3, and would it conflict with an ECP printer port using DMA channel 3?

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jhance earned 200 total points
ID: 1138351
Bus mastering and DMA are not the same thing.  The IDE disk controller doesn't use any DMA channel and the UDMA is somewhat of a misnomer.  Bus mastering is like DMA in that the disk controller actually does R/W cycles on the memory bus but in this case it's using the bus mastering control between the CPU and the bus mastering device rather than the DMA controller (which is much slower)

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Author Comment

by:bios072698
ID: 1138352
Thanks.  The bonus is still available if you can offer any insight into solving my stability problems.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 1138353
I still think your motherboard is bad.  If it's fairly new, there may be some warranty.  Take it back and get another brand.  I've had good luck with ABIT, and Tyan.  As I said before, Matsonic is junk.  If no warranty, you may still want to go buy another MB.  Even the good ones are not that expensive.
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