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Super-Slow writes to USB2.0 Cardbus external HDD with HP pavilion ze4400 notebook

Posted on 2004-05-02
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Last Modified: 2007-12-19
I have an HP pavilion ze4400 notebook, AMD Athlon XP-M 2400+, 256MB ram, which uses the o2micro OZ6912 Cardbus Controller.  I have an SIIG USB 2.0 CardBus Dual PC card (JU-PCM222) (NEC PCI to USB Enchanced Host Controller (B1)).  Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1.  External Maxtor 5000LE USB2.0 80GB harddrive.  Writes to the external drive proceed at 0.34 MBytes/sec (far slower than USB1.1).  Reads from the external drive are about 10 times faster, but still far, far short of USB2.0 performance.  I have updated the BIOS twice, and have uninstalled and reinstalled the drivers for the pcmcia controller and the USB hubs and controller.  I even tried a different make of USB 2.0 CardBus card.  No improvements were seen at any point.  Surely other owners of this notebook have run into similar problems, but HP Support doesn't seem to know anything about it.  Does anyone have a fix or patch or driver or hardware change or setting change to make this thing run as fast as USB2.0 ought to run?
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Question by:brashearp
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8 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 10973107
Try this:
USB 2.0 update for Windows XP
http://www.usb-drivers.com/drivers/86/86986.htm
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Author Comment

by:brashearp
ID: 10974940
Callandor

Thanks for the suggestion, but the driver you pointed me to is for a VIA chipset on the motherboard.  I have a notebook pcmcia controller by o2micro and an NEC enhanced host controller on a USB 2.0 Cardbus card.

Do you have any other ideas?
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 10983123
This is the WinXP USB 1.1 and 2.0 patch, which you may or may not have: http://www.usbman.com/winxpusbguide.htm
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Author Comment

by:brashearp
ID: 10988063
I had previously installed this patch, but it further slowed down the already-super-slow writes by about 30%, so I uninstalled it.  I have also installed the o2micro patch referenced at this site, but no improvement there either.
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Author Comment

by:brashearp
ID: 10989293
Some success to report!  I (1) turned off the virus checker, (2) disabled the write-behind cache for the external drive, and (3) changed the power settings so the AMD PowerNow! technology would not ever put the processor into a low-speed low-power state.  Then my write speed to the USB2.0 external drive went up by a factor of 10, to 3.43 MBytes/sec.  That is significantly faster than USB1.1, but far less than USB2.0 provides on a desktop computer I have.  Next I will undo these changes one-at-a-time to see which one really increased the write speed.  Then I will try to locate the external power supply for the CardBus card to see if that makes any difference.  The external drive has its own AC power supply, so I don't see how that could help, but I have run across at least one comment that says you need the USB CardBus power supply connected to run "high speed".  I still need some more speed here, since I intend to use the notebook computer to capture video from a digital camcorder "in the field", using the firewire port, and save the large AVI video files to the external USB2.0 drive.  3.43 MBytes/sec isn't fast enough to avoid dropped frames.
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 10989681
Also make sure the laptop does not try to save power by turning off the USB port you are using - this is in device manager for USB controllers.
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