Can only get Multi-Word DMA mode 2 from UDMA hard drive where previously UDMA worked.

Posted on 2004-10-07
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2011-08-18

I recently realised that my hard drive on my Primary IDE channel is only running at Multi-Word DMA mode 2, according to Windows XP Pro SP2... device manager. This is very strange since it used to run at UDMA mode 6! I've downloaded and installed the VIA Hyperion BUS master drivers and checked the cables. I've also put the Hard drive on its own ribbon cable so that the speed didnt lower for the CD drive on the same IDE channel(?). It seems to have made no difference. The BIOS i changed from AUTO to specify i wanted UDMA 100/133 or something like that, and they seem like the only options. My motherboeard number is GA7VAX, and the BIOS is the latest version. I've also tried Uninstalling the Primary, Secondary and BUS master drivers from Device manager including the Hard disk itself, and restarting to see if it would re-detect and re-enable UDMA mode 6, but no luck there either. I know what i'm doing with computers on the software side, but my hardware knowledge is severely lacking. Could someone please offer any suggestions or authoritative advice? My computer is running S-L-O-W.........

Many Thanks.....

P.S. My Hard Disk is a Maxtor Diamondmax 8 40Gig Ultra ATA/133.

I also have a DVD player and a Sony CD Writer....... but the problem also occurs when they arent connected. At the moment, ALL my drives, optical and hard are running at Multi-Word DMA mode 2.
Question by:alsheron
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 12252189
Two things you might want to try - a different cable, and since you're running the VIA chipset, the latest drivers from http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=2

Author Comment

ID: 12253577
Thanks for the quick reply.... I've tried both cables in the computer... none seem to make a difference. I've also installed the latest VIA drivers but they also make no difference. What is puzzling me is that it once worked at UDMA mode 6 but now does not. Since it used to work, i've installed a new CD writer (the Sony)....... I have set it all up so that the Hard Disk is on one IDE channel alone as a Master, and the two CD drives share the other channel as Master and Slave. I have a feeling that Windows XP isnt configuring itself properly or seeing the configuration of the drives somehow. What is the "proper" way to set up a Hard Disk, DVD rom drive and CD writer in a computer in terms of IDE cables and Master/Slave settings? Maybe i've got this wrong??? Or maybe there is a way to get Windows XP to refresh its information about the data transfer modes available??? It could just be a settings problem??.......... Of course i could go out and buy a new cable, but since it once worked, and since i've tried swapping the two that were there, is it likely to make any difference???

Many Thanks......
LVL 69

Accepted Solution

Callandor earned 1500 total points
ID: 12253761
Hard drives should be kept on a cable by themselves, and some DVD drives only work as master, so set it that way, with the CDROM as slave to the DVD.  Make sure in the BIOS that the highest transfer rate is available and set.

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LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 12256443
Just throwing this comment out there...

Is the hard drive's IDE cable an 80 conductor cable or an older 40 conductor one?  The 40 conductor cable will look similar to the floppy cable (same size of individual wires).  The hard drive cable should literally have double the wires of a standard IDE cable.

I ask this only because an 80 pin cable is required for the higher transfer rates.

I also agree with Callandor.  If you can, keep the hard drive on its own channel.  Keep the DVD/CD drives on another.


Author Comment

ID: 12257237
Thanks for your input masterbaker.... it's very much appreciated, as are the initial suggestions from Callandor,.... but unfortunately...

At the moment, the hard drive is on its own channel. My CD writer and DVD rom are on the other channel. My hard drive is set to Master, and I've set the settings in the BIOS to the higher transfer speed instead of "AUTO" for both channels. As far as i can tell, the cables in my machine for the CD ROM and Hard drives are both 80 conductor.... the individual wires look very thin.... and also, I havent changed the cables since it worked at UDMA mode 6 a while ago....

    Just to re-iterate:

    According to AIDA32,

My motherboard is a GA - 7VAX

BUS Type is VIA V-Link

Motherboard Chipset is KT400


It says: Max UDMA Transfer mode: UDMA 6 (ATA-133)............Active UDMA transfer mode: UDMA 0

My CD WRITER is a SONY CRX230E...... Which, perhaps INTERESTINGLY, refuses to operate at 52x for writing.... not even 48x....but only 40x..... maybe this is linked to the hard drive problem.

I have a feeling that its a problem with Windows in this case, as i've checked everything i can think of and been told of on the hardware side apart from buying a new IDE 80 conductor cable, and the hardware set up seems fine....???

Are there any settings in Windows XP SP2 that need to be checked that maybe could keep preventing the drive from operating at peak speed???? Are there any known issues ( i haven't found any searching the net so far ) with SP2 and IDE transfer rates???

Many Thanks,

LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 12258074
I haven't seen any issues with SP2 and IDE.  A new cable comes free with most motherboards, so you should be able to get one fairly cheap.  When transfer rates are limited, there is usually interference on the cable - try the hard drive w/o an opticals connected, and then try these drives in another system, to see if it's your motherboard's IDE controller.  If it's the controller, you can get a PCI IDE card that can substitute: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=16-102-002&depa=1

Author Comment

ID: 12260000
Thanks for your help Callandor....

I now have my hard drive operating at UDMA mode 6!!! Strangely, the advice you gave about making sure the BIOS was set correctly was actually what seemed to have done the job. Just so others might know how i did this, I seemed to fix it by Choosing "Optimized Settings" in the BIOS..... which seemed to change a setting that wasnt changeable in the normal BIOS menu's. I actually removed the Battery from my motherboard in an attempt to clear the BIOS settings after it failed to boot with "Top Performance" settings..... I replaced the battery after a few minutes, and on checking the setting in device manager (once in Windows), found i was operating at UDMA mode 6......(sigh of relief)

In short: I dont really know what fixed the problem, but there is a strong indication that it was the re-setting of the BIOS options to "Optimized".

Of course this was all dependant on the cabling and set up of the drives........ so thanks to masterbaker for his input..... and especially Callandor for sticking with me on this one..... VERY much appreciated......Thankyou....

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