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Maxtor 98196H8 reading very slow. Other identical drive reading fast. What gives?

Hi,
   I recently brought up a new windows 2000 server, created 2 mirrors, one of 2-200GB disks (different make and model) and one of 2 identical Maxtor 98196H8 80 GB drives. the 200 GB drives are the masters on the IDE bus, one on each channel. The 80 gig drives are the slaves. This system has an old Jabil Kadoka (Early Gateway AMD system) Mobo, so I had to install Data Lifeguard tools to see the 200 GB drives. Similarly,  I had to use MaxBlast 4 to set up the Maxtor drives (all drives were set up as extra storage) My boot drive is an IBM DCHS  4.5 GB SCSI drive. The bios (latest version) is set to autodetect all 4 IDE drives. They are all working, but the primary slave (part of the 80 GB mirror) only reads about 3-5 MB/sec with very high (something like 90 percent) CPU usage under HDTach, while the Secondary slave reads about 25-30MB/sec, with much lower (15% or so) CPU utilization.

I was having some problems setting up the slave mirror, which i thought i had traced to cable problems. I decided to try those newfangled round cables. I guess you can't twist them around too much, or crosstalk starts to be a problem. When I tried to initialize the slave mirror, it would totally remove the primary IDE channel from "sight" of the system. I could sometimes get the drives to reappear by "scan for hardware changes" but ended up trying a tried-and-true ribbon cable in place of the round one. I thought all was well when the mirror started to form properly. Now it's up and running, but the read speed (i haven't registered HDTach, so I don't have write-test capabilities, and the other benchmark programs are a little too complicated for my aesthetic taste.) and i presume, the write speed are terrible on this drive.

Hellllp!! :-)
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iyshken
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iyshken
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1 Solution
 
WatzmanCommented:
Round cables are the pits.  I've tried several and have had nothing but problems.

It sounds like you don't have DMA enabled on the 80 gig drives.  I don't use Windows 2000, so I don't know how you do control DMA exactly, and this may involve the BIOS as well as Windows, but if it's windows, it's proably either in device manager or in Disk Management.  Be sure, also, that you have 80-conductor and not 40-conductor cables.

Although it's not something that you mentioned, I would be very concerned about the 137 gigabyte barrier as it might relate to:

-The motherboard IDE ports
-The bios
-Windows 2000

If you had to use overlay software to see the drives, it is very unlikely that your bios supports 48-bit lba.  It's also unlikely that that motherboard (hardware) supports it.  And while win2k can support it, you must have [I think] service pack 4 or later installed (might be sp3, I'm not sure).  However, if ANY of these components (bios, motherboard or Win2K) don't support 48-bit lba, then the first time you try to write to a portion of a 200 gig drive that is beyond that barrier, you are going to totally wipe out everything on that disk drive.  (what happens is that it "wraps around", the 138th gigabyte is actually written on the 1st gigabyte of the drive, which clobbers the master boot record).  For what you are doing, my impression is that it's "false economy" to be doing it on such old hardware.
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iyshkenAuthor Commented:
well, it's the 80-gig drive i am talking about, not the 200. that one seems to be working fine. I did use overlay software. But not to "see" the drives, just to get the full capacity. the 80-gig drives came out of a machine that they had been installed in for over 2 years (and they were jam-packed until i offloaded them onto the 200-gig set), with overlay software (to overcome the 32-gig barrier) with no ill effects. Both drives worked normally it seemed, but they were not in a mirror arrangement.

i have win2k with sp4.

have you taken note that one of the 80-gig drives works at full speed? this is only the primary slave we are talking about.  Maybe the ribbon cable i am using is too long? it's like 3 ft long or more. It worked fine on the system I pulled it from. The 80 gig drive is plugged into the master connector and the 200 gig in the slave connector but the jumper settings make the 200 gig drive the master and the 80-gig drive the slave. Could that cause any strangeness?
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WatzmanCommented:

There could be several issues here with the cable.  3 ft. is long, I think it's about the maximum length allowed by the spec., but I'm wondering if it's a "cable select" cable, which is modified (one of the wires is cut between the two connectors -- sometimes this is done inside the connector, sometimes it's visible).  I presume, also, that it's a 40 conductor cable.  If it's an 80 conductor cable, that also could be a problem, because on an 80 conductor cable there are some connections made inside the 3 connectors, and you cannot (or are not supposed to) interchange master and slave, and when I've tried it, it just plain hasn't worked.  But that only applies to 80 conductor cables.  Are you using "cable select", or are you using explicit master/slave jumpering of the drives?

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iyshkenAuthor Commented:
I am jumpering the drives. I have never ever had a good experience using cable select.
yes the cable is 80-conductor.
there is a litttttttle cut-out of one of the wires next to the ide controller header.

I'll try a shorter cable, and make sure to connect it with master and slave in the right position.
it's weird, but it's not messing with the 200 gig drive at all... :-/


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iyshkenAuthor Commented:
i just found out that drive is using PIO mode instead of UDMA. all 3 other drives are using DMA. It is not possible to enable DMA for this drive in Device manager, it's already set to use DMA if available. But there it sits in PIO mode. So, what causes unwanted operation in PIO mode?


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WatzmanCommented:

Well, as I said in one of my earlier posts "It sounds like you don't have DMA enabled" (from my post at 4:57).  I think we can conclude that this is the root cause.  The cable can cause this, in some cases, especially if the other drive is ATA/66 or faster.  If you are using a 40-conductor cable, switch to an 80 conductor cable.  Also, in the BIOS setup program, there is normally an option for the speed, make sure that is set to DMA.

If that doesn't help, can you swap the "fast" and the "slow" 80 gig drives?  See if the speed follows the drive, or if it's still the Primary slave that is running slow.
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iyshkenAuthor Commented:
You were right. DMA was not enabled. I found this article after googling around a bit.

http://www.michna.com/kb/WxDMA.htm

 DMA mode 4 is enabled in my BIOS, but the primary IDE controller, slave channel only, was balking and falling back to PIO mode. You provided the clues I needed to get me on the right track. Good Show!

Thanks,
Jim

How are you at networking? I have this other problem... ;-) 500 points
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/WinNT_Networking/Q_21396819.html
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iyshkenAuthor Commented:
Oh i forgot to mention...

The bum cable caused my windows install to revert to PIO, and even after uninstalling and reinstalling the primary IDE channel it still was stuck in PIO. The registry hack in the abovementioned article did the trick, but Watzman got me on the right track.

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WatzmanCommented:

Thanks, glad to have been able to have helped.  I put a post in your other inquiry (networking) that, similarly, might get you on the path to a solution.
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