Slow performance from IDE drive

I have a Sempron 2.8 with the following drives;
Master - 20 GB FAT32 (C:)
Slave - DVD-ROM
Master - 110 GB NTFS (E:)
Slave - 110 GB NTFS (F:)

The issue I have is slow performance when transferring files to/from the E and F drives.
As an example, it takes about 150 seconds to transfer a 360MB file from either of these drives to C:
Is that slower than it should be?

One thing I noticed but may or may not be relevent is in Windows Disk Manager, drive F is listed as
Layout: Simple and Type: Dynamic; whereas all the other volumes are marked as
Layout: Partition and Type: Basic.

I'd really like someone to suggest how I can go about diagnosing why the perfomance is bad on these drives.

Who is Participating?
nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
to set them to DMA, try this , if the hard drive is reverting to PIO access.   If this is the case, the following registry edit will fix it:  (this is a harmless registry edit -- the deleted values will be reset by Windows at next boot)

Load RegEdit (Start - Run - Regedit)

navigate to the following key :
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\ Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\000x

The last four digits will be 0000, 0001, 0002, 0003, and so on.

Under each key, delete all occurences of the following values:

If you do not have an entry for ResetErrorCountersOnSuccess :  at each of the keys (0001, 0002, 0003, etc.) you should add a DWORD value named "ResetErrorCountersOnSuccess" with a value of 1
This is normal in this configuration. The IDE interface can only access one device on the same channel at the same time. Since you have both E and F on IDE channel one, and when you are copying or transfering data from the master on channel one to the slave on channel one, it first accesses the master to read the data, then the master is left and the data is read to the slave drive. This is cycles between the drives and therefore takes much longer than when you copy from the disk on ide channel 0 to a disk on channel1. You'll se a similar effect if you copy files from your CD drive on channel 0 to C, and it'll be faster if you copy from cd to e or f.

Try not using disks on the same ide channels. You could get a pci ide card to get more ide channels.
kiranghagConnect With a Mentor Commented:
>>transfer a 360MB file from either of these drives to C:

are you copying from E: - > C: and not E:- > F: ??

if yes, then this could be a slower than usual performance. rindi is true for E: -> F: case.

check what speed the drive interface is running. you can do this from device manager under ide interface. it should be IDE Ultra DMA Mode or something...but definitely not PIO mode.

layout value does not matter here.

also make sure in the drive properties that caching is enabled for those.
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blackfrancis75Author Commented:
Yes, I'm copying E: - > C: and not E:- > F:
Rindi obviously didn't read that part.

In Device Manager, under Secondary IDE Channel Properties,
Device 0 (C:) is in "Ultra DMA Mode"

under Secondary IDE Channel Properties,
both Device 0 (E:) and Device 1 (F:) are in "PIO Mode"  
The drop-down box that lets me choose a Transfer mode has "DMA if available" selected for both devices.
This seems to imply that DMA mode isn't available.
That's bad, right?
Any ideas how to enable DMA for the secondary channel?

Actually I missunderstood your statement:

>> The issue I have is slow performance when transferring files to/from the E and F drives. <<

and thought you were using one as source and the other as destination.

Anyway, you should get dma mode on all the drives. Make sure the IDE cable is good, and upgrade your BIOS.
Do you know the speed of the 20gb drive?  Most 20gb drives will be considerably slower than most 100+gb drives, creating a multi-layer bottleneck when copying from the faster drive to the slower drive.  If you're running a DMA-66 drive that spins at 5400rpm as the C drive, and the other two are 7200rpm, DMA-133 drives, things bog in a hurry.  

Also, you don't mention what mobo you're running this configuration on.  If the mobo manufacturer didn't include support for faster drives on the secondary controller, you'll run into another bottleneck.  

And, you don't mention brands of drives, but some drives simply do not play well with others, that is other manufacturer's drives.  

And, finally, if you used the older style IDE cable on either side of the equation, you've again added to the bottlenecking.

blackfrancis75Author Commented:

The mobo is an Asus K8v-MX, which claims 2 x UltraDMA 100/66/33 ports

Drive E: Maxtor 6Y120L0 - 120GB 7200RPM ATA133
Drive F: Western Digital WDC WD1200JB-00CRA1 - 120GB 7200 RPM ATA100
Drive C: Seagate ST310014A - 10GB 5400RPM ATA100

the IDE cables are new.

Is it likely that the fact that both the Secondary drives are running in "PIO Mode" is the reason for the slowness?
if not, given this hardware configuration, what seems the most likely cause?
Yes, pio is much, much slower than the other modes. I'd still try another cable, new isn't allways good, and make sure it is a cable with 80 wires, and not the older types which only have 40. If the BIOS update doesn't help, check the utilities for the drives you can download from the manufacturers. There is often a tool included with which you can set the modes at which the disk should run at. You can also download the UBCD, burn it to CD and try the tools on that. It includes the utilities of the manufacturers and also some 3rd party ones.
i would
- get latest driver from manufacturer site
- go into safe mode, remove all the hard disk controllers in device manager
- reboot and supply latest drivers when prompted

if this does not work then try connecting one disk on second channel at a time and see if it makes any difference in the settings it takes.

would not go for bios update unless i am very sure...
blackfrancis75Author Commented:
WoW!  THat registry hack worked a treat!  
Both drives now run in Ultra DMA mode and the files that used to take > 2 mins to transfer now take < 30 seconds!
Thanks to everyone for your input and especialy nobus - you are the man!
how do you know ? thanks, and let it go fast !
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