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Solved: Shouldn't I get a faster rate (UDMA-5) on my laptop harddrive?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by dak999, Sep 20, 2008.

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  1. dak999

    dak999 Thread Starter

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    Hi,

    Should I be able to get Ultra-DMA Mode 5 on my laptop?

    I'm trying to speed up my Inspiron 1150 laptop which worked fine for years but which has slowed down markedly in the past few months. It can hang while opening folders.

    It has 512Mb of RAM memory, and I just ordered an upgrade, so that should help.

    But my question here is whether my hard drive is working slower than it should be. The C: drive inside the computer runs my operating system. It's a 30 GB capacity drive, model number IC25N030ATMR04-0, listed as an Hitachi or IBM piece.

    From what I can tell it should be able to run at Ultra-DMA Mode 5.
    This comes from the fact that the part is listed as being ATA100, another person reports having Ultra-DMA mode 5 with, and finally I downloaded a trial version of HD Tune Pro, which says:

    Supported: UDMA mode 5(Ultra ATA/100)
    Active: UDMA mode 5(Ultra ATA/100)

    However, mode 5 is NOT active according to my Primary IDE Channel Properties, which says I'm only at UDMA Mode 2:


    [​IMG]


    HD Tune clocks my drive's reading and writing speeds to be around 17 MB / second.

    Could have something to do with my laptop's original configuration? Specifically, I don't know whether laptops normally have that 80-pin cable people talk about which is necessary to go above UDMA Mode 2 even if the hard drive allows it.

    If I should be able to get Mode 5 but it's just for some reason been "stepped down", any suggestions for how I can do that?

    I've tried, as one website suggests, setting the transfer mode to PIO Only, restarting, setting it to “DMA if available”, and then restarting. However, it's still in UDMA Mode 2.

    There is the option of actually uninstalling the Primary IDE, but I'm leery of doing that since C: is the drive my OS is on. There are rumors that this is ok to do, but it scares me and I haven't read any direct reports from people trying it.

    As for looking at the BIOS, well--- I went there and could NOT find any options for dealing with DMA at all. I don't know if flashing in a new BIOS would help, I don't want to do that unless I really need to.

    Below are a couple of screen shots from HD Tune:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for any advice you can offer!

    Dak999
     
  2. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    Have you checked the mode for the Secondary IDE Channel? One some laptops the hard drive is on the Secondary IDE or its the Slave on the Primary IDE. The tests would indicate that the drive is running above UDMA 2.

    As for the slow down, have you checked the Health and Error Scan features of HD Tune?
     
  3. dak999

    dak999 Thread Starter

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    Hi Triple6, thanks for writing back.

    I followed your advice: the Secondary IDE Channel is set at UDMA 5. But how do I know which channel my C: drive is on? I'm not finding any mention of my drives in the IDE properties windows nor mention of IDE channel in my hard drive's properties window.

    The Health and Error scans both gave a clean bill of health, no problems found on either. Except my drive is kind of "old", having almost 7600 hours of on time.

    I also use an external Maxtor One Touch III hard drive (500 Gb). Access to that has slowed down, too. I belatedly realized that that's probably not UDMA anything since it connects via USB.

    So perhaps the problem is just with either some software or processes that I'm running? Hopefully installing more memory will help.

    Thanks!
     
  4. lawson_jl

    lawson_jl

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    I would unistal the IDE controller and lets windows reinstall it. What likely has happened is that over time yoru hard drive has built up errors that casue windows to slow down asscess to your hard drive to help compensate. There are registry edits youcan use to reset the IDE mode and error count but i don't like to recommened editing the registry to alot of people. after reinstalling the IDE try running a program like spinright or running a full scandisk with surface check so that the whole surface of the drive is scanned and the drive can note any bad spots and avoid them inthe future.
     
  5. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    It would be on the Secondary Channel, and the optical drive is on the Primary IDE in UDMA 2. Its backward, but I've seen several laptops that way.

    Have you done a thorough scan for viruses and spyware?
     
  6. dak999

    dak999 Thread Starter

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    I scanned with NOD32 and Spybot S&D last night and came up clean. I'm guessing that maybe it's just that I have too many processes running? I'm doing what I can to curtail this.

    After I upgraded to Firefox 3 I noticed that it drags me down. When you've got 512 Mb of memory and one program is claiming over 100 MB of it, that's not good. I'm surprised that it keeps a high memory load even after I close some windows.

    Anyway, my 1 Gb memory upgrade card is in the mail.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  7. dak999

    dak999 Thread Starter

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    I mean, how does the following look re: performance?

    [​IMG]

    The CPU is often stretched towards 100% doing ordinary stuff. Maybe extra RAM will help me keep things off of the hard drive's virtual memory?
     
  8. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    You probably can trim down your startup using MSCONFIG and a site like Startupinfo.org

    And, adding more memory will help too.
     
  9. dak999

    dak999 Thread Starter

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    Thanks so much!! I installed more memory last night and it's helped lots. I'll continue working to trim my startup, too. Do you mean sysinfo.org? Startupinfo.org doesn't seem to exist.

    Anyway, thanks for your help, you saved me from continuing needless head-scratching!

    Dak999
     
  10. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    Yup, thats what I meant.
     
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