News Archive for: Monday, August 14th, 2006 (later posted items first)
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Mac Pro running Windows XP, no DMA mode for onboard SATA
(Update: On 8/15, Apple released a Boot Camp 1.1 Beta update with Mac Pro, iSight support and more - but that did not fix the problem of no DMA mode with Mac Pro onboard SATA. However see this page for how to fix that, which readers mentioned on the Boot Camp feedback page worked.)

(original post from 8/14 follows, before Boot Camp 1.1 was released)
A follow-up to the earlier post on Mac Pro Windows XP drivers, slow performance/PIO mode with onboard SATA. Unfortunately Mac Pro owners wrote that only PIO mode is working.

" Mike, Inform your readers that DMA for SATA drives is disabled by default for some reason under Windows XP. (Note: I don't think this is universally true, and a MacBook Pro owner wrote his Bootcamp/Windows XP install used UDMA mode on the internal SATA bus. However currently Mac Pro owners running XP all reported PIO was being used, resulting in poor performance of onboard SATA drives.-Mike) A colleague informed me of a significant boost in disk i/o when DMA is switched on.

While running Windows XP, go to the Control Panel, and double click the System control panel.

1) Click the Hardware tab, and then the Device Manager button.
2) Click the reveal (+ sign) on IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers
3) select either Primary IDE Channel or Secondary IDE Channel, right click, select "Properties".
4) Select the Advanced Settings tab, and note the settings for the devices listed. "DMA if available" should be selected in the Transfer Mode pull down. (Mac Pro users reported currently PIO is used on their installs, even after installing Intel chipset driver/updates-Mike)
Click Ok on that dialog, and then Ok on the System control panel. I don't know if you will need to restart XP, but it might be wise to do so.

Here's some links to MS support concerning Windows' default use of PIO after multiple timouts/crc errors:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3Ben-us%3B817472
-Eric M."

A Mac Pro owner replied to this post saying the selection "DMA if available" was already selected, but still didn't change the mode actually used:

"I went into XP under Boot Camp and indeed the SATA channels show they are in PIO mode.

However, the drop down selection on both is "DMA if available". The only other choice I can change them to is "PIO only" which, of course, I don't want. (it's already running in PIO mode)
So for now, DMA isn't available, and that is what slows it down dramatically.
Win XP SP2 corrected the CRC errors causing a drive to drop into PIO problem according to the KB article (linked above)...
-Paul "

I asked Paul if he was sure CRC errors were detected. (The Microsoft Kbase doc linked to above is from 2003, it mentions a service pack/hotfix (which should already be in XP SP2 installs, which are required for BootCamp) and a workaround procedure (delete driver, reset registry error counter, then reboot/redetect controller) *if* CRC errors were the cause of PIO mode being used. (NOTE: Before messing with the registry, create a System Restore point in Windows XP in case something goes wrong.)
Deleting the existing driver and rebooting/re-detecting (reinstalling driver) is worth a try however.
If someone finds a fix for this issue (updated drivers, registry mods, etc. let me know.
Apple's bootcamp page also asks to send feedback to bootcamp@apple.com to help improve future versions, so Mac Pro owners should write them about issues like this. (I suspect they are already working on an update for the Mac Pro but it can't hurt to report things like this.)

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Driver Downloads for Mac Pros running Windows XP (SATA drives still slow/PIO mode)
Update - See this page for how to get Mac Pro onboard SATA DMA mode working. (original post from 8/14 follows, before Boot Camp 1.1 was released which added Mac Pro support and more but did not fix the Mac Pro SATA PIO mode issue.)

" Mike, Made the plunge and got the Mac Pro. I will update you with some findings when I am done. For your readers with a Mac Pro here is list of working drivers for it: (including Intel motherboard chipset drivers, Nvidia 7300 drivers, audio, etc.)
http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=596874&tstart=0
It runs GREAT and Windows as well.
-William R. "

I sent this link to a reader w/Mac Pro running XP who said performance with the SATA drive was very poor, a common complaint he said (PATA drives were OK/much faster). I asked he check device mgr to see what it showed for the controller and HD, as I suspected a driver or mode issue. He later wrote he was already using the drivers listed in the apple thread (didn't help) and reading the posts down that thread it mentions onboard SATA performance is still poor. (Interface running in PIO mode)

" Yes sorry, I forgot to mention that this won't help the SATA speed at all. I slapped a PATA drive in my system and I'm just running off of that for XP. PATA is much faster. When they figure out the SATA stuff, I'll ghost my PATA drive to a SATA drive and be done with it. "

A later post in the thread mentions Windows XP's device mgr shows the SATA drives in PIO mode (not UDMA):

" I will tell you this... it's related to the SATA drives transfer mode being in PIO instead of UDMA. If you go into device manager and take a look at the properties of your "Primary IDE" channels, click on "Advanced Settings", you'll see the "Current Transfer Mode" will say PIO for your SATA HD's.
To me it looks like a driver issue, but also a problem with the EFI/bios hooks detecting the proper transfer modes of the HD. (on PC motherboards you can check/change mode settings of onboard Controllers in the Bios-Mike)
It gets even more interesting if you try to use the PATA channel. My PATA HD will show up as UDMA mode 5 if I hook it up as a Master on the PATA channel. If I hook it up as a slave with the DVD drive on Master, the DVD drive shows up as UDMA 5 and the HD as UDMA 0. If I hook up the HD as a master and the DVD drive as slave, my HD shows up as UDMA 5 and the DVD drive is UDMA 2. However, when the DVD drive is on slave, I can't eject properly from OSX. F12 and also the eject menu option don't do anything (even tried option-eject, doesn't do anything). The only way to eject the DVD drive in OSX, that i've found, is from a shell by typing 'drutil eject'.
SO, for now, i'm running with my PATA HD as a master, dvd drive as slave, and sata drive. PATA drive has XP, SATA has OSX. And that means from OSX I have to go to a shell to eject the dvd. "

A later post above asked if Mac Pro users can change the mode in XP, but a couple readers said there's no options but PIO with the current Mac Pro configuration/drivers.
Apple updated BootCamp before the Mac Pro was released and hopefully will update it again for Mac Pro drivers, unless this would also require a firmware change. (Hardware vendors update their drivers over time, sometimes frequently. So worth checking from time to time, especially if you see any issues with the currently installed ones.)
(Update: On 8/15, Apple released a Boot Camp 1.1 Beta update with Mac Pro, iSight support and more.)

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Request for Feedback from Intel CPU Mini and MacBook Pro owners w/Hard Drive Upgrades
Late posting this but an Intel based Mac Mini owner asked for feedback from readers that had upgraded the internal (2.5in SATA) Hard Drive. Also looking for reports from MacBook Pro owners that also upgraded the internal drive. (The drive db has reports on MacBook (uses same 2.5in SATA drives) and PowerPC Mini owners but to date no Intel CPU based Mini or MacBook Pro reports.)
If you've upgraded your Intel CPU Mini or MacBook Pro's internal drive (HD or Optical drive), let me know the details and comments on the drive. Thanks. (I'll add the replies to the drive database tomorrow.)
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MacBook Pro reports page updated
I've updated the MacBook Pro user reports/tips page with a reader's comments on a repair for the random shutdown problem. (Said returned MBP still had the problem...)
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Xbench 1.3 Update
There's an update to the OS X benchmark Xbench released yesterday. Version 1.3 change/fix notes:

" 1.3 (2006-08-13)
  • Corrected a mistake that caused the altivec test to be turned off on PowerPC machines
  • Turned off coalesced graphics updates for all platforms on Mac OS 10.4.4 and higher
  • Switched compiler to GCC 4.0 on PowerPC. This provides some boost to floating point and AltiVec scores, and these have been recalibrated accordingly. This also raises Xbench's system requirements to 10.3.9 or higher.
  • Revised machine database to include the MacBook, Intel iMac and several other models
  • Added code to dynamically load machine database on launch from the Xbench website
  • Added support for temporarily turning off beam sync on Tiger while running graphics tests
  • Fixed an issue that causes Xbench to fail to launch on Leopard
  • Built with Xcode 2.4
  • I've not tried this version yet, but if you use Xbench, you want to run it several times (each after a clean reboot) and avg the results, as in the past at least I've seen scores from run/run vary more than I'd like to see in some areas (especially on drive tests). It would also be nice to have better/more extensive OpenGL tests included. Also if using a new Mac with Tiger, remember that if Spotlight is indexing of the drive, that affects performance/scores. (You can disable it indexing the internal drive by using the Privacy features, although it will still index any connected (FW, USB, etc.) drive. There's also 3rd party utilities to disable it.)

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    More Mac Pro owner reports on 3rd Party RAM
    I've created a page with the latest Mac Pro owner reports on 3rd party Memory. Included in one of the reports are notes from a Mac Pro owner with 4GB installed saying Windows XP only shows 2GB. (I've included links to windows docs that show 4GB is supported in XP Pro and Home, although app space is limited to 2GB, unless the /3GB switch is used in the Boot.ini file.)
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    OS 9 iTunes/Authoring Support file for Pioneer DVR-111D
    Frank M. sent an Modified PioneerCDR file for OS 9.x users, edited for the Pioneer DVR-111D drive.
    Note: The downloaded PioneerCDR file replaces the existing one in the (OS 9) System Folder/Extensions/Authoring Support Files folder. (I've added this to the FAQ which has OS 9 modifed burn support files for other some other drive brand/models.)
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    New/Updated Apple Knowledge Base Docs
    (from apple's weekly list)

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    Other Net News/Misc. Software Updates

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    Recent Reviews and Articles:
    Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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