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Firewire harddrive speeds

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Old September 28th 04, 10:38 AM
Erwin R. Leijen
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Default Firewire harddrive speeds

Good morning all,

A few months ago I had a problem with firewire harddisk speeds. I though
updates of Windows XP or other programs would solve the problem: how
wrong could I be . So what's the problem?

Well, I have owned several external firewire harddrives to store all the
media I collected troughout the years (pictures from by photo camera,
movies from my digital video camera and all kinds of goodies downloaded
from the Net). Normally the harddrive speed doesn't give any problem.
The problem starts in certain circumstances. Let me explain a few:

(1) Burning files or images on cd's directly from the firewire harddrive

This is virtually impossible. You can see the "buffer" or "cache" of the
burning software "fill up" perfectly in the beginning of the burning
session. But after a few minutes this buffer is not filled up fast
enough from the firewire harddrive. Although the drive should be more
then fast enough for this, it somehow doesn't send the information to
the burning program quick enough. Burning a cd this way will take
forever because the burning has to pause everytime until the buffer has
slowly filled up again. I used different kinds of burning programs, and
all have the same problem.

(2) Watching "virtual DVD's" via a virtual cd/dvd program

Also this is not possible. I store all my cd's and some dvd's on my
firewire drive, so I don't have to carry them around when I travel (I do
that a lot). At this moment I use VirtualCD 6.0 as virtual cd program,
but have used others also (all have the same problem). When I want to
watch a movie from a virtual DVD it will pause many times. This is very
annoying when watching a movie. I also used many different programs to
view the DVD's. The one I am using now is WinDVD. But all of them have
the same problem.

(3) Sometimes the firewire drive cannot be seen

Every now and then the firewire drive doesn't appear when starting up my
computer. This doesn't happen very often, but when it does it is very
annoying. Normally disconnecting and connecting the harddrive again will
solve the problem.
Also the harddrive dissapears sometimes when I connect another hardrive
to it (daisy chain). The drive that is connected will be recognized by
Windows and appears on the computer, but the firewire drive that was
already connected will disappear, while it is still connected.

So it does seem like the firewire drive is the cause of all these
problems. It somehow cannot "keep up" if some programs are used. This is
strange, because firewire drives should be quick enough for these tasks.
I tried the following to solve the problem, but none of them had any

(1) Tried to speed up the drive by enabling writing cache in the
hardware settings of the firewire drive.

(2) Updated all drivers, software and Windows XP to the most recent
versions. Using Windows XP SP2 now.

(3) Tried all kind of different kinds of software to do the job (several
different burning programs and DVD players).

(4) Tried 3 different brands of firewire harddrives (LaCie, Miglia and
Maxtor) on many different kind of computers (notebooks, desktops). Had
the same problem everywhere. Note that all computers were running
Windows XP.

Because I only get the problem with programs which use some kind of
buffers or caches themselves, I was thinking if the problem was maybe
lying there. Is that right? Should I disable buffers or caches in the
programs to speed up the drive?

Am I the only one with this problem? I have never seen any message from
anybody with the same problem.

Do the same problems occcur with external harddrives on USB 2
connections? I was planning to put the drives in USB 2 casings. Or maybe
even Firewire 800 casings. But I want to know if the same problem will

It would be very nice if you could help me, because I'm getting quite
desperate here .



Old October 1st 04, 02:09 PM
Erwin R. Leijen
external usenet poster
Posts: n/a

Good afternoon again,

Oh well, just a reply to myself then .

I bought a new casing for my external drive. It is now connected via
USB2, and .... tadaaaa ... movies on virtual DVD's play smoothly and
burning programs and ISO's directly from the external drive to a CD goes
without any delay.

I know that firewire is capable of 400Mb/s transfers and USB2 of
480Mb/s, but I am not convinced that the 80Mb/s made the difference.

And of course I'm still curious if others have the same speed problems
with external firewire harddrives and how they may have solved the

Kind regards,


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