2007-02-28

JMicron trouble

The last two days I've been spending most of my time facing the trouble I had with my DVD drive: DVD movies were lagging and data rate was at the bottom as wells as 100% cpu load during operation of the drive.

The relevant setup includes:
- Pioneer DVD-111R (IDE)
- Intel P965 / ICH8 Chipset and a
- JMicron JMB363 SATA/RAID/IDE controller
- ABIT AB9 motherboard
- Windows XP SP2

The problem was that the IDE DVD drive was operating in PIO mode and not in the preferable DMA mode, that won't bother the processor with data transfer. You can determine the state of an drive by checking the IDE channel its attached to in the windows device manager.

Changing the mode manually as well as through the registry did not work. I tried reinstalling the drive, channel and the controller. No success, so I ran a firmware update onto the DVD drive and tried another cable. Continuing to an bios update, still nothing changed. Switching again to some web research I found, that the JMicron controller caused similar problems for other guys. So I grabbed the firmware for that thing and started to hassle into that direction. The upgrade still showed no success so I tried variant modes that were adjustable in the BIOS together with the new driver.

The thing that finally did it was installing the drivers in the RAID mode of the controller, then switching it back to IDE mode. The switching back caused an reinstallation of the drivers, which it performed automatically. The strange thing was, that the IDE DVD drive now runs as SCSI drive (!!) and the as IDE configured controller shows up as SCSI controller.

That was the worst driver hassle I've had in the last years, so perhaps you should think twice about buying a mainboard with the JMicron controller.

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